Bibendum tasting 30 Oct 09

(by peter)

Bibendum is a wine merchant with a swagger in its step. Whether or not you like their bullish way of doing business, their overall style is usually entertaining as well as bang on trend.

This tasting (entitled “B Festival”, and themed as per your average Glastonbury experience minus the mud) showcased their typically diverse and sound wine repertoire. The following are some of the highlights, with UK stockists as relevant (though all wines are also available from their website).


Val do Sanes Albariño 2007, 12.5% (£9.99, M&S)

Rich creamy pear and peach, apricot – hints of honeycomb. Lush and inviting. Rounded, succulent honeyed peach, good structuring acid. Delicious. 7.5/10

Bouchard Chablis 2008, (£9.99, Sainsbury’s)

Soft appley dairy nose, hint of woodsmoke. Round attack, supple creamy breadth, green apple acid and a touch of spice. Lovely zippy apple core. Long, pure, vibrant. Great. 7.5/10

Gewürztraminer 2008 Martin Zahn, 13.5% (£9.99, First Quench)

Good aromatic nose oof rose petals and lychees; scented. Rich lush palate, good spice and succulence – clean yet deep – spicy rich finish. Lovely medium-dry style. 7.5/10

Laurenz V Friendly Gruner Veltliner 2008 (£7.96)

Lightly vegetal, white pepper nose. Soft, full, foody, not particularly extrovert. Good, subtle. 6/10

Prinz Von Hessen Riesling H 2007 (£9.75)

Good green apple and lime nose: expressive, clean, inviting. Lovely tangy green apple structure, long, not super complex but still delightful at the level. 7/10

Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling 2008, Clare Valley (9.99)

Classic lime and toast nose, plus petrol hints. Good structured but broad palate, complex, long, delicious. 7.5/10

Château des Sarrins Les Sarrins Blanc de Rolle 2007 (£17.25)

Not for everyone. The price will see to that (one senior colleague was outraged that owner Bruno Paillard thought he could charge such an “extortionate” price for a Rolle). Rolle is a little known variety grown in southern France and Corsica – typically simple and fruity – but here, with some very deliberate winemaking intervention, given a spicy, creamy, nutty character which some (including me) find very toothsome indeed. Roast lemon and toasted nut depth. 8/10


Mar d’Amunt Cariñena/Garnatxa Jean Marc Lafage 2006 (£10)

What a wine for a tenner. Lovely sweet plum and cream oaky nose, with figgy hints. Enticingly bittersweet fruit on the palate, spicy, mineral-infused, food friendly. Bang on. 8/10

Costières de Nîmes Reserve Rouge Château de Nages 2007 (£8)

Peppery meaty floral blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah from the Languedoc. Black olive notes too. Lovely mid-weight bittersweet meat/olive/floral flavours. 7/10

Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2001 (£18.43)

My encounters with recent vintages of Beaucastel have tended to leave me somewhat cold, so it was great to come across this little gem. Creamy spiced plum nose with some quite pleasing but undeniably rustic underlying yeasty, meatiness. Lovely leathery meat palate with great structure and elegance. 8/10

Côte-Rôtie Domaine Jamet 2006 (£46.75)

And yes, so it should be good for that price. Classic, sleek, dense – the kind of wine you’d happily drink all afternoon. Subtle olive, roasted meat and ripe blackberry fruit with silky tannin, balanced acid and a long, elegant finish. 8.5/10

Catena Malbec 2007, Mendoza (£10.84)

If memory serves, I think we got served this wine (or something very similar) blind in my MW tasting exam. And then, as now, it sang its origins. Peppery damson fruit with vibrant violet notes. Juicy peppery succulent fruit palate. Benchmark stuff. 7/10

DV Catena Merlot 2006, 13.5% (£10.99, Majestic)

Deep purple colour. Silky creamy blue and black fruit, pure lifted and floral. Good savoury firm yet round tannin. Elegantly intergrated oak. Juicy plum fruit, bit oaky and extracted but oveall well done. Savoury, svelte, pure and persistent. Very good. Spicy roasted pepper notes on finish. Warmth but not out of balance – note the alcohol level. 8/10

Glenguin Estate Stonybroke Shiraz/Tannat 2005 (£13.01)

Not sure what the penny’s for but it’s worth it: meaty, minty, leathery dark fruit with a crisp, succulent palate that’s spicy and engaging. Only 8% Tannat but still demands a good steak.


Valdivieso Eclat Botrytised Semillon 2007, Lontué (£11.75)

Honeyed peach and apple, with a deliciously rich and clean palate. Very good indeed for Chile in this style. 6.5/10

Vinsanto del Chianti Rufina Fattoria di Basciano, Tuscany (£11.99)

Classic notes of cookie dough, cream and raisins. Oily creamy palate, viscous and vivid, with vibrant underlying acidity and tangy finish. Lovely stuff. Young, though. 8/10