St-Nicolas de Bourgueil ‘Les Malgagnes’ Yannik Amirault, 2005

Do I think I know ANYTHING about wine? pah!

I blew it. Oeno­log­i­caly speak­ing I’ve blown it a few times, but this time I really earned myself the deri­sion of all hard­work­ing winemakers.

My chef was mak­ing my favourite red wine sauce, a Rick Stein recipe you really must try, which requires sim­mer­ing almost a whole bot­tle of wine down to prac­ti­cally noth­ing. All I had to do was pro­vide the wine, a mediocre wine in return for a deli­cious meal? a good return for me and def­i­nitely easy enough — there’s always the odd bot­tle knock­ing about in my cel­lar that, bought in the never end­ing pur­suit of the next great dis­cov­ery, that didn’t quite make it to ‘great’.

A rather hasty perusal of the ‘knock-these-on-the-head-ASAP’ shelf revealed the rem­nants of the aborted Loire val­ley Caber­net Franc assign­ment which true to PWB form no-one took up. The extra bot­tles that I bought in antic­i­pa­tion of demand which never mate­ri­alised lay there remind­ing me of my own fail­ure of not only the ‘non-take-up-ed-ness’ of it all, but the fact that the wine I bought and tried myself (see below wall post on Feb 18th) was seri­ously way too far off the left field of the tast­ing spec­trum even for me. Com­pli­cated and well made yes, but lit­tle fruit and so, soo bit­ter on the fin­ish. Actu­ally I can never break too far from my roots as a cheap tart for the vanil­lary oak of the new world.

So in one bold brave deci­sion mak­ing move I gave a bot­tle of it to my chef — to cook with. Hell, I can pre­tend it didn’t really cost £18.00!

As I can’t help myself I tasted the rem­nants of the bot­tle, well excuse my French tast­ing notes but Feck me! Feck Me! — this was beau­ti­ful! Full of cher­ries, com­pli­cated ter­roir dri­ven flavours, well bal­anced; a silky smooth liq­uid that coated my mouth in plea­sure and tra­versed my throat like an ethe­real pass­ing dream. Feck Me!

I opened another of the pre­vi­ously unwanted duo to make sure I wasn’t expe­ri­enc­ing the ‘Great Bot­tle’ phe­nom­e­non – Mr Veyn­er­chuck has a the­ory that says there’s no great wine, just a great bot­tle. Which as philo­soph­i­cal bol­locks def­i­nitely has some mileage. Feck me again! The same, great plea­sur­able wine. What a dis­cov­ery. What a pil­lock! …I just cooked a whole bot­tle of it.

The bot­tle I tasted back in Feb­ru­ary was from the same pro­ducer but a dif­fer­ent vine­yard -‘La Mine’ and in my hasty deci­sion mak­ing move I lazily tarred all Yan­nick Ami­rault Bour­gueil wines with the same bit­ter brush. Boy did I ever blow it. Just shows, ter­roir may not be French for bol­locks after all, two wines, same pro­ducer, same grape, same region, dif­fer­ent vine­yard, one I demoted to the cook­ing pot, the other I fell in love with. (Well, as it hap­pens I demoted the one I fell in love with to the cook­ing pot!)

This one must be on the scale of telling a cus­tomer of a wine ware­house that stocks over 500 wines that we haven’t a sin­gle Pinot Noir, when we must have had at least 80 dif­fer­ent types from all over the world!

…Some­times, I can really screw up.

St-Nicolas de Bour­gueil ‘Les Mal­gagnes’ 2005, Yan­nik Ami­rault £17:99 Hand­ford Wines

Hand­ford Wines
105 Old Bromp­ton Road,
South Kens­ing­ton,
Lon­don SW7 3LE
Tele­phone: +44 20 7589 6113

www.handford.net

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