Among the many perky advantages of working at Wi-Not the only one singular one that boys voluntary turn up for and on time are the tastings. A regular affair on our work calendar, we all congregate and taste, mostly blind, an array of wines that we have managed to get our hands on. These can be wines that people have sent us for an opinion or just wines that one of us procured for the sake of educational representation of a particular style, region, grape, etc.
Just this week, Magan returned from a trip to the South West of France, and Austria. The ensuing tasting involved, simply, two wines. Before we discuss them, here is a bit of a background. Pau, the gateway to the Pyrenees, may be over shadowed by neighbouring Bordeaux but is not one to be resigned to passive ignominy. It holds the key to one of the up and coming wine regions of the world, the South West of France. This region is famous for making some rather punchy reds and sleek whites, pretty much in that order. And then, before and above all, is their precious ‘wine of kings and the king of wines’, the lovely Late Harvest dessert wine, made under the appellation of Jurançon Moelleux. Jurançon is the name of the region and ‘moelleux’ translates to ‘sweet’. The special thing about this wine is that, being a late harvest, it also benefits from the aromas that a drying grape bunch on an about-to-go-dormant-before-winters vine acquires. This long-drying to reduce must weight and concentrate sugars makes for the most wonderful complexity on the nose and the process is called Passerillage (pronounced ‘paas-e-ree-yaage’).
The other wine was from the winemaking reaches of Lower Austria, a region which is ironically in the North of Austria. This is not that much of a perplexity to explain; the river Danube enters the country from the West and flows East, taking a northerly direction as it meanders through the country. The northern part of the country then, lies downstream, and hence the name ‘Lower’ Austria. Or Neidösterreich. The smaller more precise appellation for the wine we had would be Kamptal. Magan had shared a lovely meal with the family just a few evenings ago and this was a TBa wine from their vineyard. What follows here is not a comparison of winemakers but of wine styles; to highlight how difference in the Residual Sugar (RS) contributes to the flavours and texture of the wine. More so, just to keep things individual, the tasting notes from each participant have been reproduced separately. No consensus, no cumulative results, just a fun tasting with learning aplenty.
Clean young wine, gold colour with some hue of green. Nose of tropical aromatic notes, papaya, honey dew melon, starfruit. Guava, peaches, honey notes. Clean palate, very soft and peppy mouthfeel. Fresh mango peel, apple shreds, touch pomegranate, honey, tart, raw mango. High acidity, medium sweet, medium alcohol. Great with apple halwa, malpua, vanilla cheesecake.
Cheval Blanc d’Henri IV, Jurancon, France:
Deep golden colour, intense tropical nose, pineapple, apples, rambustan, lychee, oily, touch grapey, thick sugar syrup. Thick and round mouthfeel, tad syrupy, very tropical, all the way mangoes, pineapples, and lychees. Alcohol + acidity are high but not disturbing. Heavy structure. Great with thick syrupy desserts.