While WineMason’s specialities are Portugal, Austria, Germany and South Africa, Nomad is a Burgundy specialist outfit. Of course, the range has seen additions from other regions – particularly in France – but Burgundy is still at the heart of the portfolio. As with all of the SPIT crew, Nomad’s wines are generally from small producers who practise sustainable, organic or biodynamic viticulture, but they remain fairly conventional – though excellent – in taste.
Here are five of Nomad’s best that caught my eye at SPIT.
Leclerc Briant was the first organic and biodynamic producer in Champagne – no mean feat when the cool and sometimes damp climate is taken into account. They are based in the Vallée de la Marne where Pinot Meunier is most at home, and it shows in the blend: 65% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay.
30 months on the lees (double the minimum requirements for a non vintage Champagne) softens out the wine somewhat, meaning that a low dosage of 4g/L is all that’s required. The Pinot(s) dominance really comes through in the red fruits flavour profile – raspberry, redcurrant and cranberry. A lively, clean and refreshing Champagne!
If Tolkein’s Dwarves drank a wine, it would be from Savoie, made in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Like the other wines in Brice Omont’s biodynamic range, Schiste is labelled after the soil type on which it is grown. The grapes are a mix of the fairly well-known and the almost unknown: 40% Jacquère, 30% Roussanne, 20% Malvasia and 10% Mondeuse.
My Tolkein reference might be far-fetched, but there is definitely something other-worldly about this wine. It somehow manages to combine butter and sweet stone fruits with zippy citrus, and has a very long, soothing finish. A remarkable wine!
As vineyard and grape prices have rocketed in Burgundy’s heartland of the Côte d’Or, many producers have been looking further south to the Maconnais where costs are much lower, but the astute have also been investing in the Côte Chalonnaise which lies in between the two. Rully is my favourite village from the Chalonnaise, and in good hands can produce some seriously good wine.
BOOM!! This is one of the best wines I tasted in the last twelve months*.
I’ve enjoyed previous vintages of Ponsot’s Rully, but this is easily my favourite yet. It has a mesmerising nose of pear and peach; they follow through onto the palate and are joined by apricot, apple and a hint of citrus. It’s soft, gently oaked and obviously young, but drinking so well at the moment. Decant it or use a big glass – you won’t rue your choice!**
Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Puligny Montrachet 2016 (13.0%, RRP €79.00 at SIYPS and Martins Off-Licence, Fairview)
After the exuberance of the Rully, we now take a step back to enjoy the power and elegance of an excellent Puligny-Montrachet. There are some obvious oak notes on the nose, smoky and leesy, with soft pip fruit and citrus on the palate. It’s still quite tight – probably a criminal offense to drink right now – but if I had a few bottles I would take the risk and enjoy!
Domaine Audoin Marsannay Cuvée Marie Ragonneau 2015 (13.0%, RRP €42.00 at SIYPS and 64 Wine, Glasthule)
Marsannay is the most northerly village-level appellation in the Côte de Nuits, extending almost into Dijon itself, and the most recent as it was created in 1987. It is also the only Burgundy village appellation which can produce the trio of red, white and rosé wines.
Domaine Audoin’s Marsannay is somewhat serious and savoury, but what a wine! A complex melange of red and black fruit, plenty of acidity and fine tannins. It might sound strange to the average wine drinker, but this €40+ Burgundy is great value for money!
The SPIT series:
* Actual tasting note includes the sentence “F*cking hell, that’s a bit of all right, innit?” Perhaps my notes were scribbled on by a passing cockney…