Top picks from the ‘Wine Gang’ – a review of the L&S Autumn tasting

by Andrew Hooper

Among the eager attendees at our Autumn聽tasting at La Galleria were the Wine Gang, who wrote up their thoughts in their October 2015 report.

“London’s award-winning independent merchant has a penchant for the great and the very good from Europe but picks its New World offerings with great care (and success) too, and all of this聽at very nice prices to boot.”

Among the many wines reviewed were two of our old favourites scoring highly:

2009 TASSINAIA Castello del Terriccio聽 聽拢24.95 / 拢22.95*

Fantastically complex for the price, this is a faithful favourite of L&S and once again shows itself to have a rich tomato pur茅e depth of flavour聽with perky earthy spice plus聽it鈥檚 relatively smooth in tannin already. Made with Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon.聽92 points

2009 GEVREY CHAMBERTIN Domaine Thierry Mortet 聽 拢35.50 / 拢31.95*

A lovely Pinot Noir that has really聽hit its stride with a bright floral perfume fighting through that slightly-developed gameyness. The nicely woven-in tannins really let the red fruit do most聽the talking聽and the聽firm streak of minerality is what shines on the聽long finish.聽92 points

Also racking up the points were two聽of our outstanding fizzes聽from our range of grower Champagnes:

EGLY-OURIET Tradition Brut Grand Cru Ambonnay聽 拢43.50 / 拢39.95*

Tasty execution of this grower’s聽Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Grand Cru fizz, with the gentle shortbread nose supplemented by聽the seduction of baked apples. Clean, sour and citrussy on the palate聽with bouncy bubbles and a subtle praline finish to lend聽it weight and distinction.聽92 points

2007 LEGRAS Pr茅sidence Vieilles Vignes Brut Grand Cru Chouilly R & L Legras聽拢45.95 / 拢41.95*

In recent years聽Legras, perhaps, has suffered from being in the shadows of L&S’ other terrific Champagne growers Larmandier-Bernier and Egly-Ouriet. But this grower and n茅gociant has a delicious range of its own, so much so聽one L&S employee even chose Legras as his wedding Champagne, we were told. This vintage –聽pure Chardonnay too –聽is in very fine fettle right聽now, with its nutty, malty nudge towards development and yet the lively bubbles and fresh orange tang give it freshness and purpose.聽92 points

The-Wine-Gang-October-Wines

From our ever-growing聽New World selection they loved:

2013 ALTITUDE Pinot Noir Two Rivers of Marlborough 聽拢25.95 / 拢22.95*

With 25% whole bunch fruit and 25% going into new oak, this was never going to be a shy Kiwi Pinot Noir. It has stature and presence, with the bright red cherry fruit tamed sympathetically by the careful exposure to oak. In short, it’s balance between fruit and wood is very well executed.聽92 points

Whilst new and just a little聽outr茅聽there was high praise for:

2014 WEISSER BURGUNDER Trocken Weingut K & K Dautermann聽 聽拢12.95 / 拢11.75*

Hugely fragrant,聽taut聽and rasping with the freshness of youth, this聽already delivers on juicy kiwi fruit and greengage fruitiness while its flicker of grapefruit and white pepper spice聽provide聽extra edge and appeal.聽Three cheers for Pinot Blanc with attitude.聽89 points

But, perhaps the most gratifying, was how well the two cheapest wines at the tasting showed – a pair聽of super-value Spaniards.

2014 CABERNET SAUVIGNON Camina 聽拢6.50 / 拢5.95*

Upfront in juicy聽fruit with a light grip to the tannin, this聽might not be very Cabernet Sauvignon in terms of complexity, but if you’re after an affordable and easy quaffer for the party season that delivers on ripe red聽fruit, here’s the answer.聽85 points

2014 CHARDONNAY Camina聽 聽拢6.50 / 拢5.95*

As with this Chardonnay’s red sibling reviewed this month, this is a useful fresh quaffer for the party season ahead. It holds its own with聽some crunchy melon fruit in a light and simple kind of way.聽84 points

With a “by the case” price of just 拢5.95 a bottle, the Camina wines represent outstanding value – worth having about the house聽just in case; and, with the party season advancing toward us with unnerving rapidity, these are going to prove popular by the case.

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All the Wine Gang’s reviews are available from聽their excellent聽web-site (subscription required).

* Mixed Case price discount for any 12 bottles or more purchased online or in-store.