Episode 63 – 9th June 2021
A Trio from Yapp Brothers
I called in a few samples from elite indie wine merchant Yapp Brothers the other day in preparation for my MoneyWeek Wine Club selection for July and they sent so many crackers that I had three wines left over. Rather than confining these enthusiastic notes to a Word document never to be opened again, I felt that I ought to alert my Wednesday Wines fans to their excellence. A perfect trio – white, rosé and red, all top of their class and all classic Yapp finds. In MoneyWeek’s Club format, you would be encouraged to buy two bottles of each of six wines, but as I have three for you today, you ought to trade up to four of each (for £252.00 – a bit of a deal I reckon)!
2019 Brézème Blanc, Domaine Lombard, J & E Montagnon, Northern Rhône, France (£24.00, bottle & £49.50, magnum, www.yapp.co.uk).
This is such a clever white wine it rather baffles the senses. Like an artist on stage who manages the knack of the quick-change, the various outfits that this wine inhabits range from the momentarily theatrical, to the seductive, to the joyous, the carefree, the business-like and back again. This is because it is made from 50% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne and 5% Viognier, in tiny quantities – a mere 8000 bottles and 200 magnums are produced for the planet. This recipe and also its precision production results in a commanding white wine with a grand white Burgundy silhouette but with a rather enticingly exotic perfume. Balancing this exuberance there is extraordinary minerality counterpointing the stone fruit notes and underneath it, there is a pin-sharp 12.5% alcohol and mountain-stream-fresh acidity. So you can see that this wine has a rather kaleidoscopic array of vital statistics and these reference back to my costume change image earlier in this note. If you have never tasted the wines from this extremely rare appellation before it is worth noting that Julien and Emmanuelle are the finest vignerons in the region. Also, be sure to decant this beauty because there is so much to find under the millpond still surface.
2020 Mas de la Rouvière Rosé, Bandol, Provence, France (£21.25, www.yapp.co.uk).
My goodness me, this is a blast from the past! I think I listed this wine on the Bibendum Restaurant back in 1990! You will already be aware that Bandol rosé is one of only a handful of styles of pink wine which can actually age. Mas de la Rouvière is no exception and Yapp has a 2017 magnum (£55.00) on the wine list! Having said this, I rather like them young while they are packed with acidity and energy. Organically grown, 13.5% alcohol and paler than many, this is a fresh style without the overt muscle one sees in other Bandol wines. But appearances are always deceptive because while it looks innocent enough, there is a full-framed wine, albeit draped in watermelon and rhubarb accoutrements, hiding here. Chill it down and this is a feisty aperitif designed to drink with complex canapés, but allow it to warm a few degrees and it expands in the glass and in this combative state it could take down a well-seasoned tagliata, a punchy vitello di tonnato, a well-armed lobster and even a chicken drenched in truffles! Oh, and if in the unlikely event that you lose a bottle in your cellar, you can relax in the knowledge that it will age evenly until you bump into it again one day in the future!
2019 Crozes Hermitage, Equinoxe, Domaine Equis, Northern Rhône, France (£17.75, www.yapp.co.uk).
The Equis range is a diffusion brand belonging to the Graillot family (Domaine Graillot is the number one, legendary Crozes for serious dinners!) and it is masterminded by Maxime Graillot and Thomas Schmittel. They set out to capture the essence of Crozes without having to cellar the wines for years on end. Forward-drinking, granite-soaked, deeply earthy and laden with blackberries and cracked white pepper, this is a wine which is unnervingly easy to drink at only two years of age and what’s more it chill extremely well, too! This makes Equinoxe a stellar ‘intellectual’ red for summer lunch parties because it drinks perfectly out of a cooler with char-grilled dishes and then as the sun dips down behind the horizon, it can be placed on the table and drunk cool, as opposed to cold, with leftovers and, hopefully, a delicious chunk of mature cheddar!