Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Archive for April, 2011

An ugly duckling from 2003

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Some dismal wines were made in France in the heat of 2003. I did not buy many, so I’m not sure why I paid up for a few bottles of Château Roque-Peyre, a (dry white) Montravel made by the Vallette family. It was also heavily oaked, another reason for giving it the cold shoulder.  When I’ve tasted it previously, I’ve always regretted my rash decision to buy – until yesterday. We wanted a rich, dry white, so I found one of the two remaining bottles, and expected I’d have to find something else.  But it was really rather good, indeed very good.

It’s not quite perfect – the oak is still too prominent, but the fruit has found a second wind. Almost like an aged Hunter Valley Sémillon, it has gained an extraordinary richness in the bottle and an intense, complex, candied lime character. It even seems fresher than before. I don’t know for sure what the blend is – I assume it’s a Sémillon/Sauvignon job, but it has stood the test of time with flying colours.

Other 2003s will not emerge as swans, incluing many of the horribly unbalanced, ugly reds, but this wine is a timely reminder that in the ever-changing world of wine it pays to keep an open mind.