Armit Wines is fortunate to have some big agencies on their books – Ornellaia, Gaja, Rioja Alta, Giacosa, Huet, the list goes on – but here are the 5 wines which stood out for me at the Armit Wines Annual Tasting 2015 for no other reason than pure crazy fabulousness:
1. Domaine Huet
Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi Sec 2009 (Loire)
Masterful. As you would expect from one of the last vintages by Noël Pinguet – legendary winemaker and son-in-law of Gaston Huet. This is a wine where taste moves faster than the speed of thought. Pure and light, sweet and savoury, weightless and gravity. And it all just comes together so effortlessly. I saw a friend who is an expert on the Loire do a beeline for it when he entered the room. It’s pretty much like that. Everything else disappears.
RRP £17.oo duty paid ex vat
2. Domaine Gourt de Mautens
Rosé 2010 (Rhone)
On a buzz feed listicle, 24 Bizarre Japanese Ice-Cream Flavours, you’ll find ice-cream comes in whitebait, shark fin and cactus flavours. This Rosé is not exactly your classic strawberry pink, either. Think pomegranate, seaweed and fermented ginger. I wouldn’t be surprised to find the animators from Adventure Time had it while drawing Jake’s Perfect Sandwich. Much more exciting than the usual rinsed-out, filtered-to-inch-of-its-life pale pink everywhere. Then again, you won’t find this everywhere.
RRP £15.00 duty paid ex vat
3. Domaine de Montbourgeau
L’Etoile Savagnin 2009 (Jura)
If you don’t know Jura very well, Armit carry a safer version called Domaine du Pélican – a new wine from Marquis d’Angerville in Volnay. This one is as grumpy as Bukowski and probably smells the same – medicinal, super-oxidative, orange peel liquer, extreme french cheeses. Yet it speaks the truth. It’s what haunts me.
RRP £24.40 duty paid ex vat
Etna Rosso 2014 (Sicily)
On a completely different note than the old-school Jura above, this is pure summer holiday. I liked Pietradolce’s whole range, all the way up to the £35 Barbagalli. But it is the £9 pale red – almost shivering for lack of colour after growing in the high altitudes of a volcano – that is so perfect for now. Why drink Rosé when you can have this all the way through from apero to dessert? It’s got more tannic structure than Rosé. Save yourself the energy in summer and stick to this.
RRP £9.25 duty paid ex vat
Giacosa Barbaresco Asili, Bruno Giacosa 2009 (Piedmont)
The flavours are always so precise: it’s never just “rose” with Giacosa, it has to be “rose hip”. And so it goes, I won’t list out the flavour ingredients. Not only is the list long, but that would be too prosaic for such an incredible wine. The layers are as diaphanous as a tulle skirt on a prima ballerina. Hold on to it for another 20 years or more.
RRP £72.05 duty paid ex vat
Wines tasted at Armit Wines 2015 Annual Tasting at Music Rooms, Mayfair on Tuesday 23rd June 2015.
Image: label from Pietradolce Barbagalli 2011