An Old Friend

By chance I happened across a small stash of Hegarty Chamans No3 2003. 2003 was their first vintage, made in an unfinished winery, which had to be sold as Vin de Table, presumably because they didn't manage to deal with the bureaucracy in time.

At the time I was very excited about Hegarty, because they use a fair whack of Carignan, making the sort of funky, herbaceous wine that really gets my goat floating, and I said I would try some at a later stage to see how it was evolving. Of course, being such good wine, it rapidly sold out, before I tucked some away. So unexpectedly finding three bottles was a treat. And it has evolved rather handsomely.

The jumping acidity and powerful herb stink have calmed down rather. The wine seems much darker, and the fruit flavours – bitter cherries, plums, that kind of thing – stand out more. Also, there is a mineral, stony flavour which wasn't evident three years ago. Very rich, with medium grained tannins, at five years old this Minervois is in fine fettle and truly excellent.

I'm not planning to save either of the two remaining bottles. They are the ideal winter warmer for this weekend's family gathering in Moffat. The only problem is, what else can I take that's going to be even half as tasty?

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