And Here We Go...

10th July 2009

Where does one start? First, this blog will be wine related - I undertake to stay off politics, the state of the world, young people today, the cost of petrol, and all the other mundane subjects which might provoke a bilious rant.  Instead, fine wine will be at the forefront. I will cover:

  • interesting tastings, both those held at SVS and elsewhere
  • memorable food and wine experiences
  • old vintages of wines we stock revisited
  • the occasional rant (can't help it, better to let the gas out of the bottle) on wine matters

I open with a couple of recent tastings, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

5th May 2009

First, the sublime: the most recent visitation (to London) of The Berlin Tasting, an event which began in 2004 and which now moves around the world pitting the top wines from the Chadwick family of Chile - Errazuriz's Don Maximiano, Chadwick and Sena - tasted blind against grand Cabernet-based wines from Bordeaux (Margaux, Lafitte and Latour 2005), Italy (Sassicaia and Solaia 2005), and California (Opus One 2005). 

I spotted five of the six Chileans in the tasting - that eucalyptus/menthol note usually gives them away - but failed to identify the sixth, Chadwick 2006. This showed both cassis and red fruit and appeared so refined and classy, with lead-pencil and lightly savoury notes. I loved it. Everyone in the room picked their favourite three wines from the twelve tasted, in order. The Chadwick was voted 5th equal overall, surprisingly (to me) behind the 2006 vintage of the Don Max, which came 4th, highest of the Chileans, and, at £30ish, by some way the cheapest wine on show on the day

Well, the Hatch Mansfield team, who arranged the event as the agents for Errázuriz, would have been proud of me...in a puppyish, Pavlovian knee-jerk I added plenty of both these splendid Chilean reds to our next shipment from South America. Some of you will be able to taste these on September 7th (see events and tastings in due course).

30th June 2009

Now to the ridiculous. On the last day of June my colleague Gordon Coates and I sat down in the office to taste about twenty samples of 2007 red Bordeaux. I will spare you the names, but not all were cheap wines - some would have retailed at over £10 a bottle. Rarely have we had such a dispiriting day - the wines appeared variously lean, charmless, stalky, drying, harsh and dull. Oh well, the lesson of this is to wait for the next 2005 and buy lots then - we still have plenty of the excellent Château La Plaige 2005 in the pipeline at £7.50 a bottle.

The good news was that we found a couple of cracking 2005s - which will arrive in August: look out for Château Grand Maison, Côtes de Bourg and a terrific Fronsac, Château Beausejour, plus some excellent white Graves.

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