Last night’s tasting was a bit different from the norm.
I was co-hosting an event in aid of West London Action for Children, a very worthy cause which offers support for kids and families. Despite the “humid” conditions (as they say in Bordeaux – ie tipping it down) over a hundred people made it along to enjoy some banter, wine and charitable giving.
My fellow entertainer was Rob Chase of Adnams, the Suffolk brewer turned vintner, hotelier and now purveyor of kitchenware through their new Cellar & Kitchen stores. I’ve always admired their wines and so it was great to try a few of the range in this light-hearted atmosphere. (And Rob’s been good enough to send in a comment – see below. Apparently he only got drenched once on his way home in the pouring rain.)
As expected, they were a great crowd and my high-jinks with Nez du Vin aroma phials, jelly beans, Homer Simpson quotes and fiendish quiz questions didn’t faze them at all. Quite the opposite, by the sounds of it – WLAC Chief Executive Heather Boxer later wrote me an email saying (among other kind things), “There was a huge buzz about the room. You manged to impart your passion for wines, your humour and your depth of knowledge and fully engaged the audience”. All of which, needless to say, made me very happy.
I’ll be uploading a video to give you a flavour of the event as soon as I can. It was held in the stunning St Michael’s Church, Chester Square, not far from Victoria – hence the grand surroundings. Apologies for the murkiness of the video and slightly poor sound quality – it does get better as the video progresses.
The wines we tried on the night are as follows. Given that these wines were tasted while I was on stage, so not entirely focused on the analysis, scores should be taken with a pinch of salt. All wines are available from Adnams.
Il Colle Prosecco Frizzante, £7.99 – fresh apple/pear, fine frothy mousse and an elegant persistence. Very well done at the price. 6.5/10
The Doctor’s Riesling, Forrest Estate, 8.5%, £8.99 – absolutely delicious off-dry Riesling from Marlborough. Stunning. 7.5/10
Basa Rueda Blanco 2007, Telmo Rodriguez, 13%, £7.50 – not your typical Rueda; lots of apricot and creamy lemon flavours with a spicy palate feel. Intriguing. 6.5/10
Chablis l’Harmonie 2008, Brocard, £9.99 – Brocard does it again: cracking Chablis at the price, with a deliciously vibrant green apple acidity and that classic blanched nut, lightly woolly Chablis character. Fantastic at under a tenner, really food friendly and invigorating. 7/10
Forrest Estate Pinot Noir 2007, Marlborough, 14%, £10.99 (down to £9.99 on limited special offer) – benchmark Marlborough Pinot, with elegant creamy texture and an engaging bittersweet finish. Great at the level. 7/10
Cruz de Piedra Garnacha 2007, Calatayud, £5.99 – bright cherry fruit and a lightly spicy palate. Rob says the 08 is showing better but I thought this was decent stuff from this reliable producer, and fine at the price. 5.5/10
The Adnams Selection La Cappella Tuscan Red 2007, 14%, £7.99 – I started to lead a game of wine options at this point so I’m afraid my attention wandered. A very cursory tasting revealed it to be elegantly bittersweet with a pleasant creamy texture. Castello di Volpaia is the supplier and it has 10% Merlot.
The Adnams Selection Pacherench du Vic-Bilh 2005 Fine Dessert Wine, 13%, £7.99 – another very decent wine at the price, typical of Plaimont, with pleasant apricot, cream and citrus flavours. Again, wine options prevented an in-depth appreciation.