Last week was a pretty busy one, especially with all the shenanigans of the IWC and DWWA wine judging going on. I still managed to squeeze in another one of my Roving Sommelier Pop Up wine tastings. I hosted the event in collaboration with an international group of financial high-flyers (CAIA) at Laithwaites (The Arch at Vinopolis), just an organic purple-sprouting broccoli’s throw away from Borough Market. It was a great opportunity for the 30 or so people who attended to let their hair down after a long, busy day, taste some interesting and affordable wines and do a bit of networking and socialising.
We kicked off with a crisp, fresh and palate-cleansing Cava from Penedes in Northern Spain. This was the perfect aperitif wine and a nice way for everyone to get to know each other. I then presented a line up of 6 European wines.
First up came 2010 Solar das Boucas, Vinho Verde - this is a light, fresh and crisp white wine, made from the local Loureiro grape in Northern Portugal. Essentially, it’s like biting into a fresh green apple, with a gentle spritz on the palate and thirst-quenching, mouth-watering acidity. This highly-regarded wine is designed to be drunk as young as possible and at around 11% alcohol is very gluggable.
Being very passionate about German wines and the noble Riesling grape, in particular, I really wanted to show a good example of a dry style of this exciting grape variety. The 2010 Reichsgraf von Buhl “Kellermeister Selection” Riesling made in the Pfalz certainly packs a zippy, citrus punch, even at just over 10% alcohol. It’s fresh, crisp and dry, scented with grapefruit and lime zest and has a delicious mouth-watering acidity. A very food-friendly wine that certainly deserves to be discovered.
The last of the trio white wines came from the Loire Valley in France. I wanted to present a modern and pure style of Sauvignon Blanc. For me, you need to get to Sancerre for pure expression. However, the wines from this prestigious appelation are quiet expensive. The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc by Joseph Mellot comes from vineyards located outside Sancerre in the Touraine region. Therefore, the wine is classified as a ‘vin de pays’, yet displays beautiful, clean, fresh citrus and herbaceous flavours associated with this wine style, but also is great value for money. For instance, it would be a great alternative to a Kiwi savvy. It will also go very well with goat’s cheese and seasonal salads.
As we are now approaching (hopefully) warmer and more pleasant weather, I’m sure pink wines will become more popular. The 2010 Ginestieres Rose is ideal for the Spring/Summer season. Try it and I’m sure you’ll be impressed by this simple pink Grenache from Southern France. It displays lovely red fruit aromas, yet pleasantly-dry on the palate and nicely-balanced. You can drink it on its own and/or either with light seasonal dishes, such as fish.
I then went on to present a couple of red wines. First up came 2008 Pinot Noir J.L Wolf made in Pfalz, Germany. Yes, I said a German Pinot Noir! Actually, two interesting facts – Germany is actually the third biggest producer of Pinot Noir in the World, and secondly, the grape is called Spatburgunder. This example is light, fruit-driven with cherry and cranberry nuances and would drink well with fish and poultry. In addition, I think this wine is great value for money, as at this price point, not only does this German Pinot deliver excellent quality, but also it would be quite difficult to find something from Burgundy.
The second red wine and the final wine to be tasted was the 2009 Castillo de Jumilla Monastrell from Spain. Jumilla, located in South-east Spain is a very underrated wine region, producing some interesting, flavoursome wines with real character. This wine is quite robust, packed with juicy ripe morello cherry fruit and is nicely-balanced. There are also some charming rustic flavours in the wine, which displays spicy, vanilla notes (derived from ageing in American oak). This authentic Spanish red would be an ideal combination with roasted meats, especially lamb and with cher-grilled steaks and summer barbeques.
I take my role as the roving sommelier seriously, but always with enthusiasm and a sense of fun to help you make wonderful discoveries – after all, the sommelier is the facilitator of liquid enjoyment! More tastings, pop ups and events to follow. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.
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The epicurean odyssey continues…