Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Wine tasting by Roz

On Saturday night Bex and I went round to Sarah's house for a wine tasting. It was such a fun night, just what we both needed, filled with yummy wine, delicious nibbles and a rather hilarious game of Creationary :)

The company providing the wonderful wines for our tasting were called Vicomte Bernard de Romanet and our wine expert for the evening was Norman, who was very nice and explained that it would be an informal tasting where we would get to try 13 wines!


Now, I love my wine! I have so many happy memories from wine tasting.  B and I actually used to go a few times a year to wine tasting events held by Stravaigin in the West End. The. There was our wonderful honeymoon in New Zealand, which has definitely created a love that will last forever in their Sauvignon Blancs (gooseberry to the max!) and their Pinot Noirs. So I was really looking forward to the event, even if returning to drinking wine over the last few weeks has been a bit hit and miss.  Bex here, I'd just like to add that I know NOTHING about wine other than that I like it, particularly red wine.  Roz is definitely more qualified than I am to write this post, I just know what I like so my contribution is to add my scores out of 10 for each wine tasted, the alcohol content and prices (approximate - after I've added on the VAT) as per my notes ;)  And the obligatory Bex overload of pictures of course, we're a great team!  :D

We started with the dry whites, moved on to medium, then sweet whites, quaffing a total of six whites. After the whites, we moved on to two very different rose wines and then five reds. I've gone into a bit of detail of the wines we tried below, not because I think I'm an expert, but because I genuinely love tasting wine! Especially when I get to try new varieties or discover a new love for a common grape.

The whites

1) Pere Clement 2010, a French dry white made from the colombard grape.  I really liked this wine, it was pale in colour and smelled fruity.  It had a sharp, crisp flavour but was smooth to drink and tasted of citrus fruits.  Very drinkable and at £12 a bottle not too expensive.  This was probably my favourite white wine of the evening.  11.5%  5/10  (£12)

2) Don Carlo 2011, a Sicilian medium, dry white made from the grechetto grape.  This wine was straw yellow in colour and had a thicker texture than the first white.  The flavours were sweeter, with the taste towards peach / apricot.  I think I would have prefered this wine if it had been served almost ice cold and I was drinking it in the sunshine!  12.5%  6/10  (£13)

3) Trebbiano Rubicone 2011, an Italian white made from the trebbiano grape (the clue is in the name!).  This was the most unusual white we tried, it smelled dry and I couldn't detect any fruit.  All of us were quite surprised when we tried it, Bex and Anne didn't really like it at all, if I had to describe the taste it would be slatey (mineral) but Gavin got it spot on when he said it had a champagne after taste, which I completely agreed with.  11.5%  3/10  (£14)

4) Coteaux Bourgignon 2012, a French white made from the chardonnay grape.  I was really looking forward to trying this one, I used to think I hated chardonnay and it turns out that I based this on the taste of cheap pub chardonnay from my student days!  I really liked this wine, it was smooth and crisp and actually tasted a bit like pears.  At nearly £22 a bottle though it's one to save for a special opinion in my book.  12.5%  6/10  (£22)

The roses and sweet wines

5) Gason 2011, a Spanish rose made with a blend of grapes but predominantly syrah.  This rose was a deep pink colour and smelled quite sweet.  It tasted better than I thought it was going to and although it was quite sweet you could taste redcurrants and it was nicely balanced between the sugar and the drinkability.  13%  6/10  (£14)

6) Casa Neuva 2012, a Chilean rose made from the merlot grape.  This rose was a much paler pink, just stronger than a blush, and did not smell as sweet as the previous wine.  It was still slightly sweet to taste, but had a nice crisp end to the flavour and after some deliberation (and help from Norman!) I decided the fruit flavour that was coming through and providing the balance was cranberry.  12.5% (I think)  8/10  (£16)  This was my joint second favourite.

7) Roxheimer Rosengarten from the Nahe Valley in Germany.  I never got either the date or the grape variety for this one sorry.  It was 2012.  This wine only comes in blue glass bottles and was the first of the sweet whites we tasted.  Unfortunately I had just munched one of Sarah's puff pastry nibbles, complete with chorizo and chilli jam, so I couldn't really taste this one!  10%  6/10  (£16)

8) Horrweiler Gewurzgartchen 2012, a German sweet white wine made from the riesling grape (Gewurzgartchen translates as spice garden).  The first thing to say about this wine is the ornate bottle / label which was very colourful.  It was a very sweet wine and quite syrup like, but we all agreed that it would be lovely served cold with a moreish creme brulee!  9.5%  6/10  (£18)

The reds

9) CuveĆ© de la Maison 2010, a French red made from the syrah grape.  This wine was a brilliant purple / red colour and smelled delicious.  It was a nice fruity wine with black cherry and plum flavours, it was quite light with not many tannins and as a result we all enjoyed drinking it.  12.5%  8/10  (£12)  This was my other joint second favourite.

10) Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo, I didn't get the year or grape variety for this Italian wine either - are you seeing a theme as the wine continues to flow?!  It was 2010.  This wine was a very deep red colour and smelled like port.  Opinion around the table was quite divided on this wine, B and I liked this heavy wine which was full of tannins and had a lovely spicy aftertaste but Bex and Sarah weren't so keen.  Bex said she didn't like the way it "sucks your cheeks together" so I know not to buy her any wine loaded with tannins :)  12.5%  4/10  I have notes on this one - smelled like Port, tasted weird!  (£14)

11) Marselan 2012, a French red which is made from a new hybrid grape called marselan, which was created by crossing the marsanne and the roussette varieties.  This wine was a beautiful deep purple colour and had a rich, heavy smell.  It was actually smooth to drink, with much gentler tannins.  We could taste blackcurrant and vanilla and all agreed it was our favourite wine.  13.5%  9/10  (£17)  This was my favourite!

12) Chatheaux Maucru 2010, a French red from Bourdeux that is a blend of merlot (60%) and cabernet sauvingnon and cabernet franc (40%).  It was a brilliant dark purple colour, which made me smile but this wine was not as fruity and was much drier on the palate. It was definitely the most woody / oaky of the reds we sampled.  13%  7/10  (£18)

13) Colombiao 2010, this Italian red is made from the chianti grape.  Norman told us that this was only the third time he had seen wine from this vineyard in his c.20 years of working with this company. I'm sure he was implying that they only produce small volumes of wine and not that all the other years tasted awful! This wine had a heavy, fruit smell and again we could detect a slight port smell.  It was very sharp to drink and clearly contained lots of tannins, we couldn't really taste any fruit because of the tannins. Whether this was due to the fact that we were on wine number 13, I couldn't possibly comment(!) but I was disappointed with this wine after such a build up from Norman and so much debate over the label!  13%  6/10  (£19)

13 wines

Once we had tasted all the wines, Norman then encouraged us all to go back and try some of our favourites again, which was fab. As you would imagine, everyone liked different wines and indeed could taste different flavours, so I thought it was quite unusual that all 6 of us agreed on the same wine as our favourite.  There was a minimum order limit of 12 bottles and they had to be in multiples of three, you couldn't just buy one of each bottle.  Luckily there were 3 of us who wanted a few bottles so we split it up with some of us receiving 1 or 2 bottles of a certain wine.  Between us we managed to get the wines we wanted without buying loads since we ended up having the same favourites!

After the wine tasting, we retired to the most hilarious game of Creationary - think Pictionary but with LEGO!!! - with a fabulous cheese board and yet more wine, ahem!!

See if you can guess some of the things we were trying to make (no cheating if you already saw the answers on twitter!)...

Roz xx


amy said...

This sounds like so much fun! I love wine tasting. We've been to the Bordeaux Fete Le Vin a couple of times (and would wholeheartedly recommend it) and to some UK vineyard tours - the last day of our honeymoon is a wine tasting tour too!
Also, we NEED creationary!!!
And, I love your complementary outfits.

Unknown said...

What UK vineyards have you been to? We've only made it to Wickham, but the sun was splitting the sky and some of the wines were lovely. Pretty sure we bought a number of bottles :)

And yes you need Creationary is hilarious fun! x

amy said...

Denbies in Surrey which is cool but a bit commercial and Bolneys in East Sussex which was really lovely!

Katylkh said...

1. This sounds like the best evening/activity ever!!! How much does it cost/how many people do you need/ WINE!
2. You have inspired me to look into UK wine (yesterday I booked a visit to a vineyard for D's birthday just because of this)
3. WINE!!!!
4. See above.

Anonymous said...

The best UK vineyard is Stopham Estate, the wine is fabulous and it was even served to the queen on her jubelee.

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