Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Dryathlon - 25% through (almost)

Yesterday presented the most difficult obstacle so far: a wine tasting at Trinity College. As previously reported, I took a generous dozen (actually 14 bottles) along for a tasting with the wine committee starting with three whites from Piedmont (Nada Giuseppe) and the Rhone (Brusset and Usseglio). This last wine was, frustrating, slightly corked although I was only able to discern this from its slightly muted nose (I am not tasting wines in case some accidentally slips down!) but the Nada was especially impressive today. I invited the panel to re-taste it after the subsequent Nebbiolo wines and it showed even better apparently.

The reds started with a Burgundy (Joblot), then Piedmont (Nada again, then Battaglino and Serradenari) all of which were distinctive and alluring. The Battaglino had a very different aroma - more punchy - on first sniff but later on had more in common with the exotic Barbaresco and Barolo wines. I was pleased to find the Serradenari so well received - it's rare to find such a good Barolo at such a low price!

The remaining French wines were mainly from the Rhone: a Xavier CDR (100%), a Rasteau from Coteaux des Travers and Christophe Coste's Capucine all youthful but the 2005 Chateauneuf from Raymond Usseglio showed its class and Christophe's pure Syrah 2007 'Ombres' could easily be confused for a Cote Rotie with, perhaps, just a hint of extra sweetness in the black fruit.

The table wines were rounded off with a pair from the South-West: Berthoumieu's 2008 'Charles de Batz' and Cedre's 2008 were, understandably perhaps, found to be on the rustic side by a panel perhaps more used to more mature wines from more refined regions but they were, I hope, appreciated for what they are and I certainly enjoyed sniffing both glasses over the remaining twenty minutes or so to monitor their evolution in the glass.

One of the fellows had brought along another bottle, a Niepoort 1997. Apparently the college has a large stock of these and, so far, the committee has found them to be highly problematic. This bottle, purchased in Holland was no better: signs of seepage made for a bad start but the aromas of acetone (think nail polish) were extremely off-putting and showed no signs of abating. Sadly, this is apparently not uncommon in this vintage of this wine. Fortunately for the college, the producer has offered to replace their stocks with another vintage.

So, apart from this last wine (which was never going to be tasted in that state), I think I can congratulate myself for not yielding to temptation - and there certainly was temptation! It was difficult though - so I really don't have any qualms about asking you to make a donation to Cancer Relief: if I can turn down a taste of all these lovely wines, you can find a spare fiver (or tenner!).

My Just Giving page

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