Wine tasting in the UK
There are always wine tastings happening in London, be it importers or national bodies. Two of note this month have been the Cru Bourgeois of Bordeaux, showing off the ‘Petite Chateaux’ of the 2015 Vintage, and Wines of California, hosted by the Californian Wine Institute. When one rubs shoulders with the likes of Oz Clarke, Tim Aitkin and Broadbent, you know you’re at the right events!
Cru Bourgeois tasting
The Cru Bourgeoise tasting. While not really of relevance from an investment perspective, it gives a very good view on the 2015 vintage – weaknesses and strengths. Overall, the wines are surprisingly forward. At the same time, structure and balanced, well formed tannins are present. Perhaps the most refreshing wines are from Listrac Medoc, in terms of clean, minty, sophisticated tannic structure. Those of Margaux showed very well, while the Haut Medoc and Medoc itself were a mixed bag, with marvels and horrors in equal measure. My highlight was, beyond comparison, the Malartic Lagraviere. Oz merely commented that the best wines were undoubtedly overpriced, and we chatted at length about the pros and cons of drinking a Yard of Ale.
Highlight of the tasting
The highlight of the Californian tasting has to have been Paul Hobbs. Across the whites, Pinot and Cabernets, these wines are, as to be expected, consistently fabulous. I’m very much looking forward to trying his New World offering in the next few weeks, as Paul is one of the ground-breaking pioneers of Malbecs in Argentina, not to mention Pinot and other varietals besides. However, it is necessary to consider how a producer handles the best grapes. In many ways California can be compared to Burgundy – many of the best producers buy their grapes from old vineyards with fabulous reputations. Paul Hobbs is no exception, and his interpretation of Beckstoffer Las Piedres 2013 is sublime. Many Cali Pinots were on show, and as one would expect, the Williams Selyem 2013 standard, from Russian River Valley, is absolutely classic, with that nose of crushed rock, fresh berries, and earthy herbaceousness so sought after in really well handled Californian Pinot – unlike the jammy glycerol affairs one has come to expect of the regular offerings. If you like old fashioned (read 1980’s) Chardonnay, big, fat, buttery, and oaky – and who doesn’t, if they can just submit to the sheer decadence – Pahlmeyer never fails to entertain, and the 2014 is no exception! Au Bon Ciimat, Melville and Stolpman follow close behind. For straightforward Cabernet, Paul Hobbs, Inglenook’s Rubicon ’13, Justin’s Isosceles ‘14, Jordon’s ‘13, and Silveroak ‘13 from Alexander Valley shone. Also – Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Chard 2015 and Pinot 2016, Ridge Estate 2014 and Lytton Springs 2015