The evening started with a few glasses of Heidsieck Gold Top Vintage 2004, classy steely fizz with a hint of biscuit that will no doubt develop. A round of questions on champagne was followed by three whites.
Wine 1: Grüner Veltliner, Terraces, Domaine Wachau 2008, Austria. Lovely nose of apple and cinnamon, fresh limey notes in the mouth. Lovely balance. £7.50 from Waitrose. Great value every day drinking.
Wine 2: Gewurztraminer Réserve, Trimbach Alsace, 2005, France. Exotic nose, good balance lychee and honey. £15.50 from the Wine Society. People either love it or hate it.
Wine 3: Chardonnay, Kumeu River Estate, 2006, New Zealand. Citrus, minerally, complex and delicious with nice woody notes. This wine evolves in the glass and sustains ones attention. Mistaken for a premier cru Mersault or Puligny in many blind tastings. £15.50 from the Wine Society. Tremendous value.
After a break for the buffet four red wines followed:
Wine 4: The Wine Society Exhibition Cairanne, 2007, Grenache/Syrah, Cote du Rhone, France. Did not show well this evening. Rather dumb on the nose and struggled to come across as more than pleasantly fruity. Normally this opens up after an hour’s decanting. £8.95 from The Wine Society. The Society’s Exhibition Vacqueyras, 2007 at a pound more is a clear step up and superb, also needs a good half hours decanting.
Wine 5: Emilio Moro, 2006, Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero, Spain. This wine also didn’t shine on the evening as it has on previous occasions. Again it would have benefited from decanting to bring out the black fruit, chocolate and smokey characteristics that normally make this wine so moreish, great value at the price. £12.95 reduced from £17.95 from Majestic.
Wine 6: Wither Hills ‘Winery Matured’ Pinot Noir, 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand. Smokey and boiled sweets on the nose, toasty notes over fruit on the palette. A rare chance to buy a matured new world pinot. £16.99 from Majestic
Wine 7: Langoa Barton, 1997, Cab Sav/Merlot, St. Julien, Bordeaux. Lovely nose of cedar, fruit and earth, still enough fruit on the palette underneath, vegetal and further earthy notes, complex, evolves in the glass. At its peak now. Very good value for a mature claret. £25.50 from Farr Vintners (minimum order of £500).
The evening was rounded off with chocolate brownies and Waitrose Sauternes Château Suduiraut 2005 Bordeaux. Lovely honey and beeswax nose, complex flavours sustained by just enough acidity to keep it fresh and very quaffable. £13.50per half bottle from Waitrose.
Lots of great feedback from 90 guests who seemed to really enjoy the quiz format and rolled home happily still arguing about the number of calories in a glass of white wine.