Tag Archives: tasting

After all it’s only wine

You might have noticed that I’ve got a vinous issue. I kinda like the stuff and am said that I tend to exaggerate. I must admit things tend to get a bit weird. Not only can I yak about it for hours but can also convince innocent peeps to drive a lot of kms on dodgy roads to find a remote winery, buy a random bottle or simply stare at rocks and then mumble terroir… I always try to disguise it as a cultural need, and always fail.

Lately I try to restrain myself. I try, at least for the weekend to limit my relations with vino to a drinking one only. And god knows it’s not easy. I drink without thinking. I hold it all back and won’t even brag on how the wine always changes, that there’s nothing quite like it and that it’s all simply beautiful. None of the above!

Last weekend damaged my rehabilitation efforts. But it had to happen and it would be rude to refuse a free ticket to the Decanter Bordeaux Fine Wine encounter anyway. But times have changed. With a two hour restriction and no black teeth allowed I was on a mission. If you have to do it, please do it properly, no chat just a fast taste n spit afternoon. Between tasting to spitoon I couldn’t stop noticing the average age. Old, suited and booted you might think, well quite the opposite, a young and trendy crowd that seemed to share the joys of Bordeaux.

My day’s highlight as I remember them…

Chateau tour du Pez 2004 – a lighter style of St Estephe. Nose shows some development with a hint of earthy notes, leather and dry fruit.

Grippy palate with rounded tannins, a hint of saltiness, and a lean cassis lead fruity character. Good intro to the real stuff, from a lesser vintage and at an affordable price.

Chateau Lascombe 2006 – Who doesn’t fancy a bit of Margaux finesse (en Francais, bien sur). Despite being a Rolland boy the wine rocks. Loads of cassis, blackberry, cigar box and leather action on the nose. So far so good but the palate really does it. Super silky texture, loads of crisp freshness and a clean undertone of minerality the really lifts this baby up. Clearly a sin, but could almost be enjoyed now. Smoky and tempting,..

Chateau Sociando Mallet 1996 – Finally someone of legal drinking age and yes, I clearly kept the best for last.A perfumed nose with elegant spice, floral notes and a lush yet focused fruit concentration. Firm and elegant still with plenty of power. Finesse of fruit, a clean and integrated palate, still fresh, still buzzing and still so complex. Bravo Saciado!

Located just a few km outside the St Estephe AC, Sociando shows maybe more than any other why the 1855 stuff is so dated. But hey here I am yakking away again! I promised this will be an emotionless experience. Professional, swift and clean with no strings attached. So be it. Who cares about 1855? After all it’s only wine…

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India, wine and change

Wine is all about change. Like any worthy thing in life it is dynamic and never ceases to surprise. The bottles that lie in our cellars provide the obvious example.Wine ageing is beautiful yet mostly mysterious. We know it happens but we’re not entirely sure why, how long and how the hell its gonna end. I, in any case, stopped trying.

But this is not the only fascinating time aspect that involves wine. My palate constantly changes. Most of the wines I loved two years ago seem to be irrelevant now. I enjoy this change, cherish it and believe that the day it stops I might just retire (or maybe it is a lame excuse to stop working). And this is possibly why wine is such an unpredictable and fascinating adventure. With so much to learn and discover, any other approach will just not work.

It was with this good spirit that I sat down to taste a selection of wine from Grover vineyards. Now Bangalore India is not the first place you think of as a wine region. Turned out that the Nandi Hills region located 40 kilometres towards north of Bangalore is just that. Back in the old days (that might also be referred as the 80s) George Vessele spent five years covering every candidate region in India. His conclusion was that Nandi Hill is where it all should happen. 20 years and 200 hectares later, armed with another mega French consultant (no less than Mr. Rolland lui meme) Grover are ready to take on the world but are we ready for Indian wine?

Sauvignon Blanc “Art Series” 2009 – the nose bursts with white fruits, spices an elegant herbaceous note. Few minutes later and a light yeasty note popped. The palate is rich in style with plenty of fruit. Citrus, stone fruits, a hint of creaminess and a pleasant oily /vaxy character. Lush, deep and concentrated this is a very original style of Sauvignon. And all at only 12% abv.

La Reserve 2006 – Clean and restrained nose. Cassis, plums and a dried herb note. Surprisingly concentrated yet not overdone. Palate is elegant with fresh acidity and a descent fruit concentration. After a few minutes the palates open up. A hint of floral note, dried herbs, cassis and a lean minerality. Difficult to associate it with the Indian heat. A lovely glass of straightforward yet elegant red.

Few years back I wouldn’t admit a new world wine in my glass. I know better now. Today it’s the flavours that thrill me, much less where they come from.

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