In the midst of this, wine producers and merchants have kept going about their business and maintaining a loyal clientele of wine enthusiasts with those dipping into the market for a bottle to pair with a meal on a special occasion. Whilst wine may never become the social drink of choice in UK pub and bar culture, it will remain in the collective consciousness due to the link of luxury and how well it can pair with food.
The first wine of the evening was the Chateau De Sours, Grand Vin Blanc (2012) that contains approximately 70% Sauvignon Blanc and the remainder made up by the Semillon grape. This pale straw coloured wine was prevalent in unripened stone fruit on the nose, although quite acidic once tasted but not unbalanced or flabby. For the volatility and tartness, this is part of a new wave of whites that Bordeaux are apparently producing to rival the New World whites that dominate supermarket shelves.
Moving into the red wine that Bordeaux is so famously associated with, Dan did his best to explain the systems of appellations and how wine is sourced from each and the restrictions of grape blends for each, something which I think some people were initially totally ignorant to, but hopefully now enlightened. The Mouton Cadet (2009) is a much fruitier wine than I have previously been accustomed to when drinking Bordeaux reds; aromas of berries and orchard fruit with a rather new-world style jammy nose. This wine was quite lightly tannic compared to subsequent wines in the tasting, but there was a hint of pepper, which pairs well with the flavours considering the diminishing fruit influence with it noticeably less pronounced than in the aromas. A pleasing spiced note in the finish rounded off this red.
The Cotes De Bordeaux provided the next red; the Chateau Toulouze, Graves De Vayre (2007) which was a much heavier and tannic wine than the Mouton Cadet. Earthier aromas including some hits of mushroom with slight floral notes pervaded with this wine leading into a similar set of flavours and a dry to tart mouthfeel. A rather cloying and full-bodied wine.
The Chateau Larose Trintauden Haut-Medoc (2008) was a return to a more fruit driven wine, with aromas of blackberries, hints of freshly ground black pepper and a touch of paprika or other bell pepper sweetness on the nose. The flavour had some notes of vanilla thanks to the storage in oak and the finish was much drier and the body of the wine was quite tannic and slightly acidic, thanks to the 60% to 40% ratio of Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot.
Back with the wines on show and the next drink offered by Dan was the Clos-Saint Vincent Grand Cru, Saint Emilion (2010). A wine with much softer, elegant floral aromas and blackcurrant floating in the nose, although the wine is much less about the fruit and carries a great deal of tannin and acidity giving rise to earthier more leathery flavours and a robust mouthfeel. Composed of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is an expression of a wine from grapes grown on the more clay based soils alluded to above.
We finish with a dessert wine, which judging by some comments was a highly polarising experience at the event. The Chateau Filhot Sauternes (2009) had a very marmalade-like quality on the nose, which was also bursting with honey and citrus fruit, along with slight hints of cumin and rose water. Very chewy and decidedly sweet, there was a touch of raisins and honey carried through into the finish. Made from a Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend, this would pair excellently with a cheesecake or some soft cheeses.
It is well worth catching one of Dan’s events if you want to learn more about Bordeaux or even just the subtleties of wine in general.
Dan Harwood’s event was supported by the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) and the Twitter, should you wish to follow is below. Vinea also have tastings on the following dates: 5th December for Christmas Wines and 30th January for Chocolate and Wines.
Dan Harwood Wine
Unit B7 Britannia Pavilion, Albert Dock, Liverpool. L3 4AD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BordeauxWines and UK: https://twitter.com/BordeauxWinesUK