As a wine drinker, with the L(earner) plates, it is very important not to be shy and try, try, try!
I went to my first official tutored wine tasting evening on Wednesday 20th of February, kindly hosted by the lovely people of Humble Grape. They host wine events once a month, sometimes more and also organise corporate events, delivering high-end wine tasting experiences.
The tasting took place at Bacchanalia, a Spanish and Italian wine specialist with a small restaurant, in the Eastside district of central London. There was about 30 guests, all thirsty for a humble night of wine tasting!
The event ran from 6.30 until 9pm, and in that time we were served lovely cheese and charcuterie to accompany the wines. I shamefully didn’t take any pictures of the the delicious nibbles – they went too quickly! There was even an old favourite of mine, jamon iberico de bellota, a delicious Spanish ham from the acorn digesting, black footed pig.
The event was very well organised and our hosts for the evening, were founder James Deacon and operations manager Cameron Gordon. Highly knowledgeable and passionate about the subject of wine and food.
My tasting notes of the evening, with facts in italics, courtesy of Humble Grape:
Aperitif – Domaine du Landreau Cremant de Loire 2005 12.5% £14.00
A lovely Champagne alternative, made in the méthode Champenoise (Champagne method) in the Loire Valley. Made from Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and a small portion of Cabernet Franc. Citrus fruit driven, with floral notes, and brioche, giving it the perfect acidity and balance for oysters, pate and suitable for a party! Loved it!
1. Domaine Valand Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2010 13% £12.00
From the heart of the southern Côtes du Rhône, the vineyards are located 4 miles away from Cairanne. The biodynamic wine, was inviting on the nose, it reminded me of marzipan, I guess that was the Viognier. On the palate, not much longevity, and quite easily forgotten. Made from Viognier and Marsanne, for drinking well now, and not one for storing for years to come. Great for a weekday, after work wine, I’d have this with grilled chicken, and green veg, or a squid salad, yum!
2. Chateau Gigognan Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2010 14% £32.00
The Chateau is located in the town of Sorgues, located on an stream offshoot of the Rhone river. Only 4000 bottles are produced a year! My favourite wine of the evening, this 12 month oaked white wine is a blend of 45% Roussanne, 32% Grenache, 18% Clairette, & 5% Bourboulenc. A grown up white, that will keep well, I’d have this with pork belly and mash.
3. Domaine Valand Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 2010 13% £13.00
From the same vineyard as wine number 1, this wine is 60% Grenache & 40% Syrah. Blackcurrant and leather on the nose, light fruity palate, hints of vanilla. I found this to be an easy drinking wine, without too much complexity.
4. Domaine Gabriel Liogier Vacqueyras 2010 14% £18.00
Situated in the southern Cotes du Rhone, at the foot of the Dentelles du Montrirail, this wine has an appelation status. Vacqueyras is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Bear in mind, Mourvèdre is the same grape as the Spanish Monastrell. Big juicy blackberry, and pepper on the radar.
5. Chateau Gigognan Vigne du Régent Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 14.5% £27.50
My favourite red wine of the evening! The Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge, is hand-harvested, creating extremely low yields. Aged in a combination of oak barrels and cement tanks, and resting for a minimum of two winters in oak. Aromas of cassis and pencil shavings, dark berry fruits play on the palate, balanced with soft ripe tannins. This wine excites me, and is definitely a keeper in the cellar..now where’s the credit card?
I’d have this wine with great friends for a weekend dinner. Just imagine, game meat, perhaps pigeon, or keeping it classic would be grilled lamb chops.
6.Domaine Bonnefond Côte-Rôtie 2008 13% £37.50
Last wine of the evening, was the Northern Rhone, mostly Syrah, there was also a very small percentage of Viognier white grapes. This added light floral lifts. A bit more tannin than the other reds, dark berry notes.
The prices quoted are per bottle, and all can be purchased from Humble Wine directly. If you are to order 12 or more, apparently the owner delivers in leather and on a moped! Find them on twitter.
Which Rhone wine will you be drinking next?
Thanks for reading!