Tuesday, 29 November 2011

John Averys November case notes

By John Avery MW, Chairman

It is some time since I last wrote my case notes. As usual I have had such an exciting time lately travelling, judging, sourcing wines, visiting suppliers and customers that I have now been asked if I would start them again for our blog.

November 2011 has been a busy month. On the first of the month I went to London to attend the 15th anniversary dinner of the London Branch of the Commanderie de Bordeaux which was held in The Vintners Hall which is familiar territory for me having had the privilege to have been The Master of the Vintners 6 years ago. The dinner featured wines from the 1996 vintage which are now mostly ready for drinking. Ch Leoville Barton was included and Anthony Barton himself came over from Bordeaux for the dinner.

I have had the privilege of being President of The International Wine and Food Society since 2008 and I attended meetings of the Council of the Society and the AGM on Nov 3rd and 4th and also two excellent dinners. On the evening of the 4th I had to go to Heathrow in order to catch the evening flight to Singapore where I was going to attend a Festival organised by the Asia /Pacific zone of the Wine and Food Society and I had to speak at a tasting of 10 Pinot Noirs from around the world. The tasting was most interesting as it included two Burgundies (one an Echezeaux from DRC.) and several I had never heard of from places like Patagonia, Italy, Austria and Germany. The wine from Oregon made by Drouhin and the Escarpment from New Zealand both showed very well. In the afternoon after the tasting it was back out to Changi airport for the overnight flight to Sydney.

My purpose of going to Australia was to be the International judge at the Royal Hobart Wine Show in Tasmania but before I travelled on south I had to do some tastings in Sydney and Melbourne. Last year my old friend and wine connesseur Dr Ray Healey had asked me to persuade some of my friends in Burgundy to supply cask samples of the much vaunted 2009 vintage for a tasting in Sydney and it had been so successful that we decided to do it again this time with the 2010 vintage. There were a total of 13 different wines from ‘village’ Gevrey up to Bonnes Mares and Echezeaux and we had two tastings in Sydney and one in Melbourne and again it was a success. While in Melbourne I made a visit to the Yarra Valley – Domaine Chandon and Coldstream Hills where I did a recorded interview for a TV programme to be shown next April which is all about how Australian wine sales to the U.K. have boomed during the last 25 years. On Friday morning I flew on to Hobart and in the evening had a most enjoyable dinner with excellent wines with my old friend Greg Melick.

At 8.30 a.m on Saturday morning work began in earnest out at the Show Ground where I had been made panel chairman of the groups which were going to judge all the Pinot Noirs. The first group contained 114 Pinot Noirs from the 2010 vintage and because of its size we split it into two halves and then tasted the potential Gold and Silver medal winners all together in a separate ‘run off‘ tasting . In the end we came up with 7 Gold Medal winners and 11 Silver Medal winners. The local community was delighted that 4 of the Golds and 8 of the Silvers came from Tasmanian vineyards.  

1 comment:

  1. What an enviable job you have and an incredibly busy month too. A wine wine show is probably the only judging gig I'd welcome and for obvious reasons that is.