For Adam Simpson, our lead account manager, the decision of which region he wanted to discuss was an easy one, he’s been a fan of the Rhone Valley in France since he can remember! He opened up with a creamy, rich, mouth-filling Rhone Valley white, from his favourite estate in the Rhone, Domaine Mourchon, an estate he has visited on numerous occasions. Moving on to the reds, he opened the Domaine Andre Aubert Le Devoy, from Grignan-les-Adhemar, the appellation formerly known as the Coteaux-du-Tricastin. Returning to his favourite estate, we tasted the Domaine de Mourchon Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret Grande Reserve 2012, a rich, full-bodied, southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Saving the best for last we tasted the Domaine Rostaing Cote Rotie Ampodium 2011, this was possibly my favourite wine of the afternoon, and at £45 per bottle, so it should be!
Next up we had a tour of white, aromatic grape varieties, hosted by one of our newer members of the team, Ifor Stanton. He started with a tasting of a true staff favourite, the Donnhoff Riesling QbA 2013 from Germany. A crisp, slightly off-dry Riesling from the Nahe region. We then moved on to a relative unknown in terms of our range, the Herdade de Gambia Bianco, this wine comes from Sétubal in Portugal, and is a blend of Moscatel and native Portuguese grape variety, Fernao Pires. After a couple of Old World wines we moved south to New Zealand, and a producer we’ve been working with since they first started producing wines in 2008, Invivo. They make a full range for us including Sauvignon Blancs, rosés, and Pinot Noirs, however, in the spirit of aromatic grape varieties, we tasted the Pinot Gris from Marlborough. I thought this wine was mouth-filling, with ripe peachy flavours, with a very good delicacy and depth. We rounded off with the 2014 vintage of the Chateau Gaudrelle from Vouvray, France. It is off-dry in style with just enough sweetness to balance the natural high acidity of Chenin Blanc.
Thirdly, Calen Joubert took our guests on a tour of Australia, starting with the Tamar Ridge Chardonnay from Tasmania. With its cool climate, Tasmania has the perfect growing conditions for Chardonnay, owing to its long-ripening season creating naturally high levels of acidity. We then stayed with the same producer, from the same region, and tasted their brilliant Pinot Noir, aged in French oak barriques this wine has a great structure and intensity while being perfectly integrated. After Tasmania we moved west to the Margaret River, and tasted the Deep Woods Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz blend, that most Australian of styles! Again, we saved the best till last, rounding of with the Buller Wines Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot / Petit Verdot blend from 2009, a ruch, powerful, full-bodied 14% wine, with concentrated blackcurrant and mint flavours, with a good lick of spice from the Petit Verdot.
Last, but certainly not least, was Max Smith’s dive into the world of Cabernet Sauvignon. We tasted Cabernets from Australia, 2 different Clarets, a Chilean, and finishing off with a rich Navarran Spanish red. My pick of the bunch was the brilliant Senoria de Sarria 2004 reserva from Navarra. 2004 was an outstanding vintage across Spain, as confirmed by the Navarra and Rioja Control Board, who officially declared it as excellent. The wine had two years of barrel ageing and more than eight years maturing in bottle at the cellars, needless to say, it was drinking perfectly at the weekend!
Thank you very much to everyone who attended, we hope you all enjoyed yourselves. Now to start planning for the next one in September!