Wednesday, 23 January 2013

2013 Wine Education: Lesson One

Aoife, Cambridge

My wine knowledge can be easily summarised. I know what I like (mainly that there should be lots of it) and I know a little bit about how to describe it. 2013 is going to be the year I further my wine education and luckily for you, I am going to tell you all about it.

A key piece of information I seemed to be missing was how to spit it out. Now this may be because I am a frugal Irish girl and it spitting it out seems like an awful waste. But faced with 18 bottles on a Sunday afternoon of a supposedly dry January, I had to learn fast. I actually found it quite difficult: anytime I tried to mimic the confident, strong spit of the professionals around me, I ended up with spittoon splash-back on my fringe. Happily, I spotted the fabulous Paola of SipSwooshSpit discretely spitting into her personal plastic cup, combined with periodic emptying into the communal spittoon. I adopted a similar strategy and my fringe escaped further damage.

The 18 wines in all their glory

So how did I end up in the company of 15 wine experts? I'm still not sure, but when Tom of The Cambringe Wine Blogger invited me along to the event, organised by himself and Davy of Vinoremus at Downing College, I wasn't going to say no. There were three separate parts to the tasting. Six Swiss wines from the Weingut Familie Hansruedi Adank, with particular interest in the three Pinot Noirs. This was followed by Six 2010 Cru Bourgeois wines along with three 2000 Bordeaux wines for comparison. The last section was a tasting of 3 wines from the Seven Springs Vineyard in South Africa.

Chateau Patache d'Aux 2010 on the left, 2000 on the right

So what did I think? Well first up I haven't had much history with Pinot Noir (unlike Tom). I'm just not sure what to think of it and I don't think that the Adank wines were the place to start for classic Pinot Noir. My highlight from the first group was the 2011 Flascher Sauvignon Blanc, whose complex flavours lingered in the mouth. It was fresh but had a sweeter side unlike many big-hitting Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs. It was fascinating to taste the 2010 Chateau Patache d'Aux next to the 2000. It certainly helped me get a sense of how the flavours mellow and deepen with age.

Seven Springs wines: (left to right) Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah

Last up were the three wines for the Seven Springs vineyard. The highlight here was the Sauvignon Blanc which was doing everything a good Sauvignon Blanc should do. It had all those fresh, green, gooseberry flavours; combined with a hint of pear drop and peach. It would be the perfect wine for The Husband, in fact I got to take the rest of the bottle home for him.

The first lesson of my serious wine education, I've learnt how to spit!

Weingut Familie Hansruedi Adank wines courtesy of Patrick Adank.
2010 Cru Bourgeois wines courtesy of Alliance de Cru Bourgeois du Medoc.
2000 Bordeaux wines sourced from the cellars of Downing College, Cambridge.

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