Friday was the day of the tasting of 50 Great Portuguese Wines selected by Julia Harding MW at the South Bank Centre (an excellent airy, light venue as it happens).
I am hoping to write some notes on these wines but meanwhile hats off to Julia Harding MW for a terrific selection for her top 50 Portuguese wines.
She made a specific point of excluding wines made from international grape varieties from the list and in concentrating on native Portuguese grapes she’s come up with a selection that’s full of character and variety.
All’s Fair in Real and Raw
If you’re old enough to remember punk, you may recall the heady excitement generated when the Sex Pistols and the Clash burst onto the scene in 1976 with spontaneous gigs in clubs, pubs and warehouses. It may not always have been pretty, but the rebellious energy of punk took the rock scene by the scruff of its mainstream neck. Middle of the road rockers like Roxy Music, and Uncle Elton et al started to look, and most likely, feel, their age.
I don’t know who decrees that such-and-such day will be malbec day, grenache day or even, who knows, doradillo day, but grape days are upon us with the regularity of saints’ days. Lest it escaped your notice, today is malbec day and the focus is largely on Argentinian reds, which is fair enough given that over two-thirds of the world’s production of malbec is from Argentina (and only about a fifth from France including Cahors).
Chris Kissack, aka The Wine Doctor says:
I love Bordeaux, no smirking at the back, I really do. I love the wines and the intricacies of the region with its complex characters, its fascinating dynasties and, well, there’s no other wine quite like great Bordeaux.
The tasting of young Bordeaux barrel samples has for some time been one of the highlights of the year. No matter how blasé or jaded you feel, as soon as you hit the Route des Châteaux, that first frisson brings anticipation of the nubile new wine and memories of bottles long since emptied.
Doubts have been raised over the authenticity of a number of the wines in the Spectrum / Vanquish wine auction due to take place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel today. The main critique comes from the reliable source of Don Cornwell, about whom, Alder Yarrow says:
The tastings in London in January were based on samples brought over from France by producers and wine merchants. As can happen, not all samples are always in pristine condition.
A few of the wines are already bottled, but most are still cask samples that remain to be bottled. In these cases there may be work still to be carried out. It’s not always possible to determine just how different they’ll taste once in bottle.
Of all the seminal experiences that turned me from lawyer to wine writer, one was a memorable lunch at The Tate Gallery’s Rex Whistler Restaurant ostensibly for a meeting with a local solicitor I was attempting to do business with.
My first memory was of a pristine white Burgundy so delicious that it lodged the thought in my head that there was more to life than attending court defending shoplifters and pursuing bad debts from recalcitrant Chinese restaurateurs.
Last night’s Barcelona Supper Club was a consumer event with members of the public paying £40 for a chance to try their hand at carving jamón, preparing a Catalan dish and enjoying a so-called Fizzness cava ‘masterclass’. ‘It's designed to be an interactive culinary experience celebrating the best of Barcelona and Spain’, Sarah Belizaire-Butler, the account director, had told me before the event.