Saturday, 23 October 2010

'Smells and tastes like arse...'

So yesterday I went to another wine tasting evening, I decided it was time to move away from safe French reds and experience some new vines... in retrospect this was a bad idea!

I probably should have realised it was not going to go well when mystery wine number 4 was described as unapproachable and tasting like tar on a wet winters day. I challenge one person to think that this was going to be a mouth watering tagline. Still I didn't want to be defeated by the unapproachable wine for the experts only so I gave it a brave sniff...I think it can only be described as a mix of manure and burning plastic, definitely not a selling point in my book. I then gingerly tried a mouthful....almost as bad as I expected but strangely the more I tried it the more it grew on me like a very odd cough mixture - there's no way you could drink a whole glass of it but after a 5ml spoon you'd shudder and then kind of look forward to the second mouthful! I have no idea what it was called, all I remember from the excitable sommelier was that it was made by a grumpy Italian called Gino who believed in traditional production and minimal global sales, I suspect this is a relief to everyone in the room who tried it!

So after an evening of niche Italian and Portuguese reds what did I come home with? A bottle of 1999 Saint Emilion Grand Cru from Chateau Grand Pey Lescous, £23 for the bottle to take away or £60 to drink in the restaurant, just goes to show the mark-up on these things but definitely the nicest bottle of red I've had in a long time! The wine is primarily a Merlot which suprised me as I'm normally sure I don't like these but this one smells very light and approachable and is really drinkable. Taste wise it's very full bodied with a deep rich taste which is an uncomplicated mix of berry and smokey oak, it's slightly spicey and very warming on the back of your throat but without being overpowering. I can imagine it would go really well with roast lamb, not a drink for everyday but a really nice special treat on a wintery Sunday afternoon in front of a roaring fire!