One of the best reasons to start a wine group is to taste wine you would not normally choose or way beyond your normal price level. So for Andover Wine Friends’ second birthday party, there were no candles but a major treat, a tour around Bordeaux with Martin Hudson, MW. When not racing motorbikes, Martin works for Berry Bros & Rudd from where these wines came.
Bordeaux’s whites are slightly out of fashion – rather ‘proper’, with little new world immediate impact. First up was Berry’s Good Ordinary White, a name which tells you that Berry’s is big on traditional wines from Bordeaux. This one, however, owes something to New Zealand, with its forward gooseberry and leafy nose, now a recognisable style.
More challenging to appreciate, with a big jump up in price (£20), was Domaine de la Solitude 2006, again the name being a great selling point. From top white appellation, Pessac-Leognan, this balances Sauvignon Blanc with the weightier Semillon for a more restrained nose, with some spicy, creamy notes from it ageing in oak barrels. Really a food wine. I would be interested to know what others thought about this wine in relation to the more immediate ‘ordinary white’ …
At the end of the evening – having tasted the glorious reds, see next post – we tasted the other great style of Bordeaux, sweet white. I can’t really improve on BBR’s comments on this wine, Château Petit Védrines 2001 (£16), on their website:
“A glorious nose of marmalade with just a hint of smokiness leaps from the glass. The palate is equally enticing and has just the right level of viscocity. A light to medium-bodied Sauternes from a legendary vintage, this wine offers ripe botrytis and oranges galore. At this quality and price, I defy you not to drink it now, and lots of it!”
What’s the answer to the ‘problem’ of needing to buy a whole bottle of sweet wine. Martin offers up a host of tips:
- buy half bottles (and they mature earlier)
- be more adventurous with your food and wine tastings: not just with desserts, but also foie gras or salty cheeses, or even with fusion cooking (duck with plum sauce sprang to mind)
- and he could have added: invite some friends around
An excellent end to a perfect second birthday party.
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