Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France

Bordeaux Masterclass (1)

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 IMG_3840Wine 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’ …

IMG_3826 When just one glass won’t do …

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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