Tastings

two dominant varieties, two vintages

Things that can go wrong … in the MW tasting exam

My recent post trumpeted my last-minute preparation for the MW tasting exams.  I have now done the exams, the list of wines have been published but we are still some months off knowing the results.  It is now time to reflect on the experience of things that go right in the exam and, sadly more interestingly,

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Line up

Final week before MW exams

MW exams loom. What does the MW student do in the final week before re-sitting the tasting exam?  Three papers of two hours and 15 minutes each, 36 wines in total to be discussed in detail, all served blind.  The task is to discuss their origin, the varieties they are made from, how they were made,

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La Chapelle 2

Grand Syrah tasting

In June 2016 Andover Wine Friends were treated to a great line up of single varietal Syrah wines.  It was fairly comprehensive (with apologies to N America) and showed what good  wines are being made a range of price levels.  We finished the evening with two older wines, one of them truly outstanding.  I tasted

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1982s

Celebrating 1982 Claret

As Claret fans will know 1982 was a legendary vintage in Bordeaux: ripe, bold and, we can say after 32 years, one that has passed the test of time. I got a rare chance to taste two examples from this year with Andover Wine Friends due to the generosity of one of our members who

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Quality hierarchy: Claret 2004 revisited

The 1855 classification of the Médoc has proved remarkably robust. There have been a few revisions, you have to take into account that in Bordeaux the name on the bottle refers to the commercial entity, the ‘château’, which can buy or sell land (thus obscuring the pure terroir argument) and, of course, the quality of

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Merlot night

Merlot fest

Our local blind tasting group, at my request, focused last night on Merlot. Why? Because I find it more difficult to detect than the Cabernets or even Syrah, which I also find a bit of a puzzle.  We had a good line up – seven wines, six of which I would be happy to drink

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Cahors

Modern Cahors

Ch. de Mercuès is a proper if very elegant castle.  Its website shows the towers of chateau emerge form the mists of South West France.  On the same website the wine plays second fiddle to the luxury hotel but nonetheless they are clearly proud of it. In the glass the wine comes over as a

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1962

How does white Burgundy age?

Wine writers and drinkers have been exercised by what is referred to as premature oxidation in white Burgundy since the 1996 vintage. This is a slightly vague condition in which high quality wines from top village, Premier Cru and Grand Cru sites fail to live up to their promise, being either obviously oxidised or just

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Ch. Cantin

Ch. Cantin, St-Emilion

What can one expect of a bottle of Saint-Emilion Grand Cru?   Due to the rules of the appellation,  expectations should be limited as 50% of the wine is deemed to be Grand Cru.  (If you want the really classy stuff the label needs to read Premier Grand Cru Classé – or of course you need

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Valbuena 1985 twice: what’s the chance?

Two red wines showing some age are served side by side in a blind tasting.  As wine ages it become increasingly difficult to age it accurately. If it is genuinely old, say more than 20 years, you feel quite good if you get the right decade, unless you know your vintages extremely well.  The first

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