After the success of the inaugural Cambridge Tasting at Downing College earlier this year, I'd promised to do another one shortly.
Matt Boucher of Cambridge Wine Merchants offered to host and so the second Cambridge Tasting took place at his Mill Road shop; I brought along a mixture of wines from Jura, Portugal (vinho verde) and Languedoc (Chateau d'Angles in La Clape, where we had recently spent a week).
Jura - France
Fruitiere Vinicole Arbois, Cremant de Jura Blanc Brut (€4.15 ex cellar) a co-op of around 100 members, dating back to 1906. A blend of mainly Chardonnay with 20% Pinot Noir; melon fruit, muskiness, ripe citrus and a fine mousse with good leesiness.
Juravium Les Parelles Cremant de Jura rose (price n/a) another co-op. This pink fizz foams enthusiastically on pouring; simple red fruits and smokiness, but lacks finesse or length and rather basic.
Juravium Arbois Blanc Chardonnay 2011 Les Parelles (€4.94 ex cellar) melon skin aromas on the nose; creamy texture, leesiness and persistence, ripe citrus. Very much a food wine, this is all about texture and depth. Has a Silver Medal from Paris. Good.
Vinho Verde - Portugal
Casal Garcia Branco NV (from £7, independents) light, floral, lemony and fresh with a slight spritz. Elegant and easy-drinking, a lovely example of its style; perfect as an aperitif or with seafood on a hot summer's day. Well received, too.
Casal Garcia rose (n/a) bright redcurrant colour, red fruits and bubblegum; again, a touch of spritz. Creamy texture, longer and more substantial with a persistence on the finish. For me, this was the more interesting of the two.
Languedoc - France
Chateau d'Angles Grand Vin blanc 2008 (£19.99 Ocado) deep yellow with aromas of sweet spice and honeysuckle; flavours of honey and mead, almost like a dry Gewurztraminer. A big wine with a touch of warming white pepper on the finish. Very popular. Good.
Chateau d'Angles Grand Vin rouge 2008 (£19.99 Ocado) ripe dark fruits and cinnamon spice with some pepperiness; soft texture and fine tannins but still grippy. Long and mouthfilling. Good.
Online availability, favourites and Recommended Wines
The Casal Garcia Branco was a clear winner in the popularity contests - fresh, likeable, and squeaky clean if rather unsophisticated, it was a young Donny Osmond of a wine.
Both Casal Garcia wines are available online from http://www.portugaliawines.co.uk/ and http://www.winedrop.co.uk/.
The warming spice and expressive florality of the d'Angles blanc also made it a popular choice.
Both d'Angles wines were of a quality level (and price point) above all the others and clearly superior.
Aside from these two, the most interesting wines were the textured Casal Garcia rose and Les Parelles Arbois.
Other related articles
The Cambridge Tasting (the first one)
Jura Tasting in London
Aoife Maxwell's review of the event
Cambridge Wine Merchants - website
Jura Wines - website (Wink Lorch)
Vinho Verde - website
Chateau d'Angles - website