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Monday, 29 September 2014

EASCA Tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants

A tasting of classic European wines with Cambridge ICAEW students at Cambridge Wine Merchants
 
Sometimes the day job and one's outside interests coincide; I was contacted by the committee of the East Anglian Society of Student Chartered Accountants who were looking to put on a wine tasting.
 
A few emails later and we had sorted a date, venue and established who would do what.
 
I chose eight old world wines, with an emphasis on classic standards, paired with a range of breads, salamis and cheeses.
 
I deliberately did not include prices as I wanted people to try the wines on their own merits, but the range was from around £10 to £30 for the Champagne and vintage port.
 
As I had a group of trainee Chartered Accountants, I took them through the explanation of how a bottle of wine retailing at the national average price of £5 includes about 50p's worth of actual wine whereas at £10, the value of wine is closer to £3.50.
Fizz is always a good place to start - with brioche and leesy orchard fruits, the Ayala Brut Majeur NV was elegant and precise; fine mousse and persistent finish.
 
Tio Pepe Fino En Rama NV is pretty much my benchmark for intense, full-flavoured, tangy fino; this was one of my top wines of the night but whilst there was general interest in the production method, the sherry itself did not meet with such universal approval.
 
However, the next wine proved very popular; Domaine Wachau Gruener Veltliner Federspiel 2013 was the popular choice of the night, its precise aromatics, minerality and structure proving familiar to Sauvignon Blanc drinkers looking for something different-yet-similar.
 
The final white was the big, oaky Esporao Branca Reserva 2012 - with ripe yellow stone fruit, buttery oak and sweet spice, it appealed to the Chardonnay-drinkers more than to the Sauvignon fans who liked the Gruener.
 
The first of the reds was, like the sherry, a one-time classic that has fallen out of favour and is making a gradual return to popularity. The Domaine Du Puits Beni Morgon 2013, one of the Beaujolais Crus, is an uncomplicated yet elegant easy-drinker with black cherry fruit with a touch of spice and violet aromas.

The Rosso del Palazzone NV is a declassified Brunello blended across years. It is complex and sophisticated with red fruits, leather and oaky spice.
 
The Lavinyeta Puntiapart* 2012 from Spain's Emporda region has a vibrant intensity and precise linear focus; a blast of red and black fruits with an assured, muscular-yet-supple structure.
 
The final wine of the night was a real treat - Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2001 port. Still youthful for a vintage port it was full of ripe primary fruit with eucalyptus and spice. Complex, vibrant and fresh, it was my wine of the night.
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