30 Apr 2006

New World Fanatacism - Oz Clarke

I SAT in on a tasting hosted by Oz Clarke at Vinopolis yesterday. Originally an actor, he is perhaps best known for being the televisual bridge between the wine world and the public.

Five wines from the new world were tasted: Jansz NV Tasmanian traditional method sparkling (£9.99, well put together with sufficient toastiness); Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (£9.99, a shrill, panting soul of a wine with very good acidity); Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay (£8.99, Rubenesque with buttered popcorn, pine nuts, butternut squash and something lactic on the nose); Concha y Toro Merlot (£4.99, really mostly Carmenere and despite the confusion of grape variety, very honest) and Yalumba Barossa Shiraz (£7.49, brawny and in need of protein).

Apart from Oz's desire to demistify wine (comparisons to football were made), what was noticeable from the relatively informal talk was his scepticism of traditional practises such as the Champenois' price-setting antics and the cork farmers sometimes premature cork-stripping. This apparently leads to a far higher instance of cork-tainted wines than the industry estimate of 5-7p/c...