19 Sep 2006

An Exceptional Alliance

...TO THE ANNUAL Alliance trade tasting yesterday afternoon. Judging by the those turned out to judge the wines (Oz Clarke, Tim Aitkin, Matthew Dukes and Malcolm Gluck - but this time in more formal attire), this was considered a worthwhile fixture on the tasting calendar. At least two of these people (Clarke and Aitkin) have the ability to decide my future regarding the Young Wine Writer of the Year award which I've entered, announced in October.
Ah well, if that doesn't come off, there's always the lighting department at John Lewis...
Alliance's portfolio is like Jazz, where all the eclectic notes somehow as a whole make total sense. My favourite white was the Gruner Veltliner "Lossterrassen" '05 from Stadt Krems (Kremstal). With a nose of fallow pasture and with a broad palate reminiscent of a dressing table laden with intriguing containers of talc, powder and also perfume puffs, this long-lived, dry wine had a very long, white peppery finish [£5.77].

My favourite red was Montgarnatx '02 from Cartoixa de Monsalvat in Priorat, a remote region perched on the Mediterranean Catalan coast. This big, but not brawny wine startled me with its initially herbaceous nose quickly followed by a salt and vinegar acidity [£17.48].
The most charming character present was Rafael Molezun, MD of Quinta de Ventozelo, a large old Douro estate. I enjoyed his 10yo Tawny which posessed the scent of slightly warm mandarin oranges and a yoghurt softness. [£9.66].
All prices are plus VAT.

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A thought from my colleague (pictured top) which amused me so much I was forced to crudely eject a moutful of Gruner Veltliner or face drowning: "Can I get paid for dreaming about Vinopolis?"

Another pensive moment from me: I'm nervous when winemaker's autograph their labels, especially on the front. Wine is an agricultural product, albeit with the potential to be sublime and evocative. To sign the label is to ignore God's influence and to indicate - I think - a lack of humility.