13 Sept 2006


LIBERTY WINE Merchants (how nice to promote freedom and wine together) held their Autumn Tasting today overlooking the ever so lightly sun-kissed Oval cricket ground.
The top five wines tasted were: 1. '05 Franz Haas Pinot Bianco [£7.35], which was whisper light with a touch of butter and green peppercorns; 2. the '04 Montagny 1er Cru, Dom. Stephane Aladame [£9.36], reminiscent of Werther's Originals with its gorgeous, expressive nose; 3. '04 Margaret River Cullen Chardonnay [£16.50], (reviewed earlier) which was perfectly balanced and similar to fine white Mersault. I tend to personify wine, and this munificent being stirred the memory of a former colleague: lithe, vividly intelligent and almost benumbingly beautiful; 4. the '05 Morellino di Scansano [£7.75], which delivered bitter cherry and reminded me of Georgian Saperavi (previous post), and, 5. '02 Barolo, Massolino [£16.15], which mingled licquorice, quinine and a round of peppered snaps.

I also liked the '04 Central Otago Pinot Noir, Wild Earth [£11.99] which was blushing with the expectancy of fame and fruits of the forrest. The '04 Hawke's Bay Cabernet Franc [£7.29] from Kim Crawford was brilliantly odd like riesling can be, and the '00 Chateau Haut Beausejour St. Estephe [£11.99] reminded me of Irish oysters (which I ate yesterday with Champagne, a combination which didn't incidentally work - dry sherry would have been better).
A tot of Grappa (what a civilised way of recycling the waste product of pips and stalks) di Sciava, Pilzer [£18.85], rounded off the experience sharply, although normally 'rounded' and 'grappa' sounds oxymoronic.

My award for the heaviest bottle (or should that be ego?) went to the '02 Enzo, Valentin Bianchi [£14.50]. The contents, alas, were muddled.

A great tasting, well organised, from an engaging and gregarious merchant focussed on wines that are artisan, not AXA.