7 Oct 2006

Wine Juke

MY MOTHER charitably bestowed upon me a day out, but not from wine - the Waitrose Wine 'School', hosted by Daily Mail wine critic, Matthew Jukes. The venue was the opulent but seemingly Jester-designed Langham Hotel, Regent Street. The quote of the day from this likeable self-publicist was: "...you can throw out the paper, I'm in the Weekend supplement". I agree with its disposal. It is a sordid and inflammatory rag in my opinion.
We tasted 43 wines; a testing tally for hardcore Waitrose customers who defy inpolite spitting.
I could not fathom the enthusiam of our tutor for wines like the Mas Collet Red '02 [£5.99] a confused being from Tarragona vividly evocative of sun-dried road-kill seasoned with a coulis of cow pat. Nor did I harbour affection towards the Steingarten vineyard Riesling from Jacob's Creek ('03) [£TBA]. I'd prefer cocooning my tongue in cling film than another afternoon with this tart Tart.
Peter Lehman's entry-level Barossa Shiraz '03 [£7.99] was a pleasure, however, being relatively silky and reminiscent of warm flesh. I also enjoyed Villa Maria's Private Bin Pinot Gris '05 [£6.49] which rendered me excitable with its slippery texture.
Cave de Turkheim's Gewurtztraminer '04 [£6.99] suffused Nivea Cream and Yardley aromas. The '03 Menetou-Salon Clos de Ratier (H Pellé) was complex, with a developing minerality and notes of tinned asparagus [£8.99].
Dukes is a cork-detractor. He suggests adding a cork to a glass of water for 24hours to see the flavour effect on the water. I will do as advised, although the water that spurts from my Blackheath tap is nearly not potable as it is. I was once told by a colleague that London water has a high zinc content, hence the prevalence of practice breeding in the capital!
At my wine course on Thursday, my students voted Bricco Barone's '02 Nebbiolo d'Alba [£14.50, Bedales, Borough Market] Wine of the Night. Far from parsimonious, this wine bore dark cherries with an expensive cedar and slight tarmacadam, suprising considering the parody of bad weather in Piedmonte that vintage. In Chateauneuf du Pape the vines were actually under water at one point! Strangely enough, above us in the boardroom where the course is conducted is a swimming pool. One can hear people doing watery laps!
Unpasteurised alpine Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese [£1.80/100g] provided by Marco at Gastronomica, Borough Market (near Bedales Wine Shop) accompanied.