2 Mar 2007

In Praise of Dinosaurs

I AM SLOWLY recovering from an evening of excess which started with the Iberian installment of the wine course I tutor and finished with a complimentary sambuca from a strange, besuited chap. (The LAST TIME that happened involved Kevin Spacey). The highlight of the wine course, more or less universally acknowledged, was the globalisation defying '95 white Rioja from Viña Gravoñia [£13, Theatre of Wine]. Aged no fewer than four years in barrel, this shapely beauty had presence.

With a pungent nose of dry sap, resin, beeswax, travel sweets and chicken satay, this hispanic institution calmed down on the palate, demonstrating intricate flavours of wild flowers, sundried lemon peel and butter with a poised, polished aftertaste. A wine to trade flavours with Torbay sole, or shell-cooked scallops?
The most economical wine of the evening suprised me with its refinement, a gentle, beautifully formed lilly-scented '98 Gran Reserva Tempranillo from Viña Albali [£5.99, Sainsbury's].
Working a few days a week at Vinopolis, London's 'alcoholic buffet', there are always weird and wonderful temptations. I tried one of the former, a tannic, underripe crab-apple stinking wine, Nebbiolo Rosé '06 from the 'Coriole Collective'. Why they bothered, I do not know. This is not the product to spur a rosé-revival!
This may seem a creepy sentiment, but I sometimes visualise people, particularly the opposite sex, as grape varieties...
It is great to see that Decanter Online has kindly LINKED to The Daily Wine.