27 Oct 2007


THE WINE SHOW continues. Many people visiting my booth - 'Crisp, Dry, White' within the French Wine Experience - seem to be teachers, probably counting down the last days of their half-term holiday. Soon they will be reunited with their charges!
I haven't had a chance to taste that widely, although I am pleased with the distinctive Italianate biodynamic Cuvée Faustine '06 Vermentino from Napoleon's home town, Ajaccio ("Ay-ATCH-o", like a brisk sneeze). This comes across as a flutter of soft minerals with a remote coastal breeze of wild herbs - though it is hard actually getting to this wine's core.
Away from the iron girdered environs of the Business Design Centre, I relaxed with the second wine of the trade favourite, Château Gruaud-Larose. Sarget '97, from the once split estate's younger vines, had a nose of baked grouse sprinkled with cold camp fire ash. On the palate, slight charcoal, with plesantly tamed blackberry fruit and traceable tannins. Excellent value from this originally eccentric estate at £20, Bedales.
According to thewinedoctor, 'The Chevalier de Gruaud was a well known eccentric who ... would raise a British, German or other national flag over the estate after each harvest in order to indicate who should buy the wine according to its style.'
...and quirkiness is not normally tolerated in this region.