29 Oct 2007

To 'Die' For

'Talent is common; perserverance and application are rarer, especially among talented people.'
THE WINE Show experience confirmed that given a gentle prompting, people are riper than ever to investigate dynamic wines...
I toasted the final morning of four intensive days with a graceful, mildly effervescent, spirit-quenching Clairette de Die, which ironically majors in Muscat.
The day culminated with more tasting amongst friends at the Waterloo Bar and Kitchen. Whilst this wide, wooden-floored, more or less Italian restaurant is neighbour to the Old Vic, it hasn't fallen into the trap of only providing pre/post theatre banality.
One of my friends is the Sommelier, meaning we were welcome to bring our own bottles.
I was enchanted by my first taste of Irancy. Simonnet-Febvre's '05 comes from outside the often overlooked but impressive town of Auxerre near Chablis. This varietal Pinot Noir (sometimes blended with the local Cesar) was chilled (not killed), carefully structured, with a bright berry, Gamay perfume and plucky but supple tannins. It complemented fried (not died) Halloumi (often the temptation is to cook this hard goats/sheeps cheese too long) within a spinach and mushroom nest. Incidentally, this was echellons improved from the Halloumi Burger taken earlier in the day at the Fine Burger Co., Islington, which resembled griddled dish cloth. A textural assault course.
Small independent, Domaine Bart's '04 Côtes de Beaune followed, from the Southern part of the Côte d'Or, so called because: a). russet tinged vine leaves glow golden when struck by the low Autumn sun; and b). there's gold to be made from the plants upon these limestone hills. This pretty Pinot was succulent, not fully ripe, well-formed, but coy, with Parma Violets and clear character.
An elegantly shaped bottle of '04 Corbières, Haut-Gléon, which actually smelt of beef stock, mushrooms in gravy, cassis and various ground peppercorns provided an adequately aggressive match for bloodily juicy Chargrilled Rib Eye (blue).
Yet another '04 followed, a Barbera from Bergaglio. 'Pian del Noce' had the aromatic composition of the deck of a gleaming, recently oiled wooden yacht, with fermenting blueberries alongside. Curious to have this thought considering that the estate is actually about 300M above sea level.
Recently spied at The Fire Station (pictured), a glasses clink from the Waterloo Bar and Kitchen, Mondavi Fumé Blanc for £52 (RRP £15). Quel ambition!