25 Jan 2008

Chien Mort

I DID NOT expect a late night rendez-vous with the world's finest red, especially at a no frills Old Street hybrid 'international pub' run by a hispanic family serving Thai food and Belgian beers. All alongside superb live jazz acts. And in truth, I did not! But that is what I was supposed to encounter, according to the stoic landlord who waved a laminated newspaper article endorsing his '01, £29.99 Châteauneuf-du-Pape in front of me. It was, however, suprisingly drinkable, with a fine dust of black, white and green pepper, then roast pumpkin seeds on the nose, followed by scorched Nestlé Caramac bar and supple, wavy hints of blackcurrant on the palate. One of my (appropriately international) companions rated it, though he mentioned something about chien mort. Mm.
One thing rarely talked about is the sometimes striking variation between bottles from the same case, almost always occuring under cork. Even if marked extremities aren't encountered, if I am opening half a dozen bottles, there will always be a fresher, more flavoursome favourite...
Alastair Bathgate over at Confessions of a Wino has penned a well-researched polemic about the anticipated hike in wine prices - alcohol inflation. Read it HERE.