They are all set out on tables of four, seven in total (one for each buyer) so going to be an odd one for tasting. While hoping not to be doing too much spitting (half term next week - no work ), I think it’s inevitable if I want to enjoy everything.
So please, any input or advice welcome:
Do I try each table in a row, mixing white / red / fortified and sparkling or do I flit between tables, tasting in a typical order - sparkling, white, red then fortified?
Given they’re mostly very new to me, anyone else tried any of these wines? Are there any absolute bangers I need to start frothing over already?
Supper before or after? It’s 18:00 to 20:30, I don’t want to waste time eating and potentially miss any of the wines, but I will need ballast.
Finally there is a free bottle at stake (see below) so i need to be on my A Game. Given I’ve got the palate of a dolphin, how do I win?
Warm your palate up first by tasting 4 ish whites and spitting , then go and do this . You don’t want to be guessing wines on a fatigued palate . Read the notes on all of these wines and then see which ones match what you are tasting . The more tropical flavours will come from the wines on the warmer climates but double check exactly where they are grown etc…
I’ve tasted previous vintages of a lot of the wines on this list (1,3,5,8,9,15,16,21,23,25). The ones that look most appealing to me are 6 - 19, 20 - everything at the lighter bodied reds table (surprised to see the Dao in with the lighter bodied reds - I’d always thought that was fairly full…) - 10, 16, 21, 22, 26 and 27.
I’ve tried a number - though not necessarily the same vintages. Would recommend:
The Cour Cheverney - so you can tick the ‘obscure grape’ box (Romorantin). And it makes for a good aperitif wine, so can be one of the first wines to try
Domaine de la Rochette is a great vfm Burgundy, and definitely worth a try (don’t spit! )
If you like a classic Californian Chardonnay, then the Bogle is great - and actually not OTT on the oak, not to mention excellent vfm
From the reds I would definitely recommend the St Laurent, the Zorzal (delicious!) and the Ksara, and also recommend not to miss Piron’s Chenas. He’s fast becoming one of my favourite Beaujolais producers… Tasted his Beaujolais-Village Blanc recently and was very impressed (hope TWS will stock it one day!!)…
I also like the Cour Cheverney; it was fun to discover a new grape, and it went down well at one of our food and wine matching evenings. But how did you get all this information? The wines for tastings used to be listed on the website, but this now seems to have stopped.
Was a great tasting last night. Lots of nice wine and a few surprises. Was with my sister (Anna) and brother-in-law (Simon) - recent TWS converts - so did not take any notes beyond a or . However, despite deciding on a minimal spitting approach, there remain a few recollections. Will try and approach in pairs, as the wines seem to lend themselves to this.
An excellent way to begin a tasting, both really good examples of their style. The cava was rich and full-bodied (to me as a novice of good cava. The champagne was delicate by comparison, but precise and very, very gluggable.
These next two were not so exciting, the Falangina light & fruity but nothing more and the Sylvaner lived up to my usual prejudices against this grape (only the Boeckel grand Cru has defied this) - just not for me.
Enjoyed both of these. Despite the Cour Cheverny described as a light white, I thought it was quite intense with lovely fruit. Quite high acid, but not out of balance. Also found the Languedoc delicious, the first wine tasted going into my basket. Full on, ripe fruit and good length.
The 4 Chardonnays were next.
The Kumeu was good. Nicely integrated oak, bright acidity & pronounced fruit. Bargain at a tenner.
None of us enjoyed the Bogle Chardonnay. In comparison to the NZ, too in your face oak-influenced flavours - massive tropical fruit, vanilla and butter.
The Burgundy a refreshing contrast - citrus fruit, refreshing acidity and if there was any oak on the palate it was barely noticeable (particularly after the Bogle).
The Limari last, another Chardonnay with well-judged use of oak. Very tasty, but I didn’t pick up on the complexity. Is it worth £23? Time would tell, TWS advise it will go well for another 4 years, I’d be very curious to taste it in another four years, but not enough to buy one, sorry.
As for the blind Chardonnay tasting (identifying each of the above four wines correctly), I’m sorry to report that I confused the Kumeu River with the Limari. The Bogle and Burgundy were easy to pick out, but not so the other two.
I’d like to say that it speaks more to the quality of kiwi winemaking than my dodgy palate, but the truth is probably the reverse (take all these notes with a large pinch of salt). Ignored @Leah’s advice (no attention paid to tasting note, 10 wines in) and paid the price, no entry into the draw for a free bottle. Still, good fun and educational extra element to the event
For the reds, my recollections get a little more hazy (and my judgement in tasting on an inevitable, downward trajectory)
The first two were lush - both soft, smooth, delicate yet complex - Fruit Vs savouriness that both wines presented in delightful balance. Something to think about (including the price difference)
All of us surprised the Dao was in the lighter reds category, like @Bargainbob above. Maybe after the previous two it just seemed heavier, but full-on fruit, noticeable tannins and medium length all seemed a little out of place after the St Laurent and before the pinot noir. Ok for what it was though.
The pinot noir split us. Anna and Simon not so keen, but I enjoyed it (as much as the 2015). Delicate fruit and a touch smokey. Lovely nose.
The Chilean Syrah was for me the biggest surprise of the night. Absolutely delightful - fresh on the nose and palate, intense fruit, long finish. Think it’s the acidity that gives it the lift. Would never have considered a Chilean Syrah before tasting this, but definitely some going into my basket. Good to 2024 as well. The McLaren Vale Shiraz was just a little one-dimensional after this. Ok, clearly well-made but unremarkable. The £3 difference in price between these two covered a gulf in quality (for my poor, jaded taste buds anyway).
Here my memory fails me badly. Mature Piedmont red was nice (Really, nice! I can only apologise). Still boggles the mind that TWS can offer a 7 year-old, perfectly mature red from this part of the world for £8.50! Anna, who had been spitting and not finishing her samples was very keen on this, which gives you a better idea than nice.
The SA Cab Franc heavy blend exhibited classic cab franc flavours - pencil shavings and dark fruit. We all enjoyed this, but it needs food, crackers came in very handy!
All of them were stand outs and have been ordered in quantities. The greek wine was perhaps the biggest surprise, one of the nicest bottles of the evening and a match for any of the reds available in any of the price brackets. Judging by some of the comments I think this one will be selling quickly.
I really enjoyed the format of this WS tasting. Sometimes the regional specific area tastings get a bit bogged down with too much of the same variety so it was great to be able to really take a world tour with this tasting and nice to have the buyers justify why they picked each wine.
I must admit, I missed the blind challenge and was looking out for it, had I just had too much to drink or was it really hidden away somewhere?
Kids fed, watered, exercised and fed again so, reds part 2
New vintage of the Zorzal Graciano was pretty decent. Spicy red fruits with a lift from the acidity. Very good value at £8.50
The Rioja seemed pleasant a bit nondescript. This may well have been red wine fatigue, but it didn’t jump out at me like some of the other (later) reds. I thought the “sweet, fruity finish” in the description rang true.
The Domaines des Tourelles was a replacement for the Chateau Ksara, which sold out after one of the previous Taste the new list tastings. Nice fruit but slightly fierce tannins, we again dived on the cheese and crackers after a mouthful.
The Crozes was great - smooth & lush, very approachable. I found out last night that it’s a collaboration between two famous Rhone producers, which I found fascinating at the time (basically an excuse for a few glasses socialising and trying to work out a lovely blend). However, this information was not retained overnight and I no longer remember which producers were mentioned with enough conviction to state here!
The St Joseph also very drinkable (though by this stage, that didn’t rule out much!), but slightly more to it than the Crozes. An extra 3 years in the bottle most likely, but like the Xinomavro and St Laurent earlier, I found myself questioning the £10 price difference between them.
Chenas was great - lovely Beajolais with some years behind it from a good vintage. Some of this going into my basket for sure
The Chateau Lamothe the second biggest surprise of the night - never had such a young claret so approachable so young. Juicy, fruit forward, no rasping tannins. Not my thing, but very good value under £7.
Chateau de Musset - Like @CL1904 I was very impressed by this wine. TWS tasting note spot on here.
Both fortified wines were excellent. Rich and nutty amontillado, complex and delicious. Anna said she could taste the orange peel and hazlenuts in the description, but not sure if that was the power of suggestion or wines 1-26 beforehand.
The Rivesault also brilliant, perfect way to end the evening but no chocolate to be found in the Stationers’ Hall
Yes, a very interesting tasting and we’ve already put in an order. We weren’t sure about the format, though, unless it was just a way to stop us all congregating in one corner of the hall. The idea of tables devoted to each buyer’s choices would have worked if buyers had been there to explain and discuss those choices, but that would have been too much to expect. However, without it the individual tables didn’t make much sense, especially since each buyer looks after several regions. It would have made us much sense to assign numbers to the wines randomly. Maybe a different arrangement next time?