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Winter Fine Wine Walkround


Young @robert_mcintosh suggested I give a quick review of The Winter Fine Wine Walkround, held recently in Leeds. I do love the Wine Society Tastings – After having been to a few run by others, the WS really is so much better organized and gets a concise but satisfyingly decent range and depth, no matter the theme.

I’ve been to both the Summer and Winter fine wine tastings this year and they have easily been the best of the events I have attended. I think to someone like myself as more junior than many of the stalwarts on here, it gives me an excellent window in to ‘what’s possible’, especially for trading up from as little as a fiver or so from normal.

Held in the Leeds Town Hall, recently voted Leeds most grand room, the ambience was only added to by the ever-charming Matthew!

So to the booze…Well, every wine was worth including and many were top drawer as you’d expect, so they only way I can truly give a wine of the tasting is through a no-holds barred knockout match between the runners and riders…ding ding!!

The contest is a wee bit skewed as with tastings I recognise it’s often what you tasted before which has the effect on the next so I am putting my faith in the WS that these bottles are in the correct order :blush: (Links to the wines at the bottom.

Hambledon 1 vs 0 Pol Roger

Well if this was anything to go by, every Brexit cloud has a silver lining…the Hambledon shone through on this one. The girlfriend even asked me if the champagne was a diet one such as how light the Pol Roger tasted after sampling! The Hambledon was excellent – I’m not a regular drinker of sparkling so I’m glad to say it feels like a treat still every time I do. The Hambledon had lovely rich biscuit, yeasty and dry honey and was a fabulous aperitif! I did ask Matthew why the Champagne followed the Hambledon for this reason and he suggested it was a much richer, more complex product….I think it shows that a tenner less a bottle is sometimes money well saved!

Chateau Latour-Martillac Blanc, Pessac-Léognan 2011 1 – 1 Maison Roche de Bellene, Meursault Premier Cru Charmes 2012 (Ch. Latour-Martillac going through on a points decision)

It would be unfair to judge these 2 against any other as they were both the absolute star whites of the evening. The Mersault has rich, nuttery and classy oak with real body and guts and a sublime buttery finish, however the white Bordeaux stole it with excellent complexity, more acid on the palate and something I could genuinely drink a whole bottle of as it seemed to have a beautiful refreshing quality…but what a contest!

Château Tronquoy Lalande, Saint-Estèphe 2009 0 -1 Ridge Geyserville 2011

The Saint-Estèphe had everything I look for in a claret…that wonderful polished tannin high note of near minty oak, luscious, restrained opulence and still showing deep fruit character, however it was overshadowed by the Ridge, which had that extra dimension of raciness from the acidity and edge afforded by the zin. Both would be showstoppers on the xmas table, but I think that cranberry, foresty tint took it. I usually drink Clarets and rarely Zin so maybe it was such a pleasant surprise after expecting some jammy bombshell, the Ridge had none of it!

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Le Bosquet des Papes, Chante le Merle 2006 1 -1 La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva Rioja 2004 (Double knockout in the 12th round, CdP wins on points decision)

Two huge wines to finish. The CnP was my first more mature Rhone and really made everyone picking up the glass stop and shut-up to take it in. Massive spice and pepper power but it was still subtle in some way. I think this would be the wine that Henry 8th would have on his table. The Rioja was the first ever wine where the girlfriend asked for a second sample – Smooth and creamy, but still grand and had great length.

The semi-finals
Hambledon 0 vs. 1 Chateau Latour-Martillac

The body and nose of the white Bordeaux won this comfortably. It has real substance, mouthfeel and quality. The hambledon was excellent, but a one trick pony for me.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1 vs. 0 Ridge Geyserville

Many would say this was the final, but the sheer grandness of the CdP wins this hands down.

The final
Chateau Latour-Martillac vs. Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Buy both to find out!

Mention in dispatches…
Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Willi Haag 2012 – Just wow: electricity in a bottle! So vibrant yet elegant and still shone through at 7% abv despite the previous Rhone Blanc at 13.5%! Spritely acid, tasteful residual sugars. I had to put this in as my girlfriend would never forgive me – She said it was her wine of the tasting and has given me instructions to obtain some.

Maury Solera 1928 Cask Number 845 50cl – This was just as mad as a badger. I loved it.

Links to the above…

No link for Ridge Geyserville

No link for Rioja Alta 904

…and the complete list

How to make the most of The Society's tastings


I thought you might say a few things about the event, choice of wines (not wives, as my phone tried to get me to say) and venue, but this far exceeded my expectations. Thanks so much, and for all the great suggestions


Thank you SO much for this round-up, Simon! :grinning: Not only informative but properly entertaining!

A few contenders for my Christmas bottles in the mix there, not least that incredible sounding Meursault white. I love buttery wines…

And as for:

“Mad as a badger” has to be the best description of this wine I’ve heard. :joy: And I quite agree. A wonderful find, especially for Christmas. Maybe even the Christmas pudding?


Best review!!
Really helpful too, bring on Christmas :christmas_tree: :wine_glass::wine_glass:


Haha this is why I’m going on a proper course so i can make better tasting notes!

I think the mersault was so grand and you could just taste the pedigree but i think a glass was enough for me, a whole bottle would be a bit rich.

@danchaq what are you planning on drinking xmas day? :slight_smile: