I have heard it said by many a nostalgic winetrader -‘Its not like the old days’- referring to the fun and games had by members of the wine trade in the sixties and seventies. Tasting invitations too numerous to RSVP, long lunches turning into early dinners, and more business concluded no doubt as a result!. Has it really changed all that much?
In January and February the wine trade is still a frantic place to be. Wine producers and agents organise dozens of tastings and events in the capital, to pursue retailers who are busy gearing themselves up to tantalise the taste buds of the eager wine-loving public in the Spring.
Trawling the tasting tables in up market London Hotels, it’s a hardly a chore, but it isn’t the swanky décor or even the fine fodder that inspires a 7 or 8 hour round trip, Stourbridge is hardly commuter belt – bring on the high speed New Street – Euston rail link! No, the great thrill in this job is spotting a gem of a wine, something that sings, surprises you with its subtle flavour and individual character. Here are a couple we couldn’t resist….
Bourgogne Rouge Domaine Jessiaume 2008 £11.95 - A very positive eulogy from the infamous Hugh Johnson tickled our interest in this Burgundian domaine. Old World Pinot Noir is not always reliable at this price level, but this is ripe delicate and charming, with plenty of complex old vine character. Their Santenay 1er Cru Gravieres is even better! ~ £19.80
Tinpot Hut Marborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 £13.50 – Made in the Cloudy Bay style, and every bit as delicious. There is a lot of intensity which shows the concentration of the juice with excellent balance with lingering, sumptuous gooseberry and blackberry flavours.
Tinpot also make a gorgeous Shiraz!