WSDC Event - Claret Dinner

What: Claret Dinner  
When: 23 Apr 09 ,19:00 -22:30
Where: Kings College London WC2R 2LS map
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2009 04 23 Event Details.pdf to be added


To be held in The Great Hall,

Kings College London,

Strand, London WC2R 2LS

Thursday 23rd April 2009 at 7.00 for 7.30pm

Speaker: Mr John Smith, The Glass Circle.

We’re trying some new things tonight, as well as old wine. This is our first visit to The Great Hall of King’s College, Strand, and our guest speaker will not be talking about wine. John Smith is an authority on glass, in particular wine glasses, which all of us use, and probably take for granted, but tonight we will be looking at their development from Roman times to the present day. Yes, there will be discussion of the wines at dinner towards the end of the evening, but first we shall consider the beauty of glass.

The Great Hall is on the ground floor of Kings College, reached by going straight through the reception area, down the corridor to the Hall. We will gather outside the Hall, although coats etc can be left inside the main room. You will be greeted with a glass of white port, which your committee decided is an interesting and unusual aperitif, although it is rarely considered. Indeed, Churchill’s Dry White Port is delicious, made from malvasia fina grapes some 1,000 metres above sea level. This gives natural acidity and balance, so after a decade in cask, we have a full, golden wine which really improves in the glass, if you can keep it that long.

Once in the Great Hall, there will be two white wines for the first course. The first is a 1996 Chablis, Les Clos, from Drouhin, which we had last year. A Grand Cru with intense flavour and complexity, and now has considerable bottle age. The second white wine will be a mystery, I hope, although I can tell you that it will be made from chardonnay like other white burgundies. It is very fresh and smoky on the nose, and once you taste it, enjoy the flavours, perhaps fig, nuts and peach. Very full and very long, with some citrus and sweetness to finish. You may be surprised when the answer is revealed at the end.

Now for some claret. Your Club has bought a lot of wine over the years, and 1990 was a very good, if not outstanding, year. Hot, dry and sunny, producing bumper crops of healthy grapes. It is difficult to know where to start, so a second wine will be first. Les Forts de Latour 1990, Pauillac, is the second wine of Chateau Latour, and is unlikely to disappoint, as, for many, Latour is what claret is all about, some think the leading first growth, and for nearly everyone, unaffordable. Les Forts de Latour is made mostly from cabernet sauvignon, and the balance merlot, so this should be aromatic, cedary on the nose, with a full taste once in the mouth. This wine is good enough to be a second growth according to many critics, and that man Parker is a big fan.

The second claret this evening is Grand-Puy-Lacoste 1990, a Pauillac, and a fifth growth. This wine is still young, and is much admired by Anthony Broadbent, who suggests that there will be intense fruit on the nose, some spice, with the palate enjoying fruit, tannin and iron.

Our third wine is a second growth, namely Chateau Léoville-Barton 1990, from the St Julien district. This wine should be of a deep garnet colour, with a sweet, rich nose, equally complete on the palate, with the rich fruit masking the tannins. If you like this wine, you’ll enjoy the November dinner this year.

With cheese, and before dessert, you will be able to enjoy another wine of the same vintage, Chateau La Tour-Blanche 1990, using sémillon, sauvignon and muscadelle, the traditional sauternes grape varieties. It is a lovely, honeyed wine, very sweet with great length.

Our speaker, John Smith, will make further comments about glass, and with the help of the committee members at your table, we will draw our conclusions about the wines of the evening.