WSDC Event - Christmas Tasting and Raffle

What: Christmas Tasting and Raffle Event Sold Out  
When: 05 Dec 16 ,18:30 -20:30
Where: Army & Navy Club SW1Y 5JN map
See summary here



The Christmas Tasting and Raffle is one of the most eagerly anticipated and highly enjoyed events in the Club’s calendar, a tasting that almost invariably sells out very quickly.  This year we return to the Army and Navy Club, a venue that we only started using a year ago almost to the day, but which has fast become a firm favourite of ours with its light, airy room, the warm welcome we always receive, and the interesting military heritage of the Club.

As most of you know, we’re in a transitional year with a number of Committee members taking it in turns to organise events.  This is proving to be an absolutely fascinating experience as different knowledge and perspectives are brought to bear on our events.  One thing that we will never mess with, though, is the format of the Christmas tasting which really is quite simple — fizz, some very good white wine, followed by great reds, invariably almost all Clarets from the Reserve, rounded off with something to send us all home feeling nice and warmed.

This year will be no different.

To get things going, a glass of The Society's Exhibition English Sparkling Wine 2014, made by the Ridgeview Estate in Sussex. Produced from the classic Champagne mix of Chardonnay together with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  This will perk everyone up after the rigours of a day’s work or Christmas shopping, and will set the scene for the three whites which follow.  We have two contrasting dry white wines from Bordeaux, Clos Floridène 2010, made by local icon Denis Dubourdieu, and Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux 2004.  These wines share an average rating of 91 on WineSearcher but that is all they have in common.  The former a youngish blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle, the latter a more venerable 100% Sauvignon Blanc.  The disparity in price which you will learn of on the night makes the identical rating all the more remarkable, and is testimony to M. Dubourdieu’s craft.

We change tack with the final white wine, Pinot Gris 'Roche Calcaire’, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht 2014. A bone dry Gris from predominantly chalky soils. Still young this will benefit from slow bottle development according to its producer Olivier Humbrecht. Maybe one to tuck away?

As the only non-Claret on show, some might think Côtes du Roussillon Vieilles Vignes Domaine Gauby 2012 an ugly duckling here.  Very far from it  — Gérard Gauby is a wonderful winemaker and his brilliant biodynamic range of wines manage to combine power and finesse.  From here on, though, Claret it is.  The exact identity of the mysteriously branded Pauillac Ulysse 2010 remains a closely guarded secret – always interesting to eavesdrop on speculation about it on the tasting room floor!  Things become more straightforward and classical after that, and arguably there are few wines in Bordeaux more classic in style than Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste.  The extreme heat of 2003 made for a variable vintage right across France, but those that got it right, enjoyed spectacular results, and that is certainly the case here.

From Pauillac we move to the arguably less grand surroundings of the Listrac-Medoc, to enjoy Château Fourcas-Borie 2008.  Now part of the burgeoning empire of Bruno Borie, of Ducru-Beaucaillou fame, the 2008 is drinking beautifully right now.  Bruno is an old friend of the Club (he has supported more than one event of ours, and came to speak in person a few years back) and his impact is starting to tell on the wine at Fourcas-Borie.  The final two reds are proper blockbusters, and allow us to enjoy a pretty comprehensive tour of the Communes of Bordeaux.  From Saint-Julien, Château Léoville-Las Cases 1989.  We’ve all waited a long time to enjoy this wine, but the wait has been worthwhile, with it proving the star of the evening on the previous occasions we have shown it.  Finally, from Pessac-Léognan, Château La Mission Haut-Brion 1996, another wine just hitting its straps, and one which delighted everybody at a recent dinner.

To end with, two ports.  The Club has tended to conclude these tastings with a Sauternes, but given our extensive reserves of Port, we thought it would be fun to show two, of very contrasting styles — Smith Woodhouse 1994, and Quinta de Senhora da Ribeira 1998.  A fitting way to end what promises to be a really special event.

We can’t finish this Newsletter without reference to the Raffle.  Given the huge popularity that this enjoys, the Committee took the decision last year to expand the number of prizes to be won.  This went down very well, so we plan the same for this year.  Lots of wine to be won, some of it of an extremely high quality.

We look forward to seeing you at what we believe will be a really enjoyable evening!

Michael Stone, Committee member and event organiser

Dress Code: Smart casual

Guests: £50
Members: £45

Forthcoming events:
Burgundy dinner - 9th February, Cutlers’ Hall

Booking Form

Vintages available from The Wine Society:
Cotes du Roussillon-Villages Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Gauby 2004
Half bottle of Château Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac 2006
Château La Mission Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2011
Château La Mission Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2010
Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan 2006
Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira 2005