|What:||Tasting: The Judgement; Decanter Awards 2017|
|When:||10 Oct 17 ,18:30 -20:30|
|Where:||Army & Navy Club SW1Y 5JN map|
I think everyone will be familiar with the Decanter World Wine Awards where this year 17,263 wines were tasted blind by some very serious tasters. There were 219 tasters sampling an average of 85 wines per day. There was a lot of stratification and the judges knew the country, region, style, vintage and price bracket. Eventually Gold medal winners are tasted against each other and a Platinum Best in Category and then finally Best in Show and Best Value are decided. With this rigorous selection it is not surprising that the big players in the wine world rarely submit their wines to such scrutiny.
The Decanter ethos is to recognize the best wine in order to promote wine quality… “many represent fabulous quality and value…you won’t be disappointed”. We shall see.
A range of Platinum “Best in Show” and “Best Value” have been selected and I have tried to pair grape varieties for comparison. Occasionally I have had to dip into the “Platinum Best in Category” for a pair but we are still in the top 1.2% of all the wines tasted. Trying to find these wines is difficult as they fly off the shelves and the Decanter information about who stocks the wine is woeful. Quite a few of the merchants were flummoxed by my enquiries.
Our sparkling wine is from Luxembourg! (I know this is bad English to use an exclamation mark …but). Cuvée de l’Ecusson NV is made in a traditional Champenois manner mainly from grapes grown from the Luxembourg banks of the Moselle river.
We then move on to two very different expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. The New Zealand Marlborough example of best value in show with the typical features of a NZ Sav Blanc – Russian Jack 2016. Love it or hate it. Then from the Loire by David Sautereau a quite different expression of the same grape. Domaine David Sautereau Sancerre 2016 is made by cool fermentation, as is the Russian Jack, but three months on the lees and then six months in stainless steel.
Then we have two aromatic white wines to compare. A Torrontés and 15% Riesling mix from Argentina named Amalaya 2016 is grown in a high-level vineyard at 1800m with slow cool fermentation by Donald Hess. A Tasmanian dry Riesling grown at more or less sea level, with a slow cool fermentation is Devil’s Corner 2015 from New Zealander Tom Wallace.
Next two contrasting expressions of the Chardonnay grape. Paul Cluver’s Seven Flags 2016, a South African offering, is harvested at night, then a “wild fermentation” followed by French oak barrels including nine months on the lees. The Chilean Valdivieso 2015 single vineyard wine is made from whole pressed bunches, wild fermented and stored in oak and is made by the New Zealander Brett Jackson.
Then the standout best value rosé in the show, Domaine de Rimauresq 2016, made with a mixture of the typical southern Rhône grapes – mainly Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre.
Two Southern Pinot Noirs to start the reds. Te Kairanga Runholder 2014 from New Zealand and Arboleda 2014 from Chile. Both small vat fermentation then small oak barrels. Both coastal areas
The Tannat grape was historically grown in South West France in Madiran, but found its way around the world and is considered the national grape in Uruguay from where we have two examples. There is a single vineyard Tannat from Bodega Garzón 2015 which we can contrast with another Platinum best in show Pisano Cisplatino 2015. Mark the contrast from the Madiran expression of the grape.
For those who need Cabernet Sauvignon at some time during the evening the best value red blend in the show, Waxed Bat 2015. 80% Cab Sav and 20% Malbec from Argentina and grown on stony soil. “Lots of sumptuous red fruit. Big and Bold” according to Decanter.
Finally, Vin de Constance 2013 from Klein Constantia established in 1685. Suppliers of wine to Royalty, and apparently Napoleon in exile drank a bottle a day, the winery stopped producing after the phylloxera epidemic in the 1800s. In 1986 the wine was recreated and the first vintage was 1990. This wine has consistently been rated as one of the world’s best. Do you agree?
Tony Wright, Honorary Secretary
Dress Code: Smart casual
Thursday 9 November – Vieux Télégraphe Dinner at the Apothecaries Hall
Tuesday 5 December – Christmas Tasting at the Army & Navy Club