On Wednesday evening, we organised a tasting in Brook Street, Mayfair, just in front of the Claridge’s Hotel. This gorgeous neighbourhood was an ideal setting for a fine wine tasting. Arthur de Lencquesaing, iDealwine’s International Development Director, and Stuart George, who hosts wine events and looks after this stunning venue, co-animated this evening that had a relaxed Christmassy feeling to it.
The Claridge’s Hotel brightens Brook Street with its Christmas decorations: Christmas trees lit up and enormous presents on top of the front door – the size any child could possible dream of -. Just in front of this iconic hotel, the private venue at 50 Brook Street, where a more modest –though very festive – Christmas wreath opens on a classic English house. The guests began to arrive at 6pm for the more punctual ones. The already-opened bottles were starting to be poured.
The best way to taste these wines is to begin with a superb Pape Clément 2011, still very young, with an unctuous palate and notes of grapefruit and peach. Then, an original pick, straight from the domaine, Louis Latour Beaune 1er Cru in a very mature vintage, 1983. An obvious light and delicate body, an interesting wine taste and gave us a chance to drink something different, off the beaten tracks. Its nose opened on a very evolved bouquet with aromas of prunes, crystallised fruits and old black cherries.
The Bordeaux vineyard was well represented in its diversity from one bank of the Gironde estuary to the other. From the right bank, the Merlot grape was embellished by Château Fombrauge in a 2008 vintage. This powerful and fruity wine could do with a few more years of ageing. From the left bank, La Lagune 1996, third classified growth from the Haut-Médoc, boasted black fruit aromas and a structure we love – and expect – with Cabernet Sauvignon. 10% of Petit Verdot give it a dense and dark colour, although it is 21 years old. A wine that definitely has a great ageing potential, as it was still full-bodied and very aromatic. After Bordeaux’s fruitiness, we moved on to the spiciness of Syrah, with Chateau d’Ampuis from Guigal, in the Côte-Rôtie appellation. The blend also counts 7% of white Viognier as the appellation allows to blend up to 20% of it. The 2004 vintage was tasty and racy, with a superb palate. It is also possible to age it for another few years without worrying.
And of course, an iDealwine tasting could not be possible without a blind tasting. Like every time, people were very enthusiastic and had impressive palates, as some found the South African roots of the bottle. The Lady May 2011 from Glenelly Estate offered a dark colour, a very dense structure and aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate and spices.
To finish, we presented two sweeter wines: one Sauternes from Clos Haut-Peyraguey, in the legendary 2007 vintage (wonderful year for Sauternes wines) and a fortified Rivesaltes 1975 from Domaine Riveyrac. The Sauternes had a gold colour that offered exotic fruit aromas and a smooth and velvety texture. We tasted it with very mature cheddar on a fig cracker. The Rivesaltes, of which we have a great selection of vintages on iDealwine, being one of our favourite wines sourced directly, has an amber colour and very complex bouquet of dry orange peel and nutty aromas. The latter paired perfectly with Stilton cheese. The sweetness counterbalances the power of the blue cheese. Conclusion may be, try sweet/fortified French wines with mature English cheeses… reconcile gastronomical cultures and let your palate discover new horizons!
The wine amateurs were very happy to taste such a varied range of French wines. The Christmas tree in the room brought a festive aspect to this pleasant chilled moment. Several nationalities were present and this melting pot was a real snapshot of the London community. The Latour Beaune surprised, the La Lagune very popular, the Rivesaltes was a discovery for many and the Lady May was really enjoyed.
Thanks to all the participants and especially to Stuart George for inviting us in this private venue. See you next year!
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