jamie goode's wine blog: Champagne and Portugal

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Champagne and Portugal

Today was a busy day of tasting. Two unmissable events, for me at least: the annual tastings for Champagne and Portugal. The day began with a prompt 10 am start at Banqueting house for the Champagne gig, which was preceded by a pleasant wander over the Thames from Waterloo station. It was a lovely early spring morning, but a hint of freshness in the air and diffused, milky sunshine.

I tasted a lot of very good Champagnes, more than a few excellent ones and just a handful that Id rate as just ordinary. Highlights rather predictably included the 1995 Krug, a monumental wine that wont be approaching drinkability for another five years at least, and also a couple from Jacquesson: the 1996 vintage and the non-dosage Dizy 2000. Tarlant impressed, as did Larmandier-Bernier.

Then it was off to Lords, a beautiful venue for a tasting on a bright Spring day. Main focus here was the selection of 2005 cask samples from the Douro (very promising vintage; possibly a little better than 2004). The big surprise was the presence of Alvaro Castro (of Quintas da Pellada and de Saes in the Do) he doesnt usually come to the annual tasting. He had a wonderful roster of wines with him, including the marvellous Caroussel, Dado and Pape wines, as well as wines from his two Quintas. I was really impressed by these. Sad aside: Alvaro remembered that I'd put a picture of his dog on my website, roaming his vineyard. The dog is no longer, having been poisoned by hunters, he reveals.

Now Im on the way home, with a stained, wine-residue mouth and reams of notes to type up. Tomorrow should be a little less strenuous: just the Majestic press tasting in the morning and then a tutored tasting of Vin Clairs in the afternoon.

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At 11:23 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Well, that would be me in the distance, easily distinguished by my pink pullover.
Krug was very good, as was Jacquesson, with the NV 730 one of the best NVs there. Tarlant was also good, although there were a few other producers that probably offered the same or better I think. But I was unconvinced by the Larmandier Bernier wines. Much as I admire their philosophy, the wines didn't stand out for me. In particular the vintage was very bananery, which was unusual and displeasing.
Chris Kissack

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Warren Edwardes, CEO Wine for Spice said...

How many wines with screw caps do you see at the Portguese tasting? I saw 4!

At 6:34 PM, Blogger chris said...

Having gone back to my notes, actually I did like the Larmandier-Bernier BdB 1er Cru NV, and the Terre de Vertus was OK, although seemed a little emaciated to me, but I guess that is the non-dosage style. It was the Cramant Grand Cru from LB that I didn't like.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

good points - I think the larmandier-bernier philosophy is an interesting one that sort of runs counter to Champagne as we know it, and the wines are rather different. Very little or no dosage makes a big difference, but also I suspect the base wines are a bit atypical.

Warren, just the Tagus Creek (Falua) wines - were there any others? I spoke to Jorge Borges about his cork suppliers - he says he gets top quality, beautiful corks for much less than you'd get them for in France, for instance.


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