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 I’d rate as just ordinary. Highlights rather predictably included the 1995 Krug, a monumental wine that won’t 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 Dão) – he doesn’t 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 I’m 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.