A busy day of tasting, but a very good one. Those of you who don't taste professionally will probably think I'm a total wimp when I blog that 'I'm tired' after a day of tasting wine. I understand: it doesn't sound like a tough way of earning a living, but it *really* is physically quite demanding and requires a lot of concentration when you spend a full day doing it.
I began at 10 am at the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) headquarters in Bermondsey, near London Bridge station, for a Wine & Spirit
magazine tasting. Natasha Hughes, David Williams, Claire Hu, Simon Woods and I were tasting 20 wines from Les Caves de Pyrene, unblind. As you'd expect it was an eclectic, slightly funky, but fascinating selection. It's so good to taste wines like these, which are full of interest, because it reminds you what it was that attracted you to wine in the first place.
Then it was off to the Waitrose press tasting, part two. Today I did whites and some more sweet wines. Some real highlights, including a lovely flight of Germans – with the standout being a wonderfully, breathtakingly pure and aromatic Riesling from Donnhoff (Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Spatlese 2006)– a lovely Austrian Riesling (Rabl Schenkenbichl 2007), a profound pair of Spanish whites (Fefinanes Albarino 2007 and Mas d'en Compte 2006) and a mindblowingly good sweet Sherry (Matusalem). The tasting confimed that Waitrose is the wine-lover's supermarket.
I finished the day by heading over to the Atlas in Fulham for a rather special sherry tasting. It was focusing on 20 and 30 year old wines, and they were wonderful. The final straight in the tasting was a flight of seven Pedro Ximenez wines. If you haven't tried an old PX you probably won't appreciate what a daunting task this flight represents, but I survived! It's a cliche, but Sherry is underrated and undervalued. We should drink more of it.
So now, as I head home on the District Line, I'm really knackered. Fortunately my teeth don't hurt, but my mouth feels a bit weary, and the last thing I feel like doing is pouring a glass of wine.