It was a beautiful pre-spring day today in London. I was doing some staff wine training for Hakkasan, the brilliant Chinese-inspired restaurant chain with two London outposts. The first session was on ‘smooth reds’, and among the tasting wines were these three beauties.
Domaine Daniel Rion Nuits St Georges Les Hauts Pruliers 1er Cru 2006 Burgundy
This is a cracking red Burgundy, currently drinking very well. Elegantly perfumed with spice and cherries. The palate shows amazingly well integrated savoury, spicy structure and lovely supple fruit. There’s a spicy warmth, here, too. Great balance. 94/100
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2010 Martinborough, New Zealand
Lively, floral and sappy with a bit of spicy structure and good acidity alongside the focused cherry fruit. Youthful an precise with some smoothness to the fruit, but also some meaty, spicy edges, and some plum skin bite. A really lovely wine that needs a bit of time. 94/100
Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Tasmania, Australia
13% alcohol. Just brilliant: a lovely cool-climate Cabernet from the Coal River Valley, showing sweet, beautifully aromatic blackcurrant fruit. The palate is fresh and fine with lovely precision. Midweight and fine, with lovely open sweet fruit and some tannic grip. 94/100
After tasting, we did a bit of food and wine matching, ordering eight dishes off the menu and then pairing them with different bottles. The food at Hakkasan is just thrilling. Wonderful combinations of textures and flavours. I must go back and eat there again soon. In between the morning and afternoon sessions I had a chance to walk around London. I headed to Regent’s Park, where I used to spend quite a few of my lunch hours when I had a day job in Portland Place. It was buzzing with people enjoying the sunshine. On a sunny day, London is a great city indeed.