If you like and want to know more about wine the best way is to try as many as you can and what better way of doing it without breaking the bank is to get yourself along to an organised tasting event as this one.
This time, the venue was Browns Brasserie & Bar, in Londons Covent Garden once Westminster’s County Courts which in 1996 was converted into a bar and restaurant, one of the upstairs original courtrooms was the plush setting for the tasting. The event was hosted courtesy of Hampshire Wine Merchants ‘Stone, Vine & Sun’ who set up the fabulous Chardomaniac/PinotPath festival.
There were 65 wines on show from all featuring Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, including English sparkling wines and Champagne. The event was self-pour with the guys from Stone, Vine & Sun on hand to answer any questions, the event itself was low key and very relaxed.
I started with the English fizz, Champagne, Chardonnay and then finishing with the Pinot’s.
I made my way around the impressive courtroom pouring and sipping in what turned out to be an impressive tasting . The standard was pretty decent with the English sparklers holding their own along side the Champagnes There were bottles from Cottonworth and Exton Park Both from Hampshire vineyards and fizz from South Africa.
There were oaked Chardonnays and Pinot’s from the new world including South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and Australia as well as established Old World French offerings, including some very nice unoaked Chard’s.
All the bottles were laid out on tables and numbered accordingly with the programme supplied on entry. It was self-pour so caution was advised as there were 65 bottles to get through. The atmosphere was very friendly and as in all these events it was great to talk wine not just with the experts on hand but to the other tasters, some of who were in the trade but most were just wine lovers enjoying finding out what they like or dislike.
Wine tasting events are great fun and just the best way to find out more about wine, a lot of them have the actual winemakers on hand for your questions or like this event experts from the wine merchant themselves to offer friendly advice. So I recommend to anybody who enjoys a glass of wine to go along to a nearby tasting, you will be surprised how much you will learn as well as having fun along the way.
Below are a few of my highlights, there were just too many good ones to share all but these were what I thought the outstanding ones (All wines on the day were discounted by 10% on prices shown below and all available through Stone, Vine & Sun website or shop)………
Perrot-Batteux, Blanc de Blancs, Brut France 2007. (£33.50)
Made from 100% Chardonnay and aged for 7 years before release.
Wonderful effervescence, bright acidity, full of lemons, green apples, fresh Brioche and almonds.
English Sparkling… worth a mention
Cottonworth, Classic Cuvèe Brut, NV (£26.95)
Exton Park, Britagne, Blanc de Blancs 2011. (£35.95)
Chardonnay – South Africa & Chile
- Domaine Des Dieux 2013, Chardonnay, South Africa (£15.50) *STAR BUY *
- Ataraxia 2014, Hemel-en-Aard Ridge, South Africa (£23.95)
- Chamonix Reserve 2015, South Africa (£23.50)
- Errazuriz, Aconcagua Costa 2015, Chile (£14.95)
- Errazuriz, Las Pizarras, Acongagua Costa, Chile (£49.50)
- Pandolfi Price, Los Patricios 2014, Chile (£22.95)
French Unoaked Chardonnay
Although I usually opt for Oaked Chardonnay’s, I was suitably impressed with three French Unoaked bottles…
Domaine Sainte Barbe. Màcon-Villages, Les Tilles 2016 (£16.50) very good indeed, see picture on the left
Domaine des Chazelles, Vire-Clessé, Vieilles Vignes 2016 (£17.95)
Domaine Faiveley, Rully, Les Villeranges, 2015 (£19.50)
French Oaked Chardonnay
Lequin-Colin, Bourgogne, Back to Roots 2015. (£17.95)
Begude, L’Etoile, Limoux 2016. (£15.95)
Francoise & Denis Clair, St.Aubin 1er Cru, Les Champlots 2015 (£28.95)
Joseph Faiveley, Puligny-Montrachet, 1er Cru Champgain 2013 ( £54) Expensive but excellent.
1 Hoddles Creek, Yarra Valley, 2016 Australia (£22.50)
2 Mac Forbes, Coldstream Pinot Noir, Yarra valley 2016 Australia (£34.50)
3 Ashton Hills Estate , Adelaide Hills 2016 (£39.95) * Star Buy*
4 Felton Road, Bannockburn PN, Central Otago NZ2015 (£31.95)
5. Rene Lequin-Colin, Borurgogne PN 2014 France (£13.95)
6. Domaine Faiveley, Gevrey-Chambertin 2014 (£40)