Tuesday, 15 June 2010

New Jersey Wine Tasting

For my birthday my girlfriend took me to New York to visit my sister and experience the thrills of the Big Apple. And yes, before you say it, I know I’m a very lucky man. Whilst there, we were invited to a wine tasting, with me as the knowledgeable expert....

On arriving, we found Jackie the host for the day had really thrown the boat out and organised food too, which was absolutely amazing. The dishes that had been prepared included crab wontons with a mango salsa, Moroccan chicken with a crème fresh and horse radish dip, coconut shrimp and hush puppies with maple butter. I have absolutely no idea what the last ones actually are, but wow! They were amazing! I could go on about the food for a lot longer, as it was so delicious, but, back to the task in hand – the wine.

We started with an old vs. new world comparison: Roger Champault Sancerre vs. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Unsurprisingly the Cloudy Bay won hands down, showing a refinement and complexity of flavours that was unmatched; even by the other New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s we tasted later on, Cottesbrook and The Crossing.
We then moved on to the reds; starting with Bordeaux tasting wines from Chateau Aney (Haut Medoc), Chateau Bel Air (Lussac St Emillion) and Chateau Dubrand (Premiers Cotes de Blaye), all had the aromas and flavours of Blackcurrants, Cherries and Brambles as you’d expect from this region.

And so, on to Italy, and an Amarone della Valpolicella, which was just absolutely fantastic. Flavours of baked fruit and plums, juicy ripe tannins and just the right level of acidity, made the wine beautifully balanced.

Our next stop was Chile, with Anakena Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. This had flavours of black and red currants, ripe tannins and a good acidity producing an excellent wine, all for $10 (£7).

Having made a stop in South America, we moved further north to California, where we compared two 2005 Cabernet Sauvignons. The first came from Baldacci, which had flavours of dark berries and cedar, with a touch of spice coming through in the back ground and juicy ripe tannins. The wine tasted wonderful; however, it would have been even better with another three to four years ageing. The wine from Provenance had all the flavours of the Baldacci, as you would expect with both being from the same region and grape. Yet, the Provenance won more people round, with a bit more complexity of flavours, and a touch of cocoa coming through with the spice.

Having gone round the world tasting these fantastic wines, we had one style left to sample: The fortified. We started with Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) 2003 Port; a good example of LBV, with Dark Cherry, Black fruit and herby notes coming through on the nose. Next we moved over to Spain, tasting the Lustau Dry Amontillado, Los Arcos Sherry, which had aromas and flavours of almonds and dried fruit. The only word to describe this was: Beautiful. Final stop of the day was Australia with its Rutherglen Muscat from Chambers Rosewood Vineyards. This lusciously sweet wine had flavours of almonds, dried fruit, marmalade and honey which were just out of this world.

Finally I’d like to say big thank you to everyone who was there and made us feel very welcome, with birthday cake and gifts, particularly the lovely Jackie for organising everything and opening her home to us all! It was a great, unforgettable day. Get ready for this year ladies!

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