Last week, cunningly (or otherwise) scheduled on the same night as the Spain vs Germany World Cup semi-final, I ambled along to the wine bloggers picnic organised by Find Wine.The idea was to have an informal and unusual get-together to taste some of the wines currently on the Find Wine list. As they only stock limited cases for each available ‘slot’ (check out my explanation of their unusual and rather clever business model here) they need to generate regular reviews to keep the information out there accurate and fresh. My favourite wines are mentioned below, but I particularly appreciated the effort they went to (a table, complete with white tablecloth, proper cutlery and plates to enjoy the oysters, smoked salmon, shrimp and cut meats (and more) – all under a tree in a deserted Hyde Park (see, I told you the timing was cunning). An interesting group of winos and foodies showed up to join the party including @mathildecuisine, Joe Wadsack, @r_mccormack, @htinlondon as well as Tina Gellie and more The conversation and blind tasting (see below) went on late into the night, so much so we ended up with an unusual “lock-in” which involved us having to decamp and scale the Hyde Park fences in the dark … a process resulting in some hilarity for the more vertically challenged amongst us (read the Find Wine blog for details) I really wish these guys well. They are stocking interesting wines, care and think about the customer, and although new to the game, they are also using social media well. We need more innovators like these and we need to make sure consumers learn about them – they’ll benefit greatly. My favourite wines on the night: Zuccardi Alma 4 Chardonnay NV (Sparkling from Argentina): A very good sparkler. Lots of bready complexity without losing freshness. Casa Marin ‘Cipreses’ Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 (Chile): Stunningly BIG nose – really amazing aromatic wine, and tastes fresh, fun and yet seriously good. Naiades Verdejo, Naia, 2006 (Rueda, Spain): A complicated wine. This is Verdejo, but not as we know it, Jim. Barrel Fermented to give it greater body and layers of nuttiness, spice and vanilla notes but lots of acidity & white peach fruit from the grape. Interesting for those more adventurous drinkers (and I happen to know that the 2009 vintage is a “Top 100” Spanish wine)
Santa Lucia Sangiovese 2008 (Tuscany, Italy): Not yet listed (they’re on the 2007) but the 2008 was tasting very good, with lots of red fruit and that dryish, soft tannin I associate with Tuscan wines. Look out for it Conan The Barbera 2007 (Barbera d’Asti, Italy): Bucket-loads of dark fruit, tannin and … pretty much everything you can think of that’s big & dark. Seems a delicious wine, if still very young. If you like BIG wines, or have the chance to hold onto this for a bit, it is highly worth it.
And then, the blind tasting wine:
This had us all pretty well stumped. We started off in Italy (probably the south), toyed with Chile, spent a while in South Africa, and took a tour around Australia. It was a red wine, lots of “heat” (ripe fruit, soft tannins) but a spicy, leafy and green pepper style character that we assumed was Cabernet Sauvignon. It obviously had age, with balsam & cedar notes, but was still reasonably dense and alive. I can’t remember what I guessed, never mind what the others did – though Rachel McCormack is happy to remind me she did suggest Australia … amongst the other dozen countries she mentioned 😉
However, I will admit we were all pleasantly surprised to find out it was :
2002 Summerfield Shiraz (Pyrenees, Australia) at £19.99
Well worth trying if you like wines with a bit of age and character, and you’ve never tried what New World wines like this can turn into.
Great evening and I look forward to the next one