What is it with high altitude wine tastings?

Yesterday I wrote about my tasting at www.altitude360.com – but in fact it was my second in a series of “top of building” wine tastings having made it to the 6th floor of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) – www.architecture.com – for the latest The Wine Society tasting (www.thewinesociety.com)

This was a small tasting of only 50 wines that are new to their wine list, so I thought I’d share a few favourites with you:

WHITES:
Las Medallas Manzanilla (Sherry) £6.95 – delicious, concentrated, lightly salty but delicately aromatic in that very unsual Fino/Manzanilla way. It took me a LONG time to ‘get’ this kind of wine, despite liking aged sherries, so stick with it!

Gewurtztraminer, Grand Cru Brand, Cave de Turckheim 2007 (Alsace) £16.00 – gorgeous floral, herbal, honey (and possibly a touch of mandarin) complexity, without ever coming across as excessive. Pricey, but worth an occasional detour.

Dog Point Chardonnay 2007 (New Zealand) £18.00 – I found the smell was like putting your nose in a glass of undiluted Rose’s Lime Cordial. It promises fresh, crisp lime fruit … But the taste is much more than this – toasty, rich and slightly nutty, but also with that citrus streak and great minerality (which means it was fresh and crisp, but not mouth-puckering, more refreshing)

REDS:
Bricco Rosso Suagna 2004
(Italy) £6.50 – loads of yummy, fleshy, dark fruit on this one, with just a hint of overripeness which normally puts me off, but this was still OK. Tons of acidity in the mouth to freshen it up (this is Italy after all) so for VFM (value for money) it scores very highly

Barbera d’Alba Poderi Colla 2007 (Italy) £8.50 – Oooh, so nice! Yummy dark fruit (all sorts of plums, strawberries, blackberries and more) with a warming, but soft tannin and loads of other flavours dancing about the palate. This is a delicious wine, complex but easily drinkable now. Sold!

Cotes de Rhone Mon Coeur Selection, Jean-Louis Chave 2007 (France, Rhone) £12.50 – Heading up there in price again, but OH! A lovely wine! An amazing nose – spicy, earthy and blackberry fruit (and just a hint of boot polish?). The fruit is strong on the taste, but also accompanied with lovely floral notes too. My fave!

Are you a member of The Wine Society? I am, and if you want a great resource for buying wines online or on mail-order, I do recommend it!