Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I've got a note from my mum

In 2009 I made 78 separate tasting notes; in 2010 I only made 36.  And lets not even talk about the single blog post.  What was I playing at for the last twelve months?

Lets first clarify what I consider to be a tasting note.  These are made by me, siting at the kitchen table slurping and dribbling, before eventually writing my jottings into my precious black book.  This does not include those taken at wine tastings, or those which were part of my WSET coursework.  Did I mention the WSET?

I am pleased to say that in May 2010 I passed my WSET Advanced level exam, but only at the second attempt.  First time out my palette refused to behave and convinced me that the LBV port was "off-dry".  What was I thinking, because I knew what I was drinking.

But my wine tasting also got a little side-tracked by the sirens of BEER and SHERRY.

I'm happy to admit that sherry has become something of an obsession to me.  The energy, and the patience, required to produce a sherry is truly amazing.  The fortified mosta wine is fractionally blended in a solera and, because of the way the sherry is are blended, there will a tiny percentage of the very first wine run through the Solera in every bottle you buy.  It takes three to five years to create even a simple £7.95 Fino; ten years to produce an Amontillado or Olorosos which you can pick up for £12; and anything up to 25 years for the finest sherries.

When did you last spend £45 on an bottle which was 25 years in making, and part of the blend has been aged for anything up to 200 years?  Sherry is genius.

And then there was beer.

Beer has always been a big part of my drinking, and after the palette gymnastics of the WSET I was glad of the change.  But beer festivals gave way to Belgian trappist ales and other strange brews before I eventually arrived at the pagan altar of home-brew in the latter part of 2010.  And that is when the trouble really started...

I have a feeling that through 2011 the struggle between grape and grain will continue to rage and I will, I'm afraid, be the innocent victim of this eternal war.

Latitude Wines c.£25.99 (tasted 19 December 2009)

A full nose of well developed classic red burgundy wet forest floor bouquet, but still with red-current touches to bring in some freshness.  Dry in the mouth, with decent acidity which promises further aging despite the lightness of the tannins.  Dried fruit and smokey oak vanilla are supported by an herbaceous freshness and the slightest fresh-fruit acidity.  The excellent length and finish rounds this wine off nicely.

A fabulous wine: one-nil to the grape.

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