Last week we had two colleagues over from the Hong Office – Erica and Huge. We decide on a meal out on the Tuesday and headed off to Planet of the Grapes in Bow Lane near mansion house tube. It is a cracking spot and they allowed us to take two mags (see below which they were). The rest of the wines we just bought 2 bottles off the list and tasted. Most of the time we took it in turns to pick and then everyone could have a good go at calling what they thought it was. Food-wise we had a mixed platter of cold meats and cheese to start then mostly had steaks but a few people had other things…anyway on with the wines.
First up was Macon Verze 2009, Domaines Leflaive from magnum which we took along, it is starting to drink really well, a nice combination or richness and a racy acidity, it will open out more but is delicious now, I love white burgundy in magnum. Next on the agenda was a pick of mine, aimed slightly at catching one of the team out, Egon, as he’s always going on about this type of wine it was Soave Classico 2010 Tiama. Most people thought it was a little older, it had good soft, mellow Sauvignon like fruit on the nose and a decently complex palate which might have been why people felt it was older, it went down well and quickly. Next was the choice of Mr H and was our last white, it was Kistler Chardonnay 2008. I really liked it and felt it might have been something like Kumeu River from New Zealand it was not hot. It had good complexity, was a touch short possibly but then I m not sure how good a vintage the 2008 is? I enjoyed it, rich and broad but not OTT.

And so with the platter done and steak on its way we moved to the reds starting with a real favourite of mine Cascina Francia Barbera 2008, Giacomo Conterno from magnum, I just love the fact it is packed full of fruit but also has a savoury, almost salty, edge to it, I could drink a lot of it, it’ll age too. Next was another “blind” choice of mine – Barolo 2006, Aldo Conterno – this was picked as being a lot older by most of the team, I chose it because not many of them have seen the oaked side of Nebbiolo. I thought this was well done but for me oak and Nebbiolo should be kept well apart, you get a mint, iodine like nose that is not as elegant as the grape itself, a good wine but not a good barolo in my opinion. Mossy and Egon then chose the next wine which turned out to be Beaucastel CNDP 2001, I have been enjoying more and more Rhones of late. This was decent but I picked it as more northern rhone than southern, Guido got it right. There was an almost gravy-ish texture, I have a feeling that this is somewhere between a primary and secondary phase, it was ok but there was not enough fruit for my liking. I would love to taste again in 2-3 years, an interesting wine to try blind.

It was then decided we needed something sweet and plumbed for two halves of Filhot 2001, Egon will claim he got this but given that he mentioned every Chateau and vintage in Sauternes I think his scattered gun approach can not be rewarded. It was decent as a sauternes but I would expect more from a 2001, it was true to Filhot’s style though with a lightness of touch. Huge and myself then decided we needed one more red to see the night out, we went for Ridge Monte Bello 2005. It was a very interesting one, there was no way anyone thought it was old world there was an exotic richness and fruitiness that meant you had to be new world, western Australia was also dismissed as this was bigger in fruit that those. The good thing was that there was no heat and no over high alcohol here. I thought it had very clear red fruits with a little creamy black currant in reserve, it was very good but I wonder how it will develop.

It was a cracking night and good to spend time with our colleagues from the HK office…we were very well looked after by the guys at Planet of the Grapes too, if you like simple proper food and interesting bottles you should go…