I was long over due to host the Fine Wine Team at mine, finally a date was set and we all gathered for a thursday night BBQ and bring a bottle evening. The food was basic and simple (we were 13 in number! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) and cooked on the BBQ my son Charlie. The wine theme was anything except Bordeaux or Burgundy. This meant we had a barrage of aromatic whites and strangely not one Chardonnay or Sauvignon featured and a lot of Italians.

Early on, nothing wrong with Child Labour!!

After a corona (beer) or two it was straight to the fizz and a nice complementary pair of Champagnes – Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV mag & Pol Roger 2002 – the former had a little bottle age, was mellow and lovely but still with plenty of finesse. The Pol Roger was an altogether richer fuller, more biscuity glass, lovely, clearly with a serious future but no reason not to drink it now as well. A few more bubbles went down with the Prosecco Le Coulture NV, always solidly hitting the spot. Next it was time for our resident honorary Aussie to unleash a couple of bottles – Pikes 1997 Riesling, Clare Valley & Howard Park 1997 Riesling, W.Australia – the former was oily waxy and nicer on the nose than on the slightly weary palate. The latter I really liked, it evolved from kerosine and oily stink to citrus and waxiness before than becoming toffeed..really lovely and perfect now, an almost luminous colour too.

Steps to…

Next up was always going to be the hardest as our MW student was at the helm, we went everywhere from northern Italy to Austria and back but it was actually – Emphasis Assyrtiko 2012 – amazingly cool climate in style, fresh and aromatic, delicious. Next was Albarinho de Fefinane 2012, I know I liked it but I’m not going to lie and say I remember it much as I as trying to help my son with his slave labour of cooking. The Loibner Steinertal 2008 from FX Pichler was a really great, very complex and perfect now, we mucked about trying to get it and I remember wondering if it was dry German, impressive. Coulee de Serrant 2001 from N.Joly was next and sadly it wasn’t a good bottle, not corked but over evolved, it may come right, anything is possible but I felt it was tired and on its way to oxidation. The final dry whites was a delicious Soave 2011 Inane, Vigneti di Foscarino, savoury but with fruit, complex and nuanced, really good.
Food appeared so it was red time, Martinborough Pinot Noir Reserve 1994 kicked us off and it was interesting, fully mature, may be the fruit and tannin had separated themselves from each other but perfectly enjoyable. We stayed with 1994 next and had Barolo Bussia “Vigna Rocche” 1994 Parusso sadly my guess was in Coonawarra Cabernet and I like to think I know my nebbiolo to a degree. This was modern in style and the vintage was a fairly poor one, what had happened was that while it was fine as a wine, if tired, it had lost it’s identity. The next wine made me think of St.Estephe or Pauillac but knowing that it couldn’t be I was a bit stuck, someone got us to Tannat and therefore Madiran, it was Ch Montus 1995. I really liked it and thought it had guts and class to go with the black fruit…a lot of fun and no novelty.

Night Cricket!

I had promised a few Barolos and decided on the theme of 2007’s mostly because my cellar has Barolo from 2004 onwards and 2007 is definitely the vintage to open. First up was Barolo Brunate 2007 from Marcarini, nicely balanced and ready to appreciated, good fruit, red and a little black, nicely loose structure, it had avoided the potential mistake in 2007 of being too bruised. For the next one I went to the same vineyard but different producer Barolo Brunate 2007 from F.Rinaldi, I was really impressed by this, very red and pure, like Volnay on steroids, poised, perfumed and elegant. The third 2007 was a different vineyard Barolo Villero 2007 from Brovia, I’ll be honest, it was disappointing, a little bruised and some how a little muddled and muddied in texture. It wasn’t bad but was just a bit muted…look forward to trying it again later in it’s life. Cheese was up next so a sweetie came out Clos de Sainte Catherine 1996, Coteau du Layon and just reminded me that I should drink so much more Loire sweet. It has a lovely, a complex apple-like nose and then a bracing acidity that just makes it so drinkable, really delightful. Having brought the cheese Mr Pym also brought a bottle of Port the only weird thing being he didn’t know exactly what it was! From the mid/late 1970’s for sure and by Fonseca, it was good with development but also with red fruit and lots of sediment. We still needed a few bits so next up was Nebbiolo d’Alba 2008 from Giacosa which I have had nearly a case of, it’s decent but not getting better, the first bottle a year so ago was pure red fruit and lovely, it’s a little bruised now. Then one last red, the stunning Barbera Cascina Francia 2009, G.Conterno it is the perfect wine for anyone who doesn’t realise just how good Barbera can be…it has ripeness, fruit and texture…I love it.
Many a cigar was smoked, I had one of my last Bolivar Gold medals from 2008, simply awesome, and my first Rafael Gonzalez Perla, good/decent.
And that as they say, was that!

The light has gone but nobody has moved!