My six weeks spent in the UK recently afforded me the opportunity to taste a wide range of wines, spanning various continents and price points. There is no doubt that the UK offers the consumer hedonistic pleasure with wines for various palates and wallets.
Wines tasted include: Royal Tokaji Essencia 2000, priced around the £350 mark.
Essencia is the richest and rarest of all Hungarian Tokaji wines. It is the truest expression of terroir known to man. Typically, this free run juice takes 6 to 8 years to complete its fermentation to less than 3% alcohol. Essencia can reach 85% residual sugar.
The wines of Domaine Weinbach were exceptional, starting with the Sylvaner Reserve 2006 and progressing to the Selections de Grains Nobles Riesling Schlossberg 2004. The Selections de Grains Nobles are obtained from berries infected with botrytis cinerea / noble rot.
The Bordeaux wines of Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste 1998 and Chateau Clerc-Milon 2000 showed the exceptional depth that Bordeaux wines offer and I would really be happy opening the Clerc-Milon within the next two to four years as the tannin structure is still too dominant.
The bubblies tasted included Green Point Reserve Brut NV, Deutz Brut Classic NV, Champagne Mutard NV and an English sparkling wine, the Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2002. This sparkler became a favourite during my visit – fresh strawberries on the nose and a deliciously balanced palate of fruit and integrated acidity.
New World wines tasted included Alfa Crux Malbec 2004 from Valle de Uco, Mendoza produced by O. Fournier. Upfront and fruity, but quite heady at 14,5% alcohol. Another Malbec from Argentina included Domaine Jean Bousquet Malbec Reserva 2007, also 14,5% alcohol. One glass of each wine was sufficient for the evening.
The list is quite endless so here’s a overview of the others: Clos Fautine 2004, Faugeres; Clos du Papillon 2001, Domaine Crotereau 2005, Quincy; Torre Pieve Chardonnay 2006, Veneto; Cristom Eola-Amity Hills, Viognier Estate 2007, Willamette Valley; The Southpaw Vineyard Shiraz 2006, McLaren Vale; Sherazade Donnafugta Nero d’Avola e Syrah; Grove Estate Wines Cellar Block Reserve Shiraz Viognier 2006; Domaine Saint Andrieu 2008, Cotes de Provence; Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ; Zonte’s Footstep Single Site Verdelho 2007 and Chateau Couhins 2005, Pessac-Leognan.