Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A year in wine pt1

With xmas approaching quickly, then hogmanay I thought i would have a quick look back at some of the wines that have made their mark on me this year. About this time of the year Tom Cannavan has his readers picks of 2007, where visitors to his site ( pick the wines that made 2007 memorable for them. Ive submitted my wines and Tom tells me he's hoping to have them online by the 2nd or 3rd of January. Its quite hard to look back on twelve months and pick out just eight wines. So I thought that I would have a look back on the year from my perspective and trace some of the memorable moments.

Duds - its been quite a heavy year for dud wines here. Partly that is due to the fact that after having new racking fitted we brought about two hundred bins onto the wine-list, wines that we had sitting in our holding stores until it was ready. As we were soon to discover, with many of them we had held them too long. Weve lost something in the region of £3k worth of wines this year, a huge value, that comes straight off the bottom line. Of those a good few were to TCA, but in many cases, especially the older white burgs, it was oxidation that was the cause of destruction. A situation that was highlighted earlier in the year by Clive Coates in an article in Decanter magazine. We were especially hard hit it top end whites from the late eighties to nineties, from names such as Sauzet, Ramonet, Blain-Gagnard, Tollot-Beaut, Chanson, Leflaive, Chavy, Rollin the list goes on. It hurt, to see wines that really ought to be in their prime, completely bolloxed.
Other noteworthy duds include an 81 Petrus - lifeless and dull, two magnums of Drouhin-Laroze Bonnes Mares 1990 - damned corks had fallen into the bottle and only a horrendous plug of mould was preventing the wine from leaking out. The corks subsequently were extracted from the bottles and found to have shrivelled up to the width of a large crayon.

Highlights - many many highlights this year. It has been a year of some truly great wines. A 96 Henschke Hill of Grace tasted at Pacos leaving do, a xmas gift from Mr B. A 1986 Dujac Chambolle outstandingly soft and elegant, with vibrant soft red fruit on the nose. So many different bottles of DRC - La Tache 88, Richebourg 88 tasted together, La Tache 98 and Romanee St Vivant 98 also tasted together, and numerous bottles in between. Some cracking clarets too - including a stunning 85 Forts de Latour, second wine of Chateau Latour which has been cross posted to Chateau Petrogasm!!

Fizz - weve had quite an interesting year with Fizz this year. In January we formally ended our 18 year relationship with Ruinart when Taittinger became our new house champagne. The changeover was difficult for customers and staff alike, Ruinart Rose was a hard act to follow, and now a year after the change we still get comments lamenting the Rose being changed. The Brut has however been quite well recieved. We had several successful gourmet dinners focussing on Fizz, starting with the grower fizz dinner at the beginning of the year which turned out very well, Taittinger was "introduced" at their first gourmet as our house pour in September and we finished with de Venoge, a dinner that was excellent, the wines were amazing and the response was amongst the most positive we have recieved! In a somewhat ironic twist it turns out that de Venoge was the house champagne 20+ years ago when Mr Slater first came to the Grosvenor.

Sweeties and Stickies - its been a bit of a poor year really in dessert wines. Sales dipped off quite drastically over the summer, and while they have recouped slightly, they are no-where near what they used to be. However what we seem to have lost out in dessert wine sales, has been recouped in Port sales, a category that seems to have had a small revival. We have tanned though half a dozen cases of vintage ports in the last few months, including a rather tasty 1994 Quinta do Noval. But using all of that has allowed me to bring out the 1997 Quinta do Vesuvio, which I got to try for the first time a few weeks ago - majorly delicious!!! And yes it is a touch young, but after a nights rest in a decanter it is marvelous, besides Im only bringing out one case for now, the other three can have a few more years in the cellar.

1 comment:

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