The photogenic dead, somewhere in the Côte de Nuits
I attended a tasting the other day at a Michelin starred restaurant near Newbury. It was a Bordeaux tasting and present to discuss their wines were Patrick Maroteaux - owner of Chateau Branaire-Ducru in St Julien - and Stefan von Niepperg, that very dapper German nobleman and owner of (deep breath) Châteaux d'Aiguilhe, Canon La Gaffelière and Clos de l'Oratoire, La Mondotte and Clos Marsalette.
We convened for the tasting and looked at various vintages of each wine, in some cases including 2nd wines of the properties, and all was well...or well-ish. Is this wine corked, I asked myself about one sample, a glass which happened to contain one of the most expensive wines on the table (and we're talking pounds in the hundreds per bottle here). No, not corked. But what then? The unmistakeable hands-so-soft aroma of washing-up liquid swam into focus. A Michelin starred restaurant and they cannot be bothered to treat their wine glasses properly?!??!
Yesterday found me transported by train to London for SITT: the Specialist Importers Trade Tasting, housed these last few years at Vinopolis, that wine museum located right next to Borough Market. Phew! What a slog. So many good and interesting wines, my self-applied brief being to source wines for The Daily Drinker. And what wines I found! Slovenian examples of Pinot Gris and Silvaner; Kekfrankos and Furmint from Hungary; that hybrid of uncertain origin, Chambourcin; and lots and lots of other fascinating varietal wines from the US, Australia, Spain, France, Portugal and, of course, Italy. I feel as though I have enough to last the year out. How exciting!