On Thursday evening, I attended this Burgundy Portfolio wine tasting which was held at the City University Club. The first mission was to find the venue which at first glance appeared to be a pub - then I spotted the discreet entrance and walked up the stairs to the second floor which was good exercise. It was only when I got there that I spotted the lift!
I was greeted at the door by ACC, grabbed a glass and got down to business. There were two tables and things were on a help-yourself basis which seemed to work well and as far as I could see everyone behaved themselves with pouring quantities. This can sometimes be an issue and when I was on the cruise a couple of weeks ago I was amused that the Americans with whom we sat for meals poured very stingy glasses of wine for everyone, while the Canadians on the same table poured themselves glasses full to the brim. Which might explain why the Canadian guy had a very purple face. But I digress.
The first table consisted of wines not yet shipped to the UK and I hadn't tried any of them before. The domaines present were Didier Montchovet, Albert Joly, Chateau Genot-Boulanger, Maison en Belle Lies, Jean-Pierre Bony and Yves Chevalier. Of the whites, my favourite was the 2009 Puligny-Montrachet from Albert Joly. Generally the reds were more my cup of tea and I enjoyed the 2010 Beaune 1er Cru Les Greves from Maison en Belle Lies, which is perhaps not surprising as I do love Beaune.
However, the stand-out wine of the evening in my opinion was this Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Damodes 2010 from Domaine Jean-Pierre Bony. Pretty much everyone I spoke to liked this, whereas there were differences of opinion on almost all the other wines. I got redcurrants on the nose and found it a lighter style of NSG which isn't an appellation I usually go for. It had impressive length too. ACC explained that part of the Damodes vineyard is premier cru, but this wine is made from grapes from the non-premier cru bit. This is the kind of thing a Burgundy geek like me likes to look for as often it indicates good quality but without the premier cru premium. At £270 a case in bond this seemed to be good value.
Then it was onto the second table, featuring wines which have already been shipped. I was amused to discover I've already bought about half of them.
On the left were some Chablis from Domaine Gilles and Nathalie Fevre. Once again it was the Petit Chablis 2011 that impressed me the most, especially at £12.95 a bottle. It was enjoyable to drink something so approachable as the wines on the previous table will not be ready for some time. S noted that it wasn't very Chablis in style - it's quite fruity rather than minerally - and we speculated about what Petit Chablis is exactly. It turns out that as with Burgundy, it's to do with the classification of the vineyard and the Petit Chablis vineyards are the ones further out that aren't good enough to be generic Chablis, 1er cru or grand cru.
In the ice bucket in the middle of the table were old favourites the Cremant and the Rose from Domaine Felettig, both of which I've had a case of and have enjoyed over the summer. There was also a Fleurie 2010 from Domaine de Sermezy which O rated
highly, and a Santenay from Bachey-Legros which I liked a lot, but was
now only available in magnum. While I love the magnum format (and have
fond memories of the tasting a few years ago which
was a series of controlled experiments, proving that wine from magnum
really does taste better), until I move to more spacious accommodation
there's a limit to how many magnums I can utilise. ACC told his habitual
joke about how it's the perfect size for dinner for two...
The room had the most leather sofas crammed into a small space that I've ever seen, along with a picture of HRH which pleased Baron McGuffog. I really liked the vibrant tiles set into the fireplace. However, on perusal of the leaflet about the club, I discovered it's only open at lunchtime on weekdays so probably not one I shall be joining in the near future.
Finally, it was good to see at least one Master of Wine there who was famous enough for me to recognise! All in all, another very enjoyable and educational evening.