I took off my coat and made my way to the bar overflow area where T, D and G were cheerfully installed and appeared already to have scoffed the best part of a bottle of pink port. Being a perfect gentleman, T lost no time in pouring me a tumbler of the stuff on the rocks. I'd known in advance that he was bringing a fortified rose wine and had been intrigued but had never for one moment realised it would be a port - Offley's Rose Porto to be precise. T exhorted us to imagine that we were "somewhere south of Slough" by which I think he meant some hot, exotic country relaxing under the palm trees. It went down a treat - the ice chilled it down so it wasn't too sweet but remarkably refreshing and certainly something I'd consider buying again. Available in your local 'Trose for a bargain £9.99. Brilliant SPNS fare.
As usual, however, D out-weirded us all by bringing along a Japanese fizz with the moniker "Niagara Sparkling" which he got in Japan. Strangely this one doesn't seem to be available in my local supermarket. It had a remarkable nose - the others got lychees but for me there was a chemical note that belonged in a potting shed or garage, and it took me ages to work out what it was. We decided it wasn't nail polish remover but might be diesel or kerosene. On further reflection I have a feeling it might have been firelighters. Anyway, I found the palate more enjoyable and it reminded me of a sparkling Vouvray. Fascinating stuff.
My contibution paled by comparison. This was Mouratus, a white pinot noir from the Loire, made by J Mourat, which came from the Wine Society. It was the 2010 vintage. I've never had a still white wine made from pinot noir so thought it would be interesting. Sadly, it wasn't - it was bland and had no finish. We all agreed that it was disappointing and would have been better with bubbles.
Then we moved on to G's red, Amorino 2005 from Podere Castorani, which he got from Avery's of Bristol. This claimed to be 13.5% alcohol but seemed to me to be closer to 14.5%. It was an "international" wine in the sense of being big and powerful but without much local character. It was approachable but I found I got rapidly diminishing returns. The comments of the others were generally favourable (apart from T's which seemed to be all about his delicious marinaded ox cheeks), but I suspect ACC would have hated it.
Finally, G had taken the liberty of bringing along some of my Pacherenc de Vic Bilh, Saint-Albert, 1999. I brought a bottle of this to the previous SPNS dinner and it had turned out to be corked. This additional bottle had been lurking in G's flat so I hadn't realised I still had any left. Fortunately this one turned out to be ok and everyone seemed to enjoy it, the consensus being that it was not too sweet. Not a "great" wine but pleasurable and excellent value, and at 50cl the perfect size to round things off.
I stole a photo of the Savile dining room as we were leaving - a remarkable setting in which to have dinner! Then we went back downstairs for grappa, coffee and further conversation. Another great evening.