On Tuesday night it was another SPNS dinner with everyone in attendance apart from A, who has never actually attended. Hopefully he will one day!
I arrived to find the others guzzling prosecco and was informed that what appeared to be a stray glass was available for me only for T, moments later, to howl with indignation that his had disappeared - fortunately I hadn't started drinking it yet. A fresh glass was poured and all was well. This was Prosecco Extra Dry Baccharetto and was provided by P. It was generally well-received - crisp, pleasant and refreshing, a good summer aperitif. We quickly knocked it back and headed upstairs where we could have more space to ourselves. I broke the club rules by taking photos, but nobody seemed too bothered.
Next up was this Puligny-Montrachet 09 from Jean-Louis Chavy, provided by G. He was given this, so brought it along even though the cost was above that permitted by SPNS rules. Apparently the way to justify bringing something expensive to the SPNS is to pretend it was a gift - I've filed this info away for future reference. We all thought it was ok (drinkable and correct) but nobody raved about it and G said he wouldn't have paid good money for it.
On to the reds. This Chateau Plagnac Cru Bourgeois 1989 was provided by P (at what point did we all start bringing two bottles instead of one? Not that I'm complaining...) It exceeded expectations and went down very well. We all found it drinkable, with good fruit and tannin, and mature but not over the hill. A success.
This red Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Clos Saint-Jean 1983 from Ramonet came from my own stocks - it was my last bottle of this wine, which I snapped up at auction some time ago. Note the charming clingfilm cover to keep the label on! This was another risk for the SPNS as I have a track record of bring wines which are faulty or have gone off, but this time it paid off. It was fully mature, lovely old Burgundy with a wonderful finish. "A triumph" wrote G. Hurrah!
To follow, we had this Chorey-les-Beaune Les Beaumonts 2011 from Ludovic Belin, provided by ACC. This vineyard is right by the gite where we usually stay when we go to Burgundy, so it was lovely to drink something from it. It was quite a contrast to the Chassagne, being young, vibrant and fruity - tres Chorey. T declared it the kind of Burgundy he likes to drink, which is high praise coming from him.
A quick photo to compare and contrast the Chassagne - a wonderful mature reddish brown colour - and the Chorey, bright purple.
We then moved on to this Zweigelt-Rebe 2009 from Japan, brought along by D. Unfortunately my Japanese isn't up to deciphering the label! This went down very well. Somebody has written a comment "very forward, like a keen geisha" in the book - disgraceful. G and I both thought that if we had been tasting it blind we might very well have taken it to be an Austrian wine - we've had Blauer Zweigelt before and it's quite distinctive. Kudos to the producers for getting such a good expression of the grape. Very interesting.
We then moved on to a pair of sweet vendange tardive gewurztraminers from Kuentz-Bas, Cuvee Caroline, provided by T. One was from 2001 and the other 2007.
Spot the difference. I found the 2001 big and opulent, while the 2007 bore a resemblance but wasn't quite the finished article just yet. G controversially preferred the 2007 leading some of us to speculate that he had got his glasses mixed up. There were other contradictory remarks in the book (one member thought the 2001 had a poor finish, another said it had a long finish) while T only managed "Good". I guess we were flagging by this stage!
However, there was more to come. This is a visual joke - it was the remaining half bottle of the 1976 Rieussec from the previous evening decanted into the 1983 d'Yquem bottle. We did consider pretending to the others that it was actually d'Yquem and seeing whether any of them would spot that it wasn't, but that wouldn't have been very kind. The Rieussec went down well but for me, it suffered by comparison to the d'Yquem the night before. It tasted more of honey than marmalade. It was well-balanced and long, but it somehow seemed to lack complexity.
Finally, we had this Seifried Nelson "Sweet Agnes" riesling 2011 provided by G. Hmmm. Quite a contrast. I appear to have quoted some lyrics from "Firestarter" in the book which was my way of referring to the petrol-like quality it had. ACC just wrote "Shell". It wasn't my cup of tea at all. Some of the others didn't dislike it, and to be fair, it probably suffered from comparison with the other sweet wines we'd just had - it was a mere nipper by comparison.
All in all, another great dinner and one particularly in the spirit of the SPNS in that there was a wide range of unusual things that we wouldn't normally get to drink. Looking forward to October already!