As a progressive feast of duck, chicken pork and prawns was served, we went through a progression of wines, served approximately in pairs. The opening wines started an NV Villa Marcello Prosecco di Treviso, gently effervescent and full flavoured and friendly in a slightly rustic way. Yellow stonefruits sweetly expressed, but a dry wine. Not entirely clean, a little reduction possibly, but more than acceptable to get the taste buds going. A non-vintage wine, but I’d hazard a guess at least mainly 3 years of age for the fruit base. Reserved for She-Shell, but which we also partook was a 2010 Astrolabe ‘Voyage’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Plenty of weight and constituency here, showing the quality of the vintage, and now showing a little green-bean secondary development. The acidity has mellowed out somewhat, and good for it.
Two Viognier wines made an interesting comparison. Firstly a 2010 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu ‘Chaillets’, a wine of great beauty with perfumes of exotic flowers and herbs, lavender especially, and a palate of drive and weight in perfect balance. This will develop over the next 6-8+ years judging by how much depth there is in it. Not disgraced in any way was a 2009 Spade Oak ‘Reserve’ Viognier. More developed and even, lovely richness and an unctuousness, and drinking very well now. This didn’t have the layers of interest, depth and drive, but was arguably more drinkable now. And it had a touch of the wild, non-pristine nature that put it into a comparable stance with the Cuilleron. Well-done Mr Voysey!
It’s often said that Gewurztraminer doesn’t really match Asian food, but it can. We enjoyed the lusciousness of a 2009 Stonecroft ‘Old Vine’ Gewurztraminer with all of the dishes. Nothing fighting, and all of the food plates having something more than compatible with the wine. The wine is still young and seemed undeveloped in flavour, with none of the hair-oil character, but definitely floral and honey-spice, hinting ginger.
Two reds at the opposite end of the spectrum next. A 2008 Dario Coos Refesco dal Peduncolo Rosso Venezia Giulia first. Appearing harsh, raw and on the sinewy and cool side, this grew into something substantial in glass. A robust and rustic number with an underlying sweetness alongside sharp acid, and plenty of grip. Then a 2007 Trinity Hill ‘Homage’ Syrah. A monster with ripeness, sweetness and the ‘wow’ factor. But this became far more interesting with breathing. Layers of complex black fruits and iron-earth, and great structure holding it all together. This is a wine to go 15+ years easily.
We were humming along and on a roll and decided we needed to have chocolate, sweet things and cheeses, so the Departure Club departed to across the road to a place which was also humming. Food ordered and about to arrive, a couple of sweeties saw the night off. A 2010 Torbreck ‘The Bothie’, pale in colour with a distinctive herb and pine edge to the Muscat. Crisp, tight, and surprisingly lean, clean and cutting for 13.75% alc. and 141 g/L sweetness. Then finally a 2009 Marisco ‘Kings Series’ ‘A Sticky End’ Noble Semillon. Richer denser and far more luscious, but showing real varietal bean flavours alongside oak nuttiness and grapefruit marmalade and honey from the botrytis.
A couple of us, who shall remain nameless departed from the wine on a nostalgia trip and finished the night off with a Baileys Irish Cream on the rocks. Yum! (Oops, gave it away.)