Sunday, 17 June 2012

Life's too short to drink bad wines

Life's Too Short to Drink Bad WineLast Friday was the last University of Southampton wine club tasting and the theme was wines selected from Simon Hoggart's Life's Too Short to Drink Bad Wine: 100 wines for the discerning drinker. Clearly, we did not do them all but we did manage to taste an impressive eight. (The wines themselves were sourced from The Wine Society and any prices quoted are from there. Names are from the evening's handout, so apologies if any are not quite right.)

In total, we got through three whites, five reds and one Prosecco. I did not remember to get pictures of them all but I have my favourite five from the night. First up was the Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine sur Lie, Chateau de Chasseloire, Cuvee Centenaires, 2007. This was a crisp, white wine that was very drinkable and a bargain at only £9. A very good start and my favourite white of the evening. It was accompanied by an amusing passage from the book but, sadly, I cannot remember any of that.

Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie Madiran Chateau Montus 2005
Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine sur Lie, Chateau de Chasseloire, Cuvee Centenaires, 2007 Madiran Chateau Montus, 2005
The star wine of the evening for me, though, was the Madiran Chateau Montus, 2005. At £19 a bottle, it's over twice the price of the Muscadet but also over twice as nice and I might invest in a bottle or two for special occasions. (Although, sadly, I cannot find it on the Wine Society website.)

In between the Muscadet and Montus were two more whites and three reds, most of which were very drinkable. The book sold itself on being for the wine enthusiast and not the wine snob and, definitely not being a wine snob, I found this to be a refreshingly honest and down-to-earth approach. I'm not sure that I have the knowledge (or sophisticated palate) to class myself as a wine enthusiast (although this does complete a round dozen posts about wine) but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself appreciating the majority of Simon Hoggart's suggestions that we tried that night. (The exception was the Cassis Chateau Barbanau Kalahari, 2007, which I found to be very hard work and definitely not one to revisit at £18 a pop. Still, one failure out of eight is not bad at all.)

My favourite three of those five are shown below. (The second white of the night, a Fefinanes Alabarino, 2010, was not omitted deliberately but neither is it worth £11.50 a bottle by my taste/budget.) Of these three, I think the best bang-for-buck goes to the 2005 Hochar at £10.50. This was a fair bit nicer than the slightly more expensive 2009 Morellino di Scansano. The 2004 Chateau Musar was nicer than them both but at £18 I think I would rather spend a pound more and get the 2005 Madiran Chateau Montus. I wouldn't say no to a glass (or two) if offered, though!

Morellino di Scansano Chateau Musar Hochar 2005 Chateau Musar Gaston Hochar 2004
Morellino di Scansano, 2009 Chateau Musar, Hochar, 2005 Chateau Musar, Gaston Hochar, 2004
The evening was rounded off with a glass of Prosseco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene NV, which was perfectly quaffable, even if not noteworthy enough to warrant a photo. It seems a little wrong to review a book based on 8% of its contents but if they are a representative 8% then this book is well worth buying!

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