I got an email a few weeks back from a fella called Richard Bampfield. He’s an MW and a bit of UK boff when it comes to the wines of Bordeaux, so he’s someone I take a keen interest in following given my Bordeaux connection with 20h33. So when all of a sudden he was inviting me to come and taste through a range of Bordeaux wines, and then rate them on behalf of the Bordeaux Wines UK it was a bit of a humbling thing. Someone like that ask you to do that? That’s pretty damn cool.
The Bordeaux Wines UK team sort out a list every year of wines that cost between £8 and £20 that us punters can pick up at supermarkets and other wine shops. They do that by getting a group of wine-o’s to stand in a (remarkably small) room and taste their way through just shy of 100 wines each and come up with their favourites. It then gets thrown into a little booklet, and off everyone trots to the shops…
Tasting Technique In The Spotlight
I was nervous. I’m not the most confident in my tasting technique. Let me explain that a bit. When you’re being taught how to taste wine in a classroom (takes a bit of the fun out, right?) you’re being told what colour it is, what it smells like, what it tastes like, and so on. Then you have a go yourself on a new wine. Then they tell you what you should have put. It’s so unbelievably subjective at times that it’s very tough to get it spot on what’s in the marking scheme, but bless them, if they’re going to get you through an exam they need to test you like that I guess. Doesn’t help though as my nemesis of acidity level leaves me scratching my head.
How To Eat An Elephant
So being invited along with some pretty useful sets of palates to do this Everyday Bordeaux tasting was pretty scary really, but sod it, in for a penny, in for a pound, right? Actually turned out to be about 300 wines, but mercifully you’re split into 3 teams of 3 or 4 and you eat the elephant that way. I got very lucky and ended up with the very patient Nina Cerullo, and fellow ginge, Dan Harwood. Near as damn it 100 tasting notes later and both my hand (from writing) and my mouth (from the tannin) were in pieces. But I was pretty chuffed to be serving a purpose.
Check out the list we came up with below (to be fully published in mid May) and head down the shops and see what you think of our selection…
Check out the Everyday Bordeaux link here