I’ve blogged before about how this is my busiest time of the year but 4 tastings in 1 week is exceptional, even for my November schedule. Interestingly, 3 of the 4 events focussed on Spain or Portugal – 2 countries whose wines have improved so much over the past 20 years or so.
The week started with Ed Adams MW at the Bristol Tasting Circle. Ed, along with his business partner, South African Bruce Jack, is a winemaker in north-east Spain and showed 2 of his own wines – an attractive creamy white and a rich, intense red, both sold under the La Bascula label. Then, in conjunction with Great Western Wines of Bath, we also tasted a range of other wines, all from the Basque or Catalan regions of Spain that Ed knows so well.
It was hard to pick just one favourite but, both my wife and I loved the crisp, grapefruit flavoured white Adur Txakolina from the Basque country (£17.95) while, among the reds, Franck Massard’s El Brindis from the Montsant region (£12.50) was great value even though to get the best from this deep, weighty Cariñena/Garnacha blend would require real patience – perhaps 3 or 4 years.
The following evening, the Bristol-Oporto Twinning Association invited Alan Wright from Clifton Cellars to run a tasting for us. Alan doesn’t believe in ‘run of the mill’ wines but one of his well-chosen selections was unique, even by his standards. Quinta do Romeu’s ‘Westerlies’ (£14.75) was specially made and bottled for a journey under sail from Portugal to Bristol by the century-old trading ketch, the Bessie-Ellen. Sadly, the old ship had to stop at Fowey for repairs but her cargo continued by road for us to enjoy. Made from one of Portugal’s lesser-known grape varieties, Sousão, this red showed lovely black fruits and although quite deeply flavoured, had an attractive lightness about it. Despite the temptation of the glorious, sweet Adega de Palma Moscatel de Setubal (£12.50) and others that we tasted, this had to be the wine of the night, if only for the wonderful story it told.
That only takes me as far as Tuesday and my tasting count is already well into double figures for the week (spitting out, of course!). Perhaps I’d better defer blogging about the week’s other 2 tastings, both of which I was hosting, until next time.