Can you hear the corks popping? It’s tasting season. It’s quiet around the winery while waiting for spring to break so seemingly every label on the planet unleashes their new releases onto the market. To add a little extra chaos, Europe pretty much shuts down in August and hence a slew of French, Italian and Spanish winemakers decide to go on tour to promote their products. And this means tastings, lots of them. More than any self respecting wine merchant can possibly attend, yet alone absorb.
You may think these are controlled, civilised events. For some, yes; for others, not so much. At one tasting last year, my friend Clare watched as two of the punters met at a table, made small talk for some time, and ended with a disco pash while other people were walking around tasting! Great Form.
So lets go through 3 big ones of late, just for shits and giggles:
Fed Square Wine Awards – 95 wines tasted
Rocked up quite early (after work) after seasoning my palate with a cheeseburger and made small talk with the aforementioned Clare who’d got me a free ticket for the event. The room filled up pretty quickly and it was soon obvious that I was going to battle wading through the masses to try and taste. Amazing how many people just went straight to the heavy reds and missed out on some beautiful whites around the place (Lithiostylus, Ros Ritchie and Granite Hills were highlights that may find their way into the Like This Love That portfolio sometime soon!). Special mention goes to the winemaker at ‘Dinny Goonan’ (from the otways) who was obviously fed up with people bypassing his (quite tasty) rieslings and started forcing punters to try them if they wanted the shiraz. Oh the ways people amuse themselves… A few random conversations as the night progressed – I’m pretty sure some people were looking to pick up! Escaped unharmed into the night with a few new ideas for new stock.
Cellarhand – 162 wines tasted
I can’t confirm, but I reckon 162 wines in about 3 hours of tasting is a personal record. Even though I spat everything out, finishing with a pint on the way home meant that I lobbed in the front door in pretty fine form for a tuesday night. Cellarhand are distributors with fantastic labels such as SC Pannell, Cullen, Rocky Gully, Dr Loosen, the list goes on. Every year it’s a great tasting and highlights this year were all around with the excellent Australian 2010 vintage making its way onto shelves. Highlights included some great value wines from Rocky Gully & Hunky Dory, a sensational Mount Mary Triolet (up the premium end) and some great Aussie Shiraz (sorry, syrah) from Steve ‘SC’ Pannell.
Bibendum – 135 wines tasted
Another rapid fire effort after work, I was only there for 2 hours so managed to keep up a lightening pace. Bibendum are distributors with a pretty special portfolio of imports and always one of the tastings that people in the trade look forward to. When I arrived it was a shitfight! People everywhere elbowing for position. Those in the wine trade who complain about public tastings being full-on should probably have a look in the mirror every now and then. Some great wines, including some pretty special burgundies from Domaine Ponsot, tasty Champagnes and some great local stuff from the guys at Some Young Punks.
Combined with a couple of other events I’ve tasted well over 400 wines in the last 3 weeks! Time for a beer and a sleep.
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