A few weeks ago to the first meeting of the season of the Old Malton Wine Tasting Club. It’s a discreet gathering of, on the whole,discreet residents who fancy a bit of nose-painting with a top dressing of cultural justification. Nothing wrong with that. Last month’s session was laid on by Paul Tate-Smith whose business is in the main wholesale, but with a very handy retail arm, what they call the ”sinister window” in dodgy banks in Bogota. Nothing wrong with that.
Previously Paul presented us with commonly known wines from unusual places. I forget the details. Last night it was unusual varieties from common places. Australia for example. Let me give you a taste, referring of course to my carefully taken contemporaneous notes:
1. Urban Torrontes 2009, Argentina. I noted: Only OK. Aftertaste of TCP – a bit like Elastoplast, but not so chewy. 4/10.
2. Brown Brothers Everton White, 2009, Australia. We were told that this rather sweet wine is the third most popular domestic seller in Australia. My neighbour whispered to me that this was unsurprising given the need to sweeten the sour disposition of Australians. I thought this an uncharitable judgement but could find no evidence-basis on which to challange it. Popular also in Liverpool, this muck. There you go.
3. K-Naia Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc, 2009. I noted: Smells like cat’s pee, with a whiff of elderflower. Aftertaste of badger sett. We were told balsamic notes, ie acidic.
4. Yorkshire Rose, 2009, Westow, North Yorkshire.This came as a surprise to me – I was told by a my clever economist friend that Yorkshire Rose works the evening shift out of the back of Huddersfield railway station, but this turned out to be a pink wine. I don’t like pink wine much but I admire the optimism of people who try to make it this far north. They’ve had some bad summers and struggle a bit; one of our number, clearly sold on global warming, voiced the view that these people are taking a shrewd position based on the assumption that climate change will within ten years put them in a poll position vis-a-vis vine friendly weather. So, not only is warming happening, but it’s happening fast. Coming to a Morrison’s near you (in twenty years) Scottish Shiraz. Extraordinary how this orthodoxy is trotted out without question.
5. Chateau Preuillac Medoc, 2005, France. The most expensive wine (of course – it’s French) at very nearly fouteen quid a bottle. Not good, I thought. I detected some underlying hostility in the group to the French, which I tried to quell with a diplomacy with which I am seldom credited.
6. Montes Selection Cabernet Carmenere, Chile. I love Chilean wine, and this was pretty good. Smooth – or “easy drinking” as the wine buffs sniffily say. Nothing wrong with easy drinking, I say. In fact, I would go further, in view of the achievements of the Chileans in snatching 33 miners from the jaws of death, in an engineering feat more commonly associated with the USA, I think that in tribute we should all buy a case – or a bottle, some people buy by the bottle – of Chilean wine. Even non-wine drinkers – give it to the poor; my address is not hard to find.
7. Hopler Zweigelt 2007, Austria. I had expected a robust Nazi red, but it was weedy with skinny legs. I didn’t know they made wine in Austria. Leather shorts yes – but wine?
The meeting ended with our organiser, a local JP so that’s OK, drawing our attention to Tate-Smith’s sinister window. Do you all know about this, she asked. To which Tate-Smith said, “Well one of you does. Howard’s got his own parking space.” That’s my cover blown.
And there you have it, or rather we did. Five more sessions and it’ll be spring again.