Henry Briggs, senior partner of the Birmingham office of Haines Watts, Chartered Accountants, tries a French white and an Australian red.
My tasting fell on the Bank holiday weekend, with the pending General Election dominating the news. So, as wine is always best enjoyed in a social context, I decided I would seek the support of family and friends and collect their comments democratically.
Although I’d seen tasting notes for the wines, my companions elected to taste them ‘blind’. The French white – Domaine de La Baume ‘Les Maries’ – looked clear and pale and initial smell and tastes that came through were of lemon, slight asparagus (well it is in season), grapefruit and cooked green apples.
The blind tasters correctly identified the Sauvignon Blanc grape and declared it eminently drinkable. One taster correctly identified its origins as the Languedoc in southern France. It has a strong but elegant personality.
We thought that it would go well with food and that goats cheese or baked cod might be good pairings. An unmarried member of the team commented that if it was a girl, he would certainly want to ‘chat her up’.
The red was an Australian Shiraz Cabernet blend from Victoria, ‘Route du Van’.
My fellow tasters identified the wine as ‘New World’, without pinpointing it as Australian. Its appearance is clear, medium, ruby. Its bouquet, to use an Australian term, was weak, thin and fresh with a sniff of eucalyptus, more cherry and currants.
Its taste at first is slightly sharp and quite tannic with shades of pepper, but became softer the longer it was in the glass. We thought it would be versatile with food.
We did not cast a vote of one wine against the other, but decided that, like politicians, each had taken some of the other’s clothes; the old world French wine was bolder and stronger than one might expect, with the Australian being quieter than many of its countrymen.
The red Route du Van retao is £12.25 and the white Sauvignon Blanc is £9.95. Wines were donated by Connolly’s Wine Merchants and can be brought from:
Dovehouse, Connolly’s Wine Merchants Ltd, 379 – 381 Warwick Road, Olton, Solihull, B91 1BQ. Tel: 0121 709 3734
Connolly’s Wine Merchants Ltd, Birmingham Livery Street, B3 1EU.
Tel: 0121 236 3837, connollyswine.co.uk
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