Late one Friday afternoon I receive a phone call from Heather Spacey of BQ. To my surprise I am asked if I would review two wines for BQ magazine. Does this mean I am important,
or that there is no other mug willing to write 500 words about two bottles of wine?
When the wines arrived in the office I could not have been happier, a heavy red and a bottle of fizz. My favourites.
The red was a Rioja, Cune Rioja Reserva 2009. The fizz, a Berlucchi Cuvée Imperiale NV.
I am not a wine connoisseur but I do like the odd glass. My first introduction to the study of wine was as a 20 year old when my older brother gave me a book called “Vin Rude”.
From this I learned that a decent red should have good “legs”. Recently, what I
have learned about wine has been from reading Peter Mayle books (A Good Year, Vintage Caper, etc) and an excellent wine appreciation course put on by Majestic.
The red was a Rioja, Cune Reserva Rioja 2009.
The Cune Reserva Rioja 2009 certainly had “legs” and went extremely well with the 28 day hung Aberdeen Angus fillet steak. I am not sure about the nuances of warm leather mentioned in the tasting notes (I always think of leather as perfect for shoes), but this is just the sort of red wine I like. Plenty of body, lingers on the palate, but not quite as heavy
as claret. You could enjoy this with or without food, but food definitely brings out some flavours that are otherwise missed.
The fizz, a Berlucchi Cuvée Imperiale NV.
One might think that the sparkling Berlucchi Cuvée Imperiale NV would have nothing in common with the Rioja. Yes, it is a crisp sparkling white, from the Lombardy region of Italy, not a heavy red from Spain, but look at the grapes, Chardonny and Pinot Noir, so as the French would say, a “Blanc de noir”. This made me think back to my days at the European Patent Office examining patent applications for wine making equipment. The white wine used in sparkling wines and champagne comes from the premier pressage of the black Pinot Noir grapes.
We (that is my wife Alice and I) drank the Berlucchi both with and without food (supper was a bacon and broad bean salad). It was very drinkable in both situations. The Pinot Noir in the blend just gives the wine a bit of body.
The perfect occassion for drinking the Berlucchi would be on a sunny afternoon at the races. If I am lucky I will manage a day at the Ebor meeting in August. Perhaps the Champagne bar will be serving it?
Franciacorta Berlucchi: £14.99 down from £22.49
Cune Reserva Rioja: £9.99 down from £14.99.
Wine supplied by Majestic Wine Warehouse, Gosforth.