“Not on a school night” is the standing house rule when it comes to opening up a bottle of wine nowadays. Of course, all laws are open to interpretation and there is certainly some wriggle-room here, but perish the thought that we might ever consciously look for any old excuse. Oh no, not us. So, when asked if I would be willing to review a couple of wines for these pages, I agreed to do so from a selfless sense of duty, nothing more. Ok?
After 30 years working in Liverpool, I crossed the Pennines last summer when Weightmans merged with the highly-respected Leeds law firm, Ford and Warren. Since then my weekdays have been spent in a modest city centre flat whilst my better half continues to enjoy living in relatively grand style (ostensibly looking after the cats) at our family home in Flintshire.
Needless to say, the importance of this mission was such that it really could not wait until the weekend, so Mrs L hot-footed across to join me. With some understatement, I had told BQ that we enjoy an occasional crisp dry white or a new world red, and the package delivered to the office in front of envious colleagues contained one of each.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. When it comes to wine consumption, we are enthusiastic amateurs, rather than discerning connoisseurs. The time between pouring and tasting rarely allows for an assessment of the aroma. Our wine shopping tends to involve a trip to Tesco rather than a journey to the vineyard. Nevertheless, we knew what was expected of us; and we decided that this was an experience to be savoured. We agreed not to consult the tasting notes until we had finished, so as not to be unduly influenced.
It was an easy decision to sample the white on night one, as the ideal choice to accompany the smoked salmon starter and roast chicken which Janet had prepared. The Chablis Seguinot Bordet 2014 (Burgundy, France) had been chilled to perfection before we sat down to sample what it had to offer, tasters’ notepad to hand.
We took time out to enjoy the first sip of the Chablis before starting to eat, and before our palates were compromised. We poured it with care. We rolled it around the glass. We held it up to the light. We sniffed it. We exchanged smiles, and then we each tipped the glass. Just a little passed our lips, and it was allowed to linger in the mouth before being swallowed. And guess what…all of that did actually add to our enjoyment.
We are regular consumers of Chablis, but this one was new to us and plainly a cut above what we normally buy for about a tenner. Unsurprisingly, it was crisp and dry; but with a light acidity too, allowing for a lingering finish. A little more fruity than some, this wine had subtle hints of pear and clear notes of citrus fruits, with lemon being our favoured comparison. Our tasting notes refer to this wine being ‘vibrant on the palate with a delicious silky texture of white stone fruits and honey suckle’, which we could not dispute. All in all, delicious and highly recommended.
We managed not to open the red, an Esk Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (Marlborough, New Zealand) until the following evening! A tasty home-made beef stew was the fare which lay in wait as we poured a glass each and settled down to eat.
This time, though, the jury was split in describing the wine, though we agreed that its silky texture made it terribly easy to drink! We both detected the taste of berries and fruits, but for me an underlying spiciness made this wine rather special. Both wines went down a treat, and they will be on our shopping list in future. If forced to choose (which is hard, because they are so different), we would give our gold medal to the Chablis, after a photo finish.
Chablis Seguinot Bordet 2014 Burgundy France, priced at £13.99. Esk Valley Pinot Noir 2012 Marlborough, New Zealand priced at £14.99.
Contact James Goodhart; head of private & corporate sales
Bon Coeur Fine Wines Ltd, Moor Park, Moor Road, Melsonby, Richmond, North Yorkshire DL10 5PR. 01325 776446. www.bcfw.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org