Yesterday's meeting started out with Joe's creation of a Portonic Rosé. This was made of one part Port Rosé and two parts tonic, with a dash of lime. I'm not generally big on cocktails, but this had a hint of bitterness that I liked, and makes for a refreshing and easy cocktail for the warm months.
After discussing the practical aspects of the business (of which I'm mostly a silent observer because my German pretty much extends to talking about my family and hobbies), we started on the tasting aspect of the business - unashamedly my favourite part.
We tasted altogether 15 bottles last night, which Joe had picked out. This is to introduce us to different wine varieties as well as interesting wines or grapes varieties we may not have tried or heard of before.
Here are a few of my favourites from the tasting:
This Marmorelle Salento Bianco from Tenute Rubino is made from Chardonnay and Malvasia Bianca grapes from the region of Puglia, Italy. On the nose were hints of tropical fruit, with subtle lime notes. The wine is light and lively, with good acidity and a well-rounded structure. I enjoyed the mineral flavours and softness, which makes it an easy-drinking wine on its own.
The second wine that spoke to me was Divo Famoso's Ravenna Biano IGT. The bright label on this bottle really stood out. It was light, floral and fresh with plenty of fruity notes that lingered on the tongue. I also loved the hint of lychee on the palate. This is one that would go well with delicate fish dishes like sashimi.
Masut Da Rive's Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc were also wines I found myself enjoying yesterday evening. The Pinot Grigio was rife with flavours of rich, tropical fruits at the beginning and hints of florals that lingered throughout. The wine is balanced and elegant, with good acidity and flavour. The Sauvignon Blanc on the other hand, took me right back to my years in New Zealand with its bright capsicum flavour, notes of elderberry and citrus fruits on the palate.
The Silente Delle Marne 2014 is made of 100% Chardonnay grapes matured on oak barrels. This was one that stopped us all in our tracks thanks to its interesting nose and flavour. It is rich, intense, full-bodied and juicy with a creamy mouthfeel. This was one I wasn't sure I liked initially, but it certainly grew on me the more I tried it, and one that stood out the most for me because it had such depth.
My favourite red of the night was the Vignalina 2016 from Tenuta Santa Caterina. From the Piedmont region of Italy, this wine had blackberries and plums on the palate, and was full-bodied and savoury with good intensity, depth and lovely, chewy tannins that lingered long after the last mouthful. This is one that would go well with duck and gamey dishes, perhaps one to keep in mind for the winter months!