The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Bibendum Tasting. The Brewery: London 2012.

 Seconds out, round three. Yup, my next tasting event. Bibendum’s folio tasting.

The Brewery, Chiswell St, London.

 Today it was Bibendum’s turn to share their wares with people throughout the wine profession.

 From the off trade to hospitality the people poured through the door in huge numbers.

 Anybody new to Bibendum should realise one thing, their folio is pretty extensive. Yes they carry the normal range of wines you’d expect, from all the usual suspects. They also cater for a small amount of Brazilian and Indian wine plus a good selection of English and Hungarian wines.

 My tasting time today was pretty limited due to other commitments. I narrowed my parameters to just focusing on random wines I’ve not had or just found intriguing.

I only tasted 25 wines but here are a selection of wines that piqued my curiosity.

Crooked Mick Cabernet/Petit Verdot

From the Murray-Darling region, south east Australia I came across The Spee’Wah Crooked Mick Cabernet/Petit Verdot.

The Spee’Wah is both a mythical place and a real one. The version of old Aussie yarns is a strange place: mysterious and alien, home to birds that fly backwards to keep the dust from their eyes. The real vicinity of Speewa can be found on the banks of the Murray River, with one part of the town in Victoria and the other in New South Wales (Taken from Bibendum).

I’m a big fan of Petit Verdot. It was one of the original varieties of Bordeaux but only used nowadays in small doses to back up wine. On it’s own it can produce medium body, fresh, fruity wines. Blend it with Cabernet and you get a good mix. In this instance we have a wine with good depth of soft, black fruit. Nice, short burst of acidity with a touch of pepper.

From Spain I discovered Bobal de San Juan. Bobal is a red variety native to the Valencia region of Spain.

This particular wine had a very soft, pleasant, fruity nose. A fair degree of tannins on the palate but still easy to drink. Once those tannins have smoothed out it would be a good alternative to maybe some Burgundian wines.

Here are two wines from USA. These two are my star pick reds.

Bold Vine Old Vine Zinfandel 2010

Brazin Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2010

These wines are great. The Bold Vine Zinfandel had great concentration of jammy black fruit on the nose. On the palate there were some good peppery spices, mixed in with the same lovely jammy black fruit.


The Brazin Zinfandel on the right, as Homer Simpson would say . . . . . .mmmmmmmm, forbidden doughnut!! Take everything I have written above, add some coffee aromas and bingo. What more could you want?

I don’t normally go for big brand wines at tastings, the next one though deserved taking some notice of,

Lindauer Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.

Lindauer Sauvignon Blanc Brut NV

I’ve drunk my share of Lindauer over the years. Let’s be fair, it is one of the best branded bottles of bubbles on the market. This one doesn’t fail either. In short it is Sauvignon with bubbles in it. The grapes traditional characters haven’t been lost during fermentation. The wine itself is a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 14% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Noir. It is though very distinctively Sauvignon Blanc. Rich concentration of tropical fruits plus gooseberries on the nose. The mousse, or bubbles, are soft and creamy. Very enjoyable. I’ll be grabbing a bottle or two of this sometime during the summer.

Charles Smith Wines

These three wines from Charles Smith, Washington State, Columbia Valley, definitely fall under the category of interesting. The packaging for starters is instantly recognisable, stands out quite heavily. The Riesling hits all the right markers for me for good quality, cool climate wine. Good floral, citrus fruit on the nose and palate with relatively short acidity and length.

The two reds, a wee bit different. The Velvet Devil Merlot smells of bacon, pause, think about that for a bit, yup, bacon. The palate is lacking a touch on fruit and does maintain some of it’s meaty characteristics but, and I do stress but, it actually give the wine some charm. The ‘bacon’ style isn’t over the top. if anything it sits quite well with this wine. The fruit should develop a bit over time but I wouldn’t be expecting plums any time soon.

The Boom Boom Syrah is very reflective of a cool climate wine. It’s not a big, banging Syrah. From nose to palate it is fairly easy. No real spice to speak of, just easy to drink.

Other notable wines worth a mention would be those from Oregan’s A to Z Wineworks and California’s Michael Mondavi.

A to Z Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are again all examples of wines from cool climate regions.

A to Z Wineworks

The Pinot Gris shows delicate fruit aromas on the nose with light, fresh, citrus flavours on the palate. Summer wine.

The Chardonnay has some lovely, subtle green fruits blowing down the middle of the nose. Crisp, fresh apple fruit with some nice acidity.

The Pinot Noir is very Burgundian in style. Those good ‘old worldy’ pungent, almost cheesy aromas with nice, soft red cherry fruit on your palate.

Now to my last block of wines. Michael Mondavi.

One variety is all that is needed here, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Emblem Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Rich, jammy fruit on the nose. Some youthful, green, vegetal notes on the palate with dark berry fruits and juicy acidity.

Emblem Oso Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. Opulent fruit and tobacco aromas. Good concentration of red fruit on the palate.

Finally, M by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. Deep, dark cherry aromas with soft, but elegant fruit. Subtle oak, good tannin and acidity.

These last three wines are good now. Still would be worth keeping around for a few years, especially the last one. It will set you back around £190 a bottle.

Michael Mondavi Wines

See you next year guys.


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