Do I think I know ANYTHING about wine? pah!
I blew it. Oenologicaly speaking I’ve blown it a few times, but this time I really earned myself the derision of all hardworking winemakers.
My chef was making my favourite red wine sauce, a Rick Stein recipe you really must try, which requires simmering almost a whole bottle of wine down to practically nothing. All I had to do was provide the wine, a mediocre wine in return for a delicious meal? a good return for me and definitely easy enough — there’s always the odd bottle knocking about in my cellar that, bought in the never ending pursuit of the next great discovery, that didn’t quite make it to ‘great’.
A rather hasty perusal of the ‘knock-these-on-the-head-ASAP’ shelf revealed the remnants of the aborted Loire valley Cabernet Franc assignment which true to PWB form no-one took up. The extra bottles that I bought in anticipation of demand which never materialised lay there reminding me of my own failure of not only the ‘non-take-up-ed-ness’ of it all, but the fact that the wine I bought and tried myself (see below wall post on Feb 18th) was seriously way too far off the left field of the tasting spectrum even for me. Complicated and well made yes, but little fruit and so, soo bitter on the finish. Actually I can never break too far from my roots as a cheap tart for the vanillary oak of the new world.
So in one bold brave decision making move I gave a bottle of it to my chef — to cook with. Hell, I can pretend it didn’t really cost £18.00!
As I can’t help myself I tasted the remnants of the bottle, well excuse my French tasting notes but Feck me! Feck Me! — this was beautiful! Full of cherries, complicated terroir driven flavours, well balanced; a silky smooth liquid that coated my mouth in pleasure and traversed my throat like an ethereal passing dream. Feck Me!
I opened another of the previously unwanted duo to make sure I wasn’t experiencing the ‘Great Bottle’ phenomenon – Mr Veynerchuck has a theory that says there’s no great wine, just a great bottle. Which as philosophical bollocks definitely has some mileage. Feck me again! The same, great pleasurable wine. What a discovery. What a pillock! …I just cooked a whole bottle of it.
The bottle I tasted back in February was from the same producer but a different vineyard -‘La Mine’ and in my hasty decision making move I lazily tarred all Yannick Amirault Bourgueil wines with the same bitter brush. Boy did I ever blow it. Just shows, terroir may not be French for bollocks after all, two wines, same producer, same grape, same region, different vineyard, one I demoted to the cooking pot, the other I fell in love with. (Well, as it happens I demoted the one I fell in love with to the cooking pot!)
This one must be on the scale of telling a customer of a wine warehouse that stocks over 500 wines that we haven’t a single Pinot Noir, when we must have had at least 80 different types from all over the world!
…Sometimes, I can really screw up.
St-Nicolas de Bourgueil ‘Les Malgagnes’ 2005, Yannik Amirault £17:99 Handford Wines
105 Old Brompton Road,
London SW7 3LE
Telephone: +44 20 7589 6113