Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tasting Report: Decanter world fine wine event

The Decanter world fine wine encounter took place on the 21st to 22nd of November 2009 in London NW1. This was a serious tasting in itself with nearly 100 producers including Chateau Palmer, Craggy Range and Chateau Leoville Poyferre involved. In addition to that there were also Masterclasses held on the various days. I was lucky enough to be invited to the event as well as a Masterclass tasting of Chateau Angelus, by Didier Marcelis of Chateau Serilhan (incidentally, himself producing a lovely St Estephe... to be reviewed in the future).

By the end of the event my tastebuds were on fire and my mouth ringing with acidity from the wines. So none of the reflections below will go into any detail. I just want to sum up what is an excellent event that is well worth the ~£50 ticket. Keep your eyes pealed for the next events including a French fine wine event in February.

So here are some highlights (not by any stretch of the imagination exhaustive):

Fleur de Bouard Lalande de Pomerol (2006 and 2005). The difference between the 2005 and 2006 Bordeaux vintages is incredibly apparent. The 2006 is fruity and opulent, already great to drink. The 2005 by contrast is reserved and much softer, displaying more balance but too closed at the moment. In the long run this will age far better.

Chateau Angelus Premier Grand Cru Classe St Emilion (2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000). What a wine. It lives up to its reputation and delivers a beautiful balanced fruit and cigar box palate with flowers and spice. Sounds overblown? Well yes, but some wines deserve it. Something that was really striking was the consistency through the vintages, each year showing very similar characteristics. I guess this is what happens when you only select the very best grapes. On the otherhand, the 2000 was showing less predominance of spice and was both mellow and opulent.

Chateau Leoville Poyferre Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe St Julien (2004). Cigars and spice again come through on this classic left bank Bordeaux. Its also got berry fruits and plenty of tannins. They were offering it at £32.30 and this seems a great price.

Chateau Phelan Segur St Estephe (2004). By now my tastebuds are starting to drop but I can still taste the wonderful violet sweetness and balanced tannins of this wine. This punches above its weight.

Chateau Palmer Troisieme Grand Cru Classe Margaux (2001). What a wine. Great smell of flowers and fruits and a delicate balance of violet sweetness and tanins. Wonderful lingering finish.

Chateau Beychevelle Quatrieme Grand Crus Classe St Julien (2000). Coffee and cassis on the nose, violet and dark coffee taste, this is a seriously intense wine. Fantastic (you can tell my taste buds are now at deaths door)

Alpha Estate Macedonia, Greece. Here I tasted the Xinomavro and the Estate Red (both 2007). I was very impressed. I don't trust my palate enough at this point to give even a cursory description but these were very well balanced and full bodied wines showing the kind of progress that some in the Greek wine industry are making. This seems to be one of the rising stars of Greece, along with Kyr Giannis. Definitely one to look out for.

So if this list of just some of the excellent wines on offer at this event hasn't convinced you to go to the next one then I don't know what will!


  1. Nice blog. Wish if I could make it to The Decanter world fine wine encounter took place on the 21st to 22nd of November 2010 in London NW. Thanks for sharing the date of the event.

  2. Well spotted - that would be 2009!