RAISE A GLASS
You may have been a) massively disappointed or b) grinning smugly when a certain football team didn’t reach its long hoped-for Euro champion status. Ah, the turmoil!
But I can still be in praise of champions… of the liquid variety.
On the day England were playing Germany, I joined a fascinating online tasting with The Wine Society buyers.
I know it was that day as I had to walk the dog before the 5pm kick-off, and gave my apologies halfway through the session on Burgundy and South America. Even in my world, some things take priority over wine.
Before my apologetic departure it had been a pleasure to have minitastes of 48 wines and talk to the buyers. Now some of those wines have been declared champions.
Every year the society’s buyers blind taste hundreds of wines from the range to select the champions.
Wines receive marks (with no criteria needed) and those wines with a certain percentage of marks from all the buyers are declared a champion. Here are three:
■ The Society’s Exhibition Marlborough Pinot Noir 2020 (£14.50): Buyer Freddy Bulmer wanted to bring a New Zealand pinot from Marlborough into the society’s Exhibition range. The region is, in his (and my!) opinion, home to some of the best New World pinots. The wine has had nine months ageing in seasoned oak. It is vibrant and crunchy, with cherry fruit and floral notes. Delicious, I’d say.
■ Terrenus Tinto, Alentejo Portalegre 2016 (£12.95): This was a choice of buyer Joanna Locke, MW, who said she was delighted to see it as a Wine Champion. In the blind tasting this Portuguese red was up against wines such as a Rioja, and it stood its ground. It’s a blend of native grape varieties planted at altitude. The wine shows rich smooth dark fruit, with freshness, and some minerality. It has been aged in oak for 14 months.
■ The Society’s Chilean Limarí Chardonnay 2020 (£7.95): Buyer Toby Morrhall was under a bit of looming kick-off pressure, but his words on this Chilean white perfectly summed it up. It’s a fresh, taut, linear wine, high in natural acids, very pure and attractive. It is created for the society by well-known Chilean producers Concha y Toro.
I think it’s terrific value.
For the full list of champions, go to thewinesociety.com/ wine-champions-2021
■ Jane is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Find her on social media and online as One Foot in the Grapes.