I have to write a brief post about my very enjoyable birthday celebration, last week. What better place than Green and Blue (of which I have spoken before) – good atmosphere, brilliant wines, and enough high quality nutrition to keep everyone from falling under the table.
As we ended up being a party of 14, many, many bottles of wine were dispatched over the course of a long evening. I have to admit my memory of the more advanced portions of the night is a bit sketchy, but here is a rundown of the wines I do remember:
Green and Blue’s proprietor, Kate Thal, was kind enough to recommend this alpine wine, as an alternative to a Santorian white that I’d had my eye on, but which was alas out of stock. Made from an indigenous grape variety I’d not come across (Jaquere), this was beautifully pure, crisp and mineral. A great way to start the evening and excite the palate.
A wonderful discovery, this recommendation from the helpful and knowledgeable bar manager (whose name I don’t know) is made from a “field blend” of six or more more almost unheard of grape varieties, and hails from the slopes of Mount Etna. The wine had a beguilingly light, almost brick red colour, and an explosion of baked red fruits, spices and lovely minerality, backed up with fine but sturdy tannins. All this whilst maintaining an attractive delicate finish. I might add that Vino di Anna is a perfect example of a “natural wine”. This is a fashionable term that’s come to mean wines made with minimum intervention – that means no filtration, possibly no fining, and either low or no suphur dioxide. This example did indeed have a slightly cloudly appearance, but also presented such a unique and characterful flavour palate that it could be entirely forgiven for not having the text-book “star bright” sheen.
We decided to step up a gear with something more sturdy from Faugeres. There is so much excellent winemaking going on in this Southern French region right now, and the Clos Fantine didn’t disappoint. For such a young wine, this was rich and complex, with leathery, dark spiced fruit flavours and a smoky tinge. Non-filtered wines seem particularly popular in this part of the world, and you can really taste the full, fruit-driven punch of the grapes (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre and Cinsault) without filtration getting in the way.
I have blogged about this excellent effort from Vega Sicilia here. It was, as usual, single-minded, hefty and delicious. I hate to say it, but it is also now out of stock of Green and Blue (we got the last bottle).
I am a big fan of the Beaujolais Crus, and Morgon can often be relied upon for some of the most structured and serious wines from the region. This was Graeme‘s recommendation – he has been raving about it ever since it cropped up at a Green and Blue tasting last year. It was certainly very fine – focused, with pure fruit character, considerable backbone and complexity. I fear I may have appreciated the subtleties more if I wasn’t still wiping the tannins from the Pintia off my chin!
Huge thanks to everyone who came, since I wasn’t asked to pay a penny at the end of the evening. Somehow things ended up spilling over to a nearby friend’s flat, with a serious session of didgeridoo, guitar and bongo abuse (god the neighbours must have loved us). I can’t quite remember how that took us through to 3am, but the following morning I had only the merest trace of a hangover – a sure sign that only well produced wines, with very modest doses of SO2 had been consumed.