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The Challenges of Saint-Emilion

by | Feb 25, 2015 | Richmond Wine Society | 0 comments

Fascinating tasting last night at the Richmond Wine Society as we explored the intricacies of Saint-Emilion as well as venturing into some lesser-known white Bordeaux.  Places available tonight – contact me asap if you would like to come!

We kicked off with an utterly delicious Entre deux Mers Chateaux Fontenille 2013, which oozed crisp fresh fruit and delightful crunchy acidity.  Made from the classic mix of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon with some Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle in the mix as well.  A bargain at £10.

Next up was the barrel fermented Sec de Rayne Vigneau 2012, which was a powerful barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc made deep in the heartlands of Sauternes.  A rather curious nose gave way to a wonderfully structured palate unlike most Sauvignon we are used to and came into its own when partnered with the smoked mackerel pate presented by the Britannia.

Saint-Emilion can be a bit confusing at first glance.  Outside of the main AOC area you find satellites such as Montagne-Saint-Emilion, which have come to the fore in recent years as people seek alternatives to the ever rising prices of mainstream Bordeaux.

Chateaux La Croix Bonneau 2010 was a fine example of an excellent vintage made from 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and displayed a good combination of fruit and tannin with potential for another five years ageing.

We then tasted a further four Saint Emilion Grand Crus from 2012, 2010, 2008 and 2005, which eminently demonstrated the contrasting vintages and ageing abilities of these wines.  The lighter years of 2008 and 2012 were more forward and approachable while the 2005 and 2010 still had plenty of time left in them yet.  Overall quality was good but there was a bit of a roller coaster of price to value relationship confirming my belief that Saint Emilion remains a bit of a minefield as far as the consumer is concerned and a bit of research before buying will go a long way.

RWS 24.2.15I was rather disturbed to find people’s usual rapt attention to my thoughts was diminished by the presence of Tango, a retired Guide Dog.  Tango did not offer many thoughts on the wines, but appeared to be able to capture people’s focus in a way that I can only dream of.  See if you are drawn to his magnetic gaze….


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“Throughout the 17 years I have attended Tim’s wine tasting events, he has continued to deliver his extensive knowledge of wine and wine-making with great charm, and lots of humour, making the evenings not only informative, but also great fun. In the course of an average year, the tastings cover a kaleidoscope of different wine themes – interesting and entertaining for all, novices and experts alike. And the wines taste pretty good too!”

“We have been going to Teddington Wine Society events for a number of years. Tim runs the evenings with bonhomie and humour and wears his considerable knowledge lightly. The evenings are great fun, the wines are always a little bit different and help to expand knowledge and tasting horizons.”

“I have attended the Richmond Wine society for over ten years and always enjoyed Tim’s self-effacing style and gentle humour. His knowledge is globally eclectic and presented in a clear, interesting and always stimulating way. Every guest I have taken there has enjoyed the evening immensely. Tim also offers a wide range of wines to buy and my red cellar has provided great pleasure to my own dinner guests.”

“I’ve been enjoying Tim’s tastings for over 20 years – he is a great teacher, raconteur and wine expert. He is seriously passionate about his wine, but there is nothing serious about his tastings, which are always informal and relaxed. A lovely way to spend an evening and enjoy some fantastic wines.”

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