by Ben Austin, Head Sommelier Hotel du Vin Bristol
“A million miles from London”
It’s tough living in Bristol. It seems we are perched on the edge of the world, a million miles away from the UK’s wine hub of London. Unfortunately, large supplier tastings are few and far between here. So, when Bibendum brought their ‘Market’ concept to the Arnolfini building on Bristol’s harbourside, it was a great opportunity for my team (as well as plenty of Bristol’s restaurant and bar teams) to sample a tasting of this size. With around 130 wines and spirits there really was plenty to taste.
Some of my highlights included a cheeky taste of the 2009 Balfour Rosé that Rupert, the representative, had hidden in the fridge. It was wonderfully structured, with delicious stone fruit flavours. It needs time to develop but it sure is looking good now.
On the France stand, Domaine Fichet’s Crepillione Mâcon-Villages was rather good at a mere £8.95. Crisp and dry, with tropical fruit aromas and great texture. And secondly, stood proudly on the France stand was the Chinon Cuvee Terroir by Charles Joguet. Brimming with bright, juicy fruit and hints of rose water and violets. It really is a great example of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, perfect for this Indian summer!
All in all, it was a really good tasting with lots of interesting wines. However, for myself, the overwhelming victor was the ‘New Wave Spain’ stand. I’ve tried the varietals and regions before, but never these specific products. The stand out wine was the Tomas Cusine Auzells. This is a curious blend of Macabeu, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muller-Thurgau. It was superbly structured and mineral and the green fruit aromas and flavours were really interesting.
There were actually several wines in this category that gained my coveted triple stars on the tasting notes. These included the A Coroa Godello (which was wonderfully herbal and mineral) and the Pago de Valdoneje Mencia from Bierzo (full of bright, juicy blackcurrants and sweet spice). Both at excellent value.
Thanks Bibendum for giving us outcasts a great tasting. And the lunch was pretty good too!
Ben Austin- Head Sommelier Hotel du Vin Bristol
Follow Ben on twitter: @benaustinwine
Thank you to everyone in Bristol who joined us, and thanks Ben for the report!