Last week, I was averaging 150 wines a day. In a professional capacity of course: I am one of the judges at this year’s International Wine Challenge held in London. Winning wines will boast a gold, silver or bronze medal – results released in May – hopefully making the (often hideously confusing) task of choosing a good bottle of wine slightly easier. Now, I realise I live in a slightly parallel universe with my working life and have very little to complain about, but I missed my daughter’s first birthday on Tuesday because of it. My mother threw her a little party and she looked like she had a blast, but I wasn’t there. We had another one today, just us and a cake covered in every kind of decoration known to the baking aisle. It would seem that sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it.
Current white in the fridge:
Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling 2008, £6.49 (normally £8.16), Tesco
This is the grape that makes me go weak at the knees when good. Riesling is a bitch to describe as it varies so greatly depending on where it has been grown. It is often floral, even perfumed and occasionally smells a little like petrol with age, in a good way. This Australian one is just gorgeous: lime-infused, beautifully balanced with lots of acidity giving great freshness on the palate. Not one for real petrol-heads though. Not yet, anyway.
Current red on the side:
Maven Pinot Noir 2007, £7.49, Source Wines
Over the last week, the wines that have induced the most oohs and aahs from me and fellow judges have been red wines made from the Pinot Noir grape, especially when they are from New Zealand. For a long time, NZ has been all about the Sauvignon. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to have to get used to sharing the podium with NZ Pinot. This one is aged in French oak barrels and the result is knee-bucklingly delicious, with smoky black fruits and beautifully integrated oak flavours.