An abundance of Bordeaux

Bordeaux tasting at Saatchi Gallery (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

“Would you like to taste a few Bordeaux wines while you’re in London?” asked Rosemary George MW by email. The evening was free so I agreed to join her at the Saatchi Gallery.

The tasting reminded me that London is still the world’s wine capital. The very elegant Saatchi Gallery was divided into the various Bordeaux communes with a “compatible” food in each. Room one was Pessac Leognan & Pomerol with fresh oysters, appropriate for the handful of whites although a less satisfactory match with the reds. Room two was Pomerol & St-Emilion with a curious match of cheese straws. Rooms three and four served St-Julien with Parma Ham and Focaccia. Room five contained Margaux with goose Rillettes. Six was St-Estephe matched with mini croques. The seventh room was Pauillac with an appropriate choice of French farmhouse cheese while room eight contained Sauternes and Barsac with macarons. I would have preferred foie gras.

Most of the 49 producers represented served three or four vintages of their wine, giving a grand if rather formidable total of 170 wines.

Sadly, I was not up to the task of tasting every wine. I was already a little battle weary having tasted over 100 wines at the Decanter World Wine Awards during the day and it was simply not possible to do justice to 170 wines in the allotted time of 2-3 hours, half of which involved chatting to acquaintances in the wine trade. In addition, I probably spent at least 30 minutes looking at the mostly brilliant artworks in each room.

I chose instead to pick a favourite producer or two from each of the communes and taste each of the vintages on offer. Most properties offered wines from the 2014 and 2012 vintages – on balance I marginally preferred the more youthful 2014s. I managed to taste 44 wines despite being constantly distracted by artworks and familiar faces.

  • Best value: 2014 Château Lagrange GBP £24-£27 (in bond)
  • Best wine: 2006 Château La Conseillante, Pomerol GBP £158-£183 (in bond)
  • Discovery: Château Coutet, Barsac – tasted four vintages all deliciously delicate with lovely floral, mineral and vanilla flavours (2009 and 2006 first equal vintages)

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