To London for a tasting of Portuguese wines organised by the Wine Society in the splendid setting of the Merchant Taylor’s Hall. I am speaking at a ‘workshop’ for 60 people to introduce Portuguese wines and choose Quinta do Ameal 2009 Vinho Verde, and Blandy’s 10 Year Old Verdelho to show alongside Pedra Basta to illustrate the diversity of Portuguese wines. The Ameal is wonderfully pure and steely, 100% Louriero from a vineyard that is now fully organic which must be hard graft in cool, damp Vinho Verde country. My fellow panellists are David Baverstock from Esporão and Paul Symington from Dow, Graham and Warre, so we have an Australian and two Englishmen speaking about Portugal. The irony is not lost on the audience! Afterwards there is a walk about tasting for over 300 members of the Society. I am showing Pedra Basta 2007 and 2008. Only the Wine Society could assemble such a large and well informed audience and most tend to prefer the fresher 2008 although there are still plenty of takers for the ripe, full, slightly leathery ’07. After the tasting there is a dinner accompanied by Society wines. The aperitif is The Society’s Champagne (a wine I drink many regularly at home) but I am struck by just how much dosage the wine has after drinking Pol Roger’s Pure (Brut Nature) during the summer months. I have noted before that my palate is particularly sensitive to sugar following months of a virtually sugar-free diet.
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty