May 28, 2010

A Really Secret Tasting

By In Articles, Tasting Reports

ARSE participants

Some may say that the acronym was distasteful. Some may even go as far to say it was silly, irreverent and juvenile, and me even sillier for keeping it a secret. In fact several subsequently did. And you know what I don’t care! I had fun in putting together the tasting, even more fun on twitter playing with ‘arse’ in various sentences and even more laughs keeping the list of attendees and even the tasting location a secret until we were right on the doorstep.

ARSE of course stands for Andrew’s Really Secret Event, a tight gathering of wine and food bloggers and tweeters, rolling into a tapas bar near Kings Cross before heading off on the Piccadilly Line to Green Park.

The tasting venue itself was the Naval Club in Mayfair. I should take a moment to thank the Club hugely for letting us utilise their grandiose bar on a Sunday afternoon.
We were most fortunate to have Riccardo Tomadin in town to showcase a ‘new to the UK’ range of Prosecco’s. The easy drinking Riccardo Prosecco Brut, the finely bubbled, creamy Riccardo Prosecco Extra Dry and the superb Riccardo Prosecco Cartizze. The latters 28g of sugar appearing little sweeter than the Extra Dry’s 18g (per litre) making for a fine rendition of the pinnacle of Prosecco production.

When you ask a disparate group to bring along a bottle of something interesting you can be sure of an equally diverse and unique offering. This motley bunch didn’t disappoint. We kicked off with a strident Vin Jaune, dividing all into a large ‘dislike’ group and a few brave-palated ‘likers’. A crisp, lip-tingling Manzanilla sherry, limited production, hardly seen, followed before we slid into the white wines. A Croatian Chardonnay anyone? Distinctive, lightly oaked, delicious. A South African Sauvignon Blanc offering its own take on pungency, un-ripened strawberries and gooseberries all with a refreshing zing. And then quickly into the reds…

Those kind fellows at Bibendum had sent over two reds for us to sample – a full bodied Mexican wine, a first encounter for many at the tasting of Mexican vino and a Cotes du Roussillon Villages. The slightly baked, gravelly tannins of the Mexican, complete with vibrant, delicious fruit is a surprise on so many levels not least is the medley of grapes: Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvingon, Barbera and Zinfandel. The Roussillon was equally praised for its balance and ripe flavoursm and dark, brooding fruit. Both highly recommended.
A third red, from Ribera del Duero, more than managed to compete with these two blockbusters with its Spanish credentials rising to the fore. A superb Tempranillo with hints of sweet spice and deep black fruits. A excellant addition to the tasting!

To conclude something ‘really interesting’. A red dessert wine from Italy, unavailable in the UK. More rosé in colour and with a lightness of sweetness that had us thinking of dark chocolate or a bowl of raspberries as an accompaniment.

Perhaps those acronym nay-sayers were miffed because they weren’t invited? Those that did make it had a ball. How could they not with such a superb, interesting, range of wines!?
A full list of the wines is below complete with links were available. The photo above shows the participants. From left to right we have Riccardo Tomadin, Tara O’Leary [whose report on the tasting is on her Wine Passionista blog), Niamh, Jeanne, Douglas Blyde, Sara Belizaire-Butler, Rupert Taylor and Louis Villard. Thanks all for making the day such fun and playing along with my ARSE.

Andrew’s Really Secret Event: @arse tasting Sunday 16th May 2010
Event and wines listed on Adegga:
with Riccardo Tomadin (
Riccardo Prosecco Brut, NV, Prosecco, Italy
Spumante Brut, [Adegga]
Riccardo Prosecco Extra Dry, NV, Prosecco, Italy
Spumante Extra Dry, [Adegga]
Riccardo Prosecco Cartizze, NV, Prosecco, Italy
Spumante Dry, [Adegga]
Sherry/Sherry-Style Wines
Lucien Aviet (Caveau de Bacchus) Vin Jaune, 1993, Grand Vin de Garde, Jura, France
Provided by Louis [Adegga]
Alcohol 14%
Miguel Sanches Ayala La Bota 8 Manzanilla, NV, Spain
Provided by Rupert [Adegga]
Alcohol 15% see
White Wines
Krauthaker Chardonnay Rosenberg, 2008, Kutjevo, Croatia
On trade only provided by Tara [Adegga]
Springfield Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, Robertson, South Africa
Sainsbury’s £8.99 provided by Jeanne [Adegga]
Alcohol 12.5%
Red Wines
Jean Marc Lafage, Les Hauts de L’Agly, 2006, Côtes du Roussillon Villages
From Bibendum Wines £10 [Adegga]
Alcohol 14.5%. Grapes: 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan
Casa de Piedra, Estapor Venir Mezcla, 2007, Baja California, Mexico
From Bibendum Wines £11.26 [Adegga]
Alcohol 14.5% Grapes: Petite Sirah 40%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20%, Barbera 20%, Zinfandel 20%
Legaris Reserva, 2004, Ribera del Duero, Spain
From Oddbins £20.99 [Adegga]
Alcohol 14% Grapes: 100% Tempranillo Sourced by Sarah
Red Dessert Wine
Casa Ronsil, Passito 1555, 2007, Chiomonte, Italy
Contributed by Douglas no UK distribution. [Adegga]
Alcohol 14% Grapes: Avana, Becuet, Chatus, Neretta Cuneese
estapor venir mezcla 07

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Top :: Comments

  1. The Winesleuth May 28, 2010

    ah man! I really regret missing this now that I see my pic could have made it onto your blog! Sounds like y’all had fun, guess you’ll just have to do another one but do you think you could come up with a more sophisticated name? Like maybe, A.S.S. (Andrew’s Something Specials) 😉

  2. wine_scribbler May 29, 2010

    Funny thing is I keep thinking you actually were there… in spirit rather than body perhaps?
    I will do another, as soon as I come up with an equally humorous name.

  3. Kristi Davis May 29, 2010

    LOL! No, you should definitely stick with ARSE. Sorry I missed all the hubbub, sounds like fun!

  4. The London Foodie June 1, 2010

    Hi Andrew, I cannot believe I missed your ARSE! Sounds like you guys had a great time, hopefully we will catch up next time.
    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  5. Andy June 4, 2010

    Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! What does one need to do to be accepted into this elite group of wine bloggers?

  6. wine_scribbler June 4, 2010



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