Surprisingly I even recognise the parallels present in the results from Bibendums World Cup of Wine. Having missed the initial play offs I was keen to attend the semi-finals. Each team had two reds and two wines compared against similar bottles from the opposing team. A strident showing from Australia was pitted against a strong South African line up and on the other table the French, fielding a couple of classic styles, was lined up against Italy and being Italy these were rather idiosyncratic wines.
The wines were duly sampled and compared. Quite some discussion resulted. Was this Aussie Chard just a little too oaky? Did the length of the South African Chenin really pull it ahead? The discussions and re-tastings took the place of post match discussions and video replays of near misses and crowd pleasing action. There was a similar amount of spitting too.
Perhaps surprisingly South Africa fought off the strong Australian line-up, particularly the Chenin Blanc (Graham Beck, The Game Reserve Chenin Blanc, 2009, Robertson) which simply knocked everyone’s socks off (well in my group anyway). It was a close run thing between two Pinot Noir’s though. Was the sweeter, Aussie-sun lashed fruit of the Marchand & Burch Mount Barrow Pinot Noir, 2008 preferable over the more Burgundian, fungi-tipped, Newton Johnson 2009 Pinot Noir from South Africas Walker Bay? A close run thing but price played a part too and pushed South Africa into the lead and winning the match.
A different story over at France v Italy. Were the French a little too complacent and relieing too much on tradition and terroir to see off the Italians stylish showing? The result was a complete trouncing of France and a mammoth victory for Italy. In play two Italian wines really shone and come with a ‘must buy’ ticket.
On the red bench the Nicolis Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2005 is a hard sell apparently (why when it is such a delicious wine?) Deep, rich, wonderfully rich, with power and concentration but at the same time offering pure drinakable pleasure. Stylish in that Italian manner with a nod to elegance and food matching potential. Superb. This was the wine
I went back too for a post-match slurp.
On the white bench the choice of a Soave, those easily dismissed, lemony, watery wines made fom dull old Trebbiano, was a pleasant surprise. Until the time came to try it. A whiff of weed, citrus pith and a delicious floral edge. Great acidity, lovely weight. A worthy winning player.
I’ve received comfirmation from Bibendum that June the 2nd is the date set for the Bibendum Wine Cup Finals. Should be a tense and fun game!
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