A rare neon Dompers lights up the tasting…

Who would have thought that this esteemed brand of Champagne would need to put some trick up it’s own sleeve to catch more attention.

Well, in a mid-week ‘blind’ tasting here, this is exactly what happened. The nose on this fine bubbly was lemon pith and young red berry all the way, with a tight-nit Dom Pérignon bouquet. Tight again across the palate, with a super suave fresh mousse. The Dom P signature firmly signed. It was from, no less than, the 2006 vintage, and may well need another 5 -10 years to really show off it’s stuff, but what the hell, the way the world is turning these days, if we are all around to find out about it then, let’s not hold our breath. And as this bottle also sported one of the funniest, kitschiest (checkout your Scrabble dictionaries dear reader) labels I have ever come across. If you can find one, please just try it for a bit of fun. In the punt (base) of the bottle you will find a well positioned button. Push the button ‘click’ and guess what?, the label lights up. Totally unnecessary of course, but I am informed by the younger tasters that evening, that it is really meant for the local nightclub scene. Ahhh there we go then, that explains everything? doesn’t it??

Neon Dompers

Next along the hidden line of various bottles was another bubbly. I knew what it was immediately, as it is one of my favourates of all time.

Egly-Ouriet’s Blanc de Noirs ‘Les Crayeres’ N.V. from Ambonnay. This one has 72 months of sitting ‘sur lie’, and then generously disgorged in 2015 for our purest of pleasures only. The nose is mouthwatering. White peach, raspberry both on the nose and on the palate. Exquisite, and finishing with the most deliciously-sexy, textured Ambonnayish Pinot Noir. Please baptize me with this wine when I come back again in the next life, then I can go and do something quite different, like being a bookie.

2016 Occhipinti SP68 Bianco (volcanically made from Mt Etna muscat). When I last tried the 2015 vintage of this wine there was also a pinch of Albanello in the cuvee. It’s not everyones cuppa, but I think all of Arianna’s wines are superbly made to linger on the finish, without us having to battle with hi-alcohol levels. This one has herbal tones with grapey-peachness and an Etna finish that I find totally unique of all her wines. Bravissimo!

2012 Hans Schwarz BLAUFRÄNKISCH Burgenland. Locally, in Austria of course, know as LemBERger. Actually, I did not know this without consulting the Wines of Austria book. So, again, a wonderful surprise bottle. Intense ruby red and a nose dominated by florality, surrounded by hedgegroves of raspberry and plum. Silky finish with the softest of tannins. Lovely.

2013 Kocabag Okuzgozu was a first for us all. We were stumped from the post. Cappadocia (Turkishness) being one of the world’s first wine making zones that we can still track back to, should need little introduction. Alas! It had a cheery cherry nose and the plumpness of plumyness plum full bodied palate. I like Turkish wine, it’s new for me and the few bottles of both red and white I have tried and have been an eye-opener.

2015 Viña Edén Cerro Negro was a wonderful blend of Uruguayan Tannat, Merlot and Marselan. I mistook it for a Pinot Noir, silly me, but then again what the hell do I know about wine. Raspberriness personified with an earthiness, that of course on hindsight had some Merlot & Tannat.

2011 Familia Deicas Preludio

2011 Familia Deicas Preludio could have been a wine from the south of France. As it turned out, it was not. But what!, another gorgeous Uruguyan blend of Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Marselan and Petit Verdot. The red wine of the evening for me, if not just for it’s inky black color. Wild, intense berry, yet floral spiceyness. A truly balanced wine personified. More please!

Well there we go for an April beginning. No fool here as we all embark on what is supposed to be, hemisphere depending, another change in climate, another change in GMT, and as we have just been contracted to supply alcohol free liquor to a famous May meeting in the ‘no go zone’ between South & North Korea, I will have to catch up with you all after the Bordeaux ‘En Primeur’ 2017 tastings.

May your Gods go with you!