The ICC group met on Thursday December 4th for a Tasting that doubled as the New Year Quiz, a month early so the prize could be enjoyed by the winner over the Festive Season.

The quiz was modelled on Call My Bluff (a BBC quiz where a team of three each gave definitions to obscure words – one was correct the other 2 invented, a Bluff! The other team had to guess who was telling the truth). Some of us had  experienced the wine version at Perkins last June (see June 23rd post below for a report) and decided it would be a good idea for the ICC Festive Quiz.

As usual we enjoyed 6 wines. Each was served blind to everyone present and then we heard three definitions, tasting impressions and information from Kathryn, Carrie and Kim; my “three lovely assistants” – although as they did all the presentation and I was just a pourer perhaps I was their “lovely assistant”?!

After each wine everyone had to plump for one of the three definitions and then the answer was revealed… We then moved on to the next wine….

Kathryn, Carrie and Kim: "3 Lovely Assistants"

Kathryn, Carrie and Kim: “3 Lovely Assistants”

Here are my notes on the wines, the alternatives offered and the actual results:

The first round was entitled Something Sauvignon
The wine had some early nutty notes, grassy but more elements of lime and other citrus. There are some herby notes, but no asparagus. The palate gives warm acidity but more citric (mandarin?) than gooseberry, a heavier, longer, more textured palate than typical SB. Some minerality and quite rich fruit: redcurrant and peach? So was it:

  • A 2011 Grave: mainly Sauvignon Blanc with some oaked Semillon?
  • A 2011Sauvignon Gris from Marlborough?
  • Or a 2013 Menetou-Salon, from the Loire?

This was a rather more rounded than a simple SB – was the “extra” a bit of Semillon or the slightly fleshier grape? In fact it was:
BRANCOTT “R” Sauvignon Gris 2011  Marlborough NZ  (14%)   –   Ocado £14, Majestic £17


The second round was a Wierd White.
The nose is immediately strong citrus, with floral – almost Alsatian – aromas. Green, summer meadow notes too and a hint of rose water. The palate had lively acidity, lemon peel and tangerine – and a slightly spicy finish… Very enjoyable – but was it:

  • A 2011 Gascony blend of Gros Manseng, Arrufiac and Petit Courbu?
  • A 2010 Edelswicker , a Alsace “Field Blend” of Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois , Gewurztraminer & Riesling?
  • A 2012 Greek varietal Moschofilero from the Peloponnese?

This had definite Alsace signs, and that had to be the guess unless you happen to have previously tasted the rose and tangerine hints in the Greek Moschofilero grape. It was:
Semeli Feast White 2012   (Peloponnese – 12%) – Oddbins £9


The third wine was a Chillable Red:
Quite cool with slight rubber notes notes at first then soft cherry fruit. Palate has cherry juice too,  enough acid and pleasantly warming tannins and  some spice. But was it:

  • A New Zealand “Beaujolais” copy from Hawkes Bay?
  • A classic Beaujolais, Chénas Vieilles Vignes 2011?
  • A 2012 Mondeuse, a Savoie Wine from the regions trademark red grape?

This seemed straight up-and-down Bojo to me, and most guessed the Chenas. I expect that’s a compliment to NZ then!? As the wine is:
Te Mata Estate Vineyards Hawkes Bay Gamay Noir 2013 (13%)  –  Wine Society £13

ICC members debate the subtleties of Barbera & Sangiovese... Including the winner, Roger, 3rd from Left.

ICC members debate the subtleties of Barbera & Sangiovese… Including the winner, Roger, 3rd from Left.

The fourth wine was Italianate Red:
This had plums on the nose and sour cherry on the palate, warm acidity and a spicy note.  Obviously Italian-ish but a little young –  was it:

  • A 2012 Nielluccio – a Corsican Saniovese-clone?
  • A 2012 Langhe Barbera in a modern style?
  • A 2012 Morellino di Scansano?

I’ve no idea how you’d pick this – and I’m sure the first guess would be Tuscan… however if looking (retrospectively) for a clue –  it lacks a little in the finish, that flavour – with time in the glass – that often has dried fruit cake hints in Tuscan wines… In fact the wine was:
Langhe Rosso New Age (Del Pozzo) 2012 –  Vini Italiani £19


The 5th Round was Claret – Left, Right or Copy?
This wine showed plum fruit and a hint of floral at first, then cedar and mushrooms. Palate was dry with a spicy finish but showing a little pruney fruit and some hints of grainy chocolate. Very satisfying – was it…

  • A 2006 South African Claret Copy from Stellenbosch, composed of 45% Cab S, 38% Merlot, 13% P Verdot, 3% Ca Fr, 1% Malbec
  • A 2005 Right Bank Claret from Blaye, composed of Merlot 75%, Cab S 15 %,   Malbec + Cab F?
  • A 2006 Left Bank Claret from Moulis, composed of Merlot 50%, Cab S 45%, P Verdot 5%?

I think it quite easy to rule out the South African through lack of oaky notes, but this has both Merlot (plums, chocolate) and Cabernet (cedar, mushrooms) hints. More of the former though – so you might guess it is:
Château Le Menaudat Premier Côte de Blaye 2005  –  Avery’s £12 (in 2008)


Finally, a big Not-Chateauneuf
This had a woody – not oak – nose with some red fruit. Big palate, supple acidity rich but slightly chewy tannins and a tell-tale redcurrant fruit concentrated in the later mid-palate. Good, but was it:

  • A classic Languedoc Red, 2011 Minervois La Livinière (36% Syr, 28% Gren, 27% Carignan, 9% Cinsault)?
  • A 2011 Chilean Carignan made from 50-year-old un-irrigated bush vines?
  • A 2011 Lebanese Wine from the Bakaa Valley, that is in fact a Chateauneuf-ish (Cinsault 50%, Grenache 30%, Cabernet 10%, Mourvèdre 10%)?

Quite difficult until you pick the redcurrant element, which for low-cropped Carignan is a bit of a tell! It is indeed:
Undurraga “Terroir Hunter” Maule Carignan 2011  (14.5%)  –  Wine Society £12.50


No-one got them all right, and 6 or 7 people tied with the best total. A tie breaker ensued – guessing the (European) geographical location of this blog’s banner photo. (Guess through the comments section if you weren’t at the Tasting, before I change the picture in the New Year).

Roger got very close indeed and therefore won a bottle of Taylors Port to enjoy at the Festive Season.

Until next time…..