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SuperBOWL 2002

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The grand evening wine dinner

reporters: Tom Cannavan, with tasting notes by Ray Abercromby (RA), Andrew Stevenson (AS) and Stephen Pickles (SP). Photos courtesy of Phil Wilkins and David Pearce.

The evening dinner was an informal affair; the emphasis firmly on good food, great wine, and convivial conversation. The menu for the dinner was:

Grilled Seabream on a warm salad of fennel, chorizo, olives and roasted garlic
Saute of pheasant breast with barley risotto and a juniper sauce
A selection of Scottish and French cheeses
Blackcurrant delice with poached pear and chocolate sauce

Speeches and formalities were kept to a minimum, and in fact the evening set of a hectic pace, with conversation flowing and dozens of "illicit" bottles appearing from brown paper bags, concealing some marvellous wines. The only interruptions to the flow of the evening were a charity raffle, and the results of that afternoons "mystery wine competition" - see below.

Dinner wines


These are in many cases more brief. The sheer quantity of TNs has to be credited to David Bennett, who did a sterling job of finding wines around the room and almost thrusting them in my face. All were fascinating, and one in particular (Corton) was absolutely sublime (RA).

sparkling/white/sweet

Graham Beck Brut
Pleasant enough but possessing a slightly sour / dirty ege with rasping disjointed acidity. Good. (RA) OK. Full flavoured. Seems simpler and more acid than in the sparkling wine seminar earlier in the day. Rich on finish with very good length. Good. (AS)

1998 I Sistri Chardonnay, Toscana
(tasted like a £10+ wine. According to DB, you can get 3 for that price!!) Golden yellow. Reticent closed nose. Very creamy oak, malo evident in a buttery nre world style. Very good length. Very Good / Very Good Indeed. (RA)

Valon VdT, Piemonte
Very fresh crisp nose. Melon and peach fruit with prominent acid and a slightly sour edge. Good / Very Good. (RA)

1998 Ch. La Louvière Graves Blanc, AC Pessac-Leognan
Very light nose. Quite big on palate. Acid and spice. (AS)

1975 Brauneburger Juffer Riesling Spatlese, P. Licht-Bergweiler
Wonderful full-on kerosene petrol oily nose, still retaining freshness. This is immediately apparent on the palate, with primary citrus notes, a slight sweetness but fading slightly. A long elegant length. Excellent. (RA) Old Riesling nose with a nice waxiness and minerals but not overly petrolly. Still quite fresh. Quite splendid. Very good indeed. (AS)

1983 Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese. P Licht-Bergweiler
Big malic nose. Clean attack. Good fruit. Seems a touch light for an auslese, though it seems to me that Licht-Bergweiler tend to a lighter, fresher style. Very Good. (AS)

Le Soula 2001 - Gauby
Waxy mineral nose with a citrus hint. A lot of swirling opened it out a little and there are some floral hints on the nose. balanced long and fine, I am glad I have a few more of these at home - Excellent. (SP)

1993 Pignan Reserve, Chateauneuf de Pape Blanc
Straw / pale gold. Honeyed nose of med intensity. Smooth but falls away wuite quickly. Interesting but lacks body and grip. Good / Very Good. (RA) Excellent nose. Minor hint of oxidation. But lovely rich almondy nose. Excellent fruit on the palate. Clean,round,full. Good (AS)

2002 Paxo de Señorans Albariño, Rias Baixas 12%
Very good nose. Rich creamy grapefruit. Full flavoured. Slightly hard, but that might just be that it's at quite a warm temperature. OK. (AS) Rich grapefruit nose with a touch of herbs, the palate is full, and good citrus fruit, with an acid kick that carries the finish. great food wine . very good + (SP)

Weingut Schuster Gruner Veltliner beerenauslese 1998 Austria
Rich orange liqueur nose, oranges and honey and spices on palate, very different, good but not zingy acid and an interesting finish. Very good (SP)

2002 Kurt Hain Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatlese
Straw / gold. Fruity on nose, with fresh fruit and citrussy aromas. Sweet initial attack, finishes dry. Very Good Indeed (RA) Fantastic nose. Oily minerals - smells much older than it is. Very minerally. Fantastic attack - clean fresh fruit, then a huge burst of residual sugar. A pretty immense mouthful. Then it actually seems to finish dry! Curiously seems to embody Riesling at its various stages of development in combination. Slightly curious, but Very Good Indeed (AS)

2002 Kies-Kieren Erdener Treppchen Kabinett*
Pale, green hints. Very acidic, fresh nose with lime predominant. Petillant on palate with light to medium intensity body. Some honeyed notes, but citrus flavours persist, with a good finish. Very Good (RA) Fab nose: full on, very fresh riesling. Rich Riesling, massive fruit, and a touch of acid, but perhaps a little rustic & lacking elegance. But immensely attractive. Very good. (AS)

Blue Nun 2002
Bright, with sweet fruit of stunning complexity. Long, evolved, with length and unimaginable depth. So unique - in a category of its own - and surely worthy of intense further study. It seems almost crass to assess its quality. So I wont. (RA) Pale straw. Rather slight nose with hint of sweetness - I actually can find the Riesling it's made from on the nose. Light, off dry. Clean. Inoffensive. Nowhere near as bad as you might think. But you can get so much better for just £1 more! (AS)

1959 Vouvray Bourillon-Dorleans, Rochette de la Loire
Deep gold, slightly fruity with deep intensity. Slightly oxidized, but still has a huge impact of sweetness which then fades away a bit. Acid is still present, maintaining some freshness. Remarkable for the age. Excellent. (RA) Pale tan. Bizarre nose with tobacco and slight honey. Very lively, with some acid still hanging in. Lots of fruit. Remarkable. Not great, but quite remarkable for its age. Very Good. (AS)

1989 Chateau Climens
Deep burnished gold. Intense honeyed nose of candied orange peel. Deep and complex, more than honey, more besides. Truly great with opulent length. Excellent / outstanding (RA)

1988 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos (maker unknown)
Deep orange with tan hints. Very raisined nose, following onto the palate. Nutty, acidity slightly lacking. Good length but slightly burnt finish. Good (RA) Mid tan. Poor caramelly nose. Sweet. Totally lacking acidity. Harsh note on finish. Poor. (AS)

1998 Tim Adams Botrytis Semillon
Deep Gold, almost browning slightly. Very sweet intense nose with a slight raisiny hint. The palate is similar, with intense fruitiness and fatness. Good acidity, highly enjoyable. Very Good Indeed (RA) Coppery gold. Pure botrytis nose with sultana juice. Sweet attack. Intense sultana fruit. Clean and elegant. Very Good. (AS)

red/fortified

1998 Fox Creek JSM
Deep red, with lovely vanilla scented black fruit nose. Huge spice attack, grippy tannin, a warm mouthfeel to boot. Opulent, and very enjoyable. Very Good Indeed (RA) Dark purple. Excellent nose - clearly shiraz & cab franc. Good attack. Nice soft fruit, lots of structure. Lots of spice on finish with nice tannins. Very Good. (AS)

1996 Chateau Tahbilk 1860 Shiraz
Deep ruby. High toned nose, some VA? Fruit, little oak, some plumy hints. Spice and pepper abound, with black berry fruit to back up. Good length but a bit sharp – no warmth. Very Good. (RA)

1996 Ridge Santa Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep red. Plum and blackcurrant on a medium intensity nose with some discreet oak nuances. Lots of spice, warmth and body in a very balanced style. Long length. Excellent. (RA) Super bright dark colour. Very good nose - soft, herby cabernet. Very good attack. Excellent fruit on palate. But seems to fall apart a little on the finish, becoming a little disjointed - tannins, spice and fruit seem to separate out and go along their own paths. Good. (AS)

2000 Marietta Cellars Geyserville Syrah 14.3%
Purple in colour, with a very reticent nose. Spicy, plumy with lots of primary fruit attack and a reduced mid palate. Long length. Very good indeed (RA)

1997 Napier Road (SA) Medallion
Muted aromas, followed by a big spice and fruit hit. Full bodied in style, it’s not the most balanced of wines, but very approachable and enjoyable in a slightly hedonistic style. Very Good. (RA) Lovely warm black fruits and hedgerow nose. Good fruit on palate. Spicy finish with huge tannins. Good (AS)

2000 Gilga Shiraz, Stellenbosch
Big, chunky, grippy very extracted, full-on spice. Hot, big and fun, but reduced length. Very Good. (RA) Young purple. Good fruit. Appears older than it is. Immense spice on finish with good tannins. Very good (AS)

1998 Warwick Estate Old Bush Vine Pinotage
Plum / deep red, extending to rim. Glycerin apparent. Very gamey, one might even say bretty. Real farmyard smoky bacon aromas with lots of VA. Sweet volatile fruit and acid, not really matching up with the nose. Sour taste on the back of the mouth with a metallic harshness. A bit disappointing after such a promising perfume. Good / Very Good (RA) Remarkably young looking. Herbaceous, vegetal nose with more than a little volatile acidity. Open broad fruit on the palate with an acid streak. Bitter finish. (AS)

1961 Phelan Segur, St Estephe
Pale, clear with brick-red colour and a browning edge. Wonderful cedary nose with fruit still in evidence. The palate again shows a combination of woody aromas and sensations with enough fruit to avoid dryness. Soft velvety tannins. Lovely harmony, and still going nicely. Excellent (RA) Quite brickish and starting to brown. Cedary nose with tobacco and just a bit of fruit. Seems to be a touch spirity and volatile? Quite secondary, but still some fruit. Very good, but fading. (AS)

1997 Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac
Deep red, purple core. Very smoky cedary nose almost with a hint of cheese. Big herby spicy palate, but the fruit falls away quickly. Slightly green tannin, with good acidity and length. Very young, but should improve. Very Good Indeed (RA)

1996 Chateau Montrose, St Estephe
Lovely elegant fruit, spicy and earthy with some meaty woody pencil aromas. Good body and length and very drinkable. Excellent. (RA) An even, slightly young colour. Earthy, mushroomy nose. Very lovely palate. But fades very quickly in the mouth. I know this is verging on the heretical, but I find this a bit average. (AS)

1971 Corton Les Marechaudes (Doudet-Naudin)
Browning, clear in appearance. Very sweet, confected old nose. VA? Real grip and depth to the wine, with lots of spice and body. Quite remarkable for its age. Excellent (RA)

2000 Savigny-Les-Beaune, Les Serpentieres, Javillier - Guyot
Pale red with cherry flavours and aroma. Surprising body given the colour. Very good length. Very Good / Excellent. (RA)

1986 Chateau Beaucastel, Chateauneuf de Pape
Clear red. High intensity farmyardy smoky, bretty nose. Lovely spice and meaty flavours, expanding beautifully in the mouth to give a warm finish of great length. Fantastic stuff, so elegant and classically Rhone-like. Excellent / Outstanding (RA) Amazing nose: Beaucastel farmyard, but softened and rounded. Meaty/gamey on the palate. Truly Excellent. Sue Lawley can give me an unending bottle for my desert island. (AS)

Paul Jaboulet Domaine de Thalabert 1990 crozes hermitage
rich damson,cherry fruit nose with some gamey notes. palate follows nose with very fine resolved tannins, beautiful ripe fruit. Elegant and long with a savoury finish. Super stuff . very good + /excellent (SP)

2002 Livelli, Salice Salentino
Deep ruby / plum. Smoky nuances but closed on the nose. Very powerful hit of plum and pepper flavours with strong foursquare tannin. Tasty now, but 3-5 years should see the tannin mellow a bit. Very Good Indeed (RA) Reticent nose - very soft red fruit and cherries. Upfront fruit on the palate. Soft & ripe flavours. Some tannins on the finish. But it doesn't appeal to me for some reason. OK (just) (AS)

Villa a Tolli 1997 Brunello de Montalcino
cherry nose and savoury touches of leather, palate follows with plenty of fien tannins and cherry fruit. Still young but good with food . very good (SP)

1982 Cousino Macul Reserva, Maipo, Chile
Clear, limpid, cherry/ruby red. Closed nose, not giving much away apart from some muted smoky oak. Evolved fruit with soft gravelly tannin with good grip at the back. Very good indeed, and in rude health given its age. (RA) Excellent bright red colour. Very good soft, leathery nose. Very good attack. Soft and inviting. Good structure and balance. Very intresting to try a Chilean of this age. Very Good Indeed. (AS)

1988 Bandol La Bastide Blanche
Deep ruby. Feral nose, a bit wild and brambly. Deep and savoury, with gripping initial flavour and not a little tannin present. Good length and real character. This has plenty years ahead of it. Very Good Indeed. (RA) Damson, bramble and game nose - this smells to me like a fresh cut haunch of venison.Good concentration and big chocolatey tannins with bramble fruit and venison notes on the palate, and with a spicy finish,its too young wait 2-4 years. very good (SP)

1997 Marginale Saumur Champigny
Gamey nose, with some brett characteristics. Quite woody and spicy with medium tannin, god length and medium body. Very pleasant and balanced. Very Good. (RA)

1999 Abadia Retuerta Selection Especial, Sardon del Duero (Castilla Leon)
Deep burgundy colour. Quite intense beefy smoky nose. Gentle in attack, increasing on palate, with some creamy oak evident. Very gentle and has potential. Very Good Indeed (RA) Excellent nose - very serious - intense beefy nose. Gentle attack. Build and builds. Lots of big fruit in a moderately parkerised style. Good oak on finish. Very Good. (AS)

1996 Nieport LBV
Deep alcoholic nose intense and high toned. Spicy with grip and some sweetness. Very tasty and balanced. Very Good Indeed (RA) Clean, youngish ruby. OK nose with spirit. Some fruit, but for me it's totally dominated by some quite harsh spirit. Poor. (AS)

Warre 1983
Very floral nose with walnuts. Good fruit on attack - very intense flavours. Spirit builds lightly but without dominating. Good.

Lustau Pedro Ximenez Murillo
Specially bottled on the occasion of Lustau's centenary year (1996) 17% Deep teak with the viscosity (and some of the colour) of engine oil. Remarkably fragrant nose: dried grapefruit peel and intense raisins. Lush. Very rich, very sweet, very big. Good complexity too though. Quite obvious on the attack, but lots of fruitcake and elderflower syrup flavours. Huge length. Very sticky (the bottle needed washing after a few pours).(AS)

AC Rivesaltes NV Grenache Noir Vin Doux Naturel, Les Vignerons d'Opoul 17.5%
This was mine, from the Laithwaite stable, and I know that I've had the bottle, the last of six I think for just over 10 years. Light, bright very young tawny port colour. Excellent vaguely portlike nose, but without the complexity of good port. Rich, sweet attack. Fills to huge fruit. Lots of tannin on finish. Spirit and spice mix on the finish, with the spice coming out on top. Very Good Indeed. I had a spot of this left in the bottle which I tried the next day - it was fading very fast. (AS)

Tinta Barocca / Pinotage fortified (name TBA)
Old, orangy brown. Sweet, burnt nose. Hideous sweet fruit, with very old porty flavours. Some length and depth. Interesting but not for me. Good / Very Good (RA) Looks old. Port-ish nose, presummably from the tinta barocca, but very clearly also not port (hello pinotage). Quite portlike on the palate too. But also quite different, with a sort of burnt caramel sweetness. Rather a lot of sediment in the glass makes it difficult to come to a firm opinion. (AS)

Mystery Wine

The keenly anticipated result of the afternoon's "mystery wine" competition was also announced. During the afternoon the superBOWLers had the chance to taste an unknown red wine and guess its identity and price. The one who came closest would scoop the prize. The wine turned out to be:
grape - Shiraz
country - USA (Delicato from California)
vintage - 2001
alcohol - 13.5%
price - £5.99

I am delighted to say the lucky winners of the competition were Anne Pearce and Dawn Bliss (pictured celebrating right), who guessed three components out of five correctly.

All in all the superBOWL 2003 was an absolutely fantastic weekend, and this excellent dinner a real highlight.

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