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SuperBOWL 2003

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World of sparkling wines with Jacques Conradie

reporter: Andrew Stevenson

The seminar was entitled A World of Sparkling Wine and presented by Jacques Conradie, winemaker for Graham Beck Wines of South Africa. I think I'd have preferred to have left out the non-Beck wines, as for me, they seemed to lose the focus of the seminar rather than add any really meaningful comparison. I enjoyed this tasting. Simon Goldberg had declared previously that he would make it his mission to find me South African wines that I would like, and although he didn't like these Cap Classique (i.e méthode champenoise) wines, I did. So failed and succeeded there, Simon!

Graham Beck Brut NV £8
50:50 Pinot Noir:Chardonnay The base wine for this came 70% from the 2000 vintage and 30% from reserve wines. Kept on the lees in bottle for two years prior to disgorgement. Could probably do with another 3-4 years in bottle. Deepish straw. Fruity nose. Light and moussy. Initially seems a bit watery, but develops a very full flavour on the palate with lots of soft spicy notes. Good.

Domaine Chandon, Green Point £13
Distinctly golden. Biscuity nose. Clean light attack. But does not develop on the palate, remaining merely light and crisp. OK.

Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc 1998 £11
This was 50% fermented in French oak and has spent 4.5 years on its lees in bottle before being disgorged. Lemony straw. Elegant nose. Very crisp and clean. Elegant, nice citrussy fruit. Very Good.

Laurent Perrier NV Champagne £20
Fruity nose. Quite round (much more so than the Beck Blanc de Blancs). Good fruit and length. Very Good.

Graham Beck Sparkling Pinotage NV £11
A bit of a novelty, produced in limited quantities (just 1000 cases), and tasted without a comparator - because of course there could be no comparator from elsewhere in the world! 20 g/l residual sugar, but not noticeable. Deep bright raspberry red. Fascinating nose with soft red fruits. Very ripe flavours. Tannins and red fruit on palate. Quite impressive. Probably not something one would want to drink very much of, but it was very refreshing, especially in the context of the huge range of particularly reds available at SuperBOWL.

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