Berkmann Wine Cellars South West Wine Tasting 2015
@ The Grand Café, Southampton, SO14 3AS
Monday 5th October 2015
On Monday 5th October I was lucky enough to be able to attend Berkmann Wine Cellars South West Wine Tasting 2015 at The Grand Café in Southampton. Berkmann Wine Cellars are one of our key wine suppliers and we buy a small range of wines from them but mainly Lapostolle frmo Chile, various Italian wines, including those from Antinori and Masi and some selected spirits including Monkey 47 Gin from Germany and Ron Millonario from Peru. The UK wine trade is extremely London-centric and it is very rare that any of the big wine suppliers organise a regional wine tasting outside of London. It is great when then do and I am highly appreciative to Berkmann Wine Cellars for organising a fantastic wine tasting, with a good, large range of wines out in the wilds of Southampton. With the tasting being so local and with the phrase “use it or lose it” in mind, there was no way I wasn’t going to attend. It was well attended, it certainly seemed busier than the last one I attended in 2013 tasting.
Here are a few of my highlights from the wine tasting.
I tried a few sparkling wines at the tasting, including some great Champagnes from Drappier, but the two that stood out most for me were the Casa Valduga Arte Brut from Brazil and Prosecco from Col de’ Salici. The Brazilian sparkling wine was a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and had quite developed toasty and yeasty flavours and aromas and pucnched way above it £12ish price point. The Col de’ Salici Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry was amazingly fresh with lots of apricot character and a really clean and dry finish. A very crisp and elegant wine.
Italian White Wines
One wine that I was keen to try again to check up on was the new vintage of the Broglia La Meirana Gavi di Gavi 2014. It is still one of the best Gavi di Gavis I have tried. The 2014 was really fresh and clean with floral, blossomy notes, hints of almonds and plenty of citrus / lime character. Very nice. Another old favourite showing well was the Masi Masianco, a white from Veneto made with 85% Pinot Grigio and 15% partially dried Verduzzo grapes which give a fair bit of character and flavour to the blend.
Did you know Cervaro della Sala had a little brother? I didn’t. It is the Castello della Sala Bramito, 100% barrel fermented Chardonnay from Umbria and would retail for under £20. One of the best Italian Chardonnays I have tried in a long time with lots of pineapple and apply character with a nice spiciness.
Italian Red Wines
I have not tried many wines from Valtellina in the north of Italy but there was a very interesting red wine wine on show made by Mamete Prevostinin. Their SantaRita Rosso di Valtellina, a high altitude 100% Nebbiolo from the Swiss / Italian border, was just fantastically clean, pure, fruity and silky textured with red fruit and floral (rose) notes.
The Masi Valpolicella Bonacosta and Costasera Amarone are both excellent wines and I think the Masi Costasera Amarone 2010 might have been my favourite wine of the day (a toss-up between this and the Lapostolle Mourvedre below). It demonstrates an abundance of dried fruits, chocolate, mocha and violet aromas and flavours and manages to be powerful yet with a classy, elegance and purity at the same time.
There were also three Antinori-owned red wines that deserve a mention. Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato is a superb 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Syrah blend from Tuscany, as good as ever. The Prunotto Mompertone was new to me, a supply, fruity, smokey, autumnal wine, a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Syrah from Piedmont. Lastly there was the La Braccesca Bramasole, 100% Syrah from Tuscany with loads of smokey black fruit and very reminiscent of a good Cote-Rotie. A Superb Syrah.
I am a big fan of Lapostolle wines from Chile. The Lapostolle Casa Semillon 2012 is a really fresh, waxy, fruity, citrus-y wine aged for 8 months in 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barrels with superb ageing potential. The Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay is one of my “go to” Chardonnay and has a great balance of fruit, oak and acidity. However, the surprise for me was a new wine, made only in tiny quantities, the Lapostolle Collection Mourvedre 2013, 100% Mourvedre from Apalta. It was aged in 3rd fill French oak for 1 year and and is a fruity, juicy wine with lifted red fruit and blueberry aromas. Lovely.
We buy a few spirits from Berkmann Wine Cellars and it was good to try a few new ones that I had not tried before. Monkey 47 Gin continues to be a benchmark gin, floral and spicy with a touch of sweetness, and their newly released Sloe gin was very nice too. Bonus fact: the Monkey 47 Gin is rested in earthenware containers for three months prior to bottling for all the flavours in the gin to marry.
Babicka Original Wormwood Vodka was a surprise. Really spicy, woody, wormwood infused vodka from Czechoslovakia with vanilla, anise notes. Just drop and olive in it and you would have a good dry Martini. Lapostolle’s Kappa Pisco is amazing, probably one of the best white Piscos one can find, with lovely aromatic grapey, muscat aromas and flavours, but clean and pure enough to drink neat, which is more than I can say for some other Piscos I have tried!
There were also Rums from Don Q from Puerta Rico and Ron de Jeremy from Panama. I really liked the Don Q Anejo and the Ron de Jeremy Spiced and XO. The spiced was bottled at 47% which is unusual for a spiced rum, most are bottled at around 38%. It is refreshing to see a full strength spiced rum and it certainly didn’t take any prisoners. Big, rich and spicy but with a lot more power than some. I normally find the normal Ron de Jeremy a little bit too sweet for my taste but the Ron de Jeremy XO was very good. Apparently this was a blend of rums from Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana, aged through a Solera system and bottled with a rough average age of 15 years old. It was big, rich and smokey with loads of dark toffee, mocha and oaky notes.
So there you have it. Thanks again to Berkmann Wine Cellars for organising a regional tasting. What I really need is the recipe for the goats cheese arancini with tomato sauce The Grand Café served!