Can you shoehorn your wine into a book theme, or your book into a wine theme? We gave it our best shot in our own unique way!
The first combination was Domaine de Montbourgeau 2015 ‘L’Etoile’ Cuvee Speciale Chardonnay, Jura, France which I paired with Wild Swans by Yung Chang. Wild Swans is a challenging and complex read, but once you get into it, it is fascinating and utterly absorbing. The L’Etoile is equally challenging and daunting as a wine. It is aged for 4 years in oak barrels and is never topped up, this means that the wine is deliberately oxidised giving it an incredibly nutty, savoury, salty flavour. There is nothing easy drinking about this wine, but there is a certain intellectual satisfaction found in enjoying it. It is definitely a bottle to share as one or two glasses is perfect, more is a bit hardcore. I must admit I finished Wild Swans but I didn’t finish the bottle. The Wine Society £23
Next up the Echeverria Family Wines Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2018, Casablanca Valley, Chile was paired with the writing of Isabel Allende, a Chilean author who incorporates a lot about wine in her writing. They are on a mission to find a new house red wine, and although this wine won’t achieve that hallowed status, it is nice. It is lacking a bit of freshness but has attractive strawberry and cherry fruit. Attractive and quaffable if not a firm favourite. For interest the term 'Gran Reserva' has no legal meaning in Chile as it does in Spain. North and South Wines £10.99
Schwarztrauber Auxerrois trocken 2020, Pflaz, Germany. Holy c**p this is good! Lovely intensity of fruit with bitter grapefruit, sweet melon and orange pith. Dry but with an attractive roundness, loads of minerality and a lip smacking freshness and a moreish saline finish. Total blind luck in picking up this wine but it is astonishingly good! And as for the literary shoehorn… well, they’re reading a book in German, does that count?! 14 swiss francs. (other varieties from this producer available from Bancroft Wines)
Since the whole of Thursday Night Club have become ardent Greek wine fans, it seemed appropriate to start with the Iliad by Homer as the literary link between the ancient Greeks and wine is so strong. A fascinating insight by their resident Classics student showed just how integral wine was to the ancient Greeks, in paying tribute to their gods, to encouraging debate (the latter is alive and well on a Thursday night too!). The wine is the lovely Monemvasia Red Blend 2013, Laconia, Greece. It is a blend of Agiorgitiko and Mavroudi, elegant with a complex array of flavours and a lovely citrus freshness. It is not the usual big, rich, heavy wine they often enjoy, but the perfect wine to herald in the spring. Port2Port £17.99
Giant Steps Wombat Creek Pinot Noir 2018, Yarra Valley, Australia is the wine of choice tonight, although quite how that works with The Famous 5 is yet to be worked out!! A really beautiful wine from some of the highest vineyards in the Yarra. It is really pretty with a purity, drive and brightness of fruit almost akin to New Zealand. A really really classy wine that despite a fairly high price tags shows excellent value for money when compared with Burgundy. North and South Wines £28.99
Samual Billaud ‘Les Grands Terroirs’ Chablis 2018, France. We were treated to a fabulous tale about Emile Zola and a special vintage being made for him which was drunk at a party with his mistress where she got drunk and fell off the terrace to her death. A tragedy which I bought into hook, line and sinker, only to discover it was entirely made up as he hadn’t got the memo about the literary theme! Serious kudos for thinking on your feet and spinning such a convincing yarn! The wine is lovely, very elegant and gentle with a honeyed texture and a lovely fresh acidity. Our Glass subscription service or Waitrose Cellar £22
Things were being taken far more seriously in the next household, with wine related poetry being googled, Yates seemed a good option, though Irish wine is in thin supply! Again we return to Chile for an Ode to Wine by Pablo Neruda so she bought the Lapostelle Cuvee Alexandre Pinot Noir 2017, Casablanca Valley, Chile. It is a nicely made wine and easy to drink, but it lacks the purity and freshness that can make Pinot so captivating leaving it a little fuzzy around the edges and sadly not too memorable. Salusbury Wine Store £18
The next wine was the product of a surprise raffle prize with a mixed case of wine and is the Tenuta Civranetta Fidora Pinot Grigio 2019, Veneto and is really surprisingly good. An organic wine it starts with subtle notes of tart tatin developing into a crunchier, fresher expression of the fruit on the palate. Not knowing where it came from it reminded him of a book that someone kindly sent him but didn't leave a note as to who it was from. A great read and a great drink but not sure who to thank on either count! A little google magic and it is available at Jascots for £11.86 when you buy by the case.