9/1/18 Tipplers’ Minutes:


Host: Nigel


Regrets: Fin, Flan, Tom


Present: the rest (9 including yours truly)


Preliminaries: end of year bash (1st or 2nd Sat in June) “being worked on”. Ben nicking off to Mehico early 14/2 so next host (13/2) will be Allan.




A French sparkler (cremante de bourgogne) served to loosen the tongues and dull the wits. General approval: felt to be crisper than a standard cheap bubbly (e.g. prosecco) and not bad for its price ( $25).


Next up was a brown bagger, and the crowd set the oenophile bar at world record limbo height: “new or old world?” :  most went for new (it wasn’t); “pick a country”: nice random European spread; “varietal?”: chenin, sem, chard etc. The big reveal: sauvignon blanc (Sancerre). Post-hoc wisdoms: enough fruit to be new worldy but not as cloying as some NZ offerings; overall not a bad drop, said host, guests too polite (!!) to demur. Saving Flan’s absence, definitely not Shiite and great value for “about $20”, except mine host had a brain cramp and it was actually $28!


On to the main event….


On offer were 5 medium priced South African reds (4 mainly one grape, one right bank Bordeaux blend) and a ringer (Le Volte dell ‘Ornellaia, second line super Tuscan using younger vines). First task was to express preferences: leading the top 2 were:  Ashbourne Red -pinotage!-  (5 votes),  Spier merlot (5) and Cathedral Cellar cab sauv (4). Least liked (bottom 2) was the Merriman Bordeaux blend (6). General mutterings to the effect that not a bad group, all pretty good/no shite (again, saving absence of the Designated Fulminator)


Then to the apparently insurmountable task of figuring out what was being drunk. First pick the ringer: 3 worthies (Ben, Gus and Ken) sniffed out the Tuscan. Next pick the country: after establishing New World the crowd split between Oz (5 host profilers)  and South Africa (the 3 geniuses were Allan, Ben and Bob). As to picking the grapes: nuff said. In fairness, we have the modern problem of convergent styles. Post-hoc agreement (after identities and prices revealed) that wines good value (ed note; n.b the lowly Spier merlot at $12.55!).


On to afters…


The gathering dealt manfully with an offering of Mead (impulse buy… ) with fruit cake. No raves, no complaints, possibly some taste bud fatigue…


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