Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quinta da Lagoalva Late Harvest 1995

I'm doing a tasting this evening for the Saddleworth Wine Circle. It's an organisation that's evolved out of a night school class I went to when I first got interested in wine in the late 1980s, and there are still a number of the members who still go from that era. They usually meet in the local secondary school, but this week being half-term, they've got a week off. I often do things for them in the school holidays. I find that these low key events are excellent to keep in touch with 'normal' wine lovers, rather than those who spend a major part of the week spitting into a bucket. You soon realise that not everyone 'gets' Arbois whites or considers £10 a bottle to be a good everyday drinking sort of price. So I drag along a selection of current samples, together with a few rarities that I've acquired over the last few years, and we sit around and chat about them.

The oddball in tonight's line-up is a rare bottle I was given when I visited Quinta da Lagoalva in the Ribatejo (north east of Lisbon) some time in the late 1990s. It's a botrytis-affected blend of Riesling and Gew├╝rztraminer that I'm pretty sure they don't make any more - the current vintage on the web site is 1997. If you'd given it me blind, I'd have put it as a Tokay or a rather old Sauternes. Burnt sugar, marmalade, crystallised fruit, sweet yet with a finish that seems rich rather than dry. It's showing its age a little, but it's still a fascinating and tasty drop. If I were feeling selfish, I'd keep the bottle to myself and show them something a little less interesting. But being a benevolent so-and-so...

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