A fun evening hosted by Tim Stanley Clarke at the Woolgate
(on Basinghall Street, between the Guildhall and London Wall). The venue might be rather good for a larger tasting: they have a couple of big rooms in the basement, decorated in the modern style, and the food was the best I’ve had in a Davy’s place. (Similar comments were made about the carnivorous option).
The wines were a selection of Symington’s current offerings with an emphasis on Warre and Graham’s. I know the emphasis on
is very much on Vintage Port and other premium wines, but I rather like these tastings where you get to cover a range of the more affordable wines, without having to drink a bottle each at home. The major surprise was the Warre Otima. It was much better than I remembered with a long aftertaste which reminded me of a very old tawny. I wonder if the blend has changed recently?
In order, we had:Davy’s Finest Reserve
: Purple middle, but translucent. Fades to pink. Nice nose. Slightly spirity. Good dense fruit but mild impact. Perhaps slightly musty? In mouth, rather disappointing. Weak, slightly green. Touch astringent. Very little fruit and that that there is is quite light.Graham’s LBV 2006
: Opaque purple centre. Pinky rim. Lots of fruit on nose. Quite peppery. Some toffeeish finish to the nose. In the mouth immediate tannic grip. Strong red fruit. Red currants, perhaps? Longish aftertaste. Not of VP quality but very good LBV; perhaps the best filtered LBV?Warre “Otima” 10-year-old tawny
: Orange-red centre. Peachy rim. Very muted nose, perhaps caused by being served cold. Good caramel nose. Not convinced of the nuttiness which Tim Stanley-Clarke described. In mouth initially a pile up of different flavours. Mid-palate: very little; everything dramatically falls away. Then, at the end, it picks up again with a very long nutty aftertaste. The acidity is good on initial tasting, then falls away immediately. I was quite interested about this blend and discussed it with Tim Stanley-Clarke; since I wondered if they’d put something very old in it to give it that long aftertaste. It was certainly more interesting than I remember it from 5 years ago.Graham’s Crusted 2004
: A measure more purple than the 2006 Graham’s LBV. Fading to red on edge. Very good nose with good stewed fruit. In the mouth, slightly hard work. Gritty tannins. Some black cherries. Shortish aftertaste. Less sweetness than one might expect. Not very typically “Graham’s”, particularly compared to the LBV.Warre LBV 2001
: Darker than the Graham’s 2006 LBV and a similar, perhaps a touch darker than the 2004 Graham’s Crusted. Very good, subtle smell. Good fruit; red cherries. In the mouth well balanced tannins and subtle fruit. A very long, elegant aftertaste. Really very good LBV; this must be one of the best available.Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos SQVP 1999
Good purply-red centre. Just about opaque. Reddish edge. Nose a step better than anything else at the tasting. Very expressive with lots of red fruits. In the mouth, extremely sweet: a hit of icing sugar. Then followed by some light fruits. Perhaps moving into strawberries? Some residual tannins. Short aftertaste. Pretty good Port and one which is becoming drinkable again (it has been a bit of a disaster the previous times I’ve tried it in recent years).Gould Campbell VP 1997
: Same colour as the Malvedos. Considerably weaker on the nose, though. Some distant Muscovado sugar. Perhaps even treacle? But little fruit. In the mouth, no real fruit; this was slightly anemic. Some tannins left but they were gritty. Shortish aftertaste. Not great. Tim Stanley-Clarke described minerality. I agree but I am not sure this was good in this wine.
[I’ll transpose the tasting notes when I have some more free time!]