With my first ever blog post for Bacchus Concierge, I wanted to give my thoughts on our latest COVID lockdown in the UK and how it has allowed me to enjoy one of my passions, whilst staying safe.
It is day four of the second UK lockdown and with it comes all the stress and uncertainty of the future. As an avid wine collector over the last ten years, I have constantly been faced with the conundrum, ‘when to open certain wines’! Is it too soon or too late? Do I really want to drink all of this myself, or do I just wait for a more opportune time?
Then it struck me that whilst staying safe, this is an ideal time to try wines which I have been avoiding, maturing on my rack! With the uncertainty of COVID, a small release from our lockdown can be enjoying those things which we are passionate about, whilst staying safe. This for me, is wine tasting!
Having had a good rustle around on the wine shelf, I came up with three wines, which not only were great for drinking now or in the future, but were superb value for money!
Optenhorst Chenin Blanc 2016, Bosman Vineyards, South Africa.
I came across this wine at a Decanter Fine Wine Encounter a couple of years ago. I was amazed at the wonderfully layered white fruit character it had, with pineapple, nectarine and white peach, with a lovely lingering finish. I immediately snapped up a case to enjoy in the future and pulled a bottle from its case last week. It had aged beautifully, with a riper, more open feel to it, which developed over a couple of hours of delectation. One to be enjoyed now and in the future!
Chateau Chasse Spleen 2010, Medoc, Bordeaux.
Coming from the magnificent 2010 vintage, this appeared to be the best time to enjoy! I decanted and left the wine for a couple of hours and went out for a long walk. I was richly rewarded for this, with a stunning wine on my return with plum, blackcurrant, spice and leather, with a long lingering finish, which was enjoyed over a number of hours and corked up for enjoying the next day. Great drinking now, but will continue to evolve!
Vina Ardanza Especial 2010, Rioja, Spain.
2010 was an amazing year across the board, from California to Bordeaux, Italy to Spain. One of the standout wines, which is hardly ever given the ‘Especial’ title, is that coming from Vina Ardanza and La Rioja Alta. In this wines 78-year history, it has only been given the ‘Especial’ accolade four times! Having been lucky enough to try older vintages, I made sure I picked up some of the 2010 as soon as it became available.
Still very much at the start of its evolution, even after 9 years in barrel and bottle, this wine will age gracefully for many years. All the hallmarks of great Rioja were there: stewed fruit, leather, spice box and tobacco, but concealed behind dense black fruit. Definitely a wine for the future and one you will want to buy plenty of and enjoy.
It was fascinating to re-discover what I have on my wine shelf. Lockdown will not be easy for any of us, but it has allowed me to open some of the wines I have collected over the years. I will be eager to see how they develop in the future and if you have something interesting tucked away, now is the time to get it out and try it!