I'm not a huge cricket fan, but I am spending all of this week and next at Lord's judging at the world's largest wine competition. Every day, together with a team of professional winos, we'll sniff, sip, slurp (and spit) our way through thousands of wines. Everything is tasted blind, meaning that the wines are covered up so that we don't know what they are. The good ones end up with a gold, silver or bronze medal and I'll post a list of favourite medal winners when the results are announced in May. But for now, here are a few things I've learned so far this week:
1. Romanian Pinot Noir rocks. Not all of it, but there are lots of good ones; great value too.
2. Life's too short not to drink more Rotgipfler (a white grape) from Austria, if I can find it.
3. Same goes for Vernaccia, a gorgeous Italian white grown around the town of San Gimignano in Tuscany, Italy. Brilliantly simple, food-loving wine.
4. A big, heavy bottle usually means a big, heavy wine.
5. Quietly powerful wines - the ones with real purity - are more interesting.
6. Chinese red wines are getting better every year.
7. Indian red wines are getting better every year.
8. In fact, the quality of wines from everywhere is getting better every year, generally speaking.
9. My love for red wines from Chile's Colchagua Valley grows ever stronger.
10. I thought I hated Tequila. But then I tried a Pink Chihuahua here and rather liked it.
There is no white in the fridge this week. After tasting over a hundred wines a day, a glass of white is the last thing I feel like.
Current red in the rack: Tonnix Grand Crew 2009, £42.25, Hix Restaurants
However, being treated to dinner at Hix in Soho last night called for a glass of red with my (completely delicious) steak. And this one is made exclusively for Hix by one of the Douro Valley's coolest wine producers, Quinta de la Rosa. The label was drawn by Tracey Emin and the wine itself is a brilliant blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Cao grapes. In fact, can I add Portuguese reds to my list of wines I need to drink more often? Amazing stuff. Dark cherries, smoke and spice.
Chin chin x
Labels: 2009, Douro, Hix, International Wine Challenge, Portugal, red wine, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional