‘La Vie en Rose’ (and white Burgundy) in Chelsea.

by Patrick Sandeman

Hosted by a great European mix of Hungarians, Corsicans, and French who invited a number of guests to their lovely mews house in a cobbled corner of Chelsea to taste some sunny summer wines. We don’t have streets like this anymore in my modern town of Franch – all thanks to the Tour de France. We got down to action tasting eight chilled wines – four roses and four whites- all from Lea and Sandeman and all perfect for an outdoor tasting, but we did not risk the ‘Traditional British Summer’ and headed indoors for three hours of chats and rants, spitting less and drinking more as the tasting progressed! Everyone was up for my trademark ‘guessing game’, tasting each wine blind, challlenged to guess where each wine came from – ha,ha, ha! Impossible for the novice, difficult even for a pro, even with as big a nose as mine! But we had fun ans some great surprises. Starting with the 2008 MIP* Provence Rosé, which was popular with the young crowd; pale and creamy, with nice rich red berries, and all presumed it cost much more than it does (under a tenner!). Next up was 2007 La Coste Rosé,a year older than the current vintage on sale, and one which could have been the victim of  being poured down the sink for not being drunk within 6 to 12 months of the vintage – but it surprised us all with its viscocity, fresh stawberry notes and lingering freshness! Next up the classic 2008 Bandol Rose from Domaine Tempier with its refreshing peach notes, dried flowers and zesty minerals. Yummy…a classic I would say. I confused everybody with Luigi Maffini’s 2008 Denazanno from the coast of Naples – deep in colour, so deep it could almost been a Pinot Noir from Germany in cunning disguise, but in fact an Aglianico rosato packed full of wild craberries, crisp tannins and a fabulous finish. ‘Un vin de soif’ az we would zay in France! Nothing like this from Provence – after all, Pernod Ricard is still the favourite apero there. We took a break and had plenty of French banter, taking care not to alienate our British guests, and then started on the four white burgundies chilling in the bucket. The fist pair were a 2006 Savigny Les Beaune 1er Cru Vergelesses Domaine Jean Boillot – full bodied, textured, sweet and rich, wrapped in an utterly delicious bright acidity with a punch finish – and 2006 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot Domaine Fernand et Laurent Pillot – incredibly exciting on the palate with excellent fruit and acidity, and a very long and enjoyable aftertaste. My personal favourite of the tasting. The second pair was 2006 Puligny Montrachet Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot and then to Meursault with 2005 Meursault 1er Cru Charmes Domaine Henri Germain. The Puligny was an excellent example of the 2006 vintage, packed with classic lemon fruit – that is the sweet lemon rather than the bitter lemon – with a powerful stony finish. The Henri Germain was widely described as drinking ‘bees wax’, or something not unlike Gewurztraminer, but not as sweet – full, honied, dry and full bodied with the best description being of sweet honeysuckle – overall an excellent finish to all our hard work! The winner was as sweet as the last wine and awarded a bottle of champagne for her efforts. The loser, the most animated and inquistive taster of all, won the coveted prize of a Lea and Sandeman corkscrew. Like we say.. Au revoir, et a bientot!