A wine adventure – The Oxford Student
Image Description: Several people holding glasses of red wine
Is it weird going to taste wine on a random Thursday halfway through? Yes. But as someone who loves to drink wine and didn’t have much to do on a Thursday other than start reading next week, I decided to give it a try. Disclaimer: I had never done wine tasting before and was going on a journey of discovery.
The wine tasting took place at the Oxford Wine Company in Jericho, whose upstairs room had tables set up with sofas and several empty glasses ready for us. The central table was loaded with bottles upon bottles of red wine from the Bordeaux Médoc region, from the Donjon de Lamarque Haut-Médoc at £ 17.50 2015 to Château Branaire Ducru Saint-Julien 2000 at £ 160. The seven wines came from the Médoc in France. , which is apparently a very good region for grapes. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that not all grapes are created equal; some are much, much more equal than others. It was certainly reflected in the price, but was it reflected in the taste?
I decided that I would give each wine a rating out of 10 (although in retrospect, since none scored less than 6, I probably should have chosen a scale of 1 to 5). I decided that a bottle rated between 6 and 7 would be the one I would drink on a crew meeting – easily drinkable, well paired with curry and pita bread to line the stomach. 7-8, I would choose if I was really trying to impress someone. 8 and up I booked for a wine that smelled, tasted and felt more impressive than ever before. Full Disclosure – given that I’m generally pretty cheap with wine, those higher categories weren’t going to be too difficult to achieve. Also, I have to say that as the night wore on and I tasted (read: swallowed) more wine, I got more and more compliments.
If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that not all grapes are created equal; some are much, much more equal than others.
The first wine, the Dunjon de Lamarque Haut-Médoc 2015, was really very pretty and was the owner’s favorite. I really got to taste the “deep berry flavors” once I was told they were there. I gave it a rating of 6.5 – excellent for a date with the crew, and while I don’t really understand how wine and food pair well, it was very good with the cracker pie. of mushrooms with which I engulfed. All in all, a solid start.
Wine number two was a Moulin de Citran Haut-Médoc 2010. I have to say that if I had to buy one of the wines I tried during the tasting, it would be this one. It seemed much lighter and more fruity than the first one, and we were told this was due to the malolactic and secondary fermentation that the wine had undergone. It seemed like a complicated way of saying that this wine was very, very drinkable – I would swallow a whole bottle of it without the need for appliques. A good 7/10.
Next is Chateau La Tour de By Medoc 2015. This one was not as fruity as the previous one and has been described as “dusty”, with a classic and understated touch. I agreed. 6/10 – my least favorite.
I rated the fourth wine, Château la Fortune, Cru Bourgeois Margaux 2019, a 10/10 for the smell even before tasting. Apparently this scent is the expected ‘classic scent’ of Margaux, which must be an excellently scented place. The intensity of the fruity character and the high alcohol content have combined to produce a scent reminiscent of the deeply intense and sweet – from licorice to cocoa and cinnamon. The taste was woody (due to its maturity in oak barrels) but also quite sweet and tangy – 8.5.
I don’t know exactly what he lost and what he gained as he got older, but whatever he won I loved it.
Next come the Domaines Barons de Rothschild Légende Pauillac 2016. Rothschild is a big name in wine, and 2016 was known for a long, dry September which prolongs the grape ripening season. All of this made what I could say was a very good wine, but there was something more to the taste – we were told it was a toasty and vanilla taste generated by the French oak used for the barrels in which the wine has matured. Very pretty, but not as good looking as the previous one, so I gave it a 7.5.
The Château les Ormes de Pez Saint Estephe 2010 was next. This chateau is known for keeping its wine and at 14% it had the highest alcohol percentage of the lot. It has been described as “forgiving, attractive and hedonistic” – I personally wouldn’t have gone this far, but I agreed it was velvety. A solid 8.
I was pretty excited about the last one – Chateau Branaire Ducru Saint-Julien 2000 £ 160. It was very hard not to be swayed by the price, but all I can say is it smelled, tasted and felt different from everyone. the rest. Apparently, as the wine ages, it loses its primary qualities and acquires tertiary characteristics. I don’t know exactly what he lost and what he gained as he got older, but whatever he won I loved it. I rated this one at 9, but it’s definitely out of any reasonable price range for crew wines, which should be kept in mind.
Image credit: Kelsey Knight via unsplash
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