[image image_id=”2415″ align=”left”] My father sent me these two bottles that he had picked up in the gift shop at his local stately home. Obviously, when I opened the parcel I thought he had sent them as a joke; anyone with even a cursory knowledge of my interests could not reasonably expect me to get anything from wine like this. So when we spoke I chortled about them and said I’d probably use them for cooking. He replied, “But they come from [the local stately home], that’s posh!” Posh* or not, it is not who sells a wine that matters, it is who makes it and where. As far as the ‘where’ goes with these it is a region drowning in generic wines of tedium and mediocrity. Moreover, my previous experiences with this producer re-cast the words ‘dull’ and ‘dreary’ into new, stunning horizons of monotony. I told Roy I’d try them and write them up, but I really am more than a little confused as to why he sent them. Buying wine for other people can be very difficult, particularly if the buyer is a less rabid oenophile than the recipient. The best thing to do is ask what they want and get that rather than risk both parties feeling that money has been thrown away.
Sauvignon Blanc Vin de Pays d’Oc 2008, Baron Philippe de Rothschild
This has a really anonymous nose, it hardly smells of anything. The tiny bit of character that is there is confected and just smells too much like boiled sweets to make you think this is going to be a nice wine. The palate is vapid and insipid with unbalanced acidity and more hints of that grim, confected character. What is the point of this wine? It certainly does not speak of a place. It does not even manage to speak of a grape variety if we are honest. There is so little character here I just cannot see what enjoyment there is to be got out of it. I don’t think it is terribly badly made, it is just yet another piss boring stream of generic dreariness from an uninteresting locale and maker.
Merlot Vin de Pays d’Oc 2007, Baron Philippe de Rothschild
Oh dear. I mean this seriously, oh dear. It has the slightly vinegary nose of woeful red wine. There are shades of fruit there but this vinegar character is dominant and it one of the things I despise most about basic wines. The palate is slightly tannic, slightly acidic, with slight fruit flavours. It is less offensive than the nose, but there is so little to say about it that I’ll stop now.
*Some people say I am posh. They have no idea.
I am afraid that in my line of business – the teaching profession – bad wine is an occupational hazard as it is the default gift for male staff. You can casserole it of course. Using expensive wine for cooking is more than pointless, it is morally abhorrent. Anyway, wine falls into at least two categories, that to be tasted and that to be used (cooking, guests who don’t care, recycled gifts…). In the case of a gift I still beleive it to be as polite as possible when asked for a future tasting note. “it was perfect with oxtail…” is honest, if disingenuous.