Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Notes on small tastings - Malcolm Gluck

Published:  18 January, 2007

I don't enter wine writing competitions. I don't put people up for such awards either.

Capture the drinker and you describe the drink is a clich of alcohol advertising research and Mr Nooteboom does it beautifully.

The obscure knighthood, the outsize blazer; both adjectives skewer the sherry drinker - shrunken, elderly, living in the past - as poignantly as a pin the butterfly.

It was accompanied by Nooteboom's book in my saddle bag that I cycled to the three dreariest tastings of the year: English, Spanish white, and Virginian.

The bubblies at the first of these were so jejune I took no further interest in proceedings and left, finding myself in unusual agreement with the two fellow wine writers and the one major retailer I spoke to before quitting the venue that "the wines are largely hopeless" (and the three of them had braved the still whites and reds). Can you believe an English pinot noir? It's easier to imagine a downhill skier from Barbados.

The tasting of Spanish white wines was only marginally more exciting. Rusty nails? More like cobwebby bread knives. Easily the sassiest of the 72 on show was Serra Da Estrela Albarino 2006, a fabulous 4.74 a bottle at

But these two tastings at least had the virtue of having wines to taste. The hapless Virginians, when I arrived having cycled from Hampstead to that awful dump the Vinopolis museum, were, with the exception of three bottles from Kluge Estate of Charlottesville, waiting for theirs to arrive.

They apologised and remarked: "well, at least you've had some exercise." My response is not fit to print.