On Sunday night almost 100 tasters, the majority of them Purple Pagers, had a chance to taste 43 examples of Brunello di Montalcino from the top-class vintage 2010 at Caravan King's Cross. There are more than 200 producers of Brunello but these particular wines had been hand picked by our Italian specialist Walter Speller on the basis of his detailed assessment of the vintage back in January (see 2010 Brunello – a perfect 60-60-60). You can read more about our tasting, including a full list of the wines, in Announcing Brunello Night.
Amazingly, this was the first major presentation of Brunellos in London since the 1999s were shown (strictly to professionals) in 2004. Come back, we love you!
I wrote down some of the things people said to me on Sunday night on my tasting catalogue carefully prepared by Richard:
‘I’ve been going to wine tastings in London for 30 years and this is the best by a mile’
‘it’s nice, and unusual, to be able to pour your own wine’
‘lovely food keeps on appearing’
‘you don’t feel you’re being sold to’
‘this is state of the art – good food, great venue, not stuffy’
‘there’s not one wine I wouldn’t drink’
‘if Carlsberg did wine tastings…’
‘the food’s amazing’
‘keep on doing these please’
All the hard work was done by Richard, Walter and the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino, notably Stefania Tacconi with president Fabrizio Bindocci and vice-president Francesco Ripaccioli. Everyone was sent home with a beautifully illustrated 400-page guide to the producers of Brunello. No map – yet! We do not operate these events to make money, but rather to share wines we think of real interest that do not get enough exposure in the UK (although I met tasters last night who had travelled from San Diego, Zurich and Luxembourg to be there). I'm delighted to say that we have been able to donate £2,000 from ticket sales, via Oxfam, to help victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal.
Below are some of the scenes from the night captured by Richard.
Once again, we made the most of the 43 wines, tasting from Riedel Pinot Noir glasses, courtesy of Sensible Wine Services.
Our columnist Alex Hunt MW had time to taste before it began...
...while Jancis was being distracted by Nick, but she also tasted many of the wines so we will be publishing the combined impressions of Jancis and Alex.
Caravan and the tasting began to take shape...
..while Jancis found a spot without distractions.
Time for Walter to pour the aperitivo, metodo classico Sangiovese.
Tam and Emily were ready to greet the first guests.
The sparkling Sangiovese was going down well.
But we couldn't distract tasters from the main event for long.
Our 100-odd guests got stuck in.
There were three speakers – Jancis, vice-president of the Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino Francesco Ripacciolo, and Walter.
Density of the tasters was at its greatest just before the arrival of...
...Caravan's food as excellent as usual.
Team JR at the end (minus Alex whom we carelessly mislaid), L to R: Emily, Tam, Richard our multi-talented photographer, Francesco Ripaccioli of the Consorzio, Jancis, Walter, Julia and Nick.