The only thing I’ve ever associated with wine, which glows in the dark, is yours truly. My pinkish nose and a wine flush around the cheeks are enough to brighten anyone’s journey once the sun goes down.
But I’ve discovered a gadgety-kind of wine bottle which glows in the dark too … William Fèvre Limited Edition Hipster Chablis 2013 (£16.99 from 31dover.com) has 60s-style imagery created in ultraviolet ink, which reveals “hidden designs” when placed under black light.
Or so I’m told. I couldn’t quite work out how to embrace the challenge of this light-up-in-the-dark party bottle, sent to me by the 31dover.com team. To be honest, I was a little taken aback that Chablis had been robed in a gimmick. But if it reaches a new market of “young urban wine drinkers” can that be so wrong?
Well let’s see. I forgot the gimmick and tasted the wine. It’s a pale lemon colour with hints of honey and stewed apple on the nose, and a frizazz of apple-bursting acidity which liven up the tastebuds after a long dreary, wet October journey home.
The 31dover team sent me some other wines, and I enlisted the help of some Tasting Elves (is it too early for that?? OK, some Tasting Pumpkins to a) share the love and b) so you don’t have to read my comments all the time. This is what my Pumpkins say.
First up, another Chablis. Chablis Broc de Biques Damien & Romain Bouchard 2012 (£14.49) This promised ‘ripe fruit, lightly brushed with honey’ and ‘classic Chablis notes of chalk and oyster shells’. I have never eaten oyster shells or chalk so I don’t know about those but it was bursting with apple and melon flavours and had a creamy, buttery after-taste which made it go down oh-so easily. A bit too easily in fact! Worked a treat with a chorizo risotto.
Chateau Grand Tayac Margaux 2007 (£13.99) is from one of the most famous Bordeaux appellations – although at the cheaper end of the Margaux spectrum – it’s a very affordable introduction to ‘proper’ Claret that will impress dinner party guests.
A sophisticated, perfumed nose with a hint of spice leads into subtle fruit flavours of plum and raspberry with a hint of liquorice. There’s a complexity to the initial flavour that dissolves into a simpler, satisfying finish – a bit like watching Lionel Messi beat five defenders with a mazy run before scoring with a simple tap-in.
Mas D’Amile Old Vine Carignan 2010 (£8.99) This medium-bodied red from the Languedoc region of the south of France certainly packs a punch. A deep, ruby red I could taste the dark fruits and strong tannins of the carignan grape. It’s supposed to have hints of lavender and thyme but I didn’t get any depth of aromas on sniffing my glass. A bold wine.
The Senorio de Olartia Reserva 2004 is a velvety and mellow Rioja. It’s not a hugely robust red but with flavours of red fruit paired with hints of vanilla and spice it can still hold its own with meat dishes. As you would expect from a Reserva it strikes a good balance between its fruitier or more strongly oak flavoured Rioja counterparts with its smooth finish making it an easy drinking choice.
A final one from me. Sara & Sara Friulano 2010 (£9.49) An interesting wine which delivered an extra flavour, an extra aroma, every time I dipped in the glass. Deep golden, it had creamy honeyed notes on the nose; extravagant peaches which have been dowsed in liqueur for a Christmas treat. The aromas reminded me of a dessert wine like a Sauternes, but flattered with spice. To taste, spicy and dry, not much fruit.
Published in the saturday extra magazine October 11, 2014