When I was invited to a wine tasting with Les Vignobles Foncalieu my first thought was “it’s in Greenwich! Nothing is ever in Greenwich! I’ll practically be sitting on my couch” so of course I had to accept. Also, wine. I like wine. A lot.
I didn’t intend to spend a good chunk of the first part of the evening outside in the cold, but it was necessary. I was bringing the husband creature along as a plus one and he was en route via bus to the Mitre, one of our Greenwich locals where the tasting was being held. If I left him to his own devices he wouldn’t necessarily find the back room full of wine tasters, rather he’d set up camp in the front bar with a beer and start making friends. Husbands can be rather contrary at times and it’s just easier for everyone if you head them off at the pass.
We finally made it inside, joined the rest of the South London Wine School in the tiny back room and started tasting delicious wines. I was given a work sheet to record my tasting notes. Rather than be intimidated by this, I summoned every shred of my wine education to the forefront of my mind to give you this little run down of scribbles direct from my taste buds.
Wine: Le Versant Viognier, Pays d’Oc 2014
South London Wine School Tasting Note: Ripe and juicy stone fruit on the nose, especially apricot. The wine is rich and rounded but finishes with refreshing acidity.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Intense apricots, ripe peach and exotic fruits. The palate has a fresh, crisp acidity and a long finish.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: I’ve had this before and no doubt I’ll have it again. Light, fluffy, easy to drink. Worth snaffling the bottle for later, quite possible to quaff a ridiculous amount of this wine without registering what you are even doing. If you were invited to a unicorn’s house for a couple of wines and a chat, this is the kind of wine you would definitely start with. Magic with a little bit of horn.
Wine: Le Versant Pinot Noir, Pays d’Oc 2014
South London Wine School Tasting Note: Delicate red cherries, raspberry and kirsch aromas. A soft, smooth palate with light tannins and a hint of peppery spice on the finish.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Subtle nose of cherry and blond tobacco with candied fruits. Lively, concentrated in aroma, wooded and grilled notes.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: Quite rich for my tastes, but Mark claims it’s light for him. It smells like heaven, but way too much horn on this unicorn for safe riding. Would require a continual conversation with my stomach for it to be accepted.
Wine: Griset Sauvignon Gris, Pays d’Oc, 2014
South London Wine School Tasting Note: Ripe fruits on the nose – comice pear and honeydew melon. Sharp and tangy with acidity on the palate with a hint of rose water on the finish.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Intense bouquet with exotic aromas (rhubarb, passion fruit). Smooth yet lively on the palate with tropical notes.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: Apparently Sauvignon Gris is huge elsewhere and due to be the next big thing here. Yes please. More of this. Less of everything else. I would shower in this if I could, though would probably just stand there with my mouth open and turn up to work a little bit tiddly. I hate it when work gets in the way of my drinking.
Wine: Les Illustres (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec) Coteaux D’Enserune IGP, 2012
South London Wine School Tasting Note: Plenty of sweet, ripe and chunky fruit on the nose and palate… Plum and blackcurrant. Hits of vanilla and toast from oak too. Powerful and intense.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Complex bouquet of cardamom, alcohol soaked fruit and tobacco leaf. Liquorice notes and a wonderful freshness on the palate.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: Starts off delicious but gets heavy very quickly. This wine is an anvil and I am Wile E. Coyote desperately trying not to get hit on the head. Occasionally a bitter stream of liquorice shows up and we all have a party with some cheese. It’s fun but it’s one of those parties where someone from the office is standing in the corner and you can’t quite let your hair down and shake your ass on the coffee table. That’s how I describe this wine.
Wine: Le Lien (Syrah, Grenach) Minervois AOP, 2012
South London Wine School Tasting Note: Dark bramble concentrated fruit which gradually unfolds to reveal bitter chocolate and delicate violet aromatics. Waves of pepper and earthy spice on the finish.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Bouquet with floral notes and aromas fresh red fruit, vanilla and toast. Sweetness on the palate and a lingering finish of roasted aromas.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: This is thick. Like pouring syrup down your gullet. This is recommended as a “food wine” so I eat all of the cheese. Mark suddenly decides that he too likes cheese (after years of eating minimal cheese because it annoys his nose or something) and we begin a dangerous game of cheesy chess, maneuvering crackers and wine around the table like pawns in our quest for cheese domination.
Wine: Chateau Haut Gléon Blanc (Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne) Corbieres AOC, 2014
South London Wine School Tasting Note: Fresh crab apple on the nose with pear and quince aromas. Pepper and spice on the palate with some fresher green apple notes too. Complex and intense.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Nose of quince jelly, dried fruit, accented with hints of flowers and spices. Soft rich mouth with rich, spicy (caramel, orange) flavours.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: This is so silky, so smooth, so sexual we should be calling this Barry White Wine. The marketing department missed a trick there.
Wine: Chateau Haut Gléon Rosé (Syrah, Grenache) Corbieres AOC, 2014
South London Wine School Tasting Note: A nose of strawberries and cream! A little sharper on the palate with fresh raspberries and a white pepper edge.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Fruity and gourmet.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: A little bit of tang but mostly light and delicious. This tastes like the pink of yesteryear. Not this newfangled, trashy, bleach blonde pink. This is what pink was before Barbie got her hands on it. It’s like a rose garden in your mouth filled with poofy skirts and ribbons.
Wine: Chateau Haut Gléon Rouge (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan) Corbieres AOC, 2012
South London Wine School Tasting Note: A deeply fruity aroma with black cherry, plum and liquorice. Plenty of earthy and woody spice on the palate with soft velvety tannins.
Foncalieu Tasting Note: Hint of chocolate, candied plum, black cherry, garrigue. Generous, intense, smooth and spicy on the palate.
The Mayfairy Tasting Note: This tastes like a door. Like, a proper wooden, heavy door. Something antique. Not one of those plywood jobs where the handle eventually falls of and you’re stuck in a room for the rest of your natural life. More like a proper oak door. It’s woody.
Upcoming Events That Excite Me:
19 November: Les Vignobles Foncalieu | Wine tasting with Clifton Wine School in Bristol
20 November: Chocolate and Wine Workshop | The South London Wine School in London
10 December: Cheese and Wine Workshop | The South London Wine School in London