There are times when one can be proud of their hangover. Mornings when you can walk into the office with bloodshot eyes, unkempt hair and a dull throb in your head and smile. I am proudly hungover today because of the fun I had last night. No, I am not talking about your normal running around going from venue to venue trying to score (drugs or women) drinking, dancing, laughing vomiting and then bed (or not if you scored either way) kind of fun. You can have all that. I got something better.
Old bushy beard Mr. Neil Pendock and friends are creating the The People’s Wine Guide at the moment. The guide is made up of wines that can be purchased in Supermarkets, and all wines are tasted blind. Mr Pendock’s wit has seen to it some of the proceeds of the book will go to the Guide Dogs for the Blind. Currently they are tasting their way through a good couple hundred whites. It was no secret that they were doing the tasting at The Nose Bar (Soon to be renamed Chenin). Shortly after dinner I found myself surrounded – literally surrounded – by the three hundred odd wines they had tasted that day, Chenins surprisingly boring, Chardonnays lovely, Sauvignon Blancs full of green acid but some standouts, I obviously didn’t taste them all but I gave it a good go. This was the strangest wine tasting I have ever done. The wines, like hundreds of subway commuters pushing their way onto a train, spilled out from under the table. On top of the table were the next day’s stock for tasting. So I sat on the floor and rummaged through the mess of three-quarter full bottles tasting glass in hand.
I was the proverbial pig in shit, although today, I’ll admit, I’m the pig who feels like shit. I tasted and I tasted. The best part was when I found something I really liked I could just pour a glass and wonder outside to enjoy a cigarette with it. To be honest I wasn’t taking notes so I cannot give you a run down of everything I tasted. But the winner out of those I tasted was without question the Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc 2008. A wine I would open for a beautiful woman. It’s gentle and elegant with scrumptious fruit but some herby bits underneath. Lees contact rounds it all out with a mouthfeel like that of the woman I hope to open it for, velvety warm and inviting. I think I drank the whole bottle and popped the other one I found in my bag.
I kept laughing at myself. I was sitting underneath a table, wines everywhere, and tasting this one and that one mumbling to myself all the while:*slurp* “mmm fantastic.” *gurgle* “Christ! What was that!”, *cough* *splutter* “Fucking green pepper juice!” And on it went much to the amusement of anyone who saw me. I think I enjoyed the wines more because it was so informal – you don’t get more informal than the floor – and it wasn’t like a show where you have to deal with the expectant looks of the pourer, or have to fight your way through the crowds to get a tiny taste of taste of what turns out to be crap. Give me a chaotic mass of bottles under a table any day.
It ended up with the restaurant closed and the chef and I sitting at the bar tasting through a couple of Chardonnays we had put in the fridge earlier, the Nine Yards from Jordan, though not my favourite style was a pretty good way end to a one of the most enjoyable evenings and tastings I have had in a while.