Autumn Drops: A Series of Les Caves Tastings

What’s in a tasting name or theme? Even to talk about the tasting seasons seems to scoff at the evidence of climate change. Spring can spring during the so-called winter months, Indian summers have been known to nibble away much of what we call autumn. Nature is understandably confused. Only we insist on using terms that suggest the permanence of climatic rhythms. Welcome to the autumn term, the Michaelmas tasting!

The first two tastings in our Autumn Drops take place in September. We associate September with “Back to School”, the new school year, the time for the wine trade to stop thinking about wishy-washy rosés, and begin to focus on the wines to go with the new seasonal menus. Shipping may have effectively ceased during the late summer months for most wine companies, but despite this a few new wines and vintages will have crept in virtually unannounced, so it is a good time to uncork a wee bit of late summer novelty.

The first two tastings in our Autumn Drops take place in September. We associate September with “Back to School”, the new school year, the time for the wine trade to stop thinking about wishy-washy rosés, and begin to focus on the wines to go with the new seasonal menus.

Since Covid, we kyboshed the idea of the all-singing, all-dancing grand portfolio tasting. This large-scale form of tasting has offered diminishing returns over the years, is a hassle to organise (there is a real dearth of suitable venues to exhibit in), and tends to be crowded and uncomfortable for all concerned. Hundreds of wines crammed into a room may look superficially impressive, but few trade customers have the time to get stuck into more than thirty to forty at a swoop (especially if there are other trade tastings scheduled on the same day). Instead, we have opted for small, focused events; drop-in tastings where you can comfortably sample the majority of the wines on show. And having a strong theme is preferable to a token selection of wines from across the portfolio. Our most innovative tasting, “Drinking Outside The Box”, divided wines into multiple categories, creating fascinating juxtapositions of grape variety, winemaking style and terroirs. Another one called “France vs The Rest of the World Barbarians” opposed wines from one country with similar grapes, styles and terroirs from various other wine producing countries.

Our tasting in Manchester will be a pithy recap of recent arrivals from the last few weeks. The natural wines of the Loire will feature strongly. We will be introducing also The Saboteur range from Luddite, a small winery in South Africa’s remote Bot River region. The white wine is an interesting skin-contact blend of Chenin, Viognier and Sauvignon sourced from different local vineyards plus a couple in Elgin, whereas the red is a bold amalgam of Shiraz, young Mourvedre, Grenache and Cab Sauv.

The circus comes to London town the following week, and pitches its wine tent at Brat x Climpson’s Arch. If you don’t have an x in your restaurant moniker you literally don’t exist. This tasting is whimsically called “Class of ‘23” and is a buyers’ selection of their favourite wines since the turn of the year. Wines will naturally include multiple new discoveries, as well as reacquainting oneself with old favourites and wines that have surprised even us with what good value they provide.

©BratRestaurant

 

We then come to half-term/mid-term, harvest time otherwise – known as October. Cue the clichéd quotations from Keats and John Clare. This may be autumn, winter or four seasons in a day. Anyway, the tasting will strap on its Flamenco guitar and strum a jaunty tune dedicated to our fine Spanish viñateros (small independent artisanal wine producers). Expect a bevy of fantastic bottles from Recaredo & Bufadors; Partida Creus; Finca Casa Balaguer; Cota 45; Guimaro; Alfredo Maestro; Celler Comunica etc… Watch this space, as they say.

The tasting will strap on its Flamenco guitar and strum a jaunty tune dedicated to our fine Spanish viñateros.

In November, the focus switches to southern Italy and the islands. We will take a pretty liberal view of what constitutes “southern” in terms of Italy, but for our purposes this will probably include all regions south of Tuscany. And if you know our list, you know there will an embarrassment of riches. Or imbarazzo della ricchezza. There will be several new wines and the launch of new range from Etna. Keep watching the socials!

Tour dates (follow the below links to RSVP)

11/09 – Manchester, Native, M1 2TP

18/09 – London, Brat x Climpson’s Arch, E8 3SB – “Class of 23”

09/10 – London (details to be confirmed)

06/11 – London (details to be confirmed)

 

*Please note these tasting are for members of the drinks trade only*

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