Thursday, September 27, 2012
Eastern Europe was the destination of my Wines of the World class tonight. I, somewhat stoically I might add, tasted my way through the wines of Georgia, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Moldova. Oh, and Israel - 21 wines in all.
Some of the wines were quite nice, for instance, a 2006 Yarden Merlot hailing from the Golan Heights region of Israel was rather decent. Some of the wines were truly awful, here, a special mention has to be given to Serbian producer Rubin ad Krusevac for two of their wines, Czarina Milica and Czar Lazar, both non-vintage reds. The highlight of the evening for me was a 2007 Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos - smooth, unctuous and just plain delicious. Interestingly, the evening's wine selection also featured a 2010 light, dry white table wine from producer Olympia, which was made from the Furmint grape variety, a grape more famous for being the botrytised grape that goes into Tokaji's dessert wines. This easy drinking white was pleasingly palatable.
I and my fellow students really had to race our way through the Eastern Bloc as the first 30 minutes of tonight's session featured a special presentation of some methode traditionnelle champenoise bubbles from the Lombardy region of Italy. Paul Wagner, an instructor at NVC and owner of Balzac Communications, has amongst his clients the sparkling winemakers of Franciacorta. With all the oily glibness of a used car salesman, Mr. Wagner took us on a fuel-injected, Ferrari-like, PowerPoint aided tour of the Franciacorta region, it's people and it's wines - including a speed-tasting of four wines. Twee comparisons of Renault automobiles and Champagne versus Lamborghinis and Franciacorta were thrown about with reckless abandon. It was all a bit too much, but I must admit I did find a Berlucchi 2008 Brut Rosé to be a very, very nicely put together wine, followed by a La Montina NV Brut.