What’s in the glass tonight at Magnum

Magnum dinner 2016

Magnum Society Annual Dinner 2016

I was really chuffed and pleased to accept a recent invitation to join the Magnum Society.  They are a very warm, inclusive and  knowledgeable group of wine friends. I look forward to a long and engaging association with the members, and educating my palate on the Society’s well-curated and -cellared European wines.

This was the Society’s traditional dinner to launch the tasting year. A BYO affair at a Wellington restaurant.

As you might imagine, what do you take to a wine-club dinner? I dithered quite a bit, but decided finally on a 1992 Te Mata Awatea Cab Merlot Franc Hawkes Bay blend to take along. I should have taken TWO bottles. And a few glasses…a LOT of sharing happens  at the dinner, and you need a LOT of glasses…

The food at the Trade Kitchen was great…warm paté and bread to start…grilled haloumi on roast pepper and tomato brushetta….pan-fried warehau and snow peas and orange salad…panna cotta on shortbread to finish…yum.

The wines were a marvel….

I was offered a totally charming and delicious Charles Heidseck 1999, then a thrilling Fritz Haag Riesling Kabinett 2004 from cycling friend TC…he also contributed a taste of his powerful and bold Te Mata Coleraine 2006…which I was able to taste alongside an Awatea 2006…which I was able to compare with my own ’92 AwateaA offered me a taste of his Brovia Arneis 2014 which I enjoyed very much… European wines taste so different to ours!

…then it got a bit loud and chatty and laughing around the long table…I was offered a Ch. Cantenac Brown Margaux 2009, which was a little underwhelming compared to the 06 Coleraine. Then i enjoyed a wee taste of a light, smooth and supple Chateauneuf de Pape 2004, and then a cloyingly sweet Napa Valley Caymans Special Selection Cab Merlot 2008. One of my favs was the powerful and deep Sottimano Curra Barbaresco 2005.

What a treat!

And my old Awatea? Very developed (naturally). But was still very drinking very well. Smooth and rich. Lacking fruit and acidity, but still had heft. Not thin. Not tainted. Not oxidised. It made me proud. And no-one refused a taste, or spat it out (that I saw anyway). Fantastic!

Now, what to bring next year?

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