Stuart George

The Oval teens

In Cricket, Tastings on September 15, 2010 at 7:35 am

During a visit Liberty Wines’ annual portfolio tasting yesterday at The Oval, I did a quick recce of the pitch for Friday’s England vs. Pakistan One Day International.

I wasn’t able to get as close to the pitch as I did at Lord’s recently but typically The Oval pitch is much faster and bouncier than at Lord’s. The current weather forecast for Friday is sunny intervals and a pleasant 18°C.

As for the Liberty tasting, it was as well attended as ever. Liberty’s MD David Gleave is a brilliant businessman and wine entrpeneur, though I feel that in recent years perhaps he has spread himself too thinly, with some wines duplicating others on his list. I saw that Liberty has taken on the agency for Greywacke, the winery established by ex-Cloudy Bay winemaker Kevin Judd, who I spent a day with when I was in New Zealand in March 2009.

Highlights of the tasting included the sumptuous 2006 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage Le Chevalier de Stérimberg. I do like white Hermitage but it’s bloody expensive – Liberty’s trade price for this is £32.24 per bottle.

Some of Jeffrey Grosset’s whites had shuddering acidity, especially the 2010 Off-Dry Clare Valley Riesling and 2010 Springvale Riesling. I was less enamoured of the 2010 Polish Hill Riesling. Jeffrey is one of the nicest and funniest men you could ever meet. I have stayed with him and his wife Stephanie Toole – also a highly-accomplished winemaker – in three out of my four visits to Australia. They’re a hoot.

I had a quick look at Vanya Cullen’s wines, which with one exception were splendid. The 2007 Kevin John Chardonnay was very odd, verging on cheesiness, which is something that I associate with Brett. I cannot believe that Vanya – another pal, though I haven’t seen her for ages – would make faulty wine. Perhaps it was me who was faulty.

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  1. I find it ironic that The Oval should host such an event given that the cricket paying public will be subject to Wolf Blass at Friday’s One Day International. And should David Gleave or any other spectator for that matter wish to take a wine of their choice to the cricket, they will have this confiscated by the stewards.

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