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.