We assembled at the prestigious offices of the Financial Times for a wine evening as the excitement built towards the start of the Six Nations. They have the best views over the Thames of any major boardroom; a perfect backdrop.
We were grateful to David Buttle for coordinating and the entire FT team for their wonderful hosting of the event, plus the lovely paired canapés.
On show were the wonderful vintages of Sumaridge Estates, Collalbrigo, Schalk Burger and Drew Bledsoe – particularly appropriate given the Super Bowl at the weekend which was won in dramatic style by the New England Patriots. All rugby related winemakers plus the American oval ball thrown with such accuracy by the great Tom Brady that Sunday night.
Simon Turner showcased his stunning and award winning Chardonnay, combined with the more everyday but pure quality Sauvignon Blanc and Estate White. The Pinot Noir sparkler, the Wayfarer, attracted rave reviews and a graphic description of its manufacture was brought to life by Simon. The Epitome Red simply gets better and better comments – the combination of Syrah and Pinotage seems perfect for the English palate.
The Collalbrigo Pinot Grigio is so loved because it represents the true nature of the grape, unlike so much which exists in this country. It was one of the favourites of the evening.
Schalk Burger was well represented through his unique red blend, the Cricket Pitch. The Cab Sauv and Merlot grapes are based around the boundary of the Welbedacht Oval, the cricket pitch situated on his Estate. Also on show was the Gregarious Meerkat Red, the Burrow Blend; a wine to sample at all times of the day. A lovely offset to the exquisite Sumaridge Chardonnay was the Chenin Blanc, a South African favourite which reflects so well the bush vines from which it is made.
With the SA cricket team due to tour England this summer we will have a lot of fun with Sumaridge and Welbedacht to the fore!
Lastly, Jennifer Williams-Bulkeley highlighted the Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon all the way from the Walla Walla Estate on the West Coast of America. This is high quality stuff, as is the quarterback who made it, Drew Bledsoe!
To wash it all down, SH and Peter Winterbottom, England and British and Irish Lions legend, mulled over the 6 Nations prospects and particularly England’s push for a Double Grand Slam. As we both appeared in the last one in 1992 we are intrigued to see how it goes. So far England have wobbled through remain intact, and you feel that there MUST be a big performance around the corner somewhere!