In IWFS London Blog by ashepherdiwfs

It’s a while since I’ve been able to tell you about more than one wine tasting in one blog.  Happily we’re beginning to resume normal service, with London Branch’s second face-to-face event this year – and what an event that was – as well as a Zoom tasting.

Our 9th event by Zoom was on Cabernet Sauvignon from the New World. Some of us brought along alternative wines for discussion along with the three we focused on, all well made and enjoyable to drink.

The first wine was from Margaret River, a classic region for Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia: Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Merlot 2018, a similar blend to Bordeaux clarets. Margaret River covers the south west corner of Western Australia by the Indian Ocean, and has a temperate Mediterranean climate.

From far away across the Atlantic Ocean, right up to the north west of the United States, our next wine was Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Columbia Valley, Washington, with 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the remaining 9% from six other grapes. The climate is continental, and with little annual rainfall, irrigation is necessary.

Our third wine came from Napa Valley, California, further south: Stag’s Leap ‘Hands of Time’ Red Blend 2017 – 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Malbec. The climate is Mediterranean, with a long growing season.

These remote events have been a great way for us to participate in wine tastings without having to travel. We may yet decide to add a Zoom tasting to our events programme now and again.

The fantastic face-to-face tasting was of ten wines from the 2008 vintages of some of the best Left Bank châteaux of Bordeaux, from the cellar of one of our members, Richard Jackson, and led by Jeffrey Benson.

Because of the changeable weather conditions throughout 2008 on the Left Bank, many producers let the later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon grapes develop fully, concentrating sugar and acidity and gaining complex flavours, before harvesting late. There is a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in many Left Bank wines of this vintage.

Look what you missed!

  • Château La Lagune, Haut-Médoc
  • Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac
  • Château Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
  • Château Cos d’Estournel, St-Estèphe
  • Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
  • Château Margaux, Margaux
  • Château Latour, Pauillac
  • Château Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac
  • Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
  • Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac

The best 2008 clarets – including these outstanding wines – are superb, ready for drinking now and over the next decade.

Rachel Burnett