Posts in Category: Richard Bampfield MW

A Pinot Noir and Riesling Taste Off

with Richard Bampfield MW

Well known to the Club and a stalwart of the ‘Call my Bluff’ evenings, Richard Bampfield introduced the tasting by confessing that for long periods he had not tasted Rieslings, indeed to such an extent that when he led a visit to Alsace some years ago, one attendee commented that Richard did not know much about the wine! However, in the intervening years he had begun to appreciate greatly the qualities of Riesling and Pinot Noir, in their differing expressions. Richard had recently visited both the Mosel and New Zealand, so his interest in and enthusiasm for these areas directed his selections for the tasting.

The tasting was structured to show the differing aspects of Riesling and Pinot Noir and how they will reflect the terroir, if the winemakers allow the grapes to do so. Richard commented that Riesling is the wine that ‘professionals drink and no one else understands’!

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Call My Bluff 2017

Michael Palij, Jonathan Pedley and Richard Bampfield go all out to convince us...

The 30 second summary: seven mystery bottles, three Masters of Wine, outrageously straight-faced bluffing, much debate, occasional coin-tossing and much laughter. And some good wine too, thanks to the generosity of our three presenters.

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Sparkling Wines Masterclass

Richard Bampfield MW

Well the evening started with a resounding pop, if not a bang! A capacity crowd were presented with the first flight of four sparkling wines that were selected for their typicity and quality. After some table based discussions Richard set proceedings in motion with the first challenge – what was wine number 1?

The majority of members and guests correctly identified the first wine as a Prosecco and discussions then changed to why this was a good example of Prosecco and what you should look out for in wine of this type.  It was generally considered that this wine was fruity and fresh and easy to drink.  Slightly off-dry, the wine was well balanced and had a good finish, if not the most complex of sparkling wines. The typical “nose” of pears was quite prevalent and another good identifier of a Prosecco.  What people were surprised about was the fine bubbles which are not unusual for good quality Prosecco (typically people assume the tank method results in coarse, unintegrated bubbles).  What was however noticed was that the wine did go flat more quickly than the other three in this flight, which were all traditional method.

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Call My Bluff - The Return

Richard Bampfield MW, Michael Palij MW & Jonathan Pedley MW

The Oxford Wine Club tasting on 21 January was an evening of bluff and double-bluff. Jonathan Pedley's insistence that (practically) all the wines we tasted were from Morrison's had to be weighed against Michael Palij's assertion that they were (practically) all from his own cellar or those of his most illustrious wine-maker friends, whilst Richard Bampfield played the trust me I'm a trustworthy chap game (to great effect).                                 

Yes, it was round 3 of the Club's occasional Call My Bluff evenings. As always there were tricky decisions to be made. Do you put your faith in psychology or in tasting skills? Do you put your trust in your own tasting skills or do you rely the (apparently) most trustworthy panellist or the less trustworthy?

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