Friday 23 March 2012

Château Tooting 2011: an unexpectedly good taste of London

I have a personal preference for lean, fresh, moderately alcoholic wines. These tend to come from quite cool wine regions – the Loire Valley, Germany, Austria, Northern Italy and, indeed, England, whose fizz now ranks favourably with Champagne. Consequently, when my friends at the Urban Wine Company get in touch, I take note.

Last week, on a beautiful early Spring evening, I opened my sample bottle of the latest release from this London-based grape collective. It had been a glorious day in the city, so it seemed an appropriate thing to do. I was immediately taken by the delicate petal pink colour and by the clean, fresh nose, tinged with aromatic soft red fruit. Whereas previous examples have had a tartness, the 2011 is more gentle and rounded and surprisingly refined. I sensed more residual sugar which helped balance the almost raspingly high acidity. It tasted as though the winemaker is now getting into their stride and working well with the unusual and unpredictable selection of grapes that find their way into this unique wine.

To be frank, I'd sooner drink this than many of the deeply coloured, big, sickly rosés on the market. The 2011's style and flavour characterised England: restrained and cool, yet quietly charming. It even reminded me of strawberries and cream. If you're looking for something patriotic for the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics, here you are.

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