Bibendum’s World Cup of Wine semi-finals

It’s just days now until Bibendum’s World Cup final and I still haven’t written up the semi-final. There are two reasons for this: 1) I took diligent notes throughout the evening, stuck them in my back pocket and then they fell out. Well, I’m assuming they fell out. There’s a chance that a pickpocket stole them, but if that’s the case they’re a truly awful pickpocket, because they didn’t bother with my iPod. Anyway, by the time I got home they weren’t there. b) I was quite embarrassed about that. c) What’s worse, I forgot to bring my camera. d) Not that it matters, because I did bring my camera to the quarter-finals but the results were so uniformly abysmal I couldn’t use any of them.

Fortunately, I have a very good memory, and someone else’s extremely detailed report (she didn’t lose her notes), to borrow from.

France v Italy The real World Cup final four years ago, it took a really tough draw to stop the two old world titans from meeting at that stage again here. The wines, and the choice of wines, was much, much better than at the quarter-finals, where there were too many mismatches, really. First, a chablis was marginally outscored by a surprisingly excellent soave. Then a viognier took on an Alto Adige Gewurztraminer, probably also a narrow win for Italy, despite my preference for viognier as a rule. Then to the reds, where the fixture between the Col di Sasso Banfi cab sauv/sangiovese 2007 and the Terres de Truffes AOC Ventoux 2007 brought the first real arguments. My group liked both, but I loved the TdT, a wine to spend a very happy evening with and excellent value at £8.50; the other group thought the Banfi was the wine of the night. It was too taught for me, all precision and not enough pleasure. No matter, a not great Bordeaux was outgunned by a Valpolicella Ripasso in the final match-up and Italy had a convincing victory.

Australia v South Africa Australia had a bad start, their Deakin Estate Chardonay/Pinot Grigio 2009 getting royally thumped by a Graham Beck Chenin Blanc, and they never recovered. Chardonnays were about equal, South Africa edged it on the pinot noirs and then in the final fixture, a d’Arenberg Stump Jump that I didn’t really warm to was well outmanoevred by a shiraz/viognier (not long ago you didn’t see viognier at all; now it’s just everywhere). And South Africa eased into the final, where surely they have no chance against France.



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