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Nic's Wine Club

News-letter #1

Nicolas Rezzouk
Nicolas RezzoukPublished on Invalid date

Hey, daisies and dichondras,

How have you all been? We seem to have had a very tentative taste of Spring here in the UK and it's like many people are suddenly looking at life a tad more positively... and it's been feeling good I have to say. Combined with the news that, at least in the UK, there is some sort of plan to get us back to enjoying each other's company before Christmas... But we're not there yet. In the meantime...

What's been happening?

January and February were furloughed-time. But, to my wife's great despair, I'm not the "sit still and enjoy" type. I've been quietly assembling the pieces of a tasting calendar jigsaw. And you'll be glad to hear I now have all the physical items required to make it happen. More on that below.

For those who know me, you know I'm now also a music snob on top of being a wine snob. I'm cool with that, I've seen the light, I can't unsee it. In practice it means I've got involved with my favourite local HiFi outfit called The AudioWorks, who have opened my ears to something significant when it comes to appreciating music at home. I've taken this opportunity to abuse their time and understand the work they do. The experiences I've had at The AudioWorks are worth shouting about in my opinion and, I think, of interest to a large audience of music lovers like me.

You see for me wine and music have an awful lot in common. When trying to put into words my experiences of one I use analogies with the other. Because it's an experience, specifically a sensory one. I've written HERE about why I love wine, which officially makes it my first blog post for this venture; you know, start at the beginning. Truly appreciating wine might require a soupçon of guidance and the right tools to get the best out of it. And when you do, it's worth it on so many levels. Same goes with music. When you get the best out of the music (by using a really good, well setup system), it really does something to you. Anyway... if you wanna chat music experiences, hit me up and if you want advice on how to get the best of your music at home, I know the guys who can help you.

I am back at work now though. Full time so not much time left to indulge, sadly, although I dare say I'll find a way to keep involved with The AudioWorks one way or another (I'm not giving up Larry ;-) ). In the meantime, I'm back to buying wine for Reserve Wines. Because buying wines and showing them to people who I think will love them is what I want to do. Tasting new wines is high on my agenda and I've not wasted time. On that note, I've started a mailing list for those interested in buying certain parcels of wines I think are particularly worth it, email me if you want to join in. It's UK only to buy via me but I could help you identify where to get these wines in other countries too.


Are we tasting soon?

YES!!! is the answer.

I've got enough wine for at least 3 tasting events, I've got 50ml bottles and 100ml bottles and packaging ready to dispatch them across the UK. I want to do it all via Subkit though and I believe we're days away from me being able to create an event on here and have a payment setup linked in. I think we're looking at April for the first event and for now I'm going to keep it to 13 places (for UK-based members) and see how it goes.

These first few events will be based on wines from South Africa as it's an area I'm dying to discover more of. So watch this space, it's happening my fellow wine-bobs.

Also, I've started taking bookings for private tastings and bespoke subscription services so if that's something you'd like to organise or look into, feel free to reach out. It can happen (almost) globally to be honest.

What else is coming?

I've got a few blog posts in the pipeline including wine and health and natural wine/sulphur. Neither are easy or short pieces but they're not time-sensitive so they'll come when they're ready. There's loads to share about but if there's something you'd like me to cover do let me know. If I don't know enough about it, I'll do the research and distil it for you, I win, you win.

What's in my glass?

Now, seeing as we've been tasting this week, I have a few things on the go actually - yeah I know, someone's gotta do it right?

Domaine de Montmollin, Auvernier Non-Filtre 2019 - 11% - Typical RRP £22

One of the most understated great wines I've had. It's from Switzerland which barely registers in people's minds when it comes to wine but it should. This is slightly cloudy but super lean-in-15. You could have it for breakfast with your super-food muesli/yogurt combo. Ok, maybe not the yogurt. It's utterly delicious but supra delicate and fresh with fresh granny smith and a squeeze of lemon without being too tart.

Chateau Puybarbe Cuvee Annabel Bordeaux Rose - 13.5% - Typical RRP £12 (not currently imported in UK)

Now this is a very promising number for this summer. Rose is a funny one, many wine drinkers are not that fussed... "not serious enough blah blah blah". I don't drink much myself. But the day I can go out and meet wine friends this summer, I could murder a lot of that. It's got the strawberries and cream, the yellow apple juiciness, it's perfumed, it lasts a long time after it's gone, it's simply delicious. From a Scandinavian couple who purchased a property in Bordeaux's "lesser" Cotes de Bourg appellation, doing a fantastic job if you ask me.

Domaine de la Croix Barraud Chenas 2019 - 13.5% - Typical RRP £18

From the most serious corner of the Beaujolais appellation in France, the grape is Gamay, most often a very fruity number. Bubblegum is a common word used to describe the aromatics of gamay. Cornas brings tannins (the molecules that dry your gums) and acidity for what is called "tension" or "structure". This is drinking so well, it's fresh and fruity with a layer of something savoury or salty like cured meat, something herbal too. I'm craving cheese and saucisson right now... but then again, when do I not?

What's interesting here is that I opened and tasted these wines on Thursday morning, tasted them again on Thursday afternoon and they'd opened up (showed more of what they're about). I tasted them again on Friday early afternoon and some looked like they might have lost something overnight then tonight, the Cornas especially, they're on top form. Wines are alive... at least those that haven't been killed by a harsh manufacturing process. I'm being reminded of this week in week out.

What I'm reading

On my bedside table is a book from now departed Gerard Basset (R.I.P.), a total legend. His late autobiography, Tasting Victory, is an eye-opening snapshot of the sommelier/hospitality/wine service world. It's also a lesson for all competitive personalities and entrepreneurs out there. The length Gerard went to in order to perfect his craft is completely surreal. You read this book and you think "I want this guy to teach me about wine and being a sommelier". His writing style is super quick as well. Short sentences make for quick reading but you can almost hear his French accent in his words. Probably one for the wine geek but it reads so quickly that it's a good read to introduce you to that world and I thoroughly recommend it.

On the coffee table however is the latest issue of Noble Rot mag, and the first article I reached for was the interview with a hero of mine: Gilles Peterson. At last it's confirmed, music lovers are wine lovers. Some look at Kanye and the Kardashians, I look up to Dan Keeling and Gilles Peterson. My favourite human being probably is a crossing of these two dudes. Noble Rot has done a wonderful job of bringing serious good wine to a larger audience and keep it totally normal and accessible without dumbing it down, which honestly is an amazing achievement. You can subscribe HERE.

The DJ corner

This week I've been playing a lot of classical music actually. You see BBC 6 music isn't working very well in my car for some reason so I've reverted to Radio 3 and I keep hearing some amazing music. Clare Hammond, an English pianist is a particular highlight, so was hearing a couple of Dvorak pieces by the Czech Symphony orchestra. It makes me think, I used to discard classical music as a kid "because that's what my mum listens to" or "it's so old, man... get with the programme". But, referring back to my experiences with The AudioWorks, when you can actually hear what's going on, it's simply amazing what the likes of Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and consort were doing. Amazing pop musicians today can't help but be inspired by this body of work and I'm only starting to see why. On a good HiFi system (which isn't my car sadly), you can't help but be moved by it.

Tonight however, thanks to a friend from back home who remained lost on planet Techno-Rave, I'm listening to Manu le Malin. For the ravers out there, when you're tired but you need to keep going (without the assistance of psychotrops)..., Manu is your friend. I've never been a raver but right now, I feel like raving in a mental crowd for 12-hour non-stop if I'm honest. Berghain anyone?

I've now moved on to Noisia, a Drum n Bass/tech outfit that I used to go and see and listen to in my DnB phase, and it's got quite a punch still. Particularly this Live recording.


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