Claiming bottles of Chateau Tooting
Everyone knows that making good wine is all about concentrating on the best grape varieties that suit your soil and then honing them to perfection monitored by experts. Which makes Chateau Tooting, which breaks every rule, all the more interesting. People from all over London – and especially from the south – bring grapes grown in their allotments and gardens to a central point once a year from where they are taken to an established vineyard, Bolney, for processing.
Most of them – including myself – don’t even know what varieties they have been growing or even whether they are wine grapes or desert ones. It is a surefire recipe for vinicultural disaster mitigated by hopes that imbibers will make allowances for the circumstances of its birth.
Which makes it all the more amazing that at last night’s premiere tasting of Chateau Tooting 2013 at Le Gothique by Wandsworth Common it was found to be – well, not bad at all. In fact, rather good.
None of us could pretend to be unbiased observers but everyone seemed genuinely to like it even though, unsurprisingly in view of its provenance it didn’t taste like any wine we were used to. One member from Heathcote&Ross who obtained a distinction in the tasting section of a wine course he took, immediately sensed aromas of greenapple and limey citrus and found it summery and fresh awarding it 7.5 out of 10.
Richard and Paul, who organised it all commented: “The wine looks and tastes great which is fruity and dry with a slight oak hint to it”.
This year they produced 660 bottles of crowd-sourced wine, a bit down in the 1,000 produced two years ago attributed to the fact that they took a year off and started late in 2013. In theory the experiment could be extended by getting some participants to grow the same varieties, but that would take away the spontaneity of the exercise and its uniqueness. If you are growing grapes in your garden or allotment or know someone who is you can join or follow the community at Urban Wine on Facebook. I hope to write sooner about the success of the 2013 urban vintage across the whole if London where vineyards are sprouitng up in unexpected places. It hasnot yet reached the success of the microbreweries but it is on the way,
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