hospital.jpghospital.jpghospital.jpghospital.jpgI had a magnum of wine the other evening.  Not all to myself you understand – that would’ve been silly.  No, my father-in-law was here, which is all the excuse needed to open a bottle twice the size of a normal one. 

I’d picked up a magnum of Chateau de L’Hospital 2003, a Graves, a couple of months ago in the Jonzac Leclerc.  I think it cost me 26 or 28 euros…certainly less than 30.  I’d been meaning to try a magnum since reading somewhere that it is regarded as the ‘proper’ size bottle from which to drink decenbt red wine.  Something about having the perfect ratio of wine to air in the bottle.  It’s probably a load of old guff, but I bought it.

Having said that, the wine was delicious (as I’m sure it would have been coming out of a regular 75cl bottle).  Oz Clarke says of Chateau de L’Hospital that “the Merlot-dominated red is round and supple with smoky red fruit” and I’m in no position to disagree.  I don’t think magnums last twice as long as a normal bottle though as we seemed to get through it quite quickly.  So much so that I had to dig out another bottle to keep us going (not another big one though…).

It’s wine fair time in the supermarkets here at the moment.  I always find it quite frustrating – so many great wines, so little ability to justify buying them all!  One of the holidaymakers staying with us last week asked me to help him choose some wine that he could buy now and drink at his daughter’s 18th birthday party (she’s currently two).  He couldn’t have chosen a better time really, with supermarket shelves groaning under the weight of thousands of bottles from the 2005 vintage for the first time, which will improve brilliantly over the next 15 years or so. 

The choice, obviously, was huge but we restrcited it by price (no more than 20 euros a bottle) and stuck to the Medoc as I thought these would age nicely.  The 2005 Chasse-Spleen looked good value at 19,95 but, by the time I made it to Carrefour on Monday (the wine fair having started on Saturday) they had completely sold out!  So I went for a dozen bottles of Chateau Poujeaux 2005 at the same price, and six Chateau Potensac 2004 at 16,50, which looked like good value.  Should make for some fine drinking at the birthday party (though I’d keep it way from the kids).

The Leclerc wine fair starts today and I’m toying with possibly making a trip down to Jonzac.  We generally pick up a few bottles of any new vintage of Chateau de Reignac – a delicious Bordeaux superior that punches well above its weight – and the Leclerc catalogue tells me they’re stocking the 2005 at 7,95 euros which is an absolute bargain.  Robert Parker gave it 91-93 points…