Sunday, 4 March 2007

La Campagne - Merlot (The Tower Hotel, London)

I had some reservations about staying at this hotel as reports from my colleagues were less than favourable. But all in all my room was okay, a little tired but certainly fine for my three night stay. All the staff I have had dealings have been professional, efficient and polite. My room is on the 9th floor with a fantastic view of Tower Bridge.

I order room service after a long day at the office to avoid the ritual of dining alone in a business hotel restaurant. I look at the wine list and notice the house wine, £11.95 for a 500ml carafe. There is no indication of the style or country of origin, an unknown entity. I look down the list of wine available by the glass. It's the second time recently where I have been to a place where only a 250ml glass is on offer.

I find this annoying for a number of reasons. Firstly, the lack of choice depending on my mood and time, more often than not it's the 175ml I prefer. Secondly, it could be a large glass of mediocre wine you end up with. Thirdly, I'm sure many people believe that a couple of glasses of wine of an evening is a safe amount to drink. But, if it's two 250ml glasses (13% wine) that's 6.5 units, even over 3 nights that's 19.5units. The guidelines for healthy state 14 units per week for women.

The La Campagne is the cheapest on the list at £5.95. It's described as having lots of plummy fruit and soft rounded tannins.

To look at: It's a really deep red and looks full bodied.
On the nose: Definite black plums, black cherries and a hint of the bonfire toffee my brother used to make when we were kids.
To taste: It's full and rich, it's what the kiwi's would call 'wine with grunt'. The fruit flavours are a little flabby and the tannins cover the inside of my mouth. There's a slight bitter after taste which is a shame but other than that it's okay. It needs a strong food accompaniment. I feel it's trying to compete with the current wave of new world wines that people seem to love. It's big and brash. If you like delicate, subtle wines this one is not for you if not, go for it.

I don't manage to finish the glass, 175ml would have been perfect.

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