Earlier in the year Five Way Cellars and Best Cellars took to the cricket field to contest the 20th anniversary of the Larmandier Bernier Cup. What began in 1999 as a casual game between two independent cellars just entering their second decade of business instantly became an annual fixture. Every year we seem to have more and more of the wine community dropping by to watch some very low-quality cricket.
Let’s face it - the cricket is just a small part of the day, and I’m not just saying that because FWC were well and truly flogged. It’s more about getting a whole bunch of people passionate about their wine in the same place at the same time. It’s pretty humbling to have some of the country’s most respected wine writers, producers, chefs, sommeliers, importers/distributors (and bon vivants) come along to chew the fat. Many travelled interstate so I felt a bit bad having only wandered a few hundred metres down the road to Trumper Oval in Paddington.
Special thanks must go to importers Bibendum (and monsieur Pierre Larmandier) for sponsoring the cup and ensuring everyone was well hydrated with crisp Blanc de Blancs.
I could easily have stayed on Champagne all afternoon but for me the Cup has become synonymous with German Riesling. The combination of cricket on a hot summer’s day and delicate off dry German Riesling is up there with duck and Burgundy. J.J. Prum - one of the great Mosel producers - got a particular work out as is customary.
We always finish up with the famed Len Evans’ ‘options game’ where wines are served blind and a series of knock out questions determine the winner. Sometimes it comes right down to the producer and vintage. Most of the time you think you know the wine and you’re in the wrong hemisphere. Ches Cook had us all over the place by mischievously throwing in a Chardonnay from Tuscan producer Isole e Olena this time around. Add to this a Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru that seemed to be in an awkward phase and none of us ‘experts’ covered ourselves in glory.
A hastily organised game of cricket has morphed into a date that is carefully circled in the calendar. If only we could get a win.
Words by Robert McLean.