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Hanging Ditch Wine Festival Review

Neil Sowerby has a vinous epiphany in Manchester Cathedral

Published on November 19th 2012.

Hanging Ditch Wine Festival Review
LET us pray that Hanging Ditch are able to reprise their annual Wine Fair in Manchester Cathedral next year.
The early comers had patiently waited outside the Cathedral until 15 minutes after the scheduled opening time – a religious service had over-run. Bet that didn’t happen at Alicia Keys.
It proved the perfect venue for the fourth such showcase from the multi-award-winning ‘vinoteca’ – offering a stunning range of 200 tipples, mostly wines but with a quirky spirit contingent and some beers.
Manchester Art Gallery and the Merchant’s House had been previous venues for the annual slurpathon but they were surpassed for atmosphere and the sheer ability to accommodate the oenophile hordes.
The early comers had patiently waited outside the Cathedral until 15 minutes after the scheduled opening time – a religious service had over-run.

Bet that didn’t happen at Alicia Keys.


Stunning venueStunning venue

Small caveat: the lack of table numbers on tables and penumbral lighting made it hard to negotiate – and to read the labels. I’m a fan of blind tastings as much as the next bibulous scribe but...
Still, each of the 30-plus tables could boast its share of fab wines befitting an operation whose awards this year alone include Decanter Regional Wine Merchant of the Year and MFDF Wine Retailer Of The Year.
Here’s a small selection of what I particularly liked.
My absolute favourite was a £45 Amarone Riserva, of which there are precious few bottles left anywhere, I was warned, so I’m keeping that to myself):
Vilmart Grande Reserve NV (magnum £85)A stalwart Hanging Ditch Champagne combining an oaky complexity with a crisp, refreshing acidity.
Channing Daughters Clones 2010 (£27.50): From vineyards in Long Island, New York, it’s a blend including gewurztraminer, which adds spicy blossom hints to the strong white Burgundy feel from  its 89 percent Chardonnay (10 different clones, hence the name). Wild yeast, some oak, fabulous.
Au Bon Climat Hildegard 2007 (£35):  Another blend – of 55 per cent Pinot Gris, 40 per cent Pinot Blanc and 5 per cent Aligote. California meets Alsace it’s a riot of almond and apple scents with a limpid mouthfeel.
F Beauclair Marsannay Blanc St Jacques 2007 (£25): More Pinot Blanc, in Burgundy of all places. Generous fruity with a flinty undertow. Surprising stuff. 
Close Bellane Les Eschalas Blanc 2009 (£22.50): Classic rich white Cotes du Rhone, mostly Roussane, packed with peaches and apricots, subtle oak, and a slice of mineral acidity.
K + K Kimbauer Das Phantom 2008 (£30): A reminder of the distinctive reds coming out of Austria, for a phantom it has surprisingly substantial fruit from a blend of Blaufränkisch, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Intense blackcurrant fruit that lingers.
A Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2006 (£50 a bottle, magnum £110): This Brunello from Antinori is silky, fleshy red magic, a melange of herbs, spice, tobacco, blossom on the noise and dense cherryish fruit.
Rioja in a square bottleRioja in a square bottleFinally, a curiosity that might make a Christmas present for the woman in your life who is put off by Rioja’s masculine image. Stand up a true designer’s concept, a wine bottle resembling  a perfume bottle (square, blue tints, you get it). 

Perfume de Sonsierra Rioja Crianza 2009 (£35) is powerful at 14.5 per cent and yes deeply scented – currants, liquorice, a hint of coffee, a world away from the leathery niffs of old-school Rioja. It’s velvety on the palate with great length. Shame about the bottle (pictured).
All these wines can be purchased via Hanging Ditch (click here), which is next door to the Cathedral.
So, as Ecclesiastes 9:7 recommends: “Drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favours what you do.”

Riesling_Is_Served[1]Riesling is served and, below, a musical accompaniment


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AnonymousFebruary 18th 2013.

Water into wine no doubt

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 19th 2013.

Isn't that exactly what wine is...? by the hand of nature though rather than by "the hand of God / God's son*"

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