Ourselves and the Fabtastic Four (three as it turned out - get well soon H) went to Olesya's Wine Bar on Saturday to eat and to sample some of their 400 wines. Before I get into the wines (and there are a few) I should say the food was very good. We started with a deluxe platter for the table which contained lots of nice meats, cheeses pates etc and it was big enough for three husky gents and two petite but hungry ladies. The main courses were all very tasty with YHB devouring a juicy lamb shank.
As we intended to drink a few bottles we eschewed ordering by the glass and decided to start with a white of my choosing. I chose the unusually monikered Chateau Tahbilk Marsanne, which I quite liked but only received a lukewarm reception from the others, it reminded me of a less intense Clos Du Val Chardonnay. I liked it a lot in John Wilson's Aussie tasting last year but perhaps it's not to everyone's taste. (€25)
Next up another failure - Domaine Juliette Avril "Le Ventoux" 2008 (€31). I really liked this little gem, it was a little spicy, medium bodied and a little Chateau-Neuf-du-Papey, but was met with polite disapproval, although BE did grudgingly admit that it had developed nicely in the glass. I was 0 for 2 at this stage so I decide to play it safe and order an Argentine Malbec.
There was only one Malbec on the wine list so it was a bit of a hail-mary but I persevered and ordered a Finca Sophenia Reserve Malbec 2008 (€28). This was a huge change of pace from the aromatic Ventoux. It was a beefy, fruity, full bodied wine, with lots of character and the perfect accompaniment to a juicy steak. Alas none of had steak and two of us even had a meatless main (for shame BE).
We decided, for some reason, to go Italian next. Note: We looked at the Bordeaux, Burgundy and Aussie lists but didn't reckon we'd be able to get a decent wine at a reasonable price, particularly from the French regions. Anyhoo, we ordered a Birgi Nero D'Avola (€30) from Sicily. Wow. Lots of fruit here (BE reckoned rasperries) and long finish. We all loved this one.
Lastly (boo) we plumped for another Italian, a Donna Marzia Conte Zecca Primitivo (€30). I've just realised that due to only drunkenly photographing the fronts of the last two wines I have no idea what year they are. I loved their Negro Amaro, and while this didn't have quite the complexity of that, it was a very nice way to finish the evening (wine-wise anyway - shudder)
We didn't explicitly limit ourselves to bottles costing €30 but that's the way it turned out and it's a good test of a wine list that there would be several decent bottles to be had for around this price. I'm off to detox for a few hours.