Saturday, December 31, 2005
This is currently on offer in Tesco at just £4.99 a bottle - and it's a real bargain at that price - decent quality New Zealand Sauvignon can be pretty pricey and I bought this 10 minutes after buying a Cloudy Bay Sauvignon from the local wine merchants who had a few bottles left - straw coloured with a hint of green in in, it displays youthful aromas of tropical fruits (passion fruit) and gooseberries and has flavours of sweet gooseberries (still dry though) with a hint towards grapefruit, this is high in acidity making it crisp and clean and is surprisingly full bodied. Made by Julia O'Connell from Montana this is a masterpiece at this price - a wine which in 1990 won the Marquee de Goulaine Trophy for best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Comparison with the Cloudy Bay will come when I get around to tasting it!
Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Bordeaux insiders are reporting that 3rd Class Growth Chateau Cantenac Brown has been sold by AXA to an undisclosed individual for an "agreeable" price. The Chateau has been one of the less well performing Cru Classe' and it's terroir has at times been passed off as "not the best in Margaux". We await further news.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
WOW! This is fantastic - come December and it's one of the best wines I've bought a bottle of all year! (I've tasted finer, but haven't bought many better bottles) at £12.49 a bottle this is thick and juicy and stood perfectly alongside pan fried duck breast in a cranberry and port jus with dauphinois potatoes. Edging towards garnet in colour with thick luxuriant legs. This is powerful stuff - though thicker and juicier than many, using French oak for 24 months (though only 35% of this is new) has given it roundness and allowed it to truly develop, whilst Joel Peterson has exercised his expertise and used oak as it should be, with care and discretion - not for him too long in new American oak. As Ravenswood claim this is a "No Wimpy Wines" zone, it is deep and dark and needs food that will stand up to it.(http://www.ravenswood-wine.com/home.htm)
This has flavours of cinnamon, cloves, raspberries and blackberries - it's enough to get you in the Christmas spirit - but I'd strongly advise against anyone wanting to try this with turkey - don't save it for beef or game (or even lamb) then you'll see it at it's best!
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
At one minutes past midnight on the third Thursday in November, all in Beaujolais are awake sending over a million cases of Nouveau off to Paris before it is shipped all the way around the world. This is a strange ritual only seen in this part of France, and by the time it is over, more than 65 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau will have been drunk globally. Locally there are races to see who can be the first to serve this newly made wine, and this sees cars, motorbikes and aircraft employed to get it to it's final destination. Just a few weeks prior to this, grapes were still hanging on their vines and the local vignerons were preparing for harvest.
Georges Duboeuf is the largest producer in Beaujolais and he alone will produce 4 million bottles and works tirelessly to promote it around the world - and it is down to him that this one time local custom has developped into a world wide phenomenon.
Georges Duboeuf says of the 2005 harvest :-
"To give you an impression of this year’s wine, I must first remark on its color. It is without a doubt the finest palette of colors I have seen in a glass of Beaujolais. There is sumptuous beauty within the glass made up of dazzling red with violet highlights, a deep ruby red with hints of garnet. In the Crus there are deep purple reds that are somber, like the blue of night. This is an impressive livery that is sure to enrobe and embellish 2005’s wine. Beyond its impeccable appearance, the 2005 vintage also contains some of the most remarkable aromas. They breathe a refreshing complexity of black currant, blueberry, blackberry, black cherry and kirsch, intermingled with violet, cocoa, coffee, pepper, licorice and warm spices."
"The taste of the 2005 Beaujolais Nouveau lives up to the standards set by its color and aroma. The palate gives the impression of intense concentration. This is a warm wine, bold and fleshy. It is harmonious, voluptuous and seductive. It is the sort of wine to help you rediscover the aromatic palate. The succulent fruits are held together by supple tannins that create the lavish expression of a high class wine. This is the mark of a formidable vintage that will be discussed for years to come. "
Having never tasted any Nouveau I decided that the time had come to take the plunge and managed to pick up a bottle for £4.99 from Waitrose (they had about 3 bottles left) In appearance the wine was a great deal deeper than I expected, definitely red and pink colours rather than purples but with a slight mauve tinge. The nose was clean and youthful as you would expect with the pear drop aroma you would expect from a product of carbonic masceration and some banana and strawberry aromas - so quite where Georges gets his fruit garden of aromas from I'm not sure. On the palate the wine is dry with little or no tannin but plenty of acidity giving it some structure. Very light bodied you could almost mistake this for a white wine if blindfolded - and certainly a Rose' as delicate strawberry comes through. All in all - what's the fuss about - to be honest I'm not really sure - the wine is certainly drinkable but beyond that, it's a little bit dull and ,for me, lacks the WOW factor. Would I buy it again - probably but only to be part of Nouveau phenomenon, if it weren't for that I'd leave it well alone.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
At Co-OP Peter Lehmann Wildcard Reserve Shiraz 2004£7.99 - £3.99, Spain: Muriel Rioja Gran Reserva 1996£9.99 - £5.99. Oddbins have 20% off one bottle of many wines, 25% off 3 and 30% off 6. Morrisons : Gran Eneldo Rioja Reserva 1998£7.99 - £4.99, Hardy's Stamp Shiraz-Cabernet 2003£5.79 - £3.99, Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz 2003*£7.99 – £5.99, Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2002£6.99 - £4.89. Sainsburys : Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2003*£6.99 - £4.99, Era Costana Rioja Reserva 1999£8.99 - £4.99Faustino I, Rioja Gran Reserva 1995*£13.99 - £11.99, Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 2004*£6.49 - £3.99, Wolf Blass President's Selection Shiraz 2000£11.99 - £8.99, Tesco : Offers this week are all a little dull, they don't cut prices by more than than their competitors and they seem only to have the big brands on offer or their own brand wines. Waitrose : Côte de Beaune-Villages 2000 Louis Jadot £9.99 - £7.99, Barolo 2000/01 Terre da Vino£12.99 - £9.99, Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2003 Marlborough£14.99 - £11.99
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
1975 was declared a vintage and although not one of the very best it is still very good indeed. And Graham's made probably the best port in this particular vintage. I was fortunate enough to have 6 bottles bought for me before I could walk (or certainly soon after!) and have bottles now remaining. Age has given it an amazing tawny colour with a great deal of sediment - the flavours are intense sweet flavours of dried fruits, particularly sultanas and dried figs. It has a bouquet like liquid Christmas cake. There is definately nothing harsh in this and it is absolutely ready to drink now, in fact if you have any bottles of this anywhere (and I still do!) then this Christmas and thereabouts is probably the time to go about drinking this before it really starts to go downhill. It may last a few more years, but let's be honest - I'm not sure I'm willing to take the chance having waited 30 years to see what it ends up like!
Friday, December 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
I've now tasted 3 vintages of this, and found the 2001 and the 2004 to be very different animals to the very disapointing 2002. This has bags of flavour, cherries, blackberries, cinnamon and nutmeg come through over slightly earthy undertones, but the fruit flavours burst forth with great power and the subtle tannins fold into the wine - it's a big brute of a wine and so is not to everyone's taste, but it is just what you want on a cold winter night and at just £4.39 from a great many outlets is worth a try, just to see what this great variety tastes like. (Incidentally Malbec was originally a French grape variety used in blending, but the Argentinians have made it their own - and I'm almost tempted to forgive them for beating us so often in the World Cup having tasted this! (16.5/20)
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
A very clean crisp dry wine, that is very fruity and not in the least bit tart, weith flavours of gooseberry and hints at tropical fruits - this wine from the Lontue Valley in Chile's central valley is simply amazing value for money - when bought is was just £3.29- This is because it is from the largest vineyard in South America - a 3,000-acre monster sited on the flat valley floor of Lontué, which lies in the third of the four Central Valley sectors, Curicó. It makes a decent variatal wine, though it needs drinking young and was bought in Sainsbury's - however the supermarkets have caught on that this is good stuff and the price has slowly risen over the last couple of years to around £5 a bottle, however at whichever price this is highly quaffable for drinking everyday or with starters requiring a dry white (17/20)
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Made by the behemoth of Chilean wine, Concha Y Toro, I expected great things of this wine having been impressed with both the Cono Sur and Casillero del Diablo range from the same stable, yet I was left slightly disappointed. It's not that the wine was bad, but given that it was £9 rather than £5, I expected it to be a lot better than those named above - but to my mind it wasn't. It was very fruity, yet I found it to be both a little too acidic and a little too tannic - it probably needs a good couple of years more before it becomes any good. And with a quoted acidity of 5.48g/l (their Cabernet Sauvignon quotes 3.61) it's perhaps not surprising it was a little austere. The flavours themselves were good, but for my mind there are better ways to spend £9 than this. (16/20)
This is glorious, made by California's "King of Zin" Joel Peterson, who certainly knows how to get the best from the grapes. This is one of the mid range Zins that Joel makes, (the top of the range are single vineyard, whilst the bottom of the range come from all over California) coming from the small town of Lodi. It's a lovely pink coloured wine, with a bouquet of vanilla, cinnamon, almonds, cedar and raspberries, it's full bodies, but incredibly fruity, yet complex and refined - this is no ordinary Californian Zinfandel. The finish is smooth and long leaving you feeling warm all over... and wanting another glass! (£8.49 Sainsbury's) (17.5/20)
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Free Wine! Thanks to the lovely people at explore wine (see below) I now have 6 bottles of this lovely stuff to drink - fantastically vibrant tasting, off dry, youthful whilst being full bodied - this tastes of pinapples and melons and you can taste the heat of the summer in Corbieres. Available from www.explorewine.com at £7.19 a bottle. This is an unusual blend of 25% Marsanne, 25% Rousanne, 25% Bourboulenc, and 25% Grenache Blanc, harvested late to give it the extra sweetness (which in turn contributes to the hefty 13% Alcohol), barrel fermented and then aged for 6 months in new French oak barriques. This is simple wonderful stuff, and proof to me that the French can make really decent white wine in the very south of the country. (17/20)
Sunday, November 06, 2005
A joy to drink, from just by the Southern Rhone, Cote Du Ventoux wines are often as good as Cote Du Rhone Villages but at a lower price - this was beautifully clear and bright, just starting to turn from pink to red with a bouquet of chocolate, dried fruits and a boozy fruitcake and tastes of red fruits and white pepper. Silky smooth on the finish, wines by Jaboulet are invariably good and this is no exception. Available from Majestic at £7.49 a bottle - what a treat!17.5/20
Thursday, November 03, 2005
At the Wine Show, Explore Wine (www.explorewine.com) launched a fantastic new project - Speedtasting - you taste 3 wines from a selection of around 18 wines (you pick a number at each each tasting station) and have to identify the colour, grape, country and vintage of each of the three wines, whilst a clock is ticking knocking points off your potential score.
The downside to this was being in 2nd place overall and watching a group of lads send one through first to find out what the wines were (you are told the answer) and then passing the information to his two mates who then unsurprisingly won the prizes on offer.
However when I contacted the lovely people at Explore Wine to give them suggestions on how to fix this, they wrote back to thank me for my comments and are sending me a case of wine anyway - tasting notes to follow as and if they arrive!
Monday, October 31, 2005
What a find! Barbera is native to Italy and some excellent wines are produced in Piedment in the North West of the country, most notably in Alba and Asti. I was introduced to this variety by an American friend with a £20 bottle of Barbera d'Alba from the Summertown Wine Cafe which was simply amazing and certainly the best £20 bottle of wine I've had. I then bought Il Monello Barbera d'Asti 2003 for about £8 in Oddbins and found the same exciting flavours and aromas - but without much finesse or complexity and a little too acidic for my liking.
So having tasted the Barbera from Brown Brothers briefly at the London Wine show (see below) I've bought a bottle and can report wonderful cherry and spice aromas which follow on the palate, cinamon and nutmeg waft at you as you inhale and at £6.65 a complete steal - so much so that the wife has declared it our new house red! Buy it from SH Jones or online. (www.shjones.co.uk) 17.5/20
I visited The London Wine Show with my extended family over the week-end and tasted all manner of interesting things - though my taste-buds were somewhat worn out by the end (as were my feet) I certainly didn't taste half the wines I would have like to, but given the amount there it would have been really hard. Highlights for me were a Louis Jadot Meursault tasted alongside an AOC Chablis and a Chablis Fourchaume from the same negociant which was great to do. The cheaper Chablis was fairly dull and uninteresting, the Fourchaume hit many high notes, has a steelyness and finess to it that I've rarely had the chance to taste and the Meursault was as expected fatter, nuttier and an altogether finer wine.
I also tasted a number of very nice Pinot Noir from New Zealand, 6 in total the best being a Mount Rosa Pinot Noir from Central Otago (www.lenzwine.co.uk).
I also tasted Brown Brother's Barbera for the first time, having avoided buying a bottle for fear that the finesse of the Italian grape would be murdered in Australia, however what I discovered was a wine that pressed the right buttons for a Barbera although it did lack a little in complexity.
Shaky Bridge Pinot Noir (http://www.nzwd.co.uk/uk/index.htm) - also from Central Otago was a great credit to the New Zealand wine industry and for me was a better bottle than the Mercurey and Santenay tasted on the Wines of Burgundy Stand.