Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wente Reliz Creek Reserve Pinot Noir 2004

From the cooler Monterey County region - the AVA of Arroyo Seco comes this lovely little Pinot -I was expecting to find something a little overdone - a little too big that had been given too much hang time - yet what I found suprised me and even delighted me. From the Oxford Wine Company ( this Pinot has a lovely clear garnet colour with spicy cherry and hints of tell tale "farmyard" aromas (not a bad thing in a Pinot believe it or not!) and wonderful pepper and sour cherry on the palate. Medium to medium/full bodied with some balancing acidity - my only slight gripe is that I would have perhaps preferred to see a little re acidity to make a wonderful wine long and slender - as it was the finish held together ok, but was within definite reach of becoming flabby. Still delicious though. (83)

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Few from the Archives

It's been a couple of weeks since I last updated (sorry about that - Christmas and all that) and I've been working hard on starting to put together a new website that will archive old tasting notes as well as having far more information on it. In addition I'll be working towards a food matching service where you can fill in an online form and I'll get back to you with a match for the food you are serving, from a retailer you are able to get to at a price you want to pay.

Anyway for now here are some from the archives.

35 South Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (25/12/2003)
Lemon green coloured, with gooseberry and cut grass aromas and crisp dry flavours of tropical fruits. (78)

Missiones de Rengo Carmenere 2002 (14/01/03)
Damson coloured, with a bouquet of tobacco, leather and cloves with smokey, leathery flavours with hints of oak - not bad at all! (79)

Erruzuriz Merlot 2002 (24/1/04)
Lovely complex aromas of blackberry, spice, oak, almonds and almond with cherry, pepper and leather in the mouth - and a smooth velvety finish. (82)

Casablanca Gewurztraminer 2002 Joseba Altuna (3/4/04)
A first taste of Gewurz, and it was actually pretty nice - far less floral than I had been expecting. From a cool area of Chile, a bright lemon coloured offering with fresh grapey aromas and simple lychee flavours. A simple, but elegent wine. (81)

Concha Y Toro Explorer Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (31/07/04)
Pale, lemon green with sweet green apple bouquet and crisp flavours of grapefruit, melon and just a hint of honey. (83)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Brown Brothers Late Harvest Muscat 2003

A sweet muscat from Brown Brothers - but don't confuse this with the unctuous liqueur Muscat that Brown Brothers also make, as opposed to being dark and brooding this is a much lighter affair. Golden hay coloured with a fresh and youthful grapey, melon and granny smiths on the nose followed up by honey, grapes and dried apricots on in the mouth, medium sweet moving towards sweet, with great balancing acidity and a long finish. 82/100

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas as Sainsbury's

Top offers from everyones favourite supermarket.

Wolf Blass Presidents Selection Shiraz£12.49 - £9.49
Wolf Blass Presidents Selection Chardonnay£9.99 - £7.99
Bodegas Muriel Rioja Gran Reserva£9.99 - £6.99
Luganilla Rioja Gran Reserva £11.99 - £7.99
Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage£6.99 - £4.99
Laroche Chablis £8.99 - £6.99
Napa Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon£11.99 - £7.99

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Approaches - Morrisons

With Christmas fast approaching the chains and supermarkets are putting everything in sight on special offer - I'm sure that at some store somewhere Terry Leahy CEO of Tesco is selling his grandmother at a knock down price. And whilst you might not choose to buy your wine at a supermarket for your Christmas drinking there are bargains to be had for drinking the rest of the year. Today we look at what is to be found in Morrisons. I've only listed those wines which I would actually recommend - anything else you try at your own risk!

Montana Unoaked Chardonnay 2005 £5.99 - £4.99
Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora 2005 £5.99 - £4.49
Nuits St Georges Laboure Roi 2004£15.99 - £13.99
Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2003£9.99 - £7.99
Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2004£9.99 - £7.99

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tesco Finest Gavi 2005

Amazingly here is a Tesco finest wine that is actually worth buying - I'm really not a fan of some of their other offerings but this one just about hits the mark. Gavi comes from the North West of Italy in Piedment a region that also produces Barolo and Barbaresco and is made from the Cortese grape. Normally you can expect to spend over £10 on it but in this case it's on offer in Tesco with 25% off in the run up to Christmas and comes in at under £5. Now that's what I call a bargain!
A touch of lemon colouring with delicate aromas of cinnamon and apple pie and a dry mineral palate and lemon notes kept beautifully fresh by the high acidity. (82/100)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Waddesdon Pt. 2

The real success story at the wine fair was the wines of Hecht & Bannier, a relatively new negocient house based between Beziers and Montpelier in Bouzigues. The wines on show, Minervois 2004, St Chinian 2003, Faugeres 2003, Coteaux de Languedoc 2003 and Cote du Rousillon 2003 were all uniformly good scoring between 87 & 89 points each - a remarkable achievment.

In fact, I liked the product so much I even asked to work voluntarily for the company as they seek to get into the UK market. As a brand rather than an appelation they are well set to achieve great things in this country and it is my hope that I can be part of that success as I look to start a career in the wine business. Whether I am able to achieve my wish will only be known in time, and whether they are able to break into a competitive market remains to be seen.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Waddesdon Wine Fair Pt. 1

A fair advertised as featuring people from Chateau's Lafite and Mouton presenting their wines ended up being a bit lame on the wine front - I was expecting to taste perhaps Carudes de Lafite and perhaps Le Petit Mouton and instead found people such as Andrew Napier of Chateau Lafite showing wines such as Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc from Chile.
However the finest wines that I found there, and certainly the most genial host, came from the Languedoc and Francois Bannier, who also unsuprisingly seemed to be doing pretty brisk business through the tills in comparison with the other wines on offer.

Risveltes 1982 Hors d'Age - Fortified fruit cake and sultana in a glass - very drinkable (84)

Waddesdon red Merlot Cote de Duras 2005 - Red fruits and leather/earthiness - not my cup of tea at all (69)

Waddesdon Cote du rhone 2003 - Lovely fruit and spice balance - harvested on 8th August in the hot vintage so not as cooked as some examples can be. A little jammy though (84)

Delicato Family Vineyards, Old Vine Zinfandel, Monterey 2004 - Like blackberry juice - not enogh grip or acidity. (74)

Sainte Colombe 2001 Cotes de Castillon - made by Gerard Perse of Pavie fame - earthy, leathery - nice enough but not special. Would like more for my £10. (84)

Waddesdon Pauillac 2003 - made from young vines at Clerc Milhon and Mouton - these certainly suffered in the hot year the wine is well made but the grapes would perhaps not have been optimum. I suspect this is similar to what a lot of the "special" wines that are released by various people like The Wine Society are from things such as this. (83)

Waddeson New Zealand Pinot Noir, Hawke Bay 2004 - Nice fresh, flavoursome Pinot, with a definite farmyeard nose, restrained cherry flavour and fresh acidity. Much more Burgundy than new world. (86)

Waddesdon New Zealand Quintology, Hwekes Bay 2002 - Dark berry fruits, earthy complexity, but a little short and green. Some definite unripe fruit from one of the 5 varietals at work (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah) (82)

Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc, Chile - 77
Los Vascos Chardonnay, Chile 76
Quinta do Carmo Branco 75
Aussieres VdP D'Oc 72
Com Martinho, Aletejo 2003 - Long and bitter 78

Friday, December 01, 2006

Offers Everywhere

It seems that the supermarkets are entering into something of a wine war, with first Sainsbury's and then Tesco launching into 25% off all wines when you buy 6 promotions. It seems this clever promotion - most people buy at least that many bottles for Christmas - and guess what - if they get 25% off those 6 then that is where they are likely to shop - and buy the rest of their Christmas groceries too - was the brainchild of someone at Sainsbury's who realised a great opportunity to get people to do all their Christmas shopping with them and seems to show a more holistic approach to offers than the departmental offers we are more familiar with.
And when it was launched it clearly had Tesco worried - so much so that they have launched the very same promo as quickly as possible afterwards - giving it the whole TV ad treatment, although despite Tesco launching the promotion and making it instantly live in store promotion has taken time to filter down leaving customer confused.

Watch out too for posters in Sainsburys car parks advertising 2 spirits for £15 rather than the £25 they have instore - if you see the poster then it has to be worth a try at getting the offer should you want any of the spirits on offer.

Other promotions to look out for include £5 off a lot of single malts, Bombay Sapphire and other Christmas booze around the place.