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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Origin Pinotage

Pale with a bright ruby glow, when you pop your nose in the glass you get that sweet red fruits all mixed up with vegetal and slightly animal aromas tempting you in. Here, once more sweet fruits, fresh and zippy acidity. The animal nuances come through once more but there is a lack of layering, depth and complexity. Those red fruits are clean and juicy with a hint of zest on the edge but no real substance, I feel as though I have been promised much, then denied at the last minute. The cost is low, about £5 from Tesco's online, so should we expect more.......? I feel that I do! It is very young, 2012, so less than 2 years old, so maybe time will add character.
Score 76

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Old Renwick Road Pinot Noir 2011 from Marlborough in New Zealand

As expected, this Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand, is a fine tuned example. It is full of fresh strawberries, a tint of vanilla and oak and a crispness that you only get from careful making. At 13.5% it is well integrated and absolutely where it should be, warming but not spirited. Pale and transparent, a good sprinkling of vegetal undergrowth that draws you in and wraps you up in its silky texture - a wine to enjoy!
Score 89 and at under £9 at the mo (Tesco's), a snip.

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2011 from the Valle Central in Chile.

This is a wine from the Concha Y Toro label, it is big and brambley, lots of freshening acidity but also a fine lick of vegetality. It is 13.5% but well balanced and juicy, an easy Sunday night wine. Cherry, espresso, black currant all mix together to produce a great accompaniment to a meal, but happy to consume it without! We visited the cellars of Casillero / Concha Y Toro when we were in Chile in 2006, I loved it then, and now is no different.
Score 86 but at around £5 on offer at Tesco's this is a great bargain - go buy!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Priorat - inky and deep

We opened a bottle of 2006 Priorat DOC, The Terraces from Alvaro Palacios, based in Gratallops, Catalan with great anticipation. It was deep, inky and rich on the eye and nose. It had fruit heavy aromas, a lick of oak and a heavy base that has an alcoholic reducted edge. We both tasted it and there was a 'ummmm' hanging in the air, complex dark fruit with a fresh finish, acidity cleaning the mouth and leaving a dead heavy fruit deposited - fresh yet rich. Long lasting and ever changing. This Catalan wine was slightly chunky to start but soon streamlined and became silky and mouth coating.
Scored it at 91, I liked it but at a price of over £22 is it good value........?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

German wines galore

Went to a great wine tasting last night at a local wine group SWIGS, and Michael was introducing and hosting a group of wines he had acquired with, as it turns out, some difficulty.
German wine in the 1970's and 80's was what every one drank, but with the rise in popularity of New World wines which exhibit the grape variety prominently on the label, and the trend of drinking drier wines and maybe also the lack of understanding of German Wine quality and sweetness levels has led to a drop in its popularity, this was not helped by scandals similar to the current horsemeat debacle. Today the industry has had a little bit of a rethink as far as sweetness levels produced by its growers, trends have influenced the style of wine available here and in Germany itself, though a remarkable lack in variety can be seen available on the British marketplace today.
Michael had acquired 5 Riesling wines, 4 saying only Riesling and one with 55% Silvaner (Sylvaner in Alsace ). And considering 4 were basically the 'same wine' they varied incredibly in style and quality....... and price.

To start with I want to say that in the past sweet wines have been an expectation from German wine producers, but these wines were from the drier end of the spectrum, only 1 would have been termed 'halbtrocken' which is half dry, the others all were dry or bone dry.

Wachenheimer Gerumpel Riesling 2011 from the Pfalz region, Gerumpel estate near Wachenheim.
This was a single estate wine with the highest alcohol level of the evening at 13%, it was dry with a wonderful peaches aroma which followed through to the palate, mineral was the underlying theme here, stones and slate aromas and tastes, fresh zesty acidity and zippy from first to last, great length and breadth, a lovely wine which I scored 91, and can be found at the Wine Society at around £17.

Domdechant Werner Hochheimer Riesling 2008 (the oldest wine had in the evening) was off dry and again slatey in flavour and smell, wet stone minerality and fresh acidity enhancing the tropical juicy fruits found on the palate, mouth coating and with some residual sugar which again made the fruit more attractive. This wine was a VDP estate, a group formed in 1910 to promote and sell wine together. The estate is in the Rheingau, the area in Germany that produces a higher percentage of Riesling than any other of the areas and tends to be a more delicate wine, generally. The Rheingau soils often include channels of red slate which imparts a tropical fruit element to the wine via the grapes grown on this soil. This wine was from Laithwaites and came in at a price of £12.49. I scored this wine 87 and liked it a lot.

Wiltinger Riesling Trocken 2011 was from the Mosels Braunfels vineyards near Wiltinger on the Saar tributary in the Mosel region. Once more the minerality exhibited in this wine is obvious along with an orange peel edge on the palate especially on the finish which was noticeably dry, great acidity emphasised the freshness of this wine which has a clean earthy quality. Quality is what this wine is about, through and through with Riesling being a star here. Score : 85 and costs £10.50.

Saarburger Kabinett 2009 is from the Rausch vineyard on the Saar tributary in the Mosel region of Germany and the sweet tropical fruits and wet stone aromas are enticing with the acidity keeping the Riesling incredibly fresh even after 3-4 years in bottle. I scored this wine 88 and it costs £12.95, seems a good one to buy still with lots of life in it.

The last wine of the night was an 'own label' from the Wine Society, one of their basic Exhibition wines and had a minority share of Riesling with 55% Silvaner. It comes from the village of Rupertsberg in the Mittelhaardt, it was also the cheapest wine of the night coming in at £6.25. Generally the concenses of opinion was that it was not the favourite, there was a hard bitter, pithy flavour left after the fresh acidic start and the peach aromas did not follow successfully through to the palate, but it was refreshing and at this bargain price who were we to quibble I scored it 81, but needless to say I would be happy to drink it at anytime and at the price will probably buy it at some point.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Leyda Reserva Syrah from the DO Letda Valley in Chile. 2011

Savoury, complex and a happy mix of New and Old World. The peppery Syrah grape from the Rhone figures heavily here, but don't be mistaken, this is a New World Syrah ( or Shiraz if you like) and is a drop dead gorgeous option if you like fruity but also traditional cooler old world area wine. Black fruits, meatiness, pepper, mint and a freshness that surprises you on first, second..... tastes.....
And all this is from the Leyda Valley in Chile, cool breezes resulting from the Humbolt current in the Pacific keep the freshness in this wine, it has that Rhone peppery, savouriness not found in warmer climes. Quality through and through.
Score 93 and you can find it at Majestic Wine at under a tenner!!! A bargain so enjoy guilt free.

Brook Farm San Luis Obispo County, Marmesa Vineyard Syrah 2006

Black and inky, deep ruby rim and huge meaty blackberry aromas are what greets you. This leads you into a big juicy wine with a Rhone twist, yes it is a definite New World wine, fruit driven and alcohol figures heavily in its makeup, but there is an edge that hints at a Old World involvement. Deep flavours, silky and bouncy envelope you. Enjoy it, but be aware that 14% must be the minimum that this wine is, it tastes higher.......
San Luis Obispo is south of San Fransisco and just south of Paso Robles, near the coast and cooler than this latitude would suggest. Morning fog due to the Pacific has a heavy influence, and this cool influence keeps the acidity fresh.
This is Syrah not Shiraz despite its New World origins.

Score 84 (it would have been higher if it was not for the spiritual alcohol ). Find it at Underwoods at a bargain price, under £6.50. Enjoy.

Friday, 18 January 2013

St. Julien 2006 The Society exhibition Bordeaux, France

Deep ruby and a black inky core. And what does is smell of - black berry fruits, vanilla, smooth oak and a mushroom edge. This all follows through to the palate but with a depth of flavour that is gorgeous, it starts simple and then Wham! Blackberries, old smokey oak, vanilla...... Layered and complex coming in waves. Elegant, stylish but with muscular firmness - charming.
This wine is from the Wine Society, their 'own label' range called their 'Exhibition' range. It is from the south ofbSt Julien Appelation in the Medoc in Bordeaux, France. The actual Chateau is Chateau Beychevell. Score 94, but at a price - £19. Is it worth it? Yes, definitely, and will be buy more- yes!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sherry revival. Palo Cortado.

First sniff - Bread and cucumber are my first impressions and then damp cardboard with a slight leafy edge. First taste has a saltiness, warmth and a yeasty finish. Length is long, salty, sour, yeast ...... complex, very complex. Lying in front of the fire with peanuts and a couple of olives left from last night, can you imagine anything better - I can't.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Blind Tasting results.

Bodegas Virgen del Aguila Coleccion Reserva 2007 from Carinena DOC in Aragon, Spain. It is made up of 60% Tempranillo, 20%Grenache and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and the alcohol is 13.5%. It has been aged in French and American oak for 12 months and then another 24 months in bottle.
So overall I feel happy with what I surmised, alright I got the grapes sort of right but the wrong dominant one and missed the Cabernet.
This wine was from Tesco's and I know it was a steal, if I remember correctly about £5. Not bad and I would give it a score of 83.
Happy drinking!

It is Blind Tasting Friday - the first of 2013 for this!

Ruby with a slight hint of purple, medium opacity, the stem is easy to see through the glass.
Perfumed and fresh on the nose with red fruits and a twist of spice. Definite florality, say roses.
On tasting it - Fruity, sharp acidity that jumps around the mouth and an after lingering spice with a touch of smoke and a meaty salami. Tannins were minimal and felt ripe. Good length with sweet spice remaining, but it is the acidity that is the memorable feature of this wine - is it genuine? Has this wine come from a cool region or has it been acidified? The alcohol is not standing out, probably 13%'ish but balanced.

My thought summary : I think this wine comes from the old world, I feel that the acidity has been played with and the area that the grapes originated is warm, maybe not hot, but warm. Oak plays a definite part in this wines character, it does not have the smokey/nutty character that I would think of for Italy, but the savouriness......
So I feel either southern France or northern Spain, it has a feel of a Rioja, but not overpowered by oak, so I am going to say it is from the Navarra region of Spain or maybe more to the east towards Barcelona......
Grapes Garnacha, Tempranillo...... In that order ( though I would have expected higher alcohol if Grenache is the dominant grape, it was fairly transparently.....Grenache characteristic).

I will give the results later.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Puccini Memoro. Vino Rosso Italy

Inky and black at the core - promising.
Rich warm fruit and vanilla spice on the nose, again promising.
Tasting - Rich chocolate, red fruits and a hint of coffee to start, but the best was had, and from there on it fell away and lacked depth, character and real quality oh what a shame. A fun wine for glugging but not going to be remembered for long, though at just over £5 on special offer at Tesco's how dare I complain! A bargain and delightful to start with.
On investigation this wine is made in a New World style, grapes from different regions and different vintages, a first for this type of Italian wine I feel, and on second thoughts would I have thought it was Italian if tasted blind - absolutely not!
Score : 78

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Puccini Toscana 2008

This Super-Tuscan ( I feel in the loosest sense of the word ) from Piccini is a rounded cherry and plum mix, with a good lick of Oakey vanilla. Rich and silky, and it went soooooo well with our roast beef and Yorkshire pud, something we have not had for 5 years+. Bonus - alcohol was only 13%, so no aftereffects!
Score 84 and only about a fiver from Tesco's. I bought 6, so more for a rainy day...... Or should I say days as we have had a few in the last year.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Tesco's Finest Valpoicella Ripasso 2009

An inky blackness and purple at the rim introduces this wine to you, followed fast by meaty, herbal aromas with a hint of violets, enticing! Tasting it gives fruit, spice and those herbs again, and a hint of sour cherry rounding it all off. Overall feelings are juicy, fruity and elegant, silky in the mouth and wickedly leading you to have more.
Score is 85.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Seigneurs D'Aiguilhe 2006 Comtes von Neipperg from the Cotes de Castillon in Bordeaux, France.

A gentle enveloping Bordeaux red! Silky, oak, firm but not overpowering and the plummy fruits with spice - charming, not too heavy but enough to work with food..... Turkey and ham pie with Kohlrabi and mushroom mixed in, this is a combination made in heaven. The wine has enough acidity to cut through the fatty (but yummy) pastry and balances with the strong meaty flavours. I must remember this next year when 'turkey time' returns!
Score 89 and a price of £7.11 on a special from Waitrose.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Casa Marin from the San Antonio valley in Chile, an unusual Sauvignon Gris.2008

We had this wine with a lovely Sweet Potatoe and Goats cheese Ravioli, and the lime apricot flavours with fresh and zesty acidity really cut through the cheese and played to the sweetness of the potatoe. The tropical fruit was a welcome memory of fun times had over travels in Chile, and especially after all the rain we have suffered. Breads notes add an extra dimension, this has many structural parts, a little stunner!
We followed on with a Kohlrabi gratin, hassle-back potatoes and Cola Ham, stunning combination with the freshness of the wine, but then the meal was also tried with Chateau Musar and was a show stopper.......overall feelings on the Sauvignon Gris,juicy, warming, pithy and silky in the mouth. Score was a well deserved 89, and I am so pleased we still have one more bottle left in the cellar.

Happy New Year 2013 with a bottle of Chateau Musar 2001from the Lebanon

A lovely wine for the start of what I expect to be a fun New Year! Sweet red fruits with some delicious ageing thrown into the mix, cigar smoke ( hate it on a man but love it in this wine), a touch of spice from those well used barrels which knock the edges off this velvety liquor and make you drink more than you know you should. But hey ho, another day another ...... Well maybe not today!
Cherry and spice - such good partners, score - oh who cares if it is not 100, I thought it was last night! But today lets say 91, but maybe I should just have another....
Happy NewYear to all who visit, lots of exciting times ahead.