Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wexford Wine Circle

I did a tasting with these nice people last week in the Talbot Hotel, Wexford and I am a bit late getting around to my report of the night...
I am, of course, originally from Co. Wexford (Oulart, to be exact) so I am reasonably familiar with the lie of the land in these parts; it was still my first tasting in 7 years in Wexford.
We tasted:

Prosecco La Riva dei Frati
Pinot Grigio, Gregoris
Soave, Pieropan
Dolcetto d'Alba, Enzo Boglietti
Chianti Rufina, Basciano
Salice Salentino Riserva, San Donaci
Cerasuolo di Vittoria, COS
Barolo, Boroli

We started off safe with the old stalwarts of Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, and then wandered slightly off the beaten track with such lovely wines as COS Cerasuolo and the Dolcetto from Enzo. The wines were all well received, everyone had their favourites, but I was really pleased with the reaction.

It is good now and then to taste the wines in public, it renews your faith in the wines you sell.

Good night had by all...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hamelin Chablis drinking nicely

The 2008 vintage of this is drinking very nicely - we had some people over ofr lunch on Sunday and it went down very easily indeed....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bellinter House

I read in the Irish Times today that Bellinter House, owned by Jay Bourke and John Reynolds, is going into voluntary liquidation, but staying open and will in future be run by a new company, Patrick Hotels, also owned by Jay Bourke and John Reynolds.

We are thankfully not involved, but presumably the trade creditors will get screwed in the liquidation process. Meanwhile, they just carry on with a new company...

Anyone know how does this work? Do I have the wrong end of the stick?

Vigna Piccola Chianti Classico Riserva 2001

I don't stock this or know how much it costs or even know where I got it, but we really enjoyed this when we had it on Saturday night. Bright, clear Sangiovese fruit, good concentration and nice ripe, smooth tannins. Finished it rather quickly between us. Very niiiice...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taverna Nova Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

The Italians are great. With hundreds of wine regions, styles, grape varieties and quality variations that span the very best and the very worst of winemaking, they must have been having a laugh when they decided to give the same name to two vastly different wines. Montepulciano the lovely town in Tuscany lends its pretty name to the sometimes wonderful Sangiovese-based winesVino Nobile di Montepulciano and its little sibling Rosso di Montepulciano - see Poliziano for top examples of both.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, on the other hand is from Montepulciano, the grape variety and comes from Abbruzo on the east coast of Italy, heading south. It is a wine often viewed as a somewhat rustic country cousin of its more polished Tuscan namesakes, a view that somewhat compares apples with oranges as they tend to be at very different price points.

The version viewed to the right is a good example, chunky, dark fruit soft tannins, fresh acidity. Give it a bowl of meatballs on a Tuesday night, watching the football or whatever and you will not go wrong. Now only €8.99. Bargain.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Simone Joseph Chardonnay

I don't know that much about the origins of this wine, it is bottled under the Simone Joseph label, designed as a house wine by Simon Tyrell, esteemed importer and expert on all things Rhone. This is from the South of France and is quite different from the Grauzan Chardonnay of a few days ago. Quite full, and rich this has good depth of flavour and has is quite like a decent Macon. At €10.99, if you get a decent MAcon, you are doing well. So I think this is a very pleasant drink and good value for money, despite a slightly curious dusty finish - might be just me ...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Anticaia Salice Salentino Riserva 2006

New vintage of this just came in so I was curious to try it. This comes from Puglia, is made entirely from Negroamaro and gets aged in barriques for 2 years.This wine often reminds me of the wines from the Southern Rhone - surprisingly light in colour, big flavours, highish alcohol and a savoury character - many of the characteristics of Grenache. But there is more - a baked fruit character, rich and smoky with that pleasant acidity that many Italian wines have that make them such a great match with food. Something different that delivers great bang for your buck and an authentic taste of the South of Italy, try this with spaghetti and meatballs, chilli or any food that packs a punch.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Domaine Grauzan Chardonnay

What is the hidden meaning of the phone beside the bottle? It means I am a crap photographer, that's what. Anyway, Domaine Grauzan Chardonnay has just come in. For many years now, Domaine Grauzan has been a reliable source of good quality, well made, straightforward wines at reasonable prices. The wines are not the type of wines to stop you in your tracks or change your world forever, but they do a great job at being unpretentious, easy-drinkng wines. Exactly what you want mid-week or as a house wine in a restaurant. It's like the Ronseal of wines - it tastes clearly of its declared varietal and it won't let you down. So it is with this Chardonnay. Unoaked, fresh, fruity, straightforward and very easy to drink. Pass it blind to a committed ABCer and they would probably love it, because there isn't oak or butter or anything heavy about this wine, just fresh appley fruit. Gruner Veltliner, Albarino, Verdicchio are all great in their own way, but it's good to re-visit something like this. Well worth a try at around €11. It might even be under €10 for a limited time in the shop, where it is on tasting this weekend. Go see!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A wine a day

I have been thinking for a while about changing my blog from just random meanderings and ranting about stuff to doing a wine review with the aim of doing a wine a day. I also considered doing video reviews like some of the more intrepid bloggers out there, (yes, that's you Matt and Lar etc), but I decided i have a face more suited to the written word.
Let me state right now that it won't be a wine a day because I will inevitably miss some days, but it will be as regular as possible. It will also feature quite a lot of wines from the shop, as that is what I taste most, but I will also review samples, bottles I buy elsewhere - whatever I taste, I will try to include. I will try to be as impartial as possible, but of course I like the wines we sell. However, expect some honest (negative) opinions as well!
Here goes....
Alpha Zeta Soave 2008 12.5%
Why start here? Because the bottle is open, that's why.In fact it has been open a few days now, so it mightn't be as fresh as it should be. This is made by Liberty Wines under the supervision of excellent winemaker Matt Thompson. It is made by a co-op outside Verona, near Soave where all the Alpha Zeta range is made. It's a good way of delivering good quality at a reasonable price and it is a strategy that I assume works well for Liberty. This has pear drops on the nose, typical of what you would expect from a modern wine of this type. It has decent weight of fruit, pears and apples and apricots. It's like skipping through a meadow on an early summer's day, fruit and flowers and looking forward to Wimbledon. Decent stuff for a tenner, look for the 2009, this needs to be drunk as early as possible.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More madness, from Scotland this time

My mother-in-law is not my most reliable source of political news, she would make a lively contributor to Fox News, but she informed me over the weekend that that Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP, is talking about banning wines at ober 10% abv. The SNP is worried about the amount of binge-drinking going on in Scotland and the various problems it causes with disorderly behaviour, health problems etc. It is a story we are familiar with on this side of the Irish Sea.

So, how would this work, exactly? Sell only Liebfraumilch or will producers be asked to dilute their wines? That'll get rid of any fanciful of notions of terroir. Maybe, the Spanish will be asked to harvest in July, to make sure the grapes don't have enough sugar to ferment above 10%.

I noted that they weren't talking about whiskey (some slight domestic political issues to deal with), vodka (surely a bigger problem than wine?) or anything else - just wine.

In my experience, fighting in the street is not the natural result from a nice meal and a bottle of Vosne Romanee. Vodka, red bull and a mixture of cocaine, e, and whatever you like from the local headshop are a more potent mixture.

As usual, it is a case of politicians coming up with the wrong answer to a question that isn't being asked. From a casual observation of the fine people walkin around where I was at the weekend, the SNP would be better off banning chips.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

COS Cerasuolo - a wine lover's wine

We have been fans of COS Cerasuolo for nearly 10 years now and it is great to see it recognised in this month’s Decanter as the finest example of one of Italy’s hidden gems and Sicily’s only DOCG, Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico.

Check for more info.

Here is the note from Decanter:
COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico 2007 ***** (18.5/20)
Heady, earthy, floral aromas with succulent cherry, raspberry and spice flavours. Lovely minerality, great depth, fantastic length. Now – 2015.
Couldn’t have put it better myself. It will be on tating this weekend if you would like to try this intriguing wine.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I hate corked wine

We had slow roasted shoulder of Irish spring lamb for dinner on Sunday, so we decided to open a nice Bordeaux to go with it. Chateau Branaire Ducru 2000, a middling ranking Saint Julien from a great vintage should have been delicious, but, just as we sat down to dinner, we tasted it and it was badly corked. I have held on to this wine for a good few years now, so it was a disappointment. As well as that, I didn't have time to choose and open a new bottle, so we just had a glass of what we had open from the night before.

Luckily, this turned out to be Paleo Rosso 1999 from Le Macchiole in Bolgheri, a delicious Cabernet-based wine from one of Italy's great producers, so it was no hardship....Situation saved, but we only had half a bottle....