Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sort of a Spanish night

Our holiday in France had to be abandoned after 3 nights because of extreme crappiness on the part of our accomodation and the town of Port-La-Nouvelle - needs a post all on its own, but avoid at all costs. We ended up in Spain, where we had a great time.
To sort of celebrate that and all things Spanish, we had a night with friends very loosely based around Spanish wines. 

To start, we had Rafa's Cava - Olle Roig, or roig Olle or whatever it's called. Nice anyway, a good cut above the usual uninspiring stuff from Cava, now churning out more bottles than champagne. Then we tried the 2009 Sancerre from Reverdy, just in. Riper than the 08 and higher in alcohol, but really delicious - bone dry, sculpted Sauvignon fruit and minerality to beat the band. Would happily drink it every day. Then we had Petalos from Bierzo - a very intersting wine from the Mencia grape. Floral. medium bodied with a silky sensuous texture. Disappeared alarmingly fast and we followed up with the top wine from Baron de Ley. Rioja crossed with Oz Shiraz, this was heady stuff, but not our of kilter, very good in fact. We had some Comte with Anticaia Riserva from Puglia to wrap things up, french cheese and Italian wine the perfect finsih to our Spanish evening!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon

Another bottle from the rack, this time Waterford cab Sauvignon from 2004. I often find reds from south Africa have a peculiar woody, stalky character in the background. I don't know if it's the oak, some sneaky pinotage slipped in or just my imagination.
Anyway, at 6 years old, this cabernet is packed with juicy blackcurrant fruit, soft tannis and lowish acidity. No sign of stalkiness. Nice stuff. Should be about 20 -25 euro

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July Offers

Below are our special offers for July, focussing on la bella Italia:

Taverna Nova Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Was €11.99 Now €8.99
A very decent Montepulciano with good fruit, medium body and smooth tannins – a bowl of pasta or a pizza and this is the perfect midweek special!

Alasia Sec (Moscato) Was €10.50 Now €8.50
The Alasia Sec is made from the Moscato grape - Aromatic and light bodied, this is a deliciously refreshing wine with mouth-watering rounded fruits.The perfect aperitif, or with light seafood dishes.

Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, San Giorgio Was €10.00 Now €8.00
A great all-rounder to drink with most fish and shellfish, as well as lighter chicken and pork dishes.Light aromatic with fresh juicy pears balanced by crisp citrus notes.

Lugana San Benedetto Zenato Was €13.99 Now €10.99
One of our shop favourites, now at an unbeatable price.
A deceptively full-flavoured wine with a good intensity of rich pear and apple fruits, finishing dry.This would go perfectly with richer seafood and shellfish dishes, such as scallops, crab or sea bass.

Barbera D’Asti Albera Araldica Was €10.50 Now €8.50
A refreshing red wine with lively dark cherry fruits and a smooth finish. Great with pork and chicken dishes, particularly when combined with pasta.

Primitivo Salento San Giorgio Was €10.00 Now €8.00
A fairly full-bodied wine with ripe loganberry and dark fruits, balanced with a light spiciness and a dry, lightly tannic finish.

Rosso Piceno Brecciarlo Velenosi Was €13.99 Now €10.99
An award-winning wine with voluptuous dark cherry fruits, light hints of spice and a long supple finish. A good partner for grilled pork and lamb dishes.

We will have the above wines on tasting at various stages throughout the month, so we hope to see you at some stage in July.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Santa Rita Floresta

I have always had a bit of a problem with brand new Chilean wineries launching "super-premium" wines. These are new estates, usually financed with money from the US or elsewhere, making wine by numbers and charging a fortune. Low yield Cabernet, lots of new oak, heavy bottle and a fancy label - hey presto - a super-premium, that'll be €50, thanks. No thanks, if I want to spend €50, you can get a bloody good bottle from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy, Spain - even Australia - wines that have a lot more heritage behind them, hundreds of years in some cases and at that level, I still believe France delivers real value.

OK, if I had a tenner and the choice was between a juicy, fruity Chilean or a limp, insipid and austere Bordeaux, I know wher my money is better spent. But at €50? Not convinced....

Anyway, Santa Rita Floresta doesn't really fall into the bling category. It is a winery that has heritage to spare, this particular wine comes from 60 yo vines, naturally low-yielding. It normally retails at €35, but a recent Twitter tip-off led me to Superquinn where they were selling the 2002 Floresta for a tenner. We had it last night. It has everything you would expect of a top-end Chilean - rich, full-bodied with blackcurrant fruit jumping out the the glass. Good fruit concentration, good length - Pam thought the alcohol (14%) stood out a bit - I thought it was ok (she tends to be a bit more sensitive to that sort of thing). Normally, when we are drinking something at this level, the bottle tends to empty alarmingly quickly, but we didn't quite finish it.

All in all, I think that this is a serious, well-made wine to be taken on its own merits. It compares favourably with other examples at this level from Australia, US, Argentina etc. However, I still don't think I would pay €35. If it was €20, it would represent real value and would be a compulsive offering. At a tenner, it is amazing. At €35 though, I am still looking at Gevrey Chambertin, Margaux, Barolo, Amarone......