Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Liveblog - Ferraton Cotes Du Rhone and a Lidl bit extra*

Another movie, another Liveblog. The wine (at right) is a Ferraton Cotes Du Rhone 2007 from O'Briens, the movie is "Rachel Getting Married" a well regarded indie flick from Jonathan Demme with a star turn from Anne Hathaway. I bought six of these (the wine) for a post Xmas dinner with the in-laws. They were on special offer in O'Briens at about a tenner apiece and Ramon, who has steered me right on a number of occasions, recommended them as the best value red in the place.

7pm - Opened and decanted. The other night the in-laws barely put a hole in this while myself and Herself quite liked it, it was not a huge in-your-face wine but was medium bodied, pleasant and very potable.

8pm - I was down at Bombay Pantry in Rathfarnham and lo and behold Lidl was open. I could not resist its siren song and picked up the other two bottles pictured. The Lidl Vacqueyras (at left), I have had previously and really liked it, this time it was on special at €9-59, a huge bargain at that price. The Chianti (center €7-39), I took a punt on and will report on in due course.

8-30pm - My world has been rocked, I got a lousy main course from Bombay Pantry. I ordered the New Delhi Housewives choice, a particular favourite of mine, and it was poor. Bland, flavourless and poor. I have been eating from there for many years and it has been universally great, which makes this even more disappointing, but I digress.

9-pm - Half an hour into the movie and it's pretty good. Very hand-held camera, indie, angsty and all that but well acted and if you are in a large family and I'm in two of them, a lot of it rings true. The Cotes Du Rhone is now very nice, a little bit choclatey with a little bit of red fruit. Herself is getting caramel notes, but she has just eaten a(Cadbury's mini Caramel) so that explains that.

10-pm - The finish on this wine is getting longer and developing a little dryness as the evening wears off and the movie continues on to its inevitable conclusion. At this price I can definitely recommend it. The movie is quite good, perhaps a little indie for some people, you know who you are - every misguided soul who hated Requiem For A Dream. Anne Hathaway who gave a great, Oscar nominated performance here, went on to the dreck that was Bride Wars, so I just don't know what to tell you.

10-30pm - The wine is getting even better at the very last and we have to comb through cookbooks to pick out a main for New Years eve. I'm back at work as of today (boo) so I'll be keeping the booze in check (boo again) until that day or perhaps tomorrow night at JK's 4oth (woo-hoo).

* It's a lousy pun, I know

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Xmas Updates

I suppose I should start with Xmas (I'm with Futurama on this) eve and the Champers and Bordeaux duo we normally indulge in. The Bollinger Rose NV was nice but a little sweet for my taste, perhaps this is the way of all Rose Champagnes, but next year I'm sticking with the Brut.

By contrast, the 2000 Chateau Lynch Bages was a dusty delight, almost brown in the glass and, I think, drinking perfectly now. We savoured this and I even elected not to sully it with my usual accompanyment of Stilton. Its certainly in my all time favourite Bordeaux.

Christmas day morning brings me onto the wine we are currently drinking (at left). A 2002 Mas de Daumas Gassac. Supposeably this is a very famous and fine wine from the Languedoc. Alas in my ignorance I had never heard of it. My older brother handed my a mystery glass of red and challenged me to name country and grape. I said France (correct) and Bordeaux (incorrect - although it is 80% Cabernet, so I can claim partial credit) To his credit, he gave me a bottle on the spot.

I read today that this wine can be a tannic beast that needs a lot of decanting so I duly opened it at 5pm and it is quite open now (9 pm) and delicious. I read this has been confused with a St Estephe in blind tastings and I can see why although it doesn't have the minerally, Bordeaux'y depth of a fine Bordeaux. It is a fine drink in its own way, very French, nice subdued fruit, gentle tannins and a lovely balance.

I also got a few wine related presents; a subscription to www.JancisRobinson.com, the sixth edition of the Concise World Atlas of Wine, a funky tasting glass and a very fancy set of wine accessories (at left) - thanks dear.

*Update - I forgot to mention the wine we had with our Xmas Turkey dinner at the in-laws. I have made it a tradition to bring along some nice red and this year I went down the Bordeaux road. I had got a present of six bottles of 2005 Chateau Latour Carnet, website here**, I put one aside in my "cellar" and we drank the other five and very tasty it was too. Initially I thought it was a little young and tannic but it opened up nicely and disappeared fairly lively.

Big shout out the all the girls, including Granny G, for the great spread.

**Not atypically, the site is in French only.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Variousity Blues

A few quick updates before Xmas.

As promised, I saved the Tappanappa for BE, himself and his lovely lady wife came over for a pre Holiday drink so I cracked it. I was expecting a lot from this. The winery is a joint venture between the Cazes family from Chateau Lynch Bages and the uh....Tappanappa people.

Anyhoo - another new world wine built on the concept of terroir. It is made up of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Shiraz and 10% Cabernet Franc. Unfortunately we again fell victim to the curse of the Aussie Cab Sav. While it was nice very well made, this style is just not my cup of meat - all oaky tannins and blackcurrant. This was not an unpleasant wine by any stretch, just not my style.

Lastly, I had to do an emergency Xmas shop last night in Dunnes Ballyogan, unfortunately I couldn't find the Black Treacle, but I did get the parsnips. I decided to pick up a couple of bottles for general consumption (see left). A Cecchi Natio organic Chianti which was lovely last time, a Laurent Miquel Nord Sud Syrah, always bigged up in the papers, which we drank last night after the Tappanappa and which was OK, probably needs another try under fairer conditions, and lastly a nondescript Crozes Hermitage which we are drinking now and is very pleasant, well balanced and reasonable value at about a tenner.

Xmas eve tomorrow and a big wine day for us. Our first Xmas eve in this house some years ago we had some bubbly (can't remember which) and a 1988 Lynch Bages, which was spectacular. I have a Bollinger Rosé in the fridge and after that my favourite, but never tasted wine, a 2000 Lynch Bages. I have built this wine up so I hope it delivers...

Merry Xmas to one and all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

TorreSilo - Ribera Del Duero 2006

Just a quick note on the Ribera at left, another of my ever decreasing stock of good (i.e. b'day) wine. I've had plenty of moderately priced Riberas and they can be very good but often you need to shell out some decent wedge for a fine example. Ribera is seen as more young cool and trendy compared to its older and more staid neighbour Rioja.

This Torresilo proved no exception, it was quite a modern and upfront in style, but as I love, it was wonderfully balanced, some nice concentrated fruit, light unobtrusive tannins and a lengthy finish. I suspect it wasn't cheap but if you are in the market for this style or you want to impress your host...

Bizarrely I had occasion to dine twice on Friday in the same upmarket Chinese/Asian Fusion restaurant. At lunchtime a Montes Cab Sav Reserve from Chile was chosen, I was not overly looking forward to this as I have found similar wines in the past to be either overly fruity or overly oaked. I was pleasantly surprised however as this wine was neither of these things, fruity yes but not overly so and it had a little structure to counterbalance any jamminess, so much so that I chose it for the evening repast and I think it went well with the food.

Just goes to show you that sometimes you should you should take a chance on a wine, or a horse, well maybe not a horse...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Domus Aurea - It means House of Gold**

Another one of the birthday wines is currently being imbibed, and while this is not a liveblog cum movie review, I thought I might comment on tonight's TV for a change of pace.

Firstly the wine, a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, it is promoted as the product of Terroir, which is unusual for the New World and the Oddbins tasting notes are a bit florid:

"Searingly intense, hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck raising stuff! Pure, vibrant aromas of cassis mix with mint, rosemary, redcurrant and blueberry notes. The palate is concentrated and complex with soft, silky tannins and a monumental finish."

Well, this is a big fruity beast, no doubt about that. Lots of Ribena, but not in a Shiraz, in your face kind of way. Silky tannins, check - complex and concentrated, - reasonably so. As with the kind of New World wine that I like the fruit is balanced by some structure and complexity. The finish is big and getting bigger.

9-25 Gavin & Stacy (4 of 6) is about to end, it's still better than most things on TV but I agree with AA Gill that they have got a tiny bit lazy this series. Episode 1 of Season 3 of The Big Bang Theory next - a comedy for geeks, I wonder why I like it...

9-55 This is getting better, the finish is getting longer, a little extra complexity becoming apparent. The wine is pretty good too.

10-25 Honestly, I'm really loving this now, it has really opened up in the last hour, developing some decent depth, complexity and length. I'd have to say its up there with the Bin 389 for pricey (approx €25 - €30), New World vino that really hits the spot.

How I Met Your Mother, Season 4 also started tonight with a solid outing, although sadly now down to once a week, I know that feeling.

Lastly, I promise, I found this link which mentioned the Domus Aurea and had lots of info on New World Cabernets.

**It really does, you know. I got an "A" in Inter cert Latin.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Amarone - It means "I love you"**

After a couple of bottles of this Malbec at home and more at the in-laws posh "do" yesterday for the neighbours, I thought I would crack something a bit different, a bit fancier, one of the selection I got for my hmmm hmmm birthday.

This is the first Amarone I've had for a while and the first I've had a chance to drink with an eye on a review. This one from Brigaldara was opened for a good hour before drinking.

This was a muscular, finely tannic wine with some spicy raisiny fruit and very little acidity. As usual with a fine wine the balance and harmony of this wine impressed me hugely and add to that a lingering finish and there's not much more you'd ask for in a wine, perhaps if it was 20 quid cheaper! BTW this Amarone came in at a whopping 16% abv, although it didn't taste overly strong.

**Only kidding , of course it doesn't - full details of the Amarone/Ripasso process here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Use Your Illusion - Part 1

My friend Papi sent me a mail with some very interesting links on wine tasting;

In this fascinating article a retired professor of statistics applied some scientific rigour to the art of tasting and comes to some unsettling conclusions.

Here's an interesting profile of the most powerful man in wine - Robert Parker.

Another Parker article here - a blind tasting of some previously highly rated 2005 Bordeaux by the man himself - who claims to remember every one of 220,000 wines tasted.

On a personal note - we are drinking the first bottle of the case of Santa Ann Eco Malbec - so far so hmmmm.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I can't think of a snappy title...

Right - a few quick updates -

Got my case of this Malbec today - woo hoo. Hope it is as nice as the first bottle. I have to give some away off the bat to say a big thank you to a few people for services rendered on Sunday, it was much appreciated.

Was at another "do" last week in Donnybrook fair . We started with some Prosecco - meh. Followed by the same lovely white we had last time, yum. The red from the last evening was not served, boo, I have bought this Pegos Claros a few times since April and can highly recommend it. Instead we had another Portugese wine a Douro, I didn't get the name unf. It was a decent number, typical Douro-ish flavours.

John from Wine Australia has asked me to let y'all know about some Christmas Gift ideas here. I personally am tempted by the Barossa dinner in Fallon & Byrne on Jan 26th - Any of the usual suspects interested?

Finally, I opened the last of the bottles of Tautavel I had previously bought for the b'day dinner, last night. If you decant this wine fro at least an hour, I can't believe there's a better wine you can get for less then €8.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chateau Destiny

On a whim I decided to open the dusty number at left, which I have had in my "cellar" for a number of years - I think I got it as part payment for a nixer. Either way I figured its time had come. Robert Parker, on the other hand disagrees . He had a '96 St Emilion as an 87T, T being "still tannic, youthful or slow to mature", 87 being the score, which is "above average to excellent".

Incidentally - Chateau Despair was one of the eight Grand Cru that were demoted in the 2006 St Emilion Classification but were re-instated after much legal wrangling - full story here.

I was not surprised by this wine - I expected it to be a decent, mid range Bordeaux and thus it was. Nice but unexceptional.

Back on Topic: I'm gonna try and get to Aldi this weekend as it's the only big chain whose wines I haven't tried.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Liveblog - Santa Ana Eco Malbec 2007

For no good reason I've decided to liveblog on a Tuesday, the wine in question was given to me on Sunday by my big sis during the third and hopefully final weekend of birthday shenanigans. This particular occasion was the traditional family birthday dinner - held for the first time chez nous, due to the application of two large pieces of MDF duct taped to our existing table - cheers D!. Herself made a delicious tajine and I accompanied it with copious amounts of this, which seemed to go down OK.

7-00pm - Opened and decanted. I love Malbecs and sis has good taste in wine so have high hopes for this. Smells nice although at this stage is still a little cold.

9-00pm - Just back from an emergency onion run (don't ask). I still haven't got the wine quite warm enough but even cool its very tasty. Some gentle tannins evident as well as a sort of Malbec structure for want of a better phrase, which I love.

10-00pm - Mmmm very smooth, some nice plummy fruit and a lovely long finish. Need to find out where she got this. At the moment this is a very fancy wine, up there with the Trapiche Malbec and more rounded than the Norton Privada.

10-30pm - Showing a little more fruit now but still complex, tasty and fine. When I find out where to get it I'll let y'all know.

**Update** - This turned out, not entirely co-incidentally, to be a wine I tried to buy a case of a few weeks ago to no avail. I went back to the source and have hopefully secured a case for next week. So be nice to me.