Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Morning

Hola Amigos,

it's been a while since I blogged at ya, things have been busy. Last night I was at a "do" at a corporate headquarters where we were served some OK chardonnay and an indifferent Minervois. It was a moderately sized "do", maybe 50 people, so was not terribly surprised at the quality of the vino on offer. The last bottle of the Minervois was off though, which was then poured into our glasses by the otherwise very professional waiters. Is it unreasonable to expect each bottle to be checked? Perhaps.

Big news locally, a new off licence has opened up nearby in Stepaside Village, attached to the new Loughlins pub (used to be the old Mountainview Inn). I'm gonna go down later and check it out. I Fancy a big bloody steak tonight so will try to pick up something to go with it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lidl Montepulciano to Bombay

After our traumatic move back to the mountains we couldn't be arsed cooking so we opted for the best Indian food available in Ireland (IMHO) - Bombay Pantry. Our nearest is on the Grange road, right beside a big Lidl which fortuitously was still open when I arrived to collect the hot curries. I had literally 3 minutes so I ran in and grabbed three bottles of the Lidl Montepulciano (€4-79)!!.

I have tasted it a couple of time before here and here. It's pretty decent and at this price, its a no-brainer. They are also selling Tyskie for €1-43 a bottle - very good value.

Last post I mentioned that we had bought an own brand Minervois in M&S, it was OK, drinkable but not memorable, I'd do a full review but I can't be bothered, it's late and I'm back to work in the morning. Gah.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NOBby and Big Ears

Had a lovely evening yesterday at NOB and BigEars house in the country, well not really the country but Meath. We had a large selection of wine both provided by our gracious hosts and brung along by June, BigNose, and BigHead. The occasion was to celebrate June's "Hitchhikers Guide" birthday and a good time was had by all, although I'm not as good at Wii bowling as I think I am, particularly at 1-30 in the morning after all the wine below.

We started off with a home town favourite, a Rioja, specifically a 2004 Marques de Riscal Reserva, which I really like and never disappoints, with lots of vanilla and oak.

Next up was one of mine. I had brung along a couple of bottles of the Malbec at left from Oddbins, Herself had bought one for a girly night and liked it so I got a couple to go with the beef I was told we were having. As with a lot of recent wines I initially thought this was a "two pronger". I envision two prongs of flavour and a gap in between. The two prongs being fruit and tannins, but no harmony or balance to the wine. I expect this was not unrelated to the wine not having a decent chance to breathe and it did improve over time. Although that time was short as each wine was swiftly dispatched by the thirsty mob.

Next up was BigNose's contribution to the evening, a Tour Des Gendres Bergerac 2007. He wasn't impressed with it but I though it was a fine if a little dry, but perfect with food. Off to Italy with us next for a Villa Antinori 2005, as supplied by BigHead although he denied brining it, for some reason. This could be described as an affordable Supertuscan, with some red berries, soft tannins, a well balanced and delicious wine all round. They also make the Santa Christina Sangoivese which I see everywhere and this appears to be the next wine up from that.

Next up was June's wine and I think, the star of the evening for me. There were a number of d'Arenburg wines knocking about on the night ( I gave June a bottle of 2005 The Sticks and Stones), and she in turn brought along a 2001 Bonsai Vine, a Grenache (70%) Shiraz (25%) Mourvedre (5%). This was quite jammy and sweet with a very New World style, light years from its Rhone cousin. I have previously opined that a wine that jammy can only work if the sweetness is balanced by some depth and structure, and this was. Not only that, this wine felt very well made, if that makes sense. As usual d'Arenburg doesn't disappoint.

I think that was it on the wine front, there was also Baileys liqueur and some Quilmes beer from Argentina that was nice but bloody expensive from Oddbins. You think I'd have learned after the Krombacher mentioned in the last post.

Our Sunday night wine, an own-brand 2007 Minervois, was brought to us by Marks and Spencer, the number 7 and the letter Q.

Friday, October 23, 2009

El Quintanal Ribera Del Duera 2007 Liveblog and more...

I'm back - in liveblog form. Tonight it's a Ribera from Oddbins. I was out getting the fish and chips and popped in to pick up a bottle for tonight. The most promising was a Chianti but it seems I've been drinking nothing but for the last couple of weeks so I passed on it. Then I saw this fruity little number...

7-30 I've just opened and decanted this, smells fruity.

8-30 First taste - not great. Quite fruity and a little cheap tasting. Hope this improves...actually I don't think it will, down the sink it goes - sorry Oddbins. Hmmm- no other red in the house, I need a plan B.

9-00 When I said there was no more red in the house I was being truthful, however I knew that M&J's stash of vino is secreted in the shed. Last time I blogged on one our their wines here I really liked it. Tonight I found a Chateau Rocher Lideyre Cotes de Castillon 1999 (not the last one - don't worry). However the last time we tried this particular wine I thought that it was just on the edge of drinkability and on the way slowly out. It's still a little cool although I've been warming it on the stove, and its very earthy. More anon.

9-30 Yummy - Cashel Blue and Carr's Nibbles with Black Onion seed and Rosemary - kudos to Granny G for the crackers.

9-32 Way to bury the lede, dummy. Back to the wine. Very unusual colour, almost brown in the glass. The wine is pleasant, some of that Bordeaux minerality and some nice tannins. I expect it'll get better as it warms up but I'm pretty convinced that its past its best, that's my excuse for nicking it anyway.

10-00 Herself is a mine of information. "Earthy" has been updated to "Very Earthy". Me - as anticipated the wine is showing a little more complexity.

While I'm here I have to say 2 things about Oddbins:
1) I'm disappointed with Oddbins stocking such a cheap tasting and unimpressive wine, they are generally much better in their selections. Note: I bought this on my own without any advice or lack thereof from the staff who are almost always very well versed not only in wine but in Scotch also.
2) They really know how to charge for their beers. I suppose its because you're a captive audience at that stage. I bought two 500ml bottles of Krombacher (try it, very very nice), for the immodest price of €2-99 each. I know its a "premium" lager but still...

10-45 Time to wrap this up, this is a nice wine, on its last legs but still drinking. No movie to go with the liveblog tonight, for a change, watching the Late Late til JRoss comes on. That bird with the house on her head sure sung purty.

J&M - I'll make it up to you at Xmas with the finest wines known to humanity, and lots of Whiskey too.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I've started tweeting. My twitter name is, predictably, @willieswineblog.
Now I have to find fun and interesting things to tweet.
You know I will, so go and follow me - now!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday - Chianti Overload

First off - lets deal with Chianti I got in Tesco that I mentioned to in my last post.

Name: Famiglia Terracia Chianti Riserva
Year: 2006
Price: €6-99 (Reduced from €13-99)
Notes: This started off with one main characteristic- acidity and a little of that cherry bitterness. Two, two main characteristics - acidity, bitterness and a gentle hint of tannins. Three - its chief attributes were acidity, bitterness, tannins and some fullness of flavour. Amongst its weaponry were numbered - acidity, some cherry bitterness, a hint of tannins, some fullness of flavour and a decent balance. Crap Monty Python rip-offs aside this was very good value at the price.

Next off - I have decanted another bottle of this Chianti a short while ago, what I enjoyed last week (from Oddbins) all the while being a tiny bit dubious about it in a way I couldn't quite articulate. I'm not going to liveblog again (Ed. - phew). But I am going to have a little tipple right now...

Hmmmmmmm - inky purple in the glass, it's a little sharp with perhaps a suggestion of tannins. Could be to do with the fact is hasn't been decanting that long - time will, literally, tell.

On a not-really-related note we had food again from Kanum on Mespil road last night, and I have to say this place is almost certainly the best Thai food in Dublin, and if not that then definitely the best take-away Thai food in Dublin. Along with "Little" Sis and the flyboy we had a green curry, a yellow curry (best - yellow - curry - ever), a duck stir fry and a prawn thing. All were superb. It's also very close to Beshoffs chipper, it's no wonder I'm short for my weight.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A trip around France - of sorts.

Last night we had the Bergerac six over for dinner in our town pad, homemade (spicy) tomato and roasted pepper soup and a bastardised Jamie chicken stew, made with a proper organic chicken. I think a lot of this organic business is a bit of a con but this chicken definitely used to run around the outdoors and tasted as such, but I digress - there was a wide variety of wine sampled.

After the obligatory beer - Carlsberg Export*, we had a bottle of Gavi of which my brother had given me a half dozen of a while back, we all liked it although opinions ranged bizarrely widely on the sweetness or lack thereof, we agreed - let's all drink more white.

After this I decided we should drink the Lynch Bages 2001 which I'd got from BE here. Again we all liked this but perhaps we were a little disappointed, while it was lovely it wasn't the ultimate expression of the Bordeaux craft, I blame myself, for some reason.

I was supposed to take delivery of 6 Argentinian Malbec and 6 Jacques Boyd but that seems to have fallen through so I had some of this handy, which we had next and which stood up well after the Lynch Bages.

Next up was a 2002 Pecharmant, from the 2008 Bergerac trip, which BE had brought over a couple of. We agreed that it seemed a little thin after the Bordeaux and the Rioja, however myself and Herself are finishing off the second bottle now and it definitely has gained some complexity after being open for a while.

BigBog had brought along a Burgundy (and a Sancerre), a Satenay 1er Cru La Comme 2006. As I have often avowed, it is virtually impossible to get good cheap Bordeaux or Burgundy, and this confirmed it. It was delicious and a welcome change of pace from the very full bodied wines we'd been drinking up to this.

I'd like to say that this was all we had to drink on the evening, so I am going to say it, that's all we had to drink, no more beer, Beaujolais, Balvenie or Macanudos. Definitely not.

We did watch BE's wedding video, all 2+ hours of it, at my insistence. As expected my speech was short, my voice squeaky, my pace too fast, only partially rescued by a closing joke cribbed from a wedding book which depended on having adequate comic timing, which I possessed by virtue of being a lot more sober that I intended, resulting in my feeling as nervous as I actually was as opposed to hiding my insecurities behind a haze of 2006 La Fleur D'Armens.

Anyhoo, tomorrow I intend to drink a Famiglia Terracia Chianti I got in Tesco yesterday at at 50% discount, (€13-99 reduced to €6-99), allegedly.

* This beer, a slightly stronger version of the standard brew is for sale in various Tescos for approx €6 for four 440ml cans. I love this beer and have bought it a few times, however....
For some reason whenever I buy it I get charged €6 per can, it must be in the computer wrong, which is fine but it's been this way for at least 9 months. Only that I'm tight and always keep an eye on the tab I might have paid over the odds on more that one occasion.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Il Tarocco Chianti Classico - Liveblog

19-30 Finally made it into the local Oddbins this evening on the way to the chipper for a very lazy family dinner. Didn't have much time so I grabbed one of the specials, Il Tarocco Chianti Classico 2005 reduced from €15-99 to an oddly priced €11-19.

I decided I should liveblog given that we are watching a movie tonight (Withnail & I) as there often seems to be an (often very tenuous) correlation between the movie and the wine. So I have just decanted this and it has a pleasant nose, I'm going to give it another 30 mins or so and then tuck in.

20-00 Have just the first few sips and this is a surprising beast. Not very Chianti like at all. Herself noticed Cinnamon, not I but there you go. She also described this as "French" and she's not far wrong, there is a Bordeaux like minerality to it , along with some slight oaky tannins. In the film the boys have just left Monty's house.

21-15 This definitely is an interesting wine. Not much in the way of cherries but some blackcurranty fruits and still full bodied and and unusual. A bit like Uncle Monty (you see what I did there?)

22-00 The Movie ends with Withnail quoting Hamlet and drinking a '53 Margaux, this wine is still very Bordeaux'y and I'm not sure it should be, although some of the reviews I've read have mentioned the minerality. I think I need to drink it again to form a better opinion.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's about lots of things...

It's Sunday evening and it's been an eventful few days in the booze related life of YHB. Firstly I should update on the three Tesco wines bought last week.

Tesco Vina Major Ribera Del Duero 2005 - €10-09
Had this first of the three. Initially I wasn't overly impressed with this, there was a lot of fruit but not much else. However in the last third of the bottle it all came together with some fine structure and balance and I was reminded of my other cheap Spanish fave Protocolo, which is high praise indeed.

Bellicia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007 - €8-19
Not great. Lots of acidity but not much else. Even at this price I wouldn't bother.

Tesco Vacqueyras 2007 - €7-99
I loved this the last time. Alas, we drank this last night and I daresay my heart wasn't in it , coming as it did at the end of The Hangover (tm) - see below, I will have to try this again to do it justice, as at this price, it should be a steal.

The Hangover
I suppose I should accept it an as occupational hazard, if you are going to drink and blog about it, occasionally you will come a cropper. I can't blame Allpay, who provided me with some of the fuel for the flames of my misfortune. He generously showed up at my humble abode for one of our irregular poker games with a bottle of the whiskey at left, which was delicious btw, and kudos to him for spending 20 minutes in Heathrow duty free getting expert advice on what to buy.

This was not the big mistake I made, which was to buy Tyskie Polish beer at 5.6% to drink during the cards. Normally I buy regular Vitamin H at 4.3% in a vain effort to stay moderately sober and not lose my drunken ass (BigNose - Vodka & Lucozade anyone?).

Anyway - yesterday (Saturday) was a long painful experience which, counter intuitively, got worse as the day progressed, until a couple of hours restorative kip was the only way to soothe my pounding head and queasy stomach. After this and a hot Thai take away (Kanum on Mespil road- very good btw), my taste buds were shot so this may account for my lack of appreciation for the Tesco Vacqueyras.

Finally, I know it been a long haul, but we are just finishing up another bottle of the Domaine la Brunely Vacqueyras, from the Superquinn French wine sale. Damn - it's still really tasty. I think there's a couple of days left in the sale, if you are in the neighbourhood, please buy some.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tesco - More wines

Well, one of the advantages of living in our city pad is the proximity of both Oddbins and Tesco. As I noted last time, Tesco Baggot St sometimes has a great selection of wines. Tonight was no different, there were many wines I would like to have bought, but I settled on three...

Tesco Vacqueyras 2007 - €7-99
Last time I sought this I loved it and it cost €12. I has decided to buy only wines I hadn't tried before but this went by the board when I saw this for €7-99. A huge and spicy bargain at this price.

Tesco Vina Major Ribera Del Duero 2005 - €10-09
Have just started this and will review anon, worth a punt to get a decent Ribera at this odd price.

Bellicia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007 - €8-19
Another punt here but at this price its definitely worth a shot.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dax all folks...

It was the occasion of NOB's hem-hem birthday and we were being brought out by BigEars, us being YHB, Herself, June and BigNose; to his chagrin BigHead was away on his hols but he sweetly ordered us a bottle of bubbly for when we arrived.

I was given the enviable task of choosing the Vino, Dax has a very extensive and expensive list so I was caught in the usual dilemma of keeping cost down while trying to choose something decent. On perusing the list I figured a Rhone or a Languedoc would best fit the bill and June concurred. To that end I chose the above wine a L'Amourier 2006 Minervois from Luc Lapeyre. If I do say so myself I think it was spot on. Fruity, minerally, acidic, this had a good balance of components and was accessible and quite French. Although I liked it and it was as I expected, I hope everyone else liked it, it may not have been to everyone else's taste but I tried not to choose anything too esoteric.

Anyhoo - the food was lovely, I had a Ross O'Caroll Kelly special; a rabbit, bacon and cabbage tart or "tourte" as it appeared on the menu and it was focking delicious, followed by a tender piece of veal (I know) and a divine shin of veal. I didn't go the whole cruelty to animals hog by having the fois gras starter but I was tempted...

The night ended later with more bubbly and the horrible caterwauling that is us playing with Singstar - thanks again BigEars for the fine evening and Go Leinster!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Liveblog - Cristia Cotes Du Ventoux 2007

So its come to this - another liveblog.

Firstly I need to quickly comment on wine number three (of four) from the Superquinn French wine sale - Chateau Le Mayne Bordeaux Superieur 2005 (at left). While this was not unpleasant, it didn't taste like a Bordeaux, more like a middle-of-the-road undistinguished French red. I don't know what I expected for €8, I suppose. This again confirms my rule of never buying cheap Bordeaux or Burgundy, there just isn't any good stuff around below about €20. If you know of some please let me know.

So - the liveblog, this has tended to happen of a Friday evening while watching a movie with Herself and tonight is no exception. Last time I did it the wine ended up mirroring the movie. We are now watching The Boat That Rocked, so we'll see. The wine is number four (of four) from Superquinn, a Domaine de Christia Cotes du Ventoux 2007, reduced to €8 from €14-99.

21-30 The wine has been decanting for an hour now and we have just had a first sip and very nice it is too, quite "Rhoney", a little spicy and a little fruity. Herself reckons its chocolaty and smooth but that may be wish fulfillment on her part.

22-00 I'm still liking this, it developed a little more fruit and a tadge more complexity in the last 30 minutes, not unlike the movie which has just taken a dramatic turn. The wine now has a decent finish, lets hope the movie follows suit (Woo-hoo! - film/wine comparisons are go!)

22-40 The movie is heading for its close as is the bottle, so I'll wrap things up. I like this wine, at €8 I'd buy it again, at €14-99, not so much. The movie got a lot of hate in the reviews (spoilers ahead) I've read, apart from Mark Kermode, and I'm not sure why. It's not a masterpiece but its moderately amusing, it has a great cast (some underused), it does go a bit Titanic at the end but hey, pobody's nerfect.

Next - We're off to Dax for NOB's birthday, congrats a deux, and I'll report back on the grub/vino.