Thursday, January 28, 2010

At long last Aldi

Although the Aldi website tried to divert me from their Rathfarnham store by claiming it is located in Clonskeagh, I finally made it there tonight. On the food front, after a quick peruse, I reckon there isn't a huge difference between it and Lidl, although Aldi's stock may be marginally "classier".

Anyhoo, I bought three bottles of red (along with some never-before-seen German beer, and there were many kinds of this), at left an even-cheaper-than-Lidl 2008 Montepulciano (€4-29!!), at this price the wine in the bottle is worth an about 20 cent after Govt. duty.

In the middle is a 2003 Vina Decana Reserva from Utiel Requena (€7-39), they also had Crianza from the same producer but at this price I reckon I can spring for the Reserva. Will try this over the weekend with a couple of rib-eyes, also from Aldi.

Lastly, a 2008 Toro Loco Tempranillo, also from Utiel Requena and priced to move at €4-99. We were having take away pizza for dinner ( Four Star - thin base is the only way to go), so I unscrewed this, no decanter*, and poured. Probably not the best way to drink a cheap wine but you know what, I know what I hate, and I don't hate this. It's young, fruity and while I wouldn't serve it at a posh dinner party, it's quite drinkable and at this price it's decent value.

*My lovely and practical Ikea decanter met with a sharp end earlier on in the week, courtesy of Herself.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Updates and some nice shiraz...

Hola amigos. Its been a while since I blogged at you, I don't have any excuse, I'm just lazy.

Anyhoo - I was in O'Briens on the weekend, I picked up a Protocolo for the happy couple to try but alas this was not a runner. I also picked up a delicious Chanson Macon Villages which went down better and is a frickin' steal on special at €9-99 (from €12-99).

Lastly, after a blind taste I was persuaded by my man Ramon to buy a bottle of the 2006 Bethany G6 Shiraz. As regular readers will know I have a curious and snobby relationship with Aussie Shiraz, I only like the expensive stuff. The cheap stuff I find too jammy and unrelenting.

I brought this home, we drank half on Saturday and I brought it down to the out-laws on Sunday and everyone loved it. Its big and fruity, yes, but complex, full bodied and wonderful. Its currently reduced from €17-39 to €12-95 so go try some.

Herself had a birthday also this weekend we ventured to Ananda in Dundrum with June, BigNose and BigHead. Haven't been for about a year but goddamn the food is good. Expensive but good. We necked some delicious Hugel Gewurztraminer with our food, which I think was a good match.

Next: I'm still trying to get to my nearest Aldi which I think is in Churchtown to see what it has to offer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pinot Time and some wedding stuff...

Last night I ended up in the lovely Ballymount Estate, tasting wines for "Little" Sis's wedding. After a couple of Sauvignon Blancs, which were zingy but perhaps not suitable for what they are serving, we tried on a Villa Masetti Pinot Grigio 2008, would be delicious with the seafood starter.

For the red, we elected to take three different new world reds home to try on Sunday with some roast lamb [the wedding main]. They are all Chilean, which may seem blinkered but it's a good starting point. A decent Chilean Red with not too much fruit and some decent structure would make a pretty good wedding wine. A wedding wine has to be geared toward the casual drinker, and to that end it has to have a good dollop of ripe fruit and it has to be balanced and not too tannic, and most of all it has to be inexpensive! Anything good you get from a wedding wine after that is gravy.

If none of them work out there are a few more options available from the same supplier and if all else fails I can think of one wine that would definitely tick all the boxes - Protocolo!

Our host also gave me a bottle of a NZ Pinot Noir to try - Kahurangi Estate 2008. This is not the kind of wine I would recommend for a wedding and indeed as I decanted it I was surprised by just how light in colour it was and I was hoping it would not be too thin and anaemic.

It turned out to be quite light, but very pleasant all round, fruity with some decent acidity and a nice change from the more full bodied wines we normally drink. I have been making [a very small] effort to expand my palate, particularly towards Pinots in all their shapes and sizes, and hopefully as time goes on I can taste more NZ Pinots and become less of a complete bluffer on them.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wagner and I

Another Saturday night movie, another liveblog. The wine is the Jerome Quiot Gigondas 2004 I mentioned in my last post. The day started badly as I returned home, hungover and much the poorer after a night in the country playing poker. It got better though, as we brought Little Bill (tm) into town on the Luas for some lunch and a bit of shopping. I had two of my favourite things in Waggamamas, a delicious Yaki Soba and a 500ml bottle of Asahi.

7-30 - Opened and decanted. Smells nice.

9-00 - Our movie tonight is Valkyrie, a Tom Cruise pic. The wine has started well, some nice complexity, acidity and some tannins. The movie too is promising, Bryan Singer has made some cracking movies over the years and even though we know how the story ends he still manages to generate tension.

10-00 - The wine is still holding up well and we have added some creamy M&S stilton to the mix. It is getting a little drier and more tannic as the night wears off (the wine that is). Herself reckons the movie is "bitty". I disagree, the tension is ramping up and there is a wonderful cast of mostly British thesps.

10-30 - The Gigondas (btw - what is the correct pronunciation of Gigondas?), is about to be gone, and very tasty it was too. Would I buy more? Perhaps, for about the smae money you can get the Tesco or Lidl Vacqueyras which are a bit nicer. The movie is also finishing up, It turned out to be better than I expected.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jerome Jerome...

Just back from Molloys where I was buying some cheap beer for poker in the sticks. As always when I'm there I picked up a Trapiche Malbec which we are now sucking on, lovely as usual. It's a good bet for Old World junkies who want to step over to the dark side and also a cracker for those who haven't made the leap from the Americas over to Europe yet.

I also picked up a Jerome Quiot Gigondas (at right), the last time I had a wine from this producer I apparently didn't like it, but hey, I'm not one to hold a grudge so roll on Saturday night (baum). I can't find the review, I'm not even sure if I wrote one. Nuts.

**Update - found it - at the end of this post. For those who cant be bothered clicking, it read "The micro review is - NO. Drinkable, but very average, not worth a tenner."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Autumn Flavours from Corbieres

On a cold and snowy Thursday night I ventured out to the local offie to get emergency beer for the weekend. When I got there I discovered that emergency beer is the only beer I'd buy there as it is bloody expensive, €2-20 for can of Vitamin H and €2-40 for a Charlie Bird, not not mention €2-75 for a bottle of my delicious Polish nectar Zwyiec.

I can never leave off-licence without buying some wine so I had a quick look at the special offers and picked out the wine above which we had last night. A 2008 Corbieres from Chateau Du Grand Caumont imaginatively titled "Autumn Flavours". A blend of 45% Carignan Noir, 15% Syrah and 40% Grenache.

We ended up quite liking this wine but it look a little while to open up. Initially it was quite fruity but after awhile in the decanter it developed some complexity and some soft tannins. It was about €9-99 and it's certainly worth a try at that price.

**Update - We are drinking a bottle of Punto Final Malbec 2008 from Bodegas Renacer, I brought a couple of bottles out to BigEars house, from Oddbins, here, and on the night we drank it undecanted and it wasn't great. Tonight, however, it was very drinkable, medium bodied, a little fruity but nicely balanced.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Local Supertuscans et al

It has been an interesting weekend here at Casa di Willie. Since the snow on New Years eve our estate has become periodically impassable to two wheel drive vehicles, like tonight after the slush refroze. On New Years day no non 4WD cars could get out at all, one in the eye for all the Eco-weenies, perhaps they have nowhere they need to go... (oooh contraversial!)

Anyhoo - the wine above is one Herself got in the new offie in the village, before Xmas for the not inconsiderable price of $19-95, a Brancaia 2006 from Tuscany. Reading the back label this appears to be a budget Supertuscan of sorts, with the usual Sangiovese, Merlot and Cab Sav. For this dough I'd expect a lot and while this wine was pleasant and well balanced, neither of us thought it was worth that money, unf. Herself had also bought a bottle for my oenophile elder Bro, so it'll be interesting to see what he thinks of it.

Lastly we are drinking the Lidl Chianti I bought earlier in the week as I write but firstly I should comment on the Lidl Vacqueyras I picked up at the same time and which we again loved, especially at the reduced price of €9-59, or some other odd amount, great value for a complex, dark, delicious old world taste.

Now the Chianti which was purchased for the piddling amount of €7-39. I didn't have time to decant this for more that about 10 minutes so when we first tasted it, there wasn't much going on and to be honest at this point in the proceedings, I wouldn't have been upset if this had stayed as it was because generally, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. However, after an hour or so this opened up and started to taste quite pleasant and Chianti-ish. If you like thsi style you could do worse than have a punt on this.