Sunday, March 28, 2010

Superquinn Spring French Wine Sale

For some reason I hadn't realised this sale had started, until I was down there yesterday looking for fruity pots and "flourcorn". I had just started blogging this time last year for the previous sale and this is what I got then.

The Results of these purchases can be found here, here, here and in facta here. Mixed results I'd say. Historically the cheaper Bordeaux should be avoided, there are big paper savings here but the wines don't seem to hold up at all well.

This year I shall be mostly buying from the bargain end of the range as is my wont. If I can find them I'll get...

SQ Classic Collection Cotes Du Rhone 2007 - €7. John Wilson in the IT rates this highly.

Corbieres Las Fournas - €7. Worth a punt at this price.

Domaine Cristia Grenache €8 - I liked it last year.

Chat-eu-Oeuf Rouge €8 - A "mini Chateauneuf-du-Pape" - we'll see.

Domaine de Brunely Vacqueyras 2005 €12 - Loved this last time out, last September.

SQ Bandol €15 - From the South, Tomas Clancy likes it, apparently.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jackpot! (or something...)

Before I relate my keen eyed bargain hunting skills I should report on the various wines from the last couple of posts...

Hopler Gruner Veltliner 2008 (€13-99) - this was OK. I'm not really a white buff but I didn't really see anything special here. Perfectly drinkable but not at this price. For the same money they had a fab New Zealand Sauv Blanc from Wingspan with lots of funky tropical fruits.

Conti Zecca Donna Marzia "Negramaro" 2008? (€11-99) - we drank this with June on Saturday night and it was the star of the night. Earthy, full bodied and delicious. Good value at this price.

Promenade Des Papes Plan de Dieu Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2007 ( €7-99 reduced from €15-99 ) This was a nice wine, pretty standard CDR flavours, maybe a little thin and acidic but fine with it. Definitely worth a try at €7-99, at €15-99, not a chance.

Paradise Hill Minervois 2006 - €9-95. Another "OK" wine. Drinkable but with none of the nice minerally flavours you might hope for - now on special for much cheaper - see below.

Now onto the Jackpot part of the post - I was down in Tesco Dundrum (apologies for another Tesco-centric post but its where I normally shop, and yes I am aware that they are a huge, faceless multinational, wilfully pummelling the farmers of Ireland and elsewhere into the ground, yadd yadda yadda...), but I digest. I felt like a Celtic Ponce de Leon, as I discovered the bargain, bin-end shelf where wine orders come to expire. (The right-hand end of the last free standing shelf at the far end of the shop - you'll know it by the yellow discount pricing labels)

Left to right what I got was...

Santa Christina Toscana 2007 (€5-17!) - This is the base wine from Antorini who run the gamut of Tuscans all the way up to the Tignanello Supertuscan. If memory serves this is a decent Chianti like red (it's not labelled Chianti) which normally goes for around 12 lids.

Tesco Finest Gerard Bertrand Tautavel 2005 (€5-07!)- I loved this last time, when it was €10-79. I have not seen this on the shelves for a while so perhaps it has been languishing somewhere out of the way.

Famiglia Terraccia Chianti Riserva 2006 - (€6-99) - I have seen this in Tesco for €13-99 - so half price here. I likes a good Chianti so here's hoping. Jane McQuitty in The Times said

Like or loathe the behemoth Tesco, it’s been onwards and upwards for their Italian wine range each and every vintage. This chianti stood out from the herd because of its mature, elegant, beefy, truffley fruit, complete with that classic spicy, violetscented, faintly bitter finish that makes chianti so beloved by generations of British drinkers. Bouquets to the Baroncini family who have been growing grapes at their San Gimignano estate in Tuscany since 1489.

Next up - who knows! Let me live a little will ya?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Experimental Wines 101

I've been reading a lot recently about Austrian wines and as I found myself in Donnybrook Fair this lunchtime, doing some more tasting for Lil Sis's wedding, I decided to avail myself of a Gruner Veltliner and a tasty "Negramaro" from Puglia.

The Gruner Veltliner I got is from Hopler, in my ignorance I don't believe I have ever had any Austrian wine so I am looking forward to this. It's not a cheap wine at €13-99, but it was recommended by Damien, DF's buyer so here's hoping.

The "Negramaro" is part of the Donna Marzia range from Conti Zecca in Puglia, the heel of Italy. I do like wines from this region, earthy reds made from Primitivo and Negro Amaro. I did taste this and while my palate was polluted with various Sauvignon Blancs and Cotes Du Rhones, I did like this (€11-99)

On a related note I spotted one of my recent favourite wines the Chateau Phelan Segur 2003 which is a gem, at €55 though it's a bit rich for my pocket.

BTW - anyone know how to do umlauts (the two dots over certain vowels in German) in Blogger?

Friday, March 19, 2010

He's in the birdbath...

It was a busy day at the end of a busy week, and YHB had intended to hit O'Briens in the Beacon for some more Clos du Val goodness but after an afternoon of various misunderstandings, evasions and outright lies I only had time to run around Tesco to pick up the dinner and whatever vino I could grab on the fly.

Luckily the Finest Valpolicella Ripasso was back in stock so I picked up a couple of them along with the two French wines at left, both of which are new to me.

On the left is a Promenade Des Papes Plan de Dieu Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2007 (phew), allegedly half price at €7-99. If it is a €15-99 wine then it's worth a punt at this price.

On the right is a Paradise Hill Minervois 2006 - €9-95, from reading the label this appears to be a wine aiming for the younger fruitier end of the market. Hmmmmm.

Tomorrow promises to be a very alcoholic day, wine tasting for Lil Sis's wedding at 11-30, meeting brother from another city, hopefully, for pints watching the match and then Baan Thai and lots of wine with June.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wow! - or how we stopped worrying and learned to love the F**king Merlot

I had forgotten to mention I also picked up a bottle of white, a Rizzardi Pinot Grigio, which I've got before and I liked it again. It's crisp and fruity and very moreish (I hate that word but it's apt here).

Next up the big event, the Clos du Val Merlot 2006, as I mentioned in my previous post I am wary of pure New World Merlots given past experiences, although Clos du Val are a very respected winery and their Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the U.S. wines involved in the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris. I bought a bottle of this once, €44 reduced from €55 and it was up there with best Bordeaux and while expensive, is a fraction of the price of a Premier Cru for example.

Anyhoo, after about 90 minutes in the decanter, we had our first sip and boy howdy it was good. I didn't think it much like a right bank Bordeaux, it was softer, fruitier with a hint of spice. This was not a light wine though, it was rich and complex with a lingering finish and I felt it was more like a New World take on a St Emilion than an effort to ape it.

Even at full price (€22-95) I would buy this for a treat, at €16-95 it's a freaking steal. It makes me want to try the Zinfandel even more. Perhaps next weekend if I'm feeling flathúlach.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

F**king Merlot

So I went down to O'Briens with the full intention of buying the Clos Du Val Zinfandel which I reckoned was around €22, but I was sidetracked by their 2006 Merlot (gasp!) instead. It was reduced from €22-95 to €16-95, and I can't resist a bargain. If you follow the link you'll see that Tomás Clancy raved about it in the SBP.

I can honestly say this is the first time I have bought a non-St Emilion Merlot in living memory. For a variety of reasons, (mostly because the lion's share of non-St Emilion Merlot is cheap piss from South America(controversial!)), I have been very much in the "No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any f**king Merlot!"* camp, so I hope I will be pleasantly surprised. I picked it up to go with a couple of Angus Rib-eyes from the meat shop in the village. Plus - any wine with naked chicks on the label gets my vote...

Also, as I watched the match in BE's house today (c'mon Ireland!) I realised I'd forgotten to report on the Crozes Hermitage and other wines that I'd received that night,

Seigneur D'Albret Medoc 2006 - We liked this, a decent Bordeaux at (I assume) a reasonable price.

Paul Jaboulet "Les Jalets" Crozes Hermitage 2006 - We liked this too - big fruity flavours but old world and balanced with it.

Next up - Merlot Report.

*interestingly - his prize wine in the movie is Chateau Cheval Blanc 1961 from St Emilion, but in this case the wine is on average 57% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot with trace amounts of Cab Sav & Malbec. So no great Gotcha! here.

Hola Amigos

Apologies for the lack of posts. I've been way busy at the grindstone this week. Not much to report apart from a few Tesco related things:

They are selling ten 440ml cans of Stella Four (4%), as opposed to the usual "wifebeater" strength of 5.2%, for €7, which is well cheap and the beer isn't bad.

Also on special four 500 ml cans of Zywiec for €6 - one of my favourite beers, although this is one of those beers that is much better out of a bottle.

The Tesco Vacqueyras, which I love is only €8-99 and the Cotes Du Rhone Villages is €7-49 (I got a couple to go with my first co-production of Boeuf Bourguignon). I know it sounds like I'm shilling for Tesco but it does seem to be the best place for inexpensive French and Italian wines. Although it does depend which Tesco you go to. The selection in the Merrion centre is invariably poor whereas in the Dundrum centre (where all of the above examples come from) there is choice aplenty.

Lastly June brought over Tesco Chianti Classico 2005 which we may have tonite with a rib-eye or I may buy a Clos Du Val Zinfandel I've had my eye one for a while (€20 in O'Briens). The Ridge Geyserville would be my preferred route for a steak but at €40 a pop its in "Special Occasion" territory.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Someone up there likes me, Smithers

On Tuesday I mentioned that I thought the Gerard Bertrand Tautavel in Dunnes was overpriced at €13-99. Lo and behold when I was down there again yesterday it had been reduced to a mere €6-99. Either somebody in Dunnes reads this blog and listened to my screed or they looked at the sales figures and realised nobody wanted to pay full whack for a decent, around a tenner quality wine, I guess we'll never know.

I bought two specials in O'Briens on Tuesday also:

Louis Bernard Chartreuse de Bonpass Cotes Du Rhone Reserve 2006 - €9-95 reduced from €10-95. I liked this a lot. Good full fruity flavours, a bit of body and nicely balanced. Decent value at a tenner.

Chateau Remaury Minervois 2008 - €9-95 reduced from €12-45. This wine, not so much. As the nominally more expensive of the two I was hoping for more. When Minervois is done right like here, it is delicious. The Remaury was initially a little sharp , even after a couple of hours in the "decanter", and it never really evolved much beyond that. Maybe it needs another couple of years in the bottle but it's not one I'll be buying again.

BTW - Mary Dowey has a very good article in the March Issue of "The Gloss" on ways of expanding your wine horizons, I can't find an online version but if your better half buys this mag then it's worth a look.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sweet 16

Well it was 16 years ago yesterday, which is when I should have posted, but as I am gainfully and very busily employed at the moment, I missed the proper day, but I intend to make good today. It was March 1st 1994 when YHB, then a callow (and still skinny) youth finally snagged the fiery redhead he had been pursuing. It has been a long haul and we've had a few hurdles thrown in our way (some by me!) but it's been a blast and I'm looking forward to the next sixteen.

Now, down to business. I was in Dunnes in the Beacon doing dome food shopping and I thought I'd pick up a bottle or two while I was there. Alas, I was disappointed. The only wine I really wanted was the Gerard Bertrand Tautavel, which as I discovered here, is now selling at full price for €13-99. I like this wine, but I can't see Dunnes shifting a lot of it at this price, whereas it moved by the case when it was half price. Perhaps some sort of middle ground might be the solution?

Anyhoo, after that disappointment, I wandered across the car park to O'Briens with the express intention of picking up a couple of cheap specials, and that's what I did. The wines are as follows (l-r):

Louis Bernard Chartreuse de Bonpass Cotes Du Rhone Reserve 2006 - €9-95 reduced from €10-95. O'Briens link here. John Wilson in the IT liked it.

Chateau Remaury Minervois 2008 - €9-95 reduced from €12-45. O'Briens link here. Decanter liked it.

Reviews to follow.