Friday, July 30, 2010

Even More Links

Time once again for one my infrequent link posts where I link to articles on other wine blogs that have piqued my interest and they in turn link back to me (in a perfect world...)

All you ever wanted to know about wine glasses from Wine For Normal People

Cup-a-Wine from M&S is as good as you might expect from My Grape Escape

Stress is good for your wine (or something) from The Grapefruit

A new (to me) blog of video wine tastings from Kevin of Kevin's Tried and Tasted

We are entertaining this weekend (weather permitting); an old friend is visiting from La Belle France. I know he has a thing for Chateauneuf-Du-Pape but most of it is expensive and I'd probably end up with something unsuitable so I picked up some Chat-eu-Oeuf in Superquinn, which I loved last time and ticks most of the Chateauneuf-Du-Pape boxes for half the price...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cheapest Wine EVER

Before I talk about wine of the title I should mention that I finally managed to snag a bottle of the Superquinn Classic Collection Valpolicella Ripasso 2008 (€10). Ever since I read Kevin Ecock's review of the entire range, I have been looking for this wine. I liked this wine, it had some lovely dark cherry, some nice dryness and a bit of depth. Unfortunately, to my palate, the Tesco Valpolicella Ripasso has a little bit more flavour, depth and complexity, for about the same money.

In honour of Lidl's 10th birthday in Ireland, there were various beers and wines on special offer. Grafenwalder lager (4.8%) is always agreeable especially at the bargain price of 99c.

The Lidl Montepulciano 2009, was in fact the first wine I ever blogged on, way back in March 2009 (it was a 2007 back then). I liked it then and I like it now. It's not a fine wine by any manner or means but it's perfectly drinkable and at only a fiver, quids in. The discounted price is now €3-29, yes, THREE EURO TWENTY NINE CENTS, ONLY.

Since I first recommended this wine, there has been much debate among friends, in laws etc, and there has been some hate put its way, and some praise also. My take on it is this, spend the three freakin' euro - if you think it's piss - what have you lost? We are drinking the first (of two) right now that I bought and after two hours in the decanter (recommended), it's perfectly fine.

Just for giggles, I also picked up a Lidl Pinot Grigio 2009 by the same producer, Squiggle Squiggle (see picture) for the modest price of €5-39. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A couple of nice ones...

As I mentioned last week I got some very nice presents of wine from the guests at a BBBQ* we had recently. June's brother brought the above Super Tuscan a Malenchini Bruzzico 2003. This wine was lovely; inky purple in the glass and dark, supple and rich on the palate. In hindsight it would have gone very well with food, perhaps not pasta but something meaty.

To be honest, my exposure to Super Tuscans has been very limited so I can't tell you that this tasted like a Super Tuscan should. I would imagine if you take the cherry from the Sangiovese, and add some depth and fruit from the Cabernet Sauvignon you get what was in this bottle.

Next up is a wine from the Southern Rhone, Les Amis de la Bouissiere 2008, courtesy of BigNose. This is a Grenache, Syrah and Merlot blend, the last of which I think is a little unusual for this area? Either way, this was medium bodied and full of lovely "Rhoney" flavours. Very tasty.

* the extra B is for BYOBB

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A gem from Dunnes

As I was perusing my blog list, I came across this article by Lar on Sour Grapes, which described a wonderful Southern French wine retailing at an immodest €6-95 in Dunnes (reduced from €9-95). Normally, this is my territory (finding good cheap wines in the Supermarkets), so duly intrigued, I bought a couple of bottles, as Lar is normally spot on in his recommendations. It's a Chateau de Pennautier AOC Cabardes 2008.

As Lar mentioned, this wine can be made using the "Bordeaux" grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cot (Malbec) AND also the "Mediterranean" grapes, Grenache and Syrah.

Note: Dunnes are also selling the Terroirs d'Altitude Chateau de Pennautier 2006, which appears to be the next wine up the chain and I think was reduced to a very reasonable €8-99.

I liked this a lot. Lots of dark fruit, but not in a jammy way. Lots of body and a nice finish. We drank it without food and it was perfectly fine but I'd imagine it would suit a hearty dish very well. Mary Dowey actually came across this wine last year as did Kevin Ecock here.

Next up: Tonight we visit "SuperTuscany", hopefully we'll get on better than our recent visit to Barolo country.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sorry June...

Firstly the good news...the Salomon Groovey Grüner Veltliner 2009 from Oddbins (€11-99), which I got in honour of our Austrian visitor, was quite delicious; crisp, tangy and a little spicy. We lashed through the two bottles I had bought, I wished we'd had more to go with my delicious smoked mackerel pate, which no-one ate apart from YHB, alas. I must have unique tastes.

Our guests brought a selection of wines and I shall be reviewing them as I drink them. First up is a Tesco Barolo 2005. June brought this along and was keen to know if it is any good. I have seen this in the shop and have been tempted, but it's a pricey wine to take a punt on. Tesco are very good at the moderate priced own brand reds, but can they do it with a wine from a "premium" region?

The answer is - not this time. I believe this bottle was corked, but not in the normal way. I read an article on the web somewhere recently that said there are four (I think) main ways a wine can be "corked", caused by different factors and with different effects on the taste. This wine was very sharp, almost fizzy on the tongue and very acidic. After almost five hours in the decanter it had lost some of it's harshness and you could maybe get some idea of what the taste should have been.

There's no way this wine tasted as the maker intended, ( I know Barolos historically have been huge tannic beasts, requiring much decanting, but this was not the issue here), so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and endeavour to try it again in the future. Sorry June.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You take the moon and you take the sun...

On our trip into the west we decided would try and eat seafood chowder every day, not for any scientific reason, but simply because we love it and it's not easy to get a good one in Dublin.

Day 1 - Moran's Of The Weir - Superb.
Day 2 - Oliver's, Cleggan - Very Good, more of a stew than a soup but with a great variety of fish.
Day 3 - Pub that doesn't take Credit Cards, Clifden - I liked it but herself pronounced it too salty although it did come with some mini squid/octopus tentacles.

There was also another pub in Clifden that shall remain nameless as they ignored us for 10 minutes (even when I went to the bar), so we walked out. You'd think in this day and age that pubs/restaurants would be crying out for business, alas not.

We ate a huge amount of fish but didn't drink much wine with it, (we drank mostly Guinness), the only bottle of note was a Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 in Mitchell's seafood restaurant (have the crab cakes) which was perfectly fine and a good accompaniment to my hake special and Herself's mussels.

We are throwing a petite bbq'ette for June's brother and her Austrian friend tomorrow. In their honour I picked up a couple of Salomon Groovey Grüner Veltliner 2009 from Oddbins (€11-99). John Wilson in the Irish Times reviewed it a couple of weeks ago he said:

"A crisper style of Grüner with fresh melon and citrus fruits, and a tangy dry finish. This would be good with Asian-style prawns, scallops or sushi."

I'll be BBQing a butterflied leg of lamb, my absolute fave and I have a case of the wedding wine from Lil Sis's wedding to have with it. Its an Olivier Ravoire Cotes Du Rhone 2007 and it went well with the lamb at the wedding so...

Lastly, Superquinn mailed me to tell me about their "Great American Wine Sale", not much of interest for me I think, mostly cheap plonk. The list of wines is here if you want a look.

Lastly, lastly, we are trying a Tesco Finest Touriga Nacional 2008 (€8-99) from Portugal tonight. This grape is considered the finest Portugese grape and I do tend to like wines made from it. I do wish they'd so something about the label though, it's very bland and uninspiring.

**Update** This turned out to be a lovely drop. A bit of a bruiser, inky purple in the glass, lots of dark fruit and heaps of tannins. very nice if you like the full bodied style...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Into the wesht, again, for the second time.

We're off for a well deserved weekend away soon so no posts for a few days. Before we go I should update on what the cheap (€8-99) Priorat I picked up on Monday was like. It was a Mas de Subira 2003, an old-ish vintage as noted by pauljkiernan in the comments.

While it smelled delicious while decanting, at first taste I thought said commenter might be right, it tasted a little tired. But, we endeavoured to persevere and after a few minutes in the glass it revealed itself. If I'd been tasting it blind I might have ventured a guess that it was a right-bank Bordeaux, but upon mature reflection this wine was beefier, with lots of tannins, not a huge amount of fruit but good balance and structure nonetheless.

Have just decanted the Tesco Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 (€7-99) to have with a well deserved pizza. We had a good result today; they say the law is an ass, well today it was Jessica Alba's. Evenin' all.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's Special

Picked up one of the specials down in O'Briens in the beacon over the weekend, a Domaine L'Ostal Cazes Estibals Minervois 2007 - €12-99 reduced from €15-99. I have a soft spot for Minervois, when it's good its very good (and not hugely expensive) like here, which I have recently found on for a modest €11-60, but when its average, it's average, like here.

Happily, this was a damn good wine. Inky purple in the glass and full bodied, it had it all; some dark fruit, some spice, firm tannins and a lovely balance. The vineyard is owned and operated by the Cazes family of Lynch-Bages 60% Syrah, 20% Carignan and 20% Grenache. O'Briens link here.

Lastly, while perusing the bargain shelf in Tesco Dundrum I happened upon a Priorat for €8-99. I don't know much about Priorat, having had only the one, but I was under the impression that they were not generally cheap. This didn't appear to be discounted, but perhaps was mislabelled. Either way, worth a punt at €8-99. It's a Mas de Subira 2003, a blend of 60% Garnacha Negra, 30% Carinyena and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. If you've had it, please let me know...

Lastly lastly, being an inveterate bargain hunter, I also picked up a Tesco Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 (never tried this) for €7-99 and a Tesco Finest Vacqueyras 2008 (always good), also for €7-99.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


As you may have noticed, I've done some work on the layout and design of the blog. While I liked the original template, it was getting tired of it and it was a little Web 1.0 I'd like to say I did a huge and complex redesign using all my techy skills but that would be a lie. Instead, all I did was choose a new template and update my blog list (I have removed some blogs that seem to have died and added a few new ones - please check them out). Let me know what you think of the redesign.

Now, on to business. I was down in Superquinn Blackrock yesterday buying some Friday fish, as is my wont, and looking for the elusive Santa Rita Floresta red. Alas, this was all gone but I did pick up a bottle of scrummy La Baume Viognier first sampled here. It's now at its full price of €10-79 but is still great value if you like creamy, peachy whites. Note: While the wine was lovely it so did not go with the delicious piece of Hake, fried in butter with a pepper and salt coating, expertly cooked by Herself.
On the red front the remains of the new world wine sale are still present but as I said before, it's mostly pile 'em high sell 'em cheap fruity plonk. The red above is what I took a punt on in the end. Pretty much all of the new World Pinot Noirs I've had (all inexpensive) have been fine; light and fruity but with obviously none of the complexity of their Burgundian cousins.

It was a Chilean Agustinos Reserve Pinot Noir 2008 Bio Bio - €9-99 in the sale. After an hour or so decanting, I poured and as expected is quite pale and light in the glass and on the nose didn't give much away. At first taste we knew this wasn't your standard new world cheapie. After the subtle cherry and jammy fruits, herself got caramel notes and I swear I got a hint of mint along with some surprising dryness at the finish. A pretty complex wine for the money and absolutely delicious, a bargain Burgundy I'd suggest except that I know shag-all about Burgundies. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Find me!

The title of this post will make sense if you read to the end. For now let's see what I thought of the final two bottles I picked up in Sainsbury's last weekend.

Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2007
- £8.99. I'm sure this is well made and has hints of yadda yadda yadda but it was way, way, way too jammy for me and Herself. A serious fruit bomb; if that style floats your boat then this is for you.

Chemin Des Olivettes - Coteaux Du Languedoc 2008 - £6.39. I liked this best of the lot. Plenty of fruit, good chewy tannins and some acidity all came together to form a very enticing wine. Not for the faint of heart I would emphasise, this was a big meaty wine, probably best served with a hearty dinner.

Now on to the title. I have been noticing a fall off in hits over the last couple of months so as an experiment I'm going to list the top ten Google searches at this moment in time, just to see what happens...

inverted nipples
mike miller
andrew garfield
afshan azad
amagami ss
jaycee lee dugard
don coryell
better homes and gardens

I'll let you know if it works...