Tuesday, August 31, 2010


As I mentioned recently I picked up a cracking Languedoc in O'Briens Beacon recently a Pic Saint Loup 2008 from Gerard Bertrand, and last Saturday I got to test this selection against the discerning palates of June and BigNose. I had picked up the last three bottles hidden on the shelf so I figure it's selling well with the South County Dublin wine cognoscenti. All our guests liked it a lot and it went well with the lovely Moroccan tajine Herself had made for the occasion.

At the very tail end of that night we opened the Penelope Sanchez Garnacha Syrah 2009, which I had grabbed in Superquinn in the sale for a modest €8. Given the time of night and the depth of tiredness/emotion quotient I was presently surprised that this held up well. Big, fruity and quite spicy in that Grenache/Rhoney way. It's from the Campo de Borja region of Northern Spain, which I had never heard of until now, I confess.

Lastly and in the picture at left is a Chateau La Raze Beauvallet 2005 Medoc, this was on offer in Tesco, allegedly reduced from a stiff €19-99 to a more reasonable €9-99. I have had no experience of this Chateau so I checked their website, where I learned the blend is 60% Cab Sav, 39% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot and I also learned that they haven't updated their website since the 2003 Cru Bourgeois Classification was annulled, a fascinating story as detailed by thewinedoctor here. I'm not expecting too much from this but it should be a reasonable tipple.

**Update - We Drank this on Sunday and it was very average. Bizarrely, it had a cracking nose, rich, full and complex. Alas, on the palate it was quite modest and uninteresting. Certainly not worth €20 and I'd struggle to justify it at a tenner as priced.

BTW - I'm you are a geek like me (and you probably aren't) - you'll love Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, I did.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Superquinn - Rosé and the rest

As a member of the Superquinn wine club I got an email recently about how various of the wines they sell had got on in the International Wine Challenge 2010, consequently they are having an Award Winning Wine sale with some very attractive wines at reasonable prices. So off I popped.

First thing I saw on arrival in the wine section was a man giving out free samples of a Rosé. I know Rosé can be drunk anytime but if you are like me, you only ever drink it on holiday. I have fond memories of eating sardines washed down with some delicious Minuty rosé on the beach in Cannes (before the crash, of course).

It turned out I know the man (long story). The wine itself is Pink Elephant, from Portugal. I had a taste and liked it. Crisp with some nice acidity and not too sweet, the way I like my Rosé. I got a bit of a shock when he told me the price - €5. I bought a couple straight away and we tried one later with our fish supper - very pleasant it was too. The wine claims to be ideal for spicy food and this seems to prove it.

I also picked up some other reds on sale. From left to right they are:

Pink Elephant Rose 2009 - €5 - As described above

Penelope Sanchez Grenache Syrah 2009 -€8 - Took a punt on this.

Waipara Hills Southern Cross Pinot Noir Central Otago 2008 - €12-00 reduced from €15-99 - Gold Medal winner in the International Wine Challenge 2010

Vina albali Gran Reserve 1999 Valdepenas - €6 - Silver, Best In Class in the International wine and Spirits Competition 2007. This wine is probably very tired at this stage (being 11 years old), and given that it is priced to move, but you never know.

Ch Camplazens La Garrigue La Clape 2007 - €12-00 reduced from €15-99 - "Trophy" in the International Wine Challenge 2010 (not pictured). I was given a 2004 of this last year and liked it. The 2007 was very different; big, bold and fruity.

We are entertaining tonight so I bought more of the Pic Saint Loup, which is a bleedin' steal at €9-99.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Results of the O'Briens jury...

We have now finished the last two (of three) wines that I picked, seemingly at random, from the various specials on offer in O'Briens Beacon.

First up (at left) is the Gerard Bertrand Pic Saint Loup 2008, (€9-99 reduced from €14-45), a Couteau De Languedoc. I knew I recognised the name, in turns out I have drunk his Tautavel many times from Dunnes and he also makes the same for Tesco Finest (I think).

This wine is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan and Grenache and comes from the small Languedoc Cru of Pic Saint Loup, and very fine it was too. Well balanced and elegant with a long finish, I would heartily recommend this at this, even at full price. O'Briens link here.

Last up the the La Piuma Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2009 (€7-99 reduced from €9-99). I had thought this might be a bit "cheap and cheerful", but we were pleasantly surprised; there some nice plummy fruit and some nice acidity to make this a perfect pasta/pizza wine. Very good value as priced.

Next up: lots of wines I bought in Superquinn today, including (drum roll) two bottles on Rosé.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More random wines on Special offer from O'Briens

After returning from Hols, I decided to partake of one of my favourite wine pastimes, which is going to O'Briens in the Beacon and randomly picking three reds on special. I have done this many times and the results are generally good. From let to right they are...

Gerard Bertrand Pic Saint Loup Coteaux du Languedoc 2008 (€9-99 reduced from €14-45). No idea what grapes are in this but I like the look of it.

Ramos Tons de Duorum 2008 (€9-99 reduced from €12-99). From the acclaimed winemaker Jose Maria Soares Franco, apparently. We drank this on Sunday and it was OK. Drinkable but not memorable in any way. I didn't really have my blogging hat on, I apologise.

La Piuma Montepulciano D'Abruzzo (€7-99 reduced from €9-99). Hmmm, this could be a bit "cheap and cheerful". We'll see.

Post Holidays Blues (and reds)

Well, I'm back after a very relaxing two weeks in the (genuinely) sunny south east. We drank a decent amount of wine, all the while struggling to find a source of decent affordable wine.

Greenacres in Wexford town is exceptionally well stocked with "quality" wine but boy howdy they ain't cheap; it's like the recession never happened.

Pettits Supervalu (also Wexford town) is not stocked with wines I would buy (to put it kindly), they do the Masi range which I would have chosen if I hadn't found an alternative.

Tesco (the new gargantuan-sized shop in Wexford town) stocks all the usual suspects, if that floats your boat, I availed of some when entertaining.

Supervalu in Rosslare Harbour was a bit of a hidden gem, lots of solid wines to choose from and a couple of interesting wines tucked away, more of that below.

I'm only going to comment on a couple of the wines sampled over the two weeks, most of the rest have been reviewed here before and some I won't review to avoid insulting those who brought them down 8-)

On one particular night our guest had brought down a Woolaston Estates Nelson Pinot Noir 2005. As I have mentioned before I only seem to like expensive Pinot Noirs; pricey wines from NZ and good Burgundies. This wine proved no exception; delicious, complex and with a very long finish.

On the same night I took punt on a Concannon Central Coast Petite Sirah 2006 which I found in the aforementioned Supervalu. This was a curious wine, lots of tannins and some nice dark fruit. We had it on its own but I think it would definitely benefit some food.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Final Three

Castillo de Montearagon Gran Reserva Carinena 2002 - €6-39. Not bad. Oaky and Rioja-ish. OK Value at this price.

Tesco Valpolicella Ripasso 2008 - €8-99. Still good. Lots of nice fruit and structure.

Tesco Cotes du Rhone Villages Reserve 2008 - €7-49. A little lighter than I remembered and very Rhoney. OK.

I'm still on my jollies and I have an excellent Golf tan - normal service will resume next week.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Half Way There

I'm officially on my jollies so I won't be doing much posting over the next couple of weeks. However we have tried three of the six bargain wines bought in Tesco last week so here is the interim report card.

Bastide de Garille Cabardes 2007 - €5-99. Solid. Some nice flavour here. Great value.

St Hallett Barossa Gamekeeper's Reserve 2008 - €9-35. Way too sweet for my palate. No finesse whatsoever.

Tesco Nero D'Avola 2008 - €5-99. Decent but unremarkable. Drinkable and decent value at the price.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two packets of three, for the holidays.

We are off on our jollies soon and where we are heading in Ireland is not a Mecca of good wine (I think, and I hope to be proved wrong). But just in case I figured I'd get a half dozen red as emergency wines in case no decent affordable wine can be found in the locality. Tesco Dundrum normally has a few wines on special, some own-brand, some random wines from across the globe.

I picked up three of each today, The non-Tesco wines are...

Bastide de Garille Cabardes 2007 - €5-99. Regular readers will know I recently found a lovely Cabardes in Dunnes at the modest price of €6-95. Hopefully this one will be as successful.

Castillo de Montearagon Gran Reserva Carinena 2002 - €6-39. I recently had another bargain Carinena Gran Reserva from Tesco, a 2001, which was a bit tired. Worth a punt at this price, I reckon.

St Hallett Barossa Gamekeeper's Reserve 2008 - €9-35. When I saw this on the shelf it rang a bell and I grabbed a bottle. When I checked my archive I saw that I had tried it as part of a tasting back in November, John Wilson's Favourite Australians. I very much liked it then so kudos to my memory, for once.

The Tesco wines are...

Tesco Valpolicella Ripasso 2008 - €8-99. I have written about this wine on several occasions. I love it. It needs a couple of hours in the decanter but it's so worth it.

Tesco Nero D'Avola 2008 - €5-99. I had forgotten that I quite liked this the last time I tried it (unlike the 2007 which was not great). Solid but unremarkable but attractive at this price.

Tesco Cotes du Rhone Villages Reserve 2008 - €7-49. I had this once before last November, when it was the 2007 and it went well with the lamb we were having. It will be interesting to see if there is much variety between vintages.

Speaking of which I recently picked up a couple of Tesco Vacqueyras 2008, I loved the 2007 but the 2008 left both myself and Herself a little disappointed. It wasn't as full and flavoursome as the 2007. That was the first bottle, so perhaps the second one will prove the the first was an anomaly.