Monday, November 29, 2010

This is just to say

It's late. I'm tired. I was at the airport at 5am. And again at 12pm. Four journeys. Lots of snow, icy roads and flashing ABS lights. No flight to Edinburgh, though. Lack of appreciation for efforts from powers that be, check. Same again tomorrow or (shudder) Prestwick, check. Rant over, check.

Anyhoo, many thanks to all concerned for my birthday dinner on Saturday, chez Papa and Grandma. We started with a Chateau Carbonnieux Pessac Leognan Graves 2004/6?, followed it with a Chateau Calon Segur Saint Estephe 2000 and finished with my present from my eldest bro, a Yalumba Museum Muscat dessert wine, it was delicious, so sweet and so cold.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Links und Recht

Another link post cos I'm too tired, hungover and snowbound* to review anything...

Interesting piece on tasting notes here from WineRant.

Kevin Ecock's take on Organic, BioDynamic etc. here for all you budding eco-weenies.

I really wish I could make it to this, I was at John Wilson's version a year ago.

Thanksgiving Wine recommendations here, I guess you could use them for Xmas.

Last night I ended up drinking, along with a large quantity of Oban 14yo, a few wines I had blogged about from O'Briens. Our host had been to said shop and ended up selecting one of these, one of these, and a couple of these, quite without reference to YHB's opinions.

We didn't get to the Minervoios, but the Pic Saint Loup was very tasty and the Clos Du Val Merlot was fantastic, again. BigNose didn't like it, for some reason. More for me so...

*Not really - 4WD to the rescue.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Simply Wines Xmas Wine Fair

Part 1 [Saturday] - In which I talk about the wines to be drunk..

Although I am only five minutes away I had never been down to SimplyWines on the Ballyogan Road, I had some spare time on Friday so I popped down. One of our guests tonight doesn't drink much red so I figured I'd pick up a couple of Chateau Bauduc, Gordon Ramsay's house white. If it's good enough for him...

As luck would have it the shop was quiet so I was able to spend a good while with main man Ian and I tasted a good number of reds. I was looking for a red to have for my (and BS's) b'day dinner tonight chez nous. I settled on the two reds, and the aforementioned white, above to have with our experimental chicken. Left to Right they are...

Cable Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006 - €17-60 (Reduced from €22). I hadn't intended spending €18 odd on a wine on this occasion, but I tried this and loved it. Quite an Old-World style of Pinot and I hope the guests like it as much as I did.

Chateau Bauduc Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2009 - €12. Liked it on the day, about to have some more.

La Forge Estate Vielles Vine Carignan 2009 - €12 (reduced from €16). Inky purple in the glass, lots on vanilla on the nose and unusual on the palate. I'll be interested to see what the guests think of this - it'll be the after dinner wine, I think the Pinot should go well with the main course.

Part 2 [Sunday]- In which I talk about the wines we have drunk

All three performed well on the night although I think the Carignan suffered from being drunk immediately after a splendid Chateau Tertre Daugay Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2003, brought along by BE from his stash. It, the Carignan, didn't seem to have the same vanilla, oak and fruit that it had in the shop, but I have another bottle so I'll try it again on its own and see how it fares.

On the whiskey side BigBog helped me break the seal on my newest Scotch purchase a bottle of12yo Old Pulteney Single Malt, from the "rugged town of Wick on the tip of the North-East coast, facing the Moray firth". Have just looked on Google maps and it does indeed look quite rugged. The whiskey spends some time in Sherry casks and this imparts a gentle sweetness to the dram, and a singular addition to my whisk(e)y press.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This port (in a storm)...

After the harrowing events of last evening, (flying into Dublin airport in a propeller driven plane, into the teeth of a gale, stone cold sober), I felt in need of some nice wine, a haircut and a non sequitur. As luck would have it all are available on Upper Baggot St. After being correctly denuded (you'd be surprised how hard it is to get "3 on the top, 1 on the back & sides" right), I ambled into Oddbins across the road.

I nearly bought a South African wine, any South African wine in an effort to prove myself wrong that there is no decent value SA red out there*. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the wine, at left. It's a Quinta das Setencostas Alenquer DOC 2007. The last time I had this wine, about 2 years ago, I was enthused enough to buy a case immediately, it was that good (I suspect it was the 2005, btw). My eldest bro is also a big fan, as were various punters I entertained with said case.

Since that day I have not seen it in Oddbins or anywhere else for that matter. I have just decanted a bottle and am trying to remember what I liked about it. It was inky purple in the glass, big and spicy on the palate. In my memory it was made with the Touriga Nacional grape but now that I read the label I see it is made with Castelao, Camarate, Tinta Miuda and some Preto-Martinho; that's me told.

Update to follow, disappointment probability - 20%.#

**Update - this was very nice indeed, more fruit forward than I remembered but not overly so. Lots of spice and depth made this a delicious tipple.

* I appealed for examples on Twitter to no avail...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Whiskey, and lots of it.

Yes. It's that time again. My semi-annual wallow in my only other (legal) vice. Given that I am going through Edinburgh Airport every week I've surprised myself by only having bought two (litre) bottle so far. These were a Speyside (Cragganmore 12yo) and an Island (Talisker 10yo). I am aiming to get at least one Highland (Glenmorangie perhaps) and an Islay (probably Caol Isla 12yo) before Xmas.

I may then dip into the Lowlands, or else with a solid base of Whiskey in the cupboard, I may sample some whiskeys outside of my comfort zone; Jura, Auchentoshan, Glenrothes, An Cnoc, or one of a few others that have caught my eye.

Anyhoo - here's the bit I'm sure you all have been waiting for:

Single Malt Scotches (L-R)

Caragganmore 12yo
Desc: I brought this Speyside out at the last Poker game and the lads loved it. Very smooth and a good whiskey to give to a non regular drinker.
Remaining: 0.8 bottles

Talisker 10yo
Desc: I also brought this out, but it proved less popular. It's a little peaty, a little salty and I think rewards the more adventurous drinker.
Remaining: 0.8 bottles

Bruichladdich Moine Mhor (3 different years)
Desc: A strong (50%) dram, sweet and peaty. A special edition which was a gift from Herself. Works well with a drop of water.
Remaining: 0.6 bottles

Lagavulin 16yo
Desc: My previous favourite Islay. Smooth and smoky and very peaty.
Remaining: 1 bottles (thanks MP!)

Bowmore 18yo
Desc: My new favourite Islay, even though I drink it only rarely.
Remaining: 0.6 bottles

Springbank "Longrow" Gaja Barola 7yo
Desc: A non-Islay peaty beast with a whopping 55.6% alcohol, this whiskey is delicious with a drop of water. This also spends the last 2 years of its life in Barolo casks. Who'd a thunk it?
Remaining: 0.5 bottles

Blends & Other bottles (L - R)

Jameson Original
Desc: The standard expression. Had this recently at a neighbour's house and was very pleasantly surprised by it. Warm , spicy and intense.
Remaining: 0.9 bottle

Bushmills Malt 16yo
Desc: A nod to my own heritage, a big warm sweet whiskey.
Remaining: 0.2 bottles

Woodford Reserve
Desc: A present from MP, an impressive bourbon. Light years ahead of Jack Daniels et al. Although not as smooth as a single malt.
Remaining: 0.4 bottles

Bushmills Malt 12yo
Desc: Haven't opened this yet although I expect good things after the 16yo
Remaining: 1 bottle

Lark Distillery SingleMalt.
Desc: A present from JP & MP all the way from Tasmania. A different and slightly less refined malt from our Antipodean cousins, another nice change of pace.
Remaining: 0.4 bottles

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mystery Amarone and a welcome arrival.

Just a quick post from out foreign like. We had the wine above on Saturday night, one of our guests ( I think it was BigHead) brought it along recently. It was a Cantina Di Soave Amarone Della Valpolicella Rocca Alata 2007 and delicious it was too. It started off with some nice acidity and a little cherry fruit and over the next couple of hours it developed into a wine of some depth and complexity, with some gentle tannins creeping in at the finish.

On the local front, a new Gastropub opened up in Stepaside village, The Wild Boar along with its its sister restaurant The Box Tree, which is due to open November 1st. Both are courtesy of the man behind One Pico, Eamonn O'Reilly. Before the Amarone above, we ventured down there with Little Bill (tm); I had drawn the short straw and was driving, so no wine for me. The service was friendly, and a little haphazard, but the food was a revelation. Top quality nosh at rock bottom prices, my pork belly main with [stuff] was €11 while Little Bill's (tm) fish and chips (€7-95) was crisp light and gorgeous, freshly battered and something I'd have been well happy with myself.

I can't report much on the wine front, there was no wine list to be seen, only a few wines available by bottle and glass on the specials board. Herself had a glass of the Montepulciano with her fantastic rib-eye and it was perfectly fine. I'm sure the wine list issue will be resolved with the opening of the main restaurant and I'm looking forward to going back.