Sunday, February 28, 2010

In order to understand recursion*

It's Sunday morning, I've just washed the decanters and Little Bill is jumping around the living room as is his wont. Rather than waffle on as is my wont I'll just do a few quick updates...

We drank the two wines below last week:
Chateau De Villeneuve Saumur Champigny 2006 - I liked this, herself less so. It took ages to open up and develop and it was only in the last glass I really got all the flavours. It was somewhat acidic, fruity and at the end showed some nice tannins. It was quite a lighter style then we usually drink but nice for a change.

Masi Campofiorin 2006 - Also liked this a lot, it was different it style to its Tesco Cousin, more refined and a touch lighter and easier to drink.

Los Robles Fairtrade Carmenere 2006 - We drank this at the end of the night last night and didn't enjoy it. It had that "taste" that I get from cheap Chilean wine which I cannot abide. It's that cheap oaky, tannic flavour. Herself hated it.

What I will be mostly drinking this week are the fruits of our entertaining...

Seigneur D'Albret Medoc 2006 - The Times liked it...

Paul Jaboulet "Les Jalets" Crozes Hermitage 2006 - Snooth liked it..

Chateau Lapelletrie Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2005 - this guy liked it and I'm thinking I might lay this down in the "cellar", given the vintage.

* it is first necessary to understand recursion

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Saturdays

The Fabtastic Four are coming over for our roughly bi-annual get together and I have another excuse to try and justify my wine buying habits, i.e. the purchase of decent wine, cheaply. This is especially important when entertaining. As a host, it is incumbent on you to provide enough wine and consistent wine. It's not clever to get lots of different reds and end up serving different wines to the same person within the same course - whatever your wine choice, your guests should have a consistent experience.

With six for dinner I bought 5 bottles, I would normally recommend having one bottle per person just in case but the Hildog doesn't partake. The red I got was this, I know I keep banging on about it but try it and see. I will decant for at least two hours pre-game. The white is a Tingleup Riesling 2008, also from Tesco, which I am hoping will please B.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Porkbelly II - The Fattening

The porkbelly went down well in Saturday night, it a long and involved recipe but it makes for some delicious tender meat from an inexpensive cut. I bought some Ferraton Cotes Du Rhone Samorens 2007 from O'Briens, which at €11-45 is an absolute steal. R0bert Parker gave it 89/100 and it seemed to go down well with m'guests. To start with we had a Rizzardi Pinot Grigio 2008, also from O'Briens. When I say we I mean me and Big Steve, as nobody else seemed to be in a white wine place, us two happily lashed into it.

The aforementioned guests brought along some interesting wines, most of which we managed not to drunkenly quaff on the night. From left to right they are:

Chateau Fontbonne Bordeaux 2006 - BigNose brought two of these and we drank one and it was nice but I don't think I did it justice as it still a little cool when we drank it. I'll treat the next one better.

Chateau De Villeneuve Saumur Champigny 2006 - June got this in Harvey Nics. I have always liked wine from this region so here's hoping..

Masi Campofiorin 2006 - S&V brought this and it is a meaty, tasty wine. It is made, I believe, using the Ripasso method which accounts for its rich flavours.

Lastly I picked up a Pegos Claros Palmela 2004 from Portugal. I loved the 2002, and was hoping for more of the same from the 2004. It was good, and still good value at €12 but it didn't have the depth and complexity of the 2002.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lied to again...

Firstly, a report on the Villa Augusta Montepulciano D'Abruzzo I got in The Market (€12-99). As much as I loved this label, the wine inside was a little disappointing, and not what I remembered from many years ago, story of my life really. Anyhoo, this wasn't bad, just not that great; it had some nice bitter cherries and some acidity but not much beyond that. It needed something structure-wise to balance out the flavours.

Next up - Bottle Shock, the movie, (spoilers ahoy!) which allegedly tells the true story behind the 1976 Judgement of Paris in 1976, and in particular the Californian winery Chateau Montelena, which triumphed over the assembled white Burgundies. In the wine world this was a big deal with the upstart Californians humbling the grand French Chateaux. In a word - Don't. Alan Rickman is brilliant as ever but the rest of the movie sucks ass. Its cliched, bland, formulaic and boring and Chris (Captain Kirk) Pine's wig is risible. Oh and in the love triangle, guess who gets the girl - the tall, tanned surfer dude or the short, dark Mexican?

Lastle, I was down in Superquinn in Blackrock, picking up some bits for the belly, pork not mine for a change, and I happened upon the Domaine Gres St Vincent, Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2008 (€11-55), which I have unsuccessfully tried to purchase in various Superquinn French wine sales and always gets good reviews. We had it last night and we liked it a lot. I didn't have my blogging hat on so I can't tell you any more but, it was very pleasant.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snappy Title Eludes me, Again

We have now had two of three wines I got in Dunnes last week, so:

Gerard Bertrand Tautavel 2006, I only had a glass of this (long story) and I liked it, but as I said before; 8 quid - Yes, 14 quid- No.

Artiga Garnacha 2007
, I half heartedly liked this the last time, but I liked it more this time. It is well balanced, and has a lovely ChateauNeufDuPape'y spiciness, no surprise as Grenache is often the most common grape, and is super value at this price (€6-49).

Lastly - for Valentines Day I opened the second last bottle of my birthday stash a Domaine D'Ardhuy Corton Clos Du Roi Burgundy 2006. The lesson for me is that I don't drink enough good Burgundy, the good stuff that I have had has been fabulous, light years away from thin new World Pinot Noirs. I'll admit, this style of wine is not my usual style, I generally prefer big, in-your-face beefy wines, and this is not that. I'm going to quote a review that I found online rather then fail to do this wine justice, so, what he said...

"A gentle touch of wood spice frames the ripe, serious and brooding earthy and intensely animale dark berry fruit aromas that introduce the rich, powerful and palate drenching flavors that are textured, well-muscled and focused on the explosive finish. This is like a vinous bomb detonating on the palate and it’s hugely long."

I wrote the above earlier before venturing out to order the Porkbelly from The Market in Belarmine, whereupon I saw a very attractive label (now posted at left). It's a Villa Augusta Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, I think I used to have it in Millers Pizza. The label is rather fetching, if you know me and Herself, you'll see why I like it.

Next up - finding a wine to go with Porkbelly II - the Revenge.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dunnes and done, and I mean done.

I had occasion to visit Dunnes Beacon today and I picked up what I thought were three bargains. From left to right they are

Artiga Garnacha 2007, I previously tasted this here, and at €6-49 it should be good value. Its 100% Old vine "Garnacha" or Grenache in the common tongue.

Gerard Bertrand Tautavel 2006, I have had this many times and have reviewed it before here. It's normally "half price" at €7-99 and I assumed this was the case on this occasion. However when I returned home and checked the receipt I had been charged €13-99, not sure where the error lies, probably with me.

Los Robles Fairtrade Carmenere 2006 €8-95. Carmenere has become the signature wine of sorts in Chile and it has an unusual history there. Until recently the vines were assumed to be Merlot vines, for some reason, and there was much ado when the truth was discovered. I have never had this wine but it gets decent reviews as a budget wine so we'll see...

Monday, February 8, 2010

It keeps swelling up...

After this and more recently, this, the time had come to do something drastic, so today I let a man stick a large metal, pliers-like device into my mouth and yank the offending tooth out.

On a much less unpleasant note we drank the E Guignal Cotes Du Rhone on Sunday night and we both liked it a lot. BigNose has often banged on about this wine and it's indeed a pleasant surprise that he's right this one time.

It was well balanced, easy drinking (in the good way), and very good value at a tenner. Next up is the alleged half-price Chianti, also from Superquinn.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Superquinn Bargains - I hope

When I was down in Superquinn Blackrock during the week I was supposed to be just picking up some groceries, but being a good oenophile*, I couldn't resist having a quick wander round the wine section of the shop. What I probably should have tried was the Superquinn own-brand range which has been getting good notices of late (Mary Dowey not the least). As it was, I only saw the Bordeaux and I have strict rules about cheap Bordeaux - Don't. The Burgundy and Cotes Du Rhone I intend to try next time round.

The first thing that caught my eye was the wine at left in the Picture, a Sammicheli Chianti Riserva 2007, half price at €9-99. If it genuinely is half price then this should be a tasty tipple, although the corollary of this is that if the wine is so nice how come they have to halve the price to shift it?

Next up is the famous E. Guignal Cotes Du Rhone 2005. I have been reading rave reviews about this for years but to my knowledge I have only had it once and I didn't rate it then. This was a number of years ago and hopefully my palate has evolved to the point where I can see what all the fuss is about. It was also reduced from €13-55 to €10, so if it performs then its a bargain too.

Next week - I may venture "oop north" on a booze run, if time and circumstances allow...


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Aldi Update & Tesco Valpolicella

As predicted Aldi wine number 3 was not good. I decanted it, gave it an hour and a half and it was still nasty. I've had worse, but not by much. Well, you pay peanuts - you get monkeys.

On a brighter note we drank the Tesco Crozes Hermitage which was one of three I bought here. It was very pleasant, a little bit fruity, a little bit "Rhoney", also, the phrase "well integrated tannins" springs to mind, so I'm going with that.

As we watch the first episode of the last season of Lost, big WTF at the half-way mark (it's a "feature length" episode), we are sampling the Tesco finest Valpolicella Ripasso I picked up a couple of days ago. I was a little apprehensive about this wine as I loved it last time out and now it has been reduced to a mere €8-35, I was wondering if I had been overly generous previously.

Happily I have been vindicated altho' it took a couple of hours. Even after having been decanted for a good hour this wine was a little sharp and not what I remembered. Another hour down the road however and I'm loving it. It has all come together most triumphantly with plums and a hint of bitter cherries and is now tasting like a wine of twice the price. If you can afford the waiting time (I'd give it the full 2 hours), and you can afford the price tag, (there's not much you can buy for less that's drinkable), what are you waiting for?

BTW - As I was perusing The Gloss magazine, Herself buys it - I only read Mary Doweys wine column, and as fate would have it, what wine is she recommending? The Tesco Valpolicella Ripasso, she says "finding a decent version [of Ripasso] at this price is a miracle." I can't find a link to the article, you'll have to take my word for it...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mostly Tesco, Barolo and a suggestion of Ikea

Lots of updates to get through so let's not dawdle.

We drank the 2nd of three cheapo wines bought from Aldi (I'm drinking them (mostly) so you don't have to), it was the 2003 Vina Decana Reserva 2003 and it wasn't bad. It had the standard Rioja oaky, fruity flavours. Although there was something not quite integrated in the taste which I couldn't put my finger on. Still, at €7-39, Rioja drinkers could do a lot worse. We are sampling the bizarrely cheap (€4-29) 2008 Montepulciano tonight, I'm sure your prayers are with us.

As I mentioned last post I picked up a couple of rib-eyes in Aldi, for the not inconsiderable sum of €11. Happily these were delicious, Herself thought perhaps they could have had more flavour but they were very tender. We had these with the wine above which was a birthday present from June, a Marchesi di Barolo 2000. I liked this a lot, it was a big, full bodied beast. Lots of fruit , a decent structure and a nice lengthy finish.

Tesco in Dundrum consistently have a better selection of wines than the flagship Merrion Centre for some reason, so I headed that way today and picked up a bottle or three (at left). I should really, from a blog perspective, have gone for three wines that I have never tried before but...meh, I'm lazy. Left to right, they are-

Ogio Primitivo 2008 - €5-99. I enjoyed this the last time I drank it and at €5-99 (still), it's a no-brainer.

Tesco Crozes Hermitage 2006 - €10-85. I generally like wines from here and Tesco are pretty consistent in quality so here's hoping.

Tesco Valpolicella Ripasso 2006 - €8-35. Loved this last time at €10-69, so €8-35 is a steal.

Lastly, phew, we ventured onto DNS for various reasons and ended up in Ikea on Sunday. I was keen to try the famous meatballs for a fiver and I must say the food there is good, solid and unspectacular but main courses of pasta, meatballs, fish and chips etc, all for around 5 quid is quite a bargain, but I digest... The main reason for the visit was to replace the decanter Herself broke during the week, we bought two of them (one is a spare and can also be pulled out at large dinners for effect). Again, great value at €6-99 each.