Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sundry Summary Judgements

I noticed today that I have teased you (all tens of you) with the promises of opinions on various wines and then shamefully, not delivered. So here are some very quick reviews...

1) Some Lidl Wines from this post..

Lidl Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2009 - €5-99
Drinkable, but not great.

Lidl Chianti 2007 - €4-99
Piss, poured down sink.

2) Some white wines from the Superquinn €5 bin-end sale from this post.

Chalkers Crossing Hilltops Semillon 2008 - Nice, crisp and refreshing.

Il Nicolaio Soave Classico 2008 - Full and "luscious".

3) I meant to post on this but forgot.

Tesco Finest Alsace Riesling 2009 - €8-99 - Awful, tasted burnt and chemically. I hope this was "off" in some way, as it was undrinkable.

4) Bought a Puccini Memoro - €8-99 in Tesco yesterday. I've had a number of their wines and they have been generally good and are often on special in Tesco. I couldn't find a grape or a region on the bottle, and with good reason - It's a bit of a mongrel, using 4 different grapes (40% Primitivo, 30% Montepulciano, 20% Nero D'Avola, 10% Merlot de Veneto, from 4 different regions (Veneto, Abruzzo, Puglia and Sicily). I'm finding it a bit jammy in Shirazzy way, but Herself is loving it, so there you go.

5) Stocking up with plonk to bring to the sunny southeast, got a few random bottles in a Superquinn on-line shop plus another random few (including some of this) in Dunnes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Blur of Scotch Whiskeys

I looked for the collective noun for Whiskey on the interweb and all I could find was a "blur" of whiskeys, which makes sense, I suppose. Anytime I have had occasion to open multiple bottles things have tended to get a bit blurry.

BTW - this will be of little interest to the non whiskey drinking oenophiles out there, but I wanted to write a bit about the eight different single malts I picked up as I made my weary way home every week from Auld Reekie, over the last few months. Also, I don't think wine and whiskey are that dissimilar in terms of the effort and time required to produce a drink of great quality.

My intent was to buy something I had not tried before, at least every second bottle, to force me to try some new styles and producers. I also decided to buy the standard (youngest) expression of each whiskey. In terms of cost, apart from the final two bottles (£38), all were around the £30 mark. See below for how successful this experiment proved to be.

The whiskeys in the pic above are in purchase order (l-r) with the first purchase, a Cragganmore 12 yo, now sadly finished.

Caragganmore 12yo
Very smooth and very tasty. A good whiskey to give to a non regular whiskey drinker.
Experiment? Yes
Hit or Miss? Hit

Talisker 10yo
Perhaps more of an acquired taste than above - it's a little peaty, a little salty and I think rewards the more adventurous drinker.
Experiment? No
Hit or Miss? Hit

Old Pulteney 10yo
A lighter, sherried cask style of whiskey for when something sweeter is required.
Experiment? Yes
Hit or Miss? Hit

Caol Ila 12yo
I bought this because I had a bottle of the 18yo some years ago and it was fabulous, not overly peaty but rich and complex. The 12yo expression tastes a bit bland for me. There is some peat going on but not much else. Disappointing.
Experiment? Yes
Hit or Miss? Miss

Glenmorangie 10 yo
The standard exoression from this distillery is wonderful - Incredibly rich, spicy and complex on the palate.
Experiment? No
Hit or Miss? Hit

Highland Park 1998
I couldn't find the standard 12yo so I plumped for this Airport only "1998" (there is also a "1994" and a "1990"), assuming erroneously that it would be the same or within spitting distance of the 12yo (which I love). Alas, I was mistaken. Jim Murray, in his "Whisky Bible" 2011 finds it "pleasant but disappointing by HP standards". It just doesn't do it for me. It tastes like a photocopy of the 12yo. I made the mistake of reading this review before trying it and so it's entirely possible I am not giving this whiskey a fair go, but the damage is done now.
Experiment? Yes
Hit or Miss? Miss (mostly)

Dalwhinnie 15yo
Another fantastic Highland single malt. Warming, smooth and another whiskey to tempt the non-whiskey drinker with.
Experiment? No
Hit or Miss? Hit

Dalmore 12yo
I tried this immediately after renewing my acquaintance with Dalwhinnie, and it came off as a little rough and ready. However I did sample it again a couple of weeks ago and it performed much better on its own. It's not a subtle whiskey - big, bold and fiery. If this is your style of single malt then fill your boots, lofty.
Experiment? Yes
Hit or Miss? TBC

Note1: The Dalwhinnie, the Cragganmore and the Talisker and part of Diageo original "Classic Malt" range, which I was unaware of. Not a bad place to start, as it also includes Oban 14yo (Fantastic), Lagavulin 16yo (A peaty monster), and Glenkinchie 10yo (perfectly fine)

Note2: Apologies for the blurry picture, it wasn't intentional. I had to use my old smartphone as my brand new super duper HTC is in being fixed (long story short - great multi media device/crap phone performance).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A lidl on the side*

Now that I am returned to the blogging game I felt it was time to get back to my roots (and my second ever post, indeed) by visiting Lidl and seeing what they had to offer the bargain hunting wine buyer. A lot of same old wines are there; some I have tried, some I wouldn't try and I bought a couple of wines that are new to me.

From Left to right they are:

Lidl Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2009 - €5-99
No particular Village is mentioned here and no producer either, so I'm hoping this is one of those undiscovered gems...

Lidl Chianti 2007 - €4-99
This appears to be from the same producer as the extremely cheap (€3-29 and up) Lidl Montepulciano that I find eminently drinkable but others disagree. Worth a punt for that reason alone.

* sorry.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Assorted Nuts

First off I bought a couple of reds as part of Dunnes "Mediterranean Festival", to whit-

Laurent Miquel "Bardou" Saint Chinian Languedoc 2007 (?13-99?) - Fabulous. I think this was reduced from about 20 lids and that's probably a fair price. A classic old world Syrah; long, silky and complex. A steal at this price.

Florentina Chianta Riserva 2007 (?9-99?) - this was perfectly fine, a bit of nice acidity and OK value as priced but nothing special.

Poker with the Guys last night and no wine news as such ( I broke even on the last hand of the night - my palace* of tens beating a palace of nines and a royal flush and yes - this particular variant is a travesty of the great game of Poker, with lots of wild cards). Anyhoo, we had on hand both Glenlivet 12yo and Glenfiddich 12yo and decided to do a blind tasting.

Of the five who tasted, four of us preferred the Glenfiddich, with three of the four correctly guessed its identity (YHB was sadly mistaken). I had professed previously to not really caring for the 12yo Glenfiddich, but I really liked it last night. I guess sometimes it takes a blind tasting to show one the error of one's ways...

On the whiskey front I intend to post soon enough on my various purchases while commuting to Edinburgh, and the large range of moderately priced whiskies in the Airport "duty free", from which I made my selections.

On the wine front - we are rapidly working our way through the bargains from Dunnes and Superquinn, so I think a trip to Lidl/Aldi is called for, I haven't been in ages and also, I'm skint...

*Five of a kind

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A fiver a pop - cheap for most things...(Updated)

A little bird (@SuperquinnWine) tweeted on Tuesday evening that they were starting a €5 a bottle bin-end sale on Wednesday, so being the bargain hunter (read: cheapskate) that I am I made a beeline* for Blackrock yesterday. Our little bird had also helpfully included some favourites to aid selection from the long list.

When I got there I was initially disappointed to see only a selection from the list present, but I guess this was due to space constraints. My disappointment turned to joy when I spotted a certain NZ pinot for a fiver which I really liked last time out.

The rest were all punts based on recommendations from @SuperquinnWine, so I reckon I'll soon discover if our tastes are similar.


Waipara Hills Pinot Noir 2008 (left) - I got a few of these to entertain with on Saturday - here's hoping our guests (and I also) appreciate the subtleties of this wine.
*Verdict - had this on Saturday as an accompaniment to BBQ'd spatchcock organic chicken and I thought it worked well. Lighter than I remembered but still full of luscious fruits.

Roureda Llicorella Priorat 2005 - I'm on a Priorat kick at the moment and this guy liked it.
*Verdict - Disappointing and a little sharp at first but after a couple of hours in the decanter it really developed into a complex beefy treat, but it really needed the time (approx two hours)

Chateau De Sours Bordeaux Rouge 2007 - I never buy "cheap" Bordeaux, I've been burned too often, maybe it's because I was brought up on the good stuff - anyhoo, I'll stick my neck out once again on this.
*Verdict - Had this "late" on Saturday and it was drinkable but unremarkable.


Roureda Llicorella Blanc 2005 - A white Priorat, who knew?**
*Verdict -Me and June lamped into this while herself, "slim and strawberry blonde" apparently, was putting the war paint on. P yellow in the glass, it tasted (to us) somewhat like a good Aussie reisling, which was nice.

Chalkers Crossing Hilltops Semillon 2008 - Bought based on recommendation alone.

Il Nicolaio Soave Classico 2008 - Bought based on recommendation alone.

Rare Vineyards Carignan Vielles Vignes 2010 - I quite liked this before (I thought I had blogged on this previously, but I can't find it, so I don't know what to tell you...) It's not in the sale but is available for a mere €6, so I grabbed a couple.
*Verdict - cracked a bottle of this last night while I was left home alone (sniff) and as before it was very tasty and I had to stop myself drinking the entire bottle.

*This is a myth, btw - bees zigzag all over the place.
**Obviously not me...

More From Dunnes (and me)

Apologies folks for the delay in posting - It's been a hectic few days in Casa di Willie. There were various entertainments on last week, literally as soon as I got back from parts Foreign. Herself had bought some Protocolo 2009 for entertaining purposes from O'Briens and I was pleasantly surprised. The last Protocolo I tasted (2008) was a little jammy for my tastes, compared to the original 2006 which I loved and of which I still have one in my "cellar". It's possible of course that the wine doesn't exhibit that much annual diversity and "it's all in my head" but hey ho that's the beauty of the web - anyone can write any old crap and call it Gospel (and I do...)

Anyhoo - I decide to pay one last visit to Dunnes in the beacon to a) get some more of the lovely Priorat and b) to have a butchers at any other wines I might have missed. As it happened I was just in time as there were less than 10 of the Priorat left, so I grabbed a few and have added one to my "cellar". Note: yesterday I discovered a large cache of the Priorat in another Dunnes, which shall have to remain my little secret.

I also picked up the following (prices are approximate as I threw away the receipt and can't find the prices online - boo)

Florentina Chianta Riserva 2007 (?9-99?) - I like Chianti generally so...

Laurent Miquel "Bardou" Saint Chinian Languedoc 2007 (?13-99?) - One of Laurent Miquel's "Grande Cuvees". Per the website this is a "Syrah based single vineyard Saint Chinian from a selected block named Bardou on his reputed family-owned estate. The site has very poor ,stony soils and the vines are about 26 years old (see photo). This unique terroir coupled with a windy, dry microclimate means that yields are low (approximately 30 HL/Ha) and the fruit is intensely flavoured and concentrated. Aged in French oak barrels (both new and 2nd use)." Sounds interesting.