Saturday, October 29, 2011

Specials From O'Briens - Updated

It's been ages, well months anyway, since I've blogged about wines from O'Briens. I have definitely been in least one of their shops during this time as I ventured into their newest premises in picturesque Cabinteely, not long after it opened.

Anyhoo, I was down in Dunnes in the Beacon buying limes, as you do, and decided to do an O'Briens special run. This is where I buy four or five reds on special from the many on display. I try to only get new (to me) wines but occasionally I weaken (viz Pic Saint Loup)

The wines I bought are (from Left to right):
L'Ostal Cazes Eclipse 2010  (€14-99 - Not on Special)
I bought this on spec as I loved the last wine I had from Domaine L'ostal Cazes, a minervois, so I had high hopes, especially at fifteen quid a bottle. We drank it last night and it was...OK. Per O'Briens site  "this is like taking what’s great about St.Emilion and the best parts of the Languedoc and mixing them both together"  for me, I think this fell between those two stools. It was perfectly drinkable but didn't do it for me, or Herself.

Domaine de Nizas Rouge 2008 (€12-99 - reduced from €15-99)
As I type we are just finishing this off and boy howdy, it is fine. I think we had a bottle of the 2007 at Xmas ( I think - it looks like they have changed the label for the 2008). Loved it then, love it now. A steal as priced.

Gerard Bertrand Pic Saint Loup 2009  (€9-99 - reduced from €14-49)
I've been a big fan of this since I first discovered it last year. This is a new vintage for me, so fingers crossed.
Sorry - I din't have my blogging hat on when we drank this so it can't have been particularly good or particularly bad, apologies.

Reserve de Bonpas Cotes Du Rhone 2010 (€8-99 - reduced from €10-99)
Liked the price and the bottle looked kinda classy...
Another OK CDR, nothing to write home about, a little light perhaps on the body/flavour side.

Domaine Condamine Syrah-Mourvedre Cotes Du Thongue 2009 (€7-99 - reduced from €9-99)
Cheap and cheerful, I guess and hopefully not too "easy drinking"...
Pleasantly surprised with this, lots of nice ripe fruit and a bit of body makes this very good value as priced and pretty decent at a tenner a bottle.

Note 1: I was experimenting with the photo - didn't really work, sorry.
Note 2: I have just noticed all five bottles are French and I don't know what to tell you about that.

Whiskey note 1:
Cragganmore 12yo 70cl in O'Briens - €55, price per litre €78.57
Cragganmore 12yo 100cl in Edinburgh Duty Free - £32, price per litre approx.  €38
I make that, less than half price - nice one.
Whiskey note 2: Bough a Glenfarclas 15yo in Edinburgh Duty Free last night, haven't tasted it yet but it smalls lovely

Monday, October 10, 2011

Superquinn Autumn Wine Sale 2011 - Updated

So I finally made it down to the Superquinn Autumn Wine sale on Sunday. It had been a busy weekend up to this, with late night Poker on Friday (I won, for a change), leading into early morning World Cup rugby watching (we lost, for a change), leading to Saturday afternoon Leinster rugby watching with Lil Bill (tm), his first live rugby match, (we won, eventually).

It wasn't all roses however, as  I had also purchased a set of shin-pads in Blackrock, for the aforementioned Bill's Sunday soccer, which I left hanging from the hook on the convenience trolley as I replaced it back at the rank. If you find them, send them my way...

Anyhoo, due to time and budget constraints I limited myself to four reds; I was trying to only buy new (to me) wines and apart from the Crozes Hermitage(which I couldn't resist), I succeeded.

Left to Right we have:

Chateau Lorgeril Cabardes 2008 (€9-00 - reduced from €11-99)
I suspect this wine is from the same producer as one of my "go to" wines from Dunnes, Chateau de Pennautier, although I can't find it on the Lorgeril website. Confidence is moderately high.
**Update - Not bad. A little rough and ready initially, but rounded out over an hour or so to be a chunky, if unsubtle red.

Etienne Barret Crozes Hermitage 2009 (€11-00 - reduced from €14-99)
Loved this in the 2010 sale, so there's that.
**Update - Meh. Not much going on when opened, and we hoped it would improve in the decanter but alas, no. Lots of tannins but not much else. All the lovely fruit from the 2008 seems have evaporated.
A disappointing vintage, it seems

Longue-Dog 2009 (€8-00 - reduced from €11-99)
I am a big fan of this producer's other, also punningly titled, wine in the sale "Chat En Oeuf", and had high hopes for this.  I cracked it open on Sunday, and it proved delightful. It tasted a little light at first but over an hour or so it developed some lovely complexity and soft tannins. Very good value as priced.

Collioure Cuvee Des Peintres Rouge 2009 (€10-00 - reduced from €14-99)
I really liked the white from this producer last year but I think this is the first time the red has been included in the sale. A punt, therefore, by definition; but an informed one, nonetheless.
**Update - Loved this. Well balanced and moderately fruity with a little spice. Will buy this again, methinks.

**Update 2 - I ended up in Superquinn again today, cos I like their fish, and the nice man behind the counter cleaned and descaled the fresh sardines I was buying, but I digress. I perused the remnants of the sale and grabbed a Domaine La Brunely Vacqueyras 2010 (€12) and Charles Vienot GSM Rouge 2010 (€7)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tasting at the opening

Myself, Herself and B&G (not the winemakers) attended the official opening of Baggot St Wines last night, along with a couple of the victorious Dublin GAA team, in the pissing rain. Given the appalling weather, it was good to see so many people packed into the shop.

They had set up five "barrels" or tasting tables, four wine and one beer (The Porterhouse,which we didn't get to, blues) but we did manage to taste the vast majority of the wines from the four different suppliers. I'm not going to go through all the wines as I didn't take any notes, I just marked on the program the wines we really liked. We liked the lions share of the wines we tasted, which augurs well for future visits. Here are my favourites from the night:

Chablis, Domaine Gerard Tremblay €17-99 - Very Tasty
Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Delsol  €10-99 - Unusual grape but nice wine from the Languedoc.
Gruner Veltliner, Alte Reben  €27-99 - Expensive but lovely.
Libalis Blanco €15-99 - Nearly sweet (made from mostly Muscat) and apparently great with Foie Gras.

New World Red
El Grano, Carmenere €13-99 - Surprisingly complex (The Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is also good and much better than the standard Chilean fare.)
The Bean, Pinotage €15-49 - Wine with added coffee (not really - see comments). Big and bold and not my style but interesting, none the less.

Old World Red
Cedre Heritage, Cahors 2009 €13-49 - We all loved this, very elegant.
Chianti Rufina, Il Colognole 2006 €14-99 - tastes like a much more expensive Chianti - v nice.
Bajondillo, Mentrida 2010 ,€11-99 from a small appellation near Toledo - fantastic.
Bai Gorri Crianza, Rioja €18-99 - pricey but full of lovely vanilla.

I bought a few bottles on the night and the above are what's left. BigBog bought a heap of beer which we worked our way through while munching on fab Mexican food from Tolteca across the street. If you are into Beers they have a huge range of craft beers also.