Friday, December 21, 2012

Some bargain Spanish wines

So I'm looking for some reds for Xmas and also for our New Years eve extravaganza, so I  popped into O'Briens in Carrickmines and grabbed a couple of reds on special offer.*

Luzon Jumilla 2011 €10-99 link
The blurb from the site says:
"Made from 70% Mourvèdre and 30% Syrah grapes, this richly textured red is brimming with rich, dark berry and ripe plum fruit. A silky smooth wine that is as good on its own as it is accompanying meaty dishes. Quality wise this has the depth of fruit and myriad of flavours of many wines twice its price." 

I wasn't sure about this at first but it has been growing on me for the last hour; nice fruit, nice acidity, nice balance. It's not a massive complex wine, just solid everyday drinking. Good value as priced.

Cruz De Pieda Seleccion Especial 2010 - €9-99 (reduced from €13-99) link
The blurb from the site says:
"This is a revelation, we have tried wines before from Calatayud that overdelivers to this extent. Superb depth of sweet ripe black fruit, luscious with sweet spices and a long finish of that super-ripe fruit"

Yummy. Herself says it's nicely rounded, and I agree. This is definitely a balanced wine, like the man says, there is plenty of ripe fruit but it's not cloying and there is a lovely long finish.

I also got some nice beers. The first two below are two of my all time faves, the third is something I have wanted to try for a while but have never come across...

Goose Island IPA - €2-59
Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted €2-73
Anchor Liberty Ale - €2-79

* OBriens shop in Carrickmines needs to improve their selection of Whisk(e)ys. The Beacon shop puts it to shame.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Xmas Wine Choice & Tasting - Live!*

Well it's Xmas again and I have have been tasked with choosing the wine for a number of festive occasions over the holiday season, given that I am now gainfully self-employed.

I popped into Garrett in Baggot St Wines and asked him to choose three reds for me to taste and ultimately pick from. The parameters were as follows; approx €15, not too light, not too jammy. I vetoed a Rioja early on and the three reds above were what we finished up on. Symmetrically and ecumenically we ended up with one French, one Spanish and one Italian.

The wines are as follows (l-r)

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana 2011 - €13-99. Per Garrett this is a budget Supertuscan, with 70% Sangiovese and 30% "Other". A Supertuscan at this price would indeed be a find.

Camille Cayran Vacqueyras 2011 - €16-99. The most expensive of the bunch so the one with the most to prove. I have had many lovely Vacqueyras since I started the blog so here's hoping.

Flores de Callejo Ribera Del Duero 2010 - €13-99. I'm in a Ribera place at the moment after some lovely ones, particularly in Pichet. (Martin Berdugo I think?)

And it's a blind tasting...for Herself anyway, Your Humble Blogger will attempt to forget, or fail to remember. I poured the three wines into my three decanters and numbered them and the wine labels, so I would know but she wouldn't. We started with a glass of Number 3.

Wine #3
Herself - finding it a bit tannic. Not impressed. [Guess - French]
YHB - I like it. It's complex but it needs more time to coalesce, probably a disadvantage in a party wine, where you would probably be serving bottles just after opening.

Wine #1
Herself - liking it a lot. She can "taste it all over her tongue". Ahem. [Guess - Spanish]
YHB - wildly different from #3, lots of cherries. Not sure it's a party wine though. Might be a bit "fancy" for some palates.

Wine #2          
Herself - Perfumed and lovely. Favourite of the night. [Guess - Italian]
YHB -  Yummy, my fave too. Full bodied and a little spicy.

Wine #3 - Ribera
Wine #1 - Supertuscan
Wine #2 - Vacqueyras

 Herself picks most expensive wine shocker!

* Sort of live, I've been writing this for the last hour as we have been tasting.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Liveblog! - Bertani Villa Novare Ripasso & Boots

It's been literally yonks since I live-blogged a wine and Herself is out with her girly chums so I'm all set do some blogging and babysitting. The wine in question is from O'Briens, and it's a Bertani Villa Novare Ripasso 2009 - €12-99 reduced from €17-99.

19:00 - The wine has been open and in a decanter for about 30 mins as I take my first sip. Lots of structure, some bitter cherries and a decent slug of acidity. Overall its OK so far. I am hoping some fruit develops over the next couple of hours.

So having finished my "interval" drink - a bottle of Young's Special London Ale, a bottle conditioned treat weighing in at a not inconsiderable 6.4% abv. I'm also half way through the blu-ray of Chronicle, and its pretty frickin' good so far.

So it's 21:00, and we get back to the vino. It has definitely evolved; it's a bit more harmonious. There's now a little bit of fruit peeping out from under the edge of the duvet, and the wine is working together nicely as a whole

So its coming up on 23:00, time for a last (official) taste, I'm going to save some for Herself for when she gets home. And what do we find...Well, it seems we have hit the apotheosis of this particular expression. We now have some nice tannins, a little bitter cherry, some other brighter fruit and a long finish. I'm not sure I'd pay 18 notes for it but as priced its very tasty, provided you have the time to wait for it to evolve or you could hyperdecant it, I suppose.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

This land is our land - Nostre Pais and other stories

All wines on special from O'Briens...

Michel Gassier Nostre Pais Costieres De Nimes 2010 (Pictured) - €12-99 (reduced from €17-99) Link
Love, love, love this. Complex and rich but not too heavy. Buy it at this price. 

Volpetto Chianti Riserva 2009 - €9-99 (reduced from €16-99) Link
Herself drank most of this, I only caught the end of it and it was pretty decent, some nice bitter cherries and plummy fruit.

Jaspi Negre Monsant 2009 - €11-99 (reduced from €14-99) Link
I had forgotten how much I like this. Complex and voluptuous. Again, great value at this price.

On a housekeeping note, I have to apologise for a lack of posts of late. I have recently rejoined the land of the waged, and have been exceptionally busy in my new role. I haven't had a lot of time/energy for blogging, but hopefully this will get better as time goes by.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tesco Teroldego

So after another day of bad news and crushing disappointments I ended up in Tesco. Fittingly, some might say.

Anyhoo, I wanted buy some dinner for me and the boy (Tesco Finest Pork and Chorizo meatballs - fantastic) and some cheap beer (Karpackie 5% - €5 for 4 500ml cans; cheap, strong and drinkable when cold). I came across the wine at left for the price of €9-99. I'm not sure if that's a special offer or not, sorry.

Apparently "The Teroldego grape variety, little known outside Italy, is one of its indigenous treasures, and has been grown in the Trentino region since the 14th Century." I really couldn't say, but after trying some new grape varietals in the Superquinn Autumn sale here, I decided to extend Tesco the same courtesy.

BTW, Wikipedia says this about the grape, and I found a (good) review from the Telegraph here; apparently it should be lightly chilled. Who'd a thunk it?

I intend to liveblog it tomorrow when watching a movie with m'lovely wife, Herself. Come back then and see what's in store. The excitement is palpable, oh wait, that's not excitement, that's my...

Wednesday update - so I've been quaffing this wine for an hour now and I kinda like it. It's got nice acidity and a little bit of tasty fruit. I suspect it needs food to really shine but it's decent on its own, and reasonable value at a tenner.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Lidl Troika

There has been a lot of chat, speculation and scuttlebutt recently about bailouts, bank debts etc, and how our German partners in Europe are viewing our aspiration to move our Bank debt off our books and onto the ESM's. With that in mind I decided to revisit our local branch of our favourite German discounter LIDL and see what they have on offer from France, Spain and Italy.

Lidl Chianti 2011 - €4-99
The label reminds of the famous Lidl Montepulciano which I have purchased for a variety of negligible amounts over the years and it was always decent. So I was not surprised that this Chianti was drinkable but that's literally all it was. If I wasn't poor and/or blogging it, I think it would have gone down the sink.

Lidl Vacqueyras 2010 - €9-49
As the most expensive of the three I  was expecting something good here.  In 2009 I had the 2007 and I really liked it. Reading that review I can't help but be disappointed with the 2010. While it was decent; rich and fruity, it didn't have any of the complexity of the 2007 and the finish was a bit - meh.

Cepa Lebrel Rioja Crianza 2008 - €6-99
I loved the Reserva of this and I had the Joven (drunk) one night and I think I liked that too, so I figured it was time to check out the middle sibling - the Crianza, and very pleasant it was too. It didn't have quite the depth of flavour or complexity of the Reserva but it is a very decent Rioja at this price. However as the Reserva is only 50c dearer (or it was when last I bought it), it's a no-brainer for me.

So there we are, 1.5 out of 3, it beats 6-1 I suppose.
I, for one, welcome our new Teutonic overlords...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A couple of wheezy old geezers...

I have, on occasion, bought old Spanish wines which crop up in Supermarkets (mostly Tesco and Dunnes), every so often, at alleged bargain prices (< €10). I am almost inevitably disappointed; see here, here and infacta here

So today in Dunnes I spotted two potential old offenders and thought I'd try them out horizontally, so to speak. I opened and decanted both at 6pm and we (me and Herself) tried them at approx. 8 bells.

Castillo de la Pena Campo de Borja Gran Reserva 2003 - €7
Rich and fruity with a little acidic sharpness and maybe a whiff of THC TCA. This one is a blend of Garnacha and Cab Sav. Tastes old and tired and on further tasting it's definitely a tiny bit corked and/or unpleasant, so down the sink with it.

Castillo del Rey Carinena Gran Reserva 2006 - €7
Lighter in the glass than the wine above and with its own unpleasant characteristics. Allegedly a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cab Sav. Its a bit sharp and may improve so I'm going to rebottle this and give it a day, on the off-chance, although I'm not hopeful.

Update - While this improved after 24 hours, there was still an unpleasant aftertaste to it so it also ended up down the sink...

In conclusion there's a reason these wines are priced to clear - TANSTAAFL.

However as I am careful by nature, I anticipated this possibility so I also picked up a Gerard Bertrand Tautavel 2009 - on perennial sale for €8, thank FSM, so we'll have that tonight.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Superquinn Autumn French Wine Sale 2012 - Updated

So I finally got down to Superquinn Blackrock today - I had been invited to the media tasting but couldn't go for work reasons - ahh the irony. Anyhoo, after a quick perusal, I decided to ignore the many (tasty) wines I would normally snaffle at sale prices and instead look to the new and unusual.
See below for pictures and descriptions of the rogues gallery I came away with.

UPDATE - we had a few punters back our temporary D4 pad after the Leinster game and we managed to polish off  4 of the 6 bottles in question. Updates are below...

Domaine De La Condamine l'Eveque Mourvedre Cotes de Thongue 2011 - €7.00
Never had a single varietal Mourvedre before - should be interesting.
Update - this was really, really tasty. Rich, warm and full bodied and everyone loved it. A bargain as priced.

Corsican Nature Pinot Noir 2010 - €8,00
Don't know what to expect here - pure punt.
Update - I have to assume this was faulty cos it didn't taste like a Pinot and it wasn't nice at all. I manged to get the last drunken guests to drink it though* so what do I know...

Domaine De La Condamine l'Eveque Petit Verdot Cotes de Thongue 2011 - €7.00
I think I had a pure Petit Verdot once before, possible from California, probably bought in the Co-Op in Edinburgh and I think it was pretty good.
Update - I had it on good authority that this wasn't as nice as the Mourvedre and thus it proved. Not bad and no one complained but it didn't have the warmth and/or harmony of its cousin.

Complazens Marselan Pays D'Oc 2011 - €10.00
Another new grape. "a little known grape variety that is a crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache from the South of France. "
Update - Couldn't decant this as it was drunk on opening after the Supernova was found to be faulty. Initially I wasn't sure about this but as the night wore off I started to quite like this. Some unusual flavours but all dovetailing in seamless harmony. Not sure I'd pay full price but worth a look for a tenner. 

Domaine Des Grandes Esperances Supernova 2009 - €13.00
Despite my incipient penuriousness, I plumped for this relatively expensive item.  I read a review, which I can't now find, which bigged this up.  Also, love the label.
Corked - Alas. Was looking forward to this most of all of the six, so disappointed. 

Domaine Des Grandes Esperances Gamay Malbec Caberbet Franc 2010 - €8.00
Now there's a combo, from the Loire.
Update - This very green and stalky and divided opinion. Everyone thought  it was unusual; some people were happy to drink it, others not. I dithered initially but ultimately I decided it wasn't for me.

* It was quite late I and didn't want to sacrifice/open a nice bottle at that stage of the evening, so I moved onto Goose Island IPA (fantastic). If I'd had any complaints about the Pinot I would have complied and opened something but it didn't come to that 8-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Back to Lidl for me (and some interesting Spanish wines)

After the unfortunate events of last Friday* I was in need of some cheering up so Herself bought me a couple of bottles of red from Baggot Street wines, which they have been promoting.

They are three reds branded "Matsu" (Japanese for "Wait") which a quick Googling revealed as coming from Rodinia Wines. I got the youngest "El Picaro" (2011) and the middle wine "El Recio" (2010).

All the wines come from the Toro region and all are made from Tinta de Toro which some more Googling appears to be another name for Tempranillo, the staple grape of Rioja and Ribera.

I even found a video for the three wines here.

The difference expressions come from different vines and are matured differently. The Recio is is described thusly:

"El Recio translates as 'the tough guy', and is a more serious, mature wine, made from the product of some of Toro's oldest vines, which are cultivated using advanced biodynamic techniques. 14 months in new French oak provide opulence and polish"

After decanting the Recio (€25-99) for a couple of hours we dived in, into a big fruity vat of wine. My initial thoughts went as follows: this was a good Rioja crossed with a good Aussie Shiraz with a not unpleasant alcoholic wash (14.5% abv). If that sounds odd, it was wasn't. It was quite delicious, but this is definitely a modern, fruit-forward kind of wine, not for those who prefer more austere old-world wines.

The Picaro (€16-99) is as follows:

"Picaro means 'rogue' or 'rascal', and this rapscallion of a wine is a youthful interpretation of the Toro region's style. The grapes come from mature vines of over 50 years of age, but the wine spends only three months in oak, preserving their natural fruit profile"

Well, this was completely different to its elder relative. If tasted blind I would have said this was a good Southern French Syrah, maybe an expensive one from Laurent Miquel. Loved it, even though it tasted like no Tempranillo I ever tasted. Silky smooth, slightly tannic and very classy.

*The thread holding the sword snapped...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dunnes French Wine Sale 2012

For another change of pace I decided to base my Dunnes French Wine Sale purchases on whatever reviews I could find, mostly online. The initials in parentheses represent the reviewer, and the full reviews are linked to at the end of the post.

Note: I figured I'd better get this review up before the sale is over (25th September). Hopefully the wines you are after are still available. For me the Clotte and the Moulin De Meyran are the ones to go for...

Chateau de l'Estagnol Cotes Du Rhone 2011 - €7-00  (KE/BC)
Not bad. I bit young and fruity but decent value as priced.

Moulin De Meyran Cotes Du Rhone 2010 - €9-00  (KE)
Much better than the l'Estagnol. Great nose and a lovely full flavour, would get this again at this price. [ I have just picked up a couple more of these, yum]

Chateau Treviac Corbieres 2010 - €10-00 (BC)
Initially a big alcoholic wash and lots of plummy fruit. Resolving into some nice tannins.

Château Millegrand Minervois 2010 - €10-00 (BC)
Hmmm - didn't really care for this. Lots of blackcurrant fruit made it taste like a Cab Sav and not a great one at that. Curious for a Minervois... 

Chateau de Clotte 2010 €13-00 (JW)
Love, love, love this. Have bought some to "cellar" for the future but it's delicious now. Can only find it in Cornelscourt, if you are looking.

Chateau Coucy Montagne St Emilion 2009-  €14-00 (Sunday Business Post?)
I only got one of these and I am "cellaring" it,  hence no review.

Baron de Baussac Carignan Vielles Vignes 2011 -  €7-00 (JW)
Very big and fruity in a New World way. Too much for me.

Chateau Fonfroide 2011 - €7-00 (KE)
Opened this finally to have with my (Jamie's) famous Salmon fish cakes (which I had forgotten to season - D'oh!). This was really tasty; light and refreshing and great value as priced.

Blake Creedon (BC) Irish Examiner  - review here
Kevin Ecock  (KE) First Press blog - review here
John Wilson (JW) Irish Times - review here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wine Post - Done a bit differently - Update

For a change of pace, I'm going to let a couple of established wine writers review two wines (from Tesco as it happens), then I'm going to try them myself and see if I agree, and if fore-knowledge of the wines makes any difference to my review. Both wines were priced €10, allegedly reduced from €19-99.

McWilliams Mount Pleasant Isabelle Chardonnay 2011 - €10

Martin Moran (MW)  - @winerepublic (quote from here)
"In the hunt for vineyard-derived quality Australians have planted vineyards in cooler climate locations and at higher altitudes hoping for finer natural acidity. McWilliams Mount Pleasant Isabelle Chardonnay 2011 is from Tumbarumba in the Snowy Mountains on the New South Wales/Victoria border. Altitude is the key here and any oak used is very subtle leaving centre stage for its chalky mineral charged flavours of peach and pear. It knocks the average €8-10 big brand chardonnay for six. "

Update  - Finally opened this tonight, apologies for the delay. This is a very well made wine. Alas, it's not a wine I particularly care for. A couple of years ago I had some very expensive Aussie chardonnays, which I also did not care for. For some reason I just don't dig this style of Chardonnay. This wine tasted quite like its more expensive cousins, so if you like this style of wine - fill your boots, lofty.

Jean Claude Fromont Crozes Hermitage 2010 - €10
David Whelehan - @Whelehanswines (quote from here)
"For those who love good Northern Rhone Syrah, this will not disappoint. Made 90% from Syrah, 10% from Marsanne & Rousanne. This could be most simply described as a dark berry brooding wine perfect for winter. The aromas are of black fruits with some spice and savoury notes. The palate is rich and round with an attractive spiciness and the finish is very impressive ending on some really ripe and generous black fruit flavours.  Alc 13.5%"

Update  - I have to agree with David W, this turned out to be delicious, although it did take a while. After a couple of hours in the decanter it was still a little rough and ready, but by the end of the night this developed into a nicely balanced, rich and juicy wine. Good value at €10, but I don't think I'd pay 20 notes for it.

Also -  today is Day 4 of No Beer September (started on 2nd Sept) and so far so good. I will be sampling various ciders (craft and otherwise) over the next while and will update with the results.

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's The End of the World as I Know it...

No really, it is. You see, for the month of September (well, until the 28th when I am hosting a poker game), I will be forgoing my favourite* thing in the entire world - BEER. I had intended to do this experiment at the same time last year, but I ended up back in Edinburgh, on another long stint, and the thought of being away from home and beer-less was too much to handle.

My reasons for the temporary cessation of my hop-releated activities are manifold, not the least of which are the following sample exchanges from recent years...

Me: I feel fat.**
Herself: It's all that beer.

Me: My stomach's not well.
Herself: It must be the beer.

Me: My teeth are full of holes.
Herself: That'll be the beer.

Me: I've got a nasty rash on my...
Herself: Did you ever think about drinking less beer? ***

Secondly, I'm curious myself what a month without the amber nectar would do for my ever expanding waistline. I suspect I'll drink less as a whole, which can only be a good thing (?!??). And, if it turns out to be easily do-able and has some positive health aspects, I would consider doing it a couple of times a year.

Right now, some readers are thinking "He's only giving up beer? Not all booze? WTF?" Yeah, I know a lot of people give up the sauce for a month (or more) at a time and fair focks to them, but that's not something I'm keen on at the moment. I did three days dry last week while suffering with a nasty flu and it nearly broke me.

What will I replace the beer with? I'm not sure yet. More wine probably, maybe some cider and maybe an increase in "Ton" **** consumption; we shall see. I do like alcoholic Ginger Beer (like Crabbie's) and I think this might be acceptable as it isn't beer per se, I think.

On a more on-topic note, I got some more of the Gerard Bertrand Domaine de Villemajou Corbieres  2008 in O'Brien's earlier. It's still on at €14-99 and I urge you to try it, especially at this bargain price. I have been decanting it since 4pm so I expect it will be rather nice, later on.

* A couple of other things spring to mind, but this is a family blog.

** She has a point here.

*** Three of these four examples are real.

**** My Gin and Tonic - Pour 2 American shots of Bombay Sapphire into a tumbler containing  3 cubes of ice and a partially squeezed quarter of one lime. Top up with 150ml (one small can) of Schweppes tonic. Enjoy with some Meanies (yes, really).

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vin-Aire Experiment

So I'm trying an experiment tonight, using my Vin-Aire. Herself got it for me in O'Briens last year and since then it has proved its worth on numerous occasions. It allegedly aerates the wine as it passes through, acting as the equivalent of decanting a wine, I guess.

We have blind tested it a couple of times and and each time everyone preferred the Vin-Aire'd wine to the wine that came straight out of the bottle. I keep a couple of cheap IKEA vases/jugs on hand such that I normally give any wine we drink a couple of hours to "mellow" before.

Anyhoo, for a variety of reasons we are going to drink a wine tonight that I really didn't like before. It's a Domaine Horgelus Cotes de Gascogne 2011.  My notes on the last bottle consisted of three words, "Awful - down sink".

I decided that I would attempt to mitigate my dislike by going ugly early, in a perhaps vain effort to make the wine (more) drinkable.

At approx 4pm I did the following:
  • Opened the wine.
  • Poured wine into cheap IKEA decanter.
  • Poured wine back into bottle via Vin-Aire.
  • Poured wine back into decanter to oxidise some more.
It's now 7pm and I'm going to taste it again. I realise I should have tasted it at 4pm for comparison purposes but that's by the by. So here goes...

On the nose it's - OK. In the mouth it's not great. Not straight down the sink bad, but a little cheap and fizzy on the tongue, and not much going on elsewhere. If it wasn't for the current experiment I'd probably give up and open the second of two bottles of Domaine L'Ostal Cazes Estibals Minervois 2008, which I got in the O'Briens French wine sale last week.

Wine of the weekend was Domaine de Villemajou Corbieres by Gerard Bertrand 2008, also from O'Briens which was reduced from approx €19 to approx €15. Both June and I bought it indpendently and it was a cracker, a single vineyard stunner, and a steal as priced.

Back to the cheap stuff, I will taste again about 9pm for a final verdict, join me then.

**Update  - So myself and Herself finished this off and it was  - alright. By 11pm it had lost most of
its sharpness and had become perfectly drinkable, if nothing more.

I don't think this was because of the Vin-Aire, but probably the seven hours it had been open and decanting*. I may return and do some more experiments with the Vin-Aire at a future date.

* I know technically I am aerating the wine rather than decanting it (removing the sediment) but I'm not going to change my terminology at this late stage, and also I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Possible bargains from Tesco...[Updated]

It's a long and frankly uninteresting story but I had a half hour to kill today and was passing the Merrion centre so I popped into Tesco for some sausages and wine. Short story long, I knew we are due to have pasta tonight so I wanted something appropriate and Italian, hence the Chianti. The Syrah I thought I had tried and liked before so I took a punt on it.

Laurent Miquel Heritage Vineyards Syrah 2010 - €8. When I checked my records, I discovered I'd had this wine (albeit the 2008 vintage) a couple of times last year and liked it a lot, so kudos to my little grey cells for that one.

Update: This was very tasty, as expected. A classic French Syrah with bags of body and flavour, great value as priced.

Piccini Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 - €10. Tesco stock a sometimes bewildering array of Piccini wines, quite a few of which I have tried; and to date they have been pretty solid performers. I'm not an expert on Chianti but a Chianti Classico Riserva from 2007 for a tenner seems like a bargain to me. Also, I read somewhere that anything with a black cock on the label (see above) was a good indicator of quality, I just hopes this applies to Chiantis too...

Update: Cherries, cherries, so many cherries. Loads of bitter cherry flavour overpowered every attribute of this wine, unfortunately. There may be a decent wine lurking underneath but It's impossible to tell. Not recommended.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Well, I'm back (from Lidl)...

So I've been home for about a month now, and the question that has been exercising my tiny mind is whether to resume blogging or not. Given that I no longer have the hellish commute and the associated pressure of a high profile project delivery (the fact that you didn't read about this migration in the papers is a sign of success), the assumption was that I'd start back blogging on my return.

However, when it came down to it, I wasn't sure I wanted to. Call it an existential crisis if you like, but I'm not sure what I'm bringing to the party anymore. To alleviate this dreadful ennui I sallied forth to my local Lidl with a view to picking up some cheap reds with the hope of jump-starting my blogging motor (see picture above). Alas, this didn't work.

On Sunday, however, my faith was restored (sort of). Someone whose wine palate I respect, asked when I was going to resume blogging, and it was enough. If one of my tens of readers wants more, then, by FSM, I shall provide.

To that end let's discuss the three Lidl wines above. I purposely avoided the very cheap stuff, electing to sample the "mid priced" reds (€6 - €8), one from each of France, Spain and Italy.

Let's start with the cheapest and work up...

Lidl Cotes Du Rhone AOC Villages 2011  €5-99. Meh. Not bad, drinkable but not great and with a slightly astringent finish. Should be fine with food but not fab on its own.

Lidl Chianti DOCG Riserva 2008 €6-99. Better, not quite what you'd expect from a moderately priced Chianti from the supermarket but, at this price you could do a lot worse. Some nice cherry flavours and decent balance.

Cepa Lebrel Reserva Rioja 2007  €7-49. Now we're talking. This was a lovely wine with some lovely soft vanilla flavours. Tasted like a much more expensive Rioja (c €15) so a steal as priced. Note: They also have the Crianza and Joven versions from this producer but they are not much cheaper so I don't know why one wouldn't plump for the Reserva...

BTW - I have mostly drinking FinkBrau Pils, also from Lidl, €3-99 for 6x33cl bottles, 4.9% abv. Very crisp and clean and cheap(ish) to boot.

I'm not sure how often I'm going to blog from now on, but rest assured, I still have plenty more waffly, deluded and sometimes frankly boring opinions to share on wine, beer and whisk(e)y.

Next Up - Something completely different...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hiatus - Part Deux

So it's come to this, another hiatus.

Apologies for the lack of posts and tweets of late; the project I am on is coming to fruition and the pace and workload are getting pretty hectic. So I have decided to enter a quiescent state for a couple of months until I'm back home and the dust has settled, metaphorically speaking.

In the interim, I have signed up for the Wine Explores Club from I have noticed that I have become a little insular in my wine choices of late and am hoping this will shake things up a bit. If I feel suitably enthused by any of the mystery wines I may break my self imposed "exile".
Note: They also stock one of my favourite wines the Luc Lapeyre L'Amourier Minervois, of which I gleefully ordered plenty at the office Xmas party in Ely.

Also - kudos to Herself for her Valentines gift of a Vinaire. Tested it last night on a tasty Crossos Priorat 2008 from Dunnes that I had stashed away, and it seemed to work.*

Anyhoo - see you all in the summer, FSM willing.


* I threw out the instructions and spent a fruitless few minutes trying to use it upside down. lol.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Molloy's Quartet

From looking at the blog it appears I haven't shopped in my local Molloy's for about a year. The quality there has been variable but always worth a punt so these are the wines I picked up. Three are new with the Trapiche Malbec being an old favourite of ours, although we haven't had this vintage before so here's hoping.

Moulin De Gassac 2009 - €6-99
Tor del Colle Montepulciano Riserva 2007 - €7-99

Trapiche Malbec 2010 - €10-39
*Update* Hmmm - we used to like this wine a lot, maybe 5 years ago, now; not so much. "It's not you, it's me", might be appropriate here. Our tastes may have changes more then the wine, I found this a little sweet and cloying, drinkable but not great.

Chateau Du Donjon La Pujade Minervois 2010 - €11-99
*Update* The most expensive wine of the bunch and well worth the price, this one. The back label made lots of grandiose claims IIRC (alas I threw it out), but these were pretty much borne out by the product, which was a tad unusual. Lots of interesting flavours, chocolate not the least. I'll be getting more of this.

Updates to follow as they are drunk with the Minervois currently in mid-decant.