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.