Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The High Council

I wrote a post about wine from Consejo de la Alta almost exactly 4 years ago. It has been a family staple ever since, courtesy of Papa Willie and Papa Vincent (long story). Anyhoo, at a family "do" recently the Papas were having a lively discussion about the merits of the "Novo" from 2010.

Papa Willie opined that it couldn't possibly be any cop (I'm paraphrasing, obviously). I generously offered to arbitrate the dispute so long as I got some for free.

Papa Vincent duly obliged, with the not only the 2010 Novo but with various other Consejo de la Alta vintages and styles. See below...

Left to right, they are:

Reserva 2004, Reserva 2005, Crianza 2008, Novo 2010, Alta Rio Crianza 2010

I think Alta Rio is the second wine (now) of this winery, but I'm not sure, as they appear to have used Google translate to generate the English language version of the website...

Reserva 2004
Selfishly, I'm keeping this for a future vertical tasting. I already have a 2001 and a 2005 Reserva in my "cellar" against just such a possibility.

Reserva 2005
Big alcoholic wash at first. Some fruit, some tannins, very long finish. Very nice.

Novo 2010
Not bad - good nose. A little sharp at first but got better over the course of the evening. Not a patch on the Reserva but pretty decent.

Crianza 2008
Very very tasty, and, in the absence of tasting directly against the Reserva, this comes off very well. 

Alta Rio Crianza 2010
Corked, desafortunadamente.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dial A for Aldi - and a sort of Liveblog. *Updated

A "new" Aldi opened a couple of years ago in Sandyford and I have been meaning to check out their booze for ages, but have been continually diverted by Dunnes at the Beacon and the nearby O'Briens wines, just around the corner. So yesterday, I girded my loins, and with my conscience in the back seat (Lil Bill), sallied forth to the aforementioned Aldi.

Things didn't start well. Their trolleys only take 2 Euro coins, rather than the standard one Euro coins (or tokens if you prefer) and they don't "do" baskets. I was about to leave in disgust when I managed to collar a helpful employee who sold me a token for a mere 89c. Perhaps I am not the target audience but would putting out a few baskets kill them?

Matters didn't improve. Lil Bill refused to pick out a breakfast cereal as he didn't fancy any of their copycat brands. I was only there for the booze so that's pretty much all we got. The booze purchased is pictured below...

Not pictured is a bottle of Aldi Old Hopking Gin, €12-99 for 70cl, which is very cheap. I had heard good things about it , see this. We tried it out in a G&T later and it was perfectly decent. I intend to test against an open bottle of standard Gordon's next weekend. (I try to only drink spirits on non"school" nights)
*Update - I set up a blind test for Herself and she preferred the Gordons, just. I knew which was which and I also just favoured the Gordons; there was a little botanical extra present. Still, the Aldi gin is great value as priced, especially if you are not a gin snob, like me.

On the beer front I got some of the following:
Spaten (not pictured) €1.79. A good price for this beer which I was co-incidentally drinking on Friday night at a Harvest (Neil young tribute band) gig at the Sugar Club. Great gig, although the Spaten was €6 a pop there, ouch.

Marston's Pedigree Pale Ale - €2.09 4.5% abv, Never seen this before but as I am an IPA junkie I got some. Report on this to follow. Per the Sindo today, liking craft IPAs, the more exclusive the better is a hipster trait. I think that's my only one, unless driving a Skoda and shopping in Penney's counts?
*Update - meh, nothing to see here.

Staroslav Czech Pilsner - €1.19 Another punt here. Although at 4%, it's not off to a good start.
*Update - This wasn't too bad. Not a huge amount of flavour but what was there was pleasant enough. One for those who like cheap weak lager, methinks. 

Rheinbacher Premium Pils - €6.99 for 6. More random German beer from the budget retailers. Most of the similar beer from Lidl is piss but the Grafenwalder & Finkbrau are OK, so long as you don't drink them after a "name" beer, at which point the cheapies tend to come off second best.
*Update - Ugh. I've had two of these now just to make sure the first one wasn't a fluke. In a nutshell, it's not very nice, its watery at first and then there's an unpleasant aftertaste. I'm regretting buying six as I'm not sure I can force myself to drink the remaining four, loathe as I am to pour beer down the sink.

On the wine front I picked 2 reds.

Domaine Roussellet Pinot Noir "Vin De France" - No Vintage specified. - €6-99
We drink this last night  and it was just OK, just about drinkable. Even at this price I wouldn't recommend it, unless bargain, non-vintage, non-Burgundy, Pinot Noir is your thing.

Minarete Ribera del Duero Roble 2011 - €7-99
9pm: I opened and decanted this at 4pm before we headed out to our local gastropub The Wild Boar (where the service was a little random but the food was very, very good). Anyhoo, just tasted the wine and after the Pinot Noir yesterday, I wasn't hopeful. Surprise! This is quite nice. Some nice plummy fruit and a bit of depth to the flavour. Not bad for 8 notes.

10pm: It's still good. Not earth shattering, but solid. There's now the tiniest bit of astringency in the mix, along with some recently evolved tannins. All in all, its pretty decent and good value as priced.

I think I've gone on long enough, so I'll leave it at that. It's a mixed bag so far from Aldi. I'll probably blog or at least tweet on the various beers above at some stage over the next few days...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Liveblog - Ciclos Malbec Merlot

I haven't liveblogged a wine in a while ( I haven't blogged a wine at all in a while, if truth be told), so here we go. The wine in question was a present to Herself, bought I believe in @BaggotStWines and it's Argentinian, per the bottle, from "our Valley in the North". I saw it reviewed somewhere recently but I'm buggered if I can find it online. Here's the link to the winery - I can't link to the individual wine page 'cos it's all Flash. When will they learn!

Michel Torino Ciclos Malbe Merlot 2008 - €??
20:30 The wine has been open and decanting for approx two hours so let's see what we can taste. Hmmmm, lots of fruit as expected and some oak on the finish too, I think. It's definitely a Malbec but the Merlot is bringing something to the party too. I like it, but I don't love it. Let's see where we are in an hour...

21:30 I think I have ruined my tastebuds with a big chunk of yummy Ardrahan cheese, but I'll take one for the team and press on. The tannins have softened a bit and the whole package is more integrated. I'm still not sure that the Merlot adds much, but this is a pretty decent New World wine, for those who like their New World, with a bit of Old World (like me). See you back in an hour for the conclusion...

23:00 I'll go back to where I started, I like this but I don't love it. I'd happily drink it but I'm not sure I'd spend my own loot on it. It's missing something that I find in the Malbecs that I like, and that is...love. Ha!

On that note, goodnight.