Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why all the beer posts? Make with the wine, already...

A lot of readers (Ed. - really?) have been wondering why I've been doing so many beer posts of late  and so very few wine posts. There are a couple of reasons for this, the most obvious reason is that I am in the middle of the International Lager Challenge (tm). There are a total of 17 rounds and 20 lagers involved. The current status is below; we are now at the semi final stage of each country and I'm really enjoying the competition element.

The second reason is that I'm (mostly) bored with the wine that I'm drinking, I buy pretty much all of the wine that we drink at home and I don't accept samples, as I don't have it in me not be influenced such largesse, and secondly, one of my reasons for starting this blog was to attempt to identify value for money, harder to do if you get the goods for free. (Full disclosure: I haven't been offered that many freebies; for the last couple of years, what with working abroad and then redundancy, I haven't been putting myself about like I used to, at tastings and whatnot, so sample offers have been few and far between.)

Most of the wine that Herself and I drink is in the €8 - €13 range. 1 wine out of 10 is pants, 1 out of 10 is delicious and 8 out of 10 are "meh", and these are the problem. I don't know why but I'm not really enjoying these wines. It's not that they're bad, they are totally "drinkable" (I know, that's a loaded term these days) but they are forgettable. There are a couple of things that might be happening here.

One is I'm just bored with wine (most wine) or two, my tastes are getting more expensive/rarefied, it has happened before. I'm not sure which, maybe a little from column A and a little from column B. On the beer front, I think it's the whole craft beer thing (which is relatively new, in this country) that has me genuinely excited every time I walk into an off-licence and even mildly excited in supermarkets, even they are getting into the act, albeit slowly and in a limited fashion.

By the same token I should be excited whenever I walk into an off-licence, as there are always many many bottles that I have never heard of waiting to be sampled. Not so much in Supermarkets (Tesco and Dunnes anyway) as I pretty much know every bottle on the shelves.

It may be a function of cost. In offies the wines I want to try generally cost between €15 and €20, it's a not inconsiderable sum to wager on a bottle. However, most craft beers are between €2-50 and €3-50, even if it's piss, you are only out a couple of quid. Experimenting with craft beer is cheaper and less risky. And I'm nothing if not cheap.

There is also a surprising variety of flavours, not so much with lagers, but in spades with ales. I'll probably get shot for saying it (in a wine blog) but there is at least as much (if not more) variety in ales than there is with red wine. There's also the fact that there is an ever increasing number of Irish craft beers, it's gratifying to support Irish brewers and to be able to talk to them on Twitter.

I'm rambling. Long story short, beer is exciting me at the moment, wine, not so much. I'm sure I'll get my wine mojo back at some point. Until then, Beer me!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chateau Millegrand Redux - Liveblog

With "artful" dribble
In April I reviewed a Chateau Millegrand 2011 from Dunnes Stores and I really didn't like it. I thought no more of it until a comment appeared on the blog from none other them Martin Moran MW himself, who loved it.

Occam's razor would suggest that I was the one mistaken here, and that there was a problem with the bottle I tried, so I bought another bottle, on special for €11 (reduced from €16, apparently). I opened and decanted it about an hour ago and am about to try it.

7-30pm  Martin said the wine has "vibrant black fruit and pepper notes", and I suppose it does. It's perfectly fine (so I guess the last bottle was faulty) but that particular combination isn't winning me over right now. Hopefully it will improve as the evening progresses.

9-30pm After two hours it's a bit smoother and fruitier but I (and Herself concurs) just plain don't care for it. Something about the fruitiness just doesn't work for me. I'm finding it slightly cloying, but I'll check again later...

11pm Intriguingly this developed some subtle perfume flavours towards the end, but it wasnt enough to save it. It reminded me of some Chilean Cab Savs, all blackcurrant fruit and oaky tannins on the edges and nothing in the middle.