Sunday, March 31, 2013

Liveblog - Romanico Toro 2010

So when Tricki'n'Baz came over the other night they brought with them a lovely Monsant from O'Briens which I am no stranger to. They also said they had picked another Spanish wine which had been highly recommended by the chap in O'Briens whose blurb says the following:

"Imagine Australian Shiraz meets Rioja and you get an idea of what this might be like. Big, rich and packed with fruit but never losing its distinctly Spanish accent and excellent structure. This is a phenomenal new wave wine from the Toro region and is from the hands of master winemaker Marcus Eguren" 

Romanico Toro 2010 €13-99 reduced from €17-99.

19:00 It's been open and decanting for over two hours now. Lots of bright fruit flavours initially but there is some structure behind it. Very pleasant indeed, although I'm not sure how much it will it will improve as the night wears off.

21:30 I do like this, maybe it's the influence of a "medium" Chicken Karahi (actually quite hot) from Bombay Pantry but I'm finding this a much more integrated beast than before. I don't know that it will impress old-world lovers but if you like your wine with a little fruit, fill your boots.

23:30  I'm still liking this and the finish is cracking but would I pay €17-99 for it? No. €13-99? Maybe. It's a grown up Protocolo, which is not an insult, buy I'd want more for this money. I'd buy it if I was entertaining and I knew the guests were big fruity new-world freaks. This would be right up their alley, so to speak.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Liveblog - Atlantico Sur 2011 Tannat

I saw this reviewed recently (I think it was John  Wilson) but for the life of me I can't find the review on line. Anyhoo, the wine at left is my first Uruguayan wine. Atlantico Sur Tannat 2011 €12-99 reduced from €14-99 in O'Briens.

The website describes it as "A beautifully made wine from Uruguay's top name Familia Deicas (Bodegas Juanico). Deep damson, black cherry fruit, all wrapped up in a smooth but structured palate. Designed for food."

Tannat is historically grown in the South West of France (e.g. Madiran) and typically produces big tannic wines. Per Wikipedia it has been adopted as Uruguay's "national grape" - good for them.

18:00 - Just opened and decanted via VinAire. It's not unpleasant, some tannins present and a little fruit, probably too early to say much more at this stage.

21:00 -  This is pretty nice. Smooth and structured is a good description, I guess. This is supposed to be Bordeaux-like and I'm not sure I'd buy that, but southern French yes.

23:00 -  Have just finished this and I have to say it really came together at the end, however it did take a while to get there. I'm not sure I'd pay 15 quid for it though. Worth a punt as priced if you like big southern French wines.

On a related note I had one of current favourites last Friday night, a Finca La Linda Bonarda from Baggot St Wines, which, as it happens is about €15 also. Food for thought.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Superquinn French Wine Sale 2013 - Updated X2!

So I don't get invited to tastings any more, probably because I could never attend any, given that press tastings seem to be always on weekday mornings and I am now and have been (apart from a recent and distressing brush with the scratcher) gainfully employed. Although with hindsight, I should have gone on the hop at least once or twice, if I'd known how those relationships would end. 

So I drove my lazy ass down to Blackrock on Sunday and pick up a half dozen reds, some I'd had before, in different vintages, some not. I could link to previous blog posts but eh, no. Let's judge them on their own merits.

Full disclosure: I haven't been enjoying my reds for the last couple of weeks. I suspect it's the god-awful cold I've been struggling with, which seems to have put the kibosh on my taste buds.
Note: This post will probably encompass three or more tranches, tranche the first consists of the following two wines:

Etienne Barret Crozes-Hermitage 2011 - €12 (reduced from €16-79)
Hmmmmm. While I said I wouldn't refer to previous reviews I do know that I used to like this wine very much, in previous vintages. This vintage didn't impress me, especially at it's notional non-sale price. It started off quite acidic but gradually smoothed out until it became a pleasant but unremarkable red. Not one I'd recommend at either price, I'm afraid.

Domaine Cristia Ventoux 2011 - €8 (reduced from €17-49)
Apparently the most expensive of my six purchases (pre-sale), this was a bit of a tannic beast at first but has been slowly softening ever since (I know the feeling). It's a bit peppery, maybe needs food to shine and on another night I'd probably be enjoying it more. For now it's perfectly fine and good value as priced.

Part Deux
Charles Vienot Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre 2011 - €8 (reduced from €11-99)
This has the advantage of being open since last night, so no surprises that it's nicely opened up and is well balanced with some lovely fruity Grenache'y flavours. Good value as priced. 

Domaine Astruc Syrah Viognier 2011 - €8 (reduced from €12-99)
Yummy! A blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. It's got the classic old-world Syrah flavours with a little twist. I do like the New World version of this (D'Arenberg's Laughing Magpie is a lovely, if regrettably expensive example).

Part Threux
Chateau Lorgeril Cabardes 2009 - €10 (reduced from €15-79) 
I had this 2 years ago (the 2008) and this is what I said then - " Not bad. A little rough and ready initially, but rounded out over an hour or so to be a chunky, if unsubtle red. " Yep. No change here. OK value for a tenner, not worth 15 notes, IMHO. I would suspect a full day in the decanter would do this wine a power of good.

Domaine La Condamine L'Eveque Mourvedre Cotes De Thongue 2011 - €8 (reduced from €11-99) This was a bargain last year at €7, and is still good value as priced. Warm and fruity but in an old-world way. I have bought this a number of times last year, which is the acid test, I guess

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Post Live* from Mendoza

*Not really of course. I just picked up a cheap Malbec in Tesco and thought I'd liveblog it. I was in a cheap and cheerful frame of mind in the Merrion Centre earlier today and amongst the bric-a-brac I purchased was the wine at left. I also snagged a Tesco own-brand Chianti Classico for €6-99, which if decent would be for the win, but more of that in a separate post.

The main event is an Otra Vida Malbec 2012, a snip at €7. So it's young, New World and cheap; confidence is not high, although I do have a soft spot for Malbecs and have rarely had a nasty one. So let's have a sniff and a sip and see what's what...

19:00 - It's not bad, a little light but with some nice fruit and a little acidity. It's pleasant and easy drinking, which is probably all you could expect at this price point. I'd hope it might evolve over the next couple of hours, as young wines are wont to do, in the decanter.

21:00 - We just finished a particularly tasty meatloaf from Avoca in Monkstown and the above Malbec proved a fine accompaniment. It's probably as good as its going to get at this point (I decanted it at 17:00) and it has become more rounded and a tiny bit more complex in the finish. I'll have a final taste in a bit and hopefully a conclusion.

23:00 - All done here. In summary this is good value for €7, but if I was paying full price for a Malbec, say €12 - €15, I'd look elsewhere.

Next Up is the Ginger Beer challenge, and no, that's not Cockney rhyming slang.