Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Vins De Taller

This unassuming red was recently retrieved from our little collection to go with the last of the fresh evenings.  Bold reds are fine for autumn and winter but late spring and summer evenings call for whites, rosés or even chilled reds, which we have been served several times, even in the heart of wine-growing country.

The vinyard goes by the handle 'Vins De Taller', and does not seem to originate from any appellation, rather building their reputation independently, working with small quantities of grapes grown and processed in Siurana d’Empordà, in Northern Catalonia.

The bottle we were given several months ago was labelled MM.07, and was a combination of merlot and marselan, a French grape that is a cross between Cab Sauv and Grenache.  After spending 11 months in Hungarian and French oak barrels, it eventually found its way to Sexy Wine, our local quality wine shop.

When we uncorked it, it was evident that it was a good time to do so: the colour of the trim was just between aged orange and young purple.  We were having pizza so that suited the baked fresh tomatoes without overpowering them.  It smelt like the damp, woody vinyard atmosphere that hits you when on a visit, warm and reassuring.

After a sip of water and a bit of pizza, it was time for a taste.  We were not disappointed!  It was powerfully fruity, like strong Ribina, light for its age and with a suggestion of tannins.  We later found caremelised plums and cherries, agreeing that this was a really individual wine, and will be hard to forget.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Declassified Cornas

A chance to try a wine from a really famous producer for a reasonable price and its fairly easy to get hold of as it is stocked by the Rhythm and Booze off licences.

The famous Northern Rhone wine producer Jean Luc Colombo makes this
alongside his other more prestigious bottlings. The Cornas appellation
where Jean Luc Colombos wines come from sits in an east facing
amphitheatre and is sheltered from the elements which helps the Syrah
grapes ripen earlier than other regions. Wines grown here are said to
have authority and power!

Jean Luc Colombo
2009 Les Forots Cotes Du Rhone.
100% Syrah
Dark crimson purple in colour and sitting in a heavy bottle with very
deep punt.
On the nose it is very aromatic with cedar wood, smoke and dark brooding fruit!
The palate is mid bodied with a lovely tannin grip and texture in the
mouth. The fruit is fresh and has a nicely balanced acidity. Tastes
like wild hedgerow berry fruits with an aromatic spice finish.
Really excellent wine which got better through the evening. The 2008
vintage was superb in the Rhone Valley.
£12.49 from Rhythm and Booze

Saturday, 14 January 2012


It's a lovely evening in front of the fire with this excellent spanish tinto!

Vega del Cega
£5 from Aldi
This wine is made from a Tempranillo Garnacha mix from the realtively
new Valdepeñas Denominación de Origen.
Cherry red in colour and bright in the glass. Vibrant fresh fruit on
the nose with aromatic pear drop tinge.
The palate is dry with blueberry and blackberry fruits. It's
refreshing and has a long lasting finish.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Pedro X

Pedro Ximenez

Pedro Ximenez Sherry from Jerez Near Seville, Spain.
This delightful sherry is extremely sweet and treacly in colour and texture.
On the palate there are lovely coffee and chocolate raisin tastes going on.
This is the richest form of Sherry and is made by sun drying the grapes before making the wine and then aging in the Solera barrel aging system! Lovely

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Monday, 12 December 2011

Slovenian wine from Lidl

An excellent high quality wine from Lidl.
Try finding a better Chardonnay for £6.49! It can't be done!

The vineyard of Collio crosses the border between Italy and Slovenia.
Limestone and sandstone soils provide excellent growing conditions and
the grapes are picked by hand and traditionally fermented. A
proportion is fermented in small oak barrels which give it the lovely

Chardonnay Collio DOC 2010
Corte del Drago

Aromas of pine and eucalyptus.... Sorry that's the Christmas tree in the room!

It is a vivid straw colour with
aromas of pineapple and a lovely lemongrass fragrance.
The legs stick strongly to the sides and the wine is medium bodied
with a nice fleshy texture.
On the palate you can detect peaches and cream and butter which is
excellent. It finishes with an elegant and super long nutty

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Extremeño: Es Tremendo

This is my first post in a while, inspired by a trip to the cellar that produced a bottle of Extremaduran red that I'd bought whilst visiting during Easter.

We stayed in Carcabosso, a village not to far from Plasencia, about 3 hours west of Madrid.  The village was fairly humble, as you can see from the photo of the neighbours' house above...

There was a great tradition of 'los vinos' there, whereby families would go round all the local bars having a glass or two of wine as they went, enjoying a free tapa into the bargain.

The local produce of the region is listed on this board snapped in Caceres: paprika, strong sloppy cheese, honey, cherry jam, biscuits, wine and liquors.

Here's a wine we bought, then.  It's not from a D.O., but don't let that lead you to believe there's anything lacking.  Its fruity and well-rounded nose was as vibrant as a young wine, and was an immensely satifying blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet, which brought red fruits and rich texture and lengthy finish to the plate respectively.  Great with the strong flavours of the region's products.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Drinking Blood at Halloween

Blood... Red Wine... Halloween Booze
Errazuriz Estate Merlot 2010
Grown in the Valle de Aconcagua, Chile.
The 2010 vintage was excellent in this region.
The grapes were slowly and evenly ripened, hand picked, fermented and then aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels to round out the wine and add toasty sweetness.

Ruby red and crimson coloured.
On the nose there are aromas of blueberry and blackberry fruit with roasted coffee and Parker fountain pen also being in there.
Smooth on the palate with a medium body, the wine tastes soft and fruity with an initial sweet richness which is nicely balanced by a bit of raspberry acidity and an excellent rounded finish.

£8.99 from Supermarkets, Majestic Wine and other off licences.

This wine was provided as a sample for review from the distributors.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


This is an outstanding Sauterne wine from the Semillon grape variety, produced by De Bortoli in Australia 2006
I tasted this wine on the Intermediate WSET Course ( Wine,Spirit & Education Trust) . On this course we use a Systematic approach to the tasting of each wine.
It is deep gold in appearance & produces a pronounced nose of dried fruits and hints of vanilla.I blogged this wine due to its long length of flavour on the Palate, which really stood out for me.
On the palate its well rounded packing a full body of long lengthed honey notes with subtle oak, which would make it a great accomplice to a dessert or cheese, but personally I could drink this as a dessert of its own!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Shawsgate Bacchus

We attended a superb wine tasting evening at the residence of Gordon
Pocket aka Tom Cullingford.
We tasted several wines including an unusual sparkling red from the
Loire and several English wines.
This Bacchus wine from Shawsgate winery in Suffolk! was the star of the night.

The Bacchus grape is typically grown in England as the climate here
particularly suits the grape. If the conditions were any warmer, the
Bacchus grapes would get too ripe and the wine loses balance.
Rich in texture with dry honey and tropical fruits on the palate.
Balanced acidity and a clean finish show a well poised wine that would
stand up well to an Alsatian wine. I actually researched this grape
variety later and found out that it is a Riesling cross which would
support this comment!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Live Rioja Blog

Live blog from Grenoside.

Strong enough to stand up to Pizza supper.
Spud Summery with a good balance of tannins.
Will. Sweet fruit intense aromatic aroma with refreshing red fruit on
the palate.
Spud. Quite a fresh aroma like a fruit basket on a cliff top.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Worst Wine Label

In a fit of uncharacteristic lateral thinking I reckoned that any wine with a label this bad had to be good to sell! I was right; an eye catching pale ruby into the glass easy drinking Pinot with raspberry and vanilla notes. We enjoyed it with a chunk of halibut with cuban seasoning, new potatoes and asparagus. 6.99 dollars! (less than a fiver), From Safeway in Sedona Arizona. Hopefully not available in the UK!
Neil Wilson

Monday, 4 July 2011

ViJazz: Our Weekend Away In Photos

We rented out a country house for the weekend just gone, that of ViJazz.  We filled it with city slickers who descended on the town of Vilafranca de Penedes for the three days that the festival was on.

The house was lovely, highly recommended for a stay, you can check it out here.

A few photos of how we did:

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Blackcurrant Leaf

I have often seen this used as a tasting description on some red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon in particular is known for this characteristic smell. Today was the blackcurrant harvest at our house. While there I remembered about this wine fact and gave the leaf a smell!
Guess what? It smells of delicious blackcurrants!

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Vitiano Falesco 2009 Umbria
An elegant and gorgeous Italian blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and
Cabernet. This is a balanced blend that really works well. It has the
lean but flavoursome Sangiovese character but given more tannin by the
Cabernet and rounded out with the fleshy Merlot body.
The wine required a bit of airing due to the very closed nose on
opening it and there was also a noticeable amount of sediment present.
Once poured from the decanter, it turned out to be extraordinary!
Perfumed and aromatic on the lovely nose with sweet liquorice and
caramel characteristics. On the palate delicate strawberry fruits with
excellent tannins. The texture is just right and it enhances the wines
flavour. A medium length finish asks for more- the bottle won't last

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Sangiovese is a favourite of mine from the simple Italian table wines
up to the aged Chiantis it is wine that really appeals to me in a
similar way to Pinot Noir.
This bottle seemed to be very good value from Asda online. Indeed even
just a cursory glance at any major wine retailer will demonstrate that
a Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 is usually worth in excess of £20.
Chianti Classico is a DOCG denominated region and is a sub region of
Chianti and must display the black rooster( Gallo Nero!)The DOCG is
governed by strict principles that the wines must adhere to. This
makes them extremely good quality wines.

Add Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
Aged for 38 months in barrels this is a perfumed and elegant wine with
tarry tobacco savoury notes with an aromatic sandalwood effect.
On the palate it is light, balanced and smooth with cherry fruit
flavours and a long long finish.
Highly recommended
£8.99 from Asda supermarket

Monday, 23 May 2011


Homemade honey wine.

3.5lbs of honey
1 tsp brewers yeast
1tsp yeast nutrient
1 gallon of water.

Put ingredients in a Demi John.
Leave in a cool place for several weeks until it has stopped bubbling.
You will see a yeasty froth rise to the surface. Don't stir this as it
gives the fermenting juice extra complex flavour!
After several weeks ( when bubbling has stopped signalling the end of
fermentation) the must is supposed to settle at the bottom and clear.
At this point you can rack the wine off it's lees and bottle it in wine bottles.
Mead is at it's best after 1 years aging in bottle but give it a taste
as you might like to drink it earlier!
Here's to a bit of experimenting!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Infamous Types

This is my first post in a while, and is dedicated to a little nook we stumbled upon in Madrid whilst looking for things to occupy our time with.

Tipos Infames is a wine & book shop full of the least infamous types I have ever laid eyes on, but let that bother you not.  What you have there is a comfortable, central & well-stocked wine joint that has good quality words to read all about the place, and wi-fi to do your whatever you needed to do.

We ordered, and were not disappointed by, a couple of house verdejos, whose origin was lost in the ether, but the product is not really the point of this post.

There are all sorts of bottles to take away, and books too; non in English I should add, but you can always pick up a bit of Castillian from the friendly barkeeps.

Be sure to pay them a visit next time you're in the Spanish capital!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

White Cotes

Caves Saint-Pierre 2009 white Cotes-du-Rhone produced by the Skalli family.
Tasty bottle of wine! Very smooth with a really long finish, savoury and a tiny bit sweet at the same time like honeydew melon but starts with a bit of a lemony tang. Does that make sense? Really going down well either way!
£7.49 from Tesco.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Steelwine Live Blog

First Steelwine team liveblog of the summer.
We are busy in the kitchen with a masterchef syle cookup but we took a break out in the garden to appreciate this lovely bottle of Cotes du Rhone fetched by Spud.

Domaine La Fond Roc Epine
Cotes Du Rhone 2009
We decanted the wine which was a good idea as it really opened up and changed character- mellowing out over time.
A delicate and light wine with initial savoury aromas of mushroom and undergrowth, probably influences from the time the wine spent in barrel. On the palate there was an aromatic fruitiness of red fruits with a perfect balance of tannins and a long delicious finish.
We highly rated the wine and are going to continue our Cotes Du Rhone adventures by exploring other wines from the region.
more news soon!
Will and Spud.

£9.49 from Bargain Booze

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


When is the last time you shattered a bottle of wine? Well ive done it
quite a few times myself- dropped in supermarkets, drunkenly opening
outside, even smashed a bottle by dropping my bag down an escalator
once! But for most people I think breaking wine bottles is a fairly
rare occurrence! This full sized plastic wine bottle innovation from
Marks and Spencer is a bit of a solution for a problem that doesn't
exist! but still it's very light in weight so you could easily put a
couple in your bag for travelling.

I recommend the French Sauvignon Blanc at £4.99.