Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Just feel it

I went to London today to attend the IWSC showcase tasting at the ICA and also the Bibendum Winestock trade tasting.
Why do I need this big car? Well this is what I'm going to need to transport my magnums of Krug around with me man!
I'm going to drink it with my toast for breakfast, I'll sip it with my lunch cob at work, I'll drench my glass with it for supper and I'll have it instead of cocoa as a bedtime drink.
Yes! Krug 1981 Collection is not a bad tipple!
More details on each event soon enough. It was very fun and there was a good mixture of wines across many varieties and price ranges.. I'm too worn out after tasting all this. Home to bed and I've got work tomorrow.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Cave de la Tour

Above is the fantastic wine shop that was located opposite our hotel in the old town (Vieux Nice) nestling underneath the castle park and across from the Promenade des Anglais.
Business was in full swing at 9.30am with customers filling up the tables inside and out. We had our breakfast on the pavement opposite the place and it was fascinating to watch people humming in and out tasting, sampling and buying loads of wine. The shop specialised in CĂ´tes de Provence wines and obviously had a loyal following from punters and also larger scale restaurant buyers.
This made me realise just how amazing the wine culture is in France.
I have never been to a wine shop like it and have also never actually even thought about drinking it at such an hour!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The 28th Annual Catalan Wine and Cava Show

Despite having lived in Barcelona for a good three years now, I feel a little ashamed to write that my recent visit to the 28a Mostra De Vins i Caves de Catalunya was my first. Needless to say, I took advantage this time around and would like to report on what I have seen, smelt and tasted this week.

A little contextualisation: this event takes place every year, coinciding with the week-long celebrations in honour of the city's patron saint, la Merce. Anyone who has visited Barcelona sicnce 1992 will recognise the venue, on the harbour, in between the flashy leisure centre on the artificial marina and Passieg de Colon, right under the chirpy gaze of the happy bronze lobster sculpture.

I was delighted to find out that my seven euros were good for ten wine tokens, but my mood was slightly dampened when I saw that wine cost between two and four tokens for a glass. Still, I got to keep the glass as a souvenier, etched as it was with the logo and date of the event. I was able to procure three: let's see how long I can keep them without smashing them.

Over two visits I had a taste of eleven wines. I didn't fancy any cava, you'll have to check back next year for my bubbly report. So anyway, here are the highlights of what I drank and what I thought.

Starting off with ''Francoli'', from the Castell D'Or co-op. I went for a wine from this region as it was where I first lived when I came to Spain, and where I spent my first three summers. The Conca de Barbera is set amongst a picturesque range of peaks, and whose inland location in Tarragona mean hot summer days, chilly nights and above average rainfall. A 2007 white made from the parellada and macabeu varieties, it is really pale with a floral nose. It has a strong, quite acidic attack, with apple and peach competing for superiority in the retro-nasal stakes. This wine is long for a young wine and great for a hot and sunny day, which it wasn't.

Obviously Penedes was well represented amongst the 30-or-so wine stalls. Capita Vidal had one of the wider varieties, and charming staff into the bargain. I can't stress how much I think that this affects the enjoyment of wine: a serf dishing out Vina Sol at Torres does very little to convince punters of the wine's qualities, and therefore not much is expected of their wares. Anyway, I tried a Blanc de Blancs at this stall, made from macabeo, xarel.lo, parellada and muscat. It had a greeny gold appearance and a hint of pink grapefruit after an initial whifter. Further investigation revealed apple and strawberry notes in a refreshing glass of wine, with perhaps a hint of caramel in there somewhere. Smooth and easily chugged I'd say.

Okay, one more white to mention, this one from Maset de Lleo, again in Penedes. Also going by the handle Blanc de Blancs, this line was made up totally from xarel.lo, which is normally used for making cava. I really dig this grape variety, but hadn't known such a floral fragrance before. I got nettles and heather. I was expecting, but nevertheless pleased with its bitter attack which contrasts with a honey-sweet retro-nasal. Mmm.

How a about una copa de tinto? Cellar Batea, from the D.O. Terra Alta, had a right cocktail of varieties making up its Vallmajor. I'm not sure about the proportions, but there was garnatxa, merlot, syrah, tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon up in there, and for a young wine, it was fairly complex. A deep purple-red, there were mature red fruits in the bouquet and taste. It was strong in flavour and long in enjoyment.

Okay, one more before I'm out. Ipsis is a bodega from Tarragona, from which I tried a 2006 crianza of ull de llebre (Catalan tempranillo) and garnaxa. It isthe colour of badly bruised strawberries and smells of burnt oak, it has a definate cinammon raspberry in its attack, with a peppery finish. This could have been my find of the week.

I can't wait til next year, when I'll be camping out, or maybe hiring a boat alongside the port.

Mark P.D. I

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Cotes du Rhone

Went for a lovely walk up to Crookes Bole Hill and back through Crosspool. A nice way to relax after stressful days at work and good time to chat about the future.
Back home I really felt like a decent glass of wine!
Decided to open a bottle that I brought back from Provence.
2006 Chateau Pesquie terrasses
Inky black purple in colour, this spicy and heavily oaked wine has a really powerful intensity of colour and depth. A strong nose of blackberry fruit with a spicy meaty aroma.
On the palate there is thick dark fruit with bbq charred meat hints and a full structure with strong tannins.
The finish is very long lasting and satisfying!
Typical of the hot southern Rhone area of Cotes du Ventoux AOC
The Pesquie vineyard is built upon terraces dug into the steep hills.
Wines have been produced in this southern french area since 30AD!!!


Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Wine glasses

As soon as we have some new wine glasses, I will be able to post some more notes!
We have some small Spanish wine tumblers which are lovely with thin walls and a thin bottom. Just the thing for vino tinto and some tapas but really it is not the same as drinking out of a proper glass!
We should be having some nice new glasses delivered fairly soon and I can't wait to open some bottles that we just brought back from Provence!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Rose in Provence

What a brilliant place to go on holiday! I can just imagine the life of a playboy Russian oil heir kicking it back here all summer.

Rose accounts for the majority of wines produced in Provence and it is claimed to have been born here! The lovely mediterranean climate is very warm in the summer growing season and fairly mild in winter with many vineyards favourably situated on slopes up in the hills.

Main grape varieties used here are Mouvedre, Grenache and Cinsault

2007, Domaine de jas d'escalans

Appellation cotes du provence controlee 2007

I love provence rose, very light, faint pink in colour and high in spritzy acidity with citrus fruit on the nose and redcurrant and tart red fruit on the palate! Refreshingly balanced wine with short sharp finish.

Typically served in pichets of quarter/half or full bottles and is poured like all wines here in tulip shaped provence rose glasses.

Here is me on the beach at Menton shortly before going for a dip!

A Votre Sante!

Friday, 12 September 2008

vdp Var

Vin de pays du var

The var departement is located inland in the centre of Provence and is surrounded by mountain ranges which give the area a unique climate.

Anna and I sauntered up to a little restaurant in the Parc du mercantour village of saorge after a nice walk along the GR52a.

We ordered a demi pichet of vin du pays du var rouge to go with the menu du jour Saorgien.

Dark deep red in colour with a very aromatic nose and a gamay like bubblegum fruityness.

Full bodied with a high amount of acid on the palate but suprisingly good red to drink in hot weather.

Available in Nicolas

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


Muscadet Sur Lie.
Muscadet is a typical choice for fish dishes and this was the perfect
accompaniment to our massive fruits de mer platter in Menton. A
charming little resort town just around the corner from Monaco.
A lovely bay with amazingly coloured azure sea and pebble beaches
complete with diving platforms.
Muscadet sur lie
Citrus and straw on the nose with a rocky mineralic hint.
On the palate this was mineralic and very dry with a sharp finish.


Friday, 5 September 2008

Babich Syrah

Drank this at Adrian and Lynnes with all the family. A nice meal before the hectic few days to come.
2006 Babich Syrah, Hawkes BayDark purple red with a powerful nose of black cherry and blackberry and
a slightly smoky spicy edge to the palate along with lovely ripe fruit
and a liqourice like tannin backbone.
A really lovely New Zealand Syrah from the Hawkes Bay.
They are full of regional terroir which I can now detect having lived in the area for some time last year!
Makes me want to go back!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Champagne on the moor

Drank two bottles of Champagne last weekend as part of my stag pre wedding celebrations!
Enjoyed sharing the weekend with some close friends on a cycling trip round the peak district.
This bottle we drank in a field on the way to supper just as it was getting dark.
Champagne is great to open and I really enjoyed popping the cork this time! The noise and froth really conjures up good cheer and spirit. Well we were jolly!