Monday, 26 January 2009

Feast of St Klaatu Red Wine Blind-Tasting Competition 2009

Hey spuds!

This Saturday marked the the happening of the first annual Feast of St. Klaatu blind-tasting competition, held at my flat.

St. Klaatu (pictured above) is a fictional figure with a great influence on the Church of the Subgenius, and whose teachings
 we can take much from.  Check his final speech frm 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' (1951).  Don't check the new version with that wistful pissant Keanu Reeves that came out last year.

The participants were nine, divided into three teams: les blancs, les rouge and les rosés.  There were 6 bottles of wine, and one carton of Don Simon, that served as a red 
herring, only it didn't.  I made a list of name, year, appelation and grape variety for all to see, and some reference books for those who weren't that familiar with the specifics of Spanish wine.

The teams had to put the list of wines in the correct order after one glass and a little consultation.

Someone had to be the judge, so that was me.

I took all the bottles to a secret location, and returned to the fold with a bottle whose label was obscured by a clean sock.  In order to help the participants, I tried to choose an order that would emphasise the contrast in the wines.

The order was as follows.

1.   Raimat Cabernet Sauvgnon, Merlot, Tempranillo
Costers Del Segre, 2006

The cabernet really stood out here, faithful to its forest-fruit description, with a notable dose of tanins.

2. Masdeu Garnatxa and Carinyena
Montsant, 2006

Textbook spicey cracker of a wine from the region that surrounds El Priorat.  This one won a fair few fans.

3. Luzon Monastrell
Jumilla, 2005

This one was a wildcard, as we had never reviewed a wine from this grape or region before.  We struggled to notice the wet-dog taste that has been attributed to the variety.

4.   Petit Grealo Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
Costers del Segre, 2005

From the same region as the first bottle, but very little in common in terms of character.  This concentrated red divided opinion, some enjoyed the intensity, others struggled to finish a glass.

5. Faustillo VII Tempranillo and Mazuelo
Rioja, Year not given

After the tananic onslaught of the previous drop, a smoothed-out tempranillo whose tabacco notes were a dead giveaway.

6. Azpilicueta Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo
Rioja, 2005

A tough one as its description was so similar to the previous tipple.  I felt that the complexity, although subtle, separated it from the mass-produced Faustino VII.

It was a close competition, that became more competitive as it drew to a close, but in the end, les blancs walked away with the trophy, with a score of 3/6.

The fans favourite was the Masdeu, but I think that with the right meat or cheese dish, the Petit Grealo would have won more hearts and minds.

Bye spuds!

Mark Philip Dix I

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Cali Bounce in the UK

Jacob's Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Brut Cuveé

A Californian sparkling white that the Ryan household had left over from Xmas, and which deserved popping open to accompany an Ecclesall Elif delivery. Discussion went just like this:

Me: Say something.

B: Fizzy.

J: The colour's more golden than you'd expect from a fizzy white.

M: More sorta straw coloured?

J: Yeah.

B: The aftertaste isn't bitter, it's quite sweet. Smooth.

J: Just nice taste.

B: Quaffable.

Tells you the LOT. Hell yeah.

Soundtrack: Hyper-Hyper & Julius feat MC Juiceman - 'Congo Fever' (Shelflife)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Doctoral Fizz

We drank this bottle of champagne the other night to celebrate The Bomb's PhD, she's now Dr. Bomb. This drop is also THE BOMB. It was a gift from her old man, who bought several cases of it over for when he got re-hitched over the summer - that was a heavy session.

Details: Champagne Christophe MARTIN (Recoltant et Manipulant - which means it's goes from being grapes picked all the way to being finished at his place under his instruction), Brut, EARL Christophe MARTIN, 51530 OIRY, France.

What you've got here is perfect champage - perfect 'cos it does EVERYTHING you want it to. There's the bright, dry, buttery biscuit flavour, there's the creamy finish, there's plenty of booze (12%), it's EXCEPTIONALLY reasonable - not an expensive champers by any means, and it's got an incredible 'session' quality - it's not so rich / dry / acid / fizzy that your pallet tires of it, so you can keep on it for a while - I stuck with it non-stop for the wedding, it was the only means of survival, and after a while I couldn't really face moving onto substantial wines, my mouth was in the mood for bubbles and nothing but. Messy. Also, it's a wine that continues to hold its own at slightly above chilled temperatures - many drinks tell you to drink them super-cold because the tongue is unable to pick up bad flavour notes when they're frosty - lots of champagnes taste very tired the minute they heat up a little (that's why you have 'em in narrow flutes - small portions that you get through before they warm up). The Christophe MARTIN can withstand being poured generously, and being lightly sipped during no-end of small talk, and still makes a good tipple, and still makes you want to go back for a refill. Highly recommended: a bottle a day. And that's two Doctors' advice. Word.

also: recommended soundtrack while drinking it: "True Creators" off Disrupt's Foundation Bit (2007, Werk). Heavy AND messy.


Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Another Macon Villages. It seems to be getting more popular or maybe I'm just noticing it more. This time from the wine society.

Mallory and Benjamin Talmard
Macon Villages Controllee.
A beautiful soft buttery nose with tropical fruit and a well balanced palate. A touch of richness in the body smooths out this wine. It is a fantastic un oaked style of chardonnay that is just right.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


Going to Barcelonas Boqeuria market is such a fun experience.
Keep your belongings secured away whilst wandering amongst the spanish pigs heads, flapping lobsters and whistling stall holders, collecting ingredients for your supper.
Navigating to the wine stall, we found some cava to drink on the gongs of new year and a recommended Galician white for our meal.

Valdesil Montenovo
Made from the Godello grape with a light yellow green tinted colour. Lively refreshing acidity balanced by ripe fruit and melon flavours.

Cosmic Penedes Jam

Grapes on the roof terrace, Cava fuelled behaviour, the metro,new years dancing at the Cosmic Jam party.

DJ 2D2 killed it.

Steelwine clubbing, sobering walking tour of the city and the field trip to Penedes.

Ringing ahead, we were expected at Mas Comtal just outside the penedes wine capital Villafranca. Sitting in the red clay soil close to the giant Freixenet cava facility and overlooking Montserrat is this family run single estate bodega.

Albert met us in the carpark as the sun set

Proudly showing us his dogs,40Ha of Chardonnay and Xarel lo vines, large steel and undergound tanks , cellars, techno lab and bottle production line.

Settling down after the tour, we paid attention to a private tasting with the highly knowledgable and talented winemaker Albert Mila.

2005 Mas Comtal Cava Brut Nature

50% Chardonnay 50% Xarel lo

30 months age

Tiny bubbles with a rich nutty nose and silky creamy body. Soft fruit "Brut nature" acidity with toffee notes.

Classic blend from the region with 30 months crianza age.

2008 Mas Comtal Pomell de Blancs.

Chardonnay, Xarel lo

Newly released 2008 vintage of this fantastic still white.

A light golden colour with nutty spicy aromatic nose

Rich balanced tropical body, sherbet acidity smooth finish.

2005 Mas Comtal, Antistiana

Merlot, C Sauvignon, C Franc

Dark crimson with fading crianza rim. Dark spicy fruit, liqourice, treacle and a floral touch to this Bordeaux blend. Fantastic smooth 12 months bottle aged drop.