Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Italian Blossom

This is actually taken THROUGH a glass of it!!

Normally associated with California, this mega brand has recently branched out into International wines.
This new Montepulciano Abruzzo is fantastic, brilliant. I just keep going back for more yes yes yes. oh ..now its gone!
only cheap as well.

2007 Blossom Hill Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Montepulciano is the grape variety here.
Excellent fragrant sweet fruit, toast and a bit of spice on the nose.
Medium bodied on the palate with well balanced texture. smooth but the tannins have a nice bit of grip.

Aromatic fruit and delicious cigar like savoury hints.
Superb example of ripe, tasty and mature Italian wine.

£4.49 Morrisons

Monday, 21 September 2009

Vinho Verde...

...is a special young type of wine from a controlled region of Portugal, you can peep the norms here, and what follows is an account of one bottle I came across.

This particular number is 100% Alvarinho, an affordable cousin of the German/French Riesling and with characteristics similar to Gewurztraminer

Deu La Deu is pale to see with your eyes, not as pale as some which appear near clear in their bottles. Tiny bubbles hug the glass, and there is nearly no density or body to speak of, but this is not what we're after when we pull that bottle out of the fridge (or even better, the freezer).

The juice smells floral, herbal even, opening up somewhat with agitation; some pour the wine from some height to aid this process.

The attack is nothing like a cava or champagne might be, you only really notice the carbon in the background, and after you have gulped some down.

There is still plenty of plant to taste after a wee dram, but more fruit to be found, that can go long if you invest a couple more bucks than the average Vinho Verde may set you back. I paid 4.70 for homeslice.

This joint would be perfect with any type of seafood you care to mention, provided you don't mess with it too much; salads, freshish cheese, and the like.

Mark D.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


Enjoying a bottle of Burgundy with my Dad.

2005 Horesztyn Gevrey Chambertin
Beautiful ruby pink in colour. Light elegant velvet texture with raspberry fruit, gamey savoury edge and a perfumed nose.

Monday, 14 September 2009

O Porto!

Hello winos,

Your despondent correspondent writes to you from Porto in Portugal. We get on well, the English and the Portugese, despite our footballing differences: our relations in trade are older than the agreement of any other two countries in the world. This deal was originally centred around wine, so that the English could buy wine from Iberia cheaper than from France.

English logos dominate the left bank of the Douro river that divides Porto from its neighbour Gaia. Signs reading Cockburn’s, Sandeman and Forrester light up at night and look quite charming from the terraces o the banks opposite. In a curious side note, it seems that all Port wine is harvested 100km up the river, and ages in cellars in Gaia, so Porto seems to have no right to put its name to the fortified wine. Correct me if I have equivocated.

Along with the visits to individual cellars, there are two other spots to visit should you ever visit this slightly grubby but elegant city in Northern Portugal. The Museu Do Vinho Do Porto offers a historical overview of the industry, with historical knickknacks, seafaring fare and a wee shop. It’s small and there’s nothing to sample, but at least it’s free at the weekend.

The second port joint that you could visit is the Solar Do Vinho Do Porto. This is quite well signposted but could easily be missed, tucked away in the South-East of the city centre, as it is. Originally a 19th Century merchant house, it was bought by the council in 1955, and converted into the Solar (Space in English) in 1974, it is a magnificent old manor house with a modern lounge and a garden that has an elevated view of the Douro. The name of the river, I believe, comes from Do Uro, or Of Gold, which it has because of the burning yellow reflection of the sunset, something you will be able to witness if you pick the right time to visit.

The menu of wines is startling. There are eight pages of ports to choose from, in the styles of Tawny, Rosé, Ruby and Reserve, as well as two pages o DOC Douro non-fortified wines. You can also cop glasses and books from there if you like. With a little time on my hands, I went through three beverages, making a few notes along the way.

As it was a balmy afternoon and I had been marching around Porto’s hilly hills all day, I was thirsty and in no mood for the tannic syrup that could be feared in such a circumstance. I saw a port cocktail at the top of the menu, the Portonic: dry white port, tonic, ice and a slice of lemon, which was refreshing and not nearly as tart as its gin-bearing cousin.

Feeling slightly stronger, I then went for a light and young ruby from the Ferreira cellar. It was ruby in colour, strangely enough, with a purple rim. It had an intense fruitful olor, clean and peppered taste, small sips were plenty to savour the flavour long after the sip was sipped.

Finally, I felt up to a Reserve, Sandeman’s Finest to be precise. This glass was a touch thicker, with a deep red colour and browning rim, a smell less fruity and subtler, complex perhaps. It seemed more spiced and was just as long and satisfying as the last.

I expect I’ll be back to this fine establishment before my holiday is over; after all, I’ve still got seven and three quarters pages of options to get through.

Mark D.


Dancing at a lido in Eindhoven.
Holland is not known for wine. Havent looked in the wine atlas yet but there wasnt any available in the shops we visited. Had a nice mini on the train leaving Utrecht - Chilean Cabernet.
Someone told me they were concerned about the wine they were opening and wasting due to not drinking it all.
My advice is that good wine lasts a while anyway. Open wine ages at the rate of 1 year per day so even for whites this is acceptable for a day or two corked up in the fridge. It will lose some aromatics but on the other side, some wines will benefit from opening up.
Use common sense though, dont drink vinegar!!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Friends at a restaurant

Megans bday wine drank with a meal at a fantastic grill house in shef.
This " isn't a wine you should get a taste for" as Ambroses brother put it. Its always going to be an expensive drink for a treat!

2007 La Source Des Fees
Pouilly Fuisse
100% Chardonnay from Burgundy
Light straw colour. Dry apricot fruit with touch of spicy oak, smooth texture and a clean elegant finish.
£17 at Oddbins