Thursday, 30 December 2010

Festive blog

Irish Stout

Bag of cava!

I feel very lucky, this Christmas has been full of Wines! Wine, Champagne, Wine,Cava,Wine,Port,Sherry and more Wine(Red,White and sweet)

Tomorrow is Hogmanay and we will be celebrating with something different, a favourite cocktail of mine called Black Velvet.
This consists of Cava and Guinness.

Lovely Black Velvet

Monday, 20 December 2010

Les Becs Fins

I generally appreciate the CdR wines for consistency and value for money (though this bottle was a gift). This small appellation has provided a smooth uncomplicated delicious accompaniment to our winter beef stew this evening. Lovely deep plum/cherry colour but not a great deal on the nose. However, terrific cherry and hint of blackcurrant maybe blackberry and a very senior liqourice on the palate. Would buy this in preference to bigged up C du P's which are metaphorically just around the corner.
Neil Wilson

Monday, 6 December 2010


Gorgeous Barossa Shiraz from Majestic.
Really enjoyed this amazing Shiraz.
Delicious ripe fruit and touch of spicy warmth with a long finish.
Simple, terrific and tasty.

Learnt a little about the Barossa whilst drinking this wine. The area
is naturally suited to growing Shiraz due to the warm temp of south
Australia. The Barossa is near Adelaide and hosts disease resistant
and 100 year old growths!
I'm going to try lots more Sz this winter!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Seasick Steve: Thunderbird

Here's a song by Seasick Steve about one of his tipples of choice, Thunderbird.

It seems that this is a brand of 'low-end fortified wine', in other words the US equivalent of Buckfast.  It was once marketed as such, in a radio jingle:

 "What's the word? 
How's it sold? 
Good and cold 
What's the jive? 
Bird's alive 
What's the price? 
Thirty twice."

Friday, 12 November 2010


classic Fino

Seville is famous for Oranges and Sherry as well as flamenco and horses (or women if youre Lord Byron)

Ive tried every variety of Sherry under the sun. Literally as its great weather here..

1)Fino - This has a salty,smoky, oxidised mineral character to it which is very distinct. Made from a special sherry grape called Palomino, this is aged for many years under a layer of fermenting yeast called Flor which gives it the unique flavour. Its the freshest type of sherry and is fairly close to white wine in a way. Very pale in colour and you have to drink the whole bottle once its been opened. preferably with some nice olives.

2) Manzanilla -This is a different variety of Fino which comes from Cadiz rather than Jerez. As its nearer the sea, these sherries are fresher and more acidic due to the maritime climate being a little cooler.

Sherry casks aging

3)Olorosso - The Olorossos are a lot sweeter and darker. the colour and nutty flavour is imparted by the oak barrels and contact with the air when the yeasty layer on the Fino wine dies off due to a higher level of alcohol. Olorossos are quite a bit sweeter, nutty, caramelised but can be nice and refreshing.

4)Pedrio Ximenez

Treacly,nutty, chocolate caramel,ch0colate raisins and dime bar flavours come through in the fantastic Pedro Ximenez wines. Have tried a few different PX this holiday. Some are incredibly sticky, luscious and rich and others are a little lighter and with an almost fresh finish. Depends which you like but I like the fresher version. Waitrose do a great PX. I will check out and report back when I get home.


Below is a typical sherry bar with casks piled high on the counter

Pedro Ximenez

Look at the colour of that! Drank this Pedro sherry on the stroke of
22:00 at a very touristy restaurant bar near the cathedral In Seville.
The lights were dimmed, horses trotting, blokes playing flamenco and
the bats flying! Very Andalucian atmosphere.
Pure tarry tobacco brown in colour.
Unique in character, this sherry has very strong caramel, chocolate
raisin sweetness. This one had a fresh finish, others are sweeter!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Marlborough Springs

Marlborough Springs Sauvignon Blanc

I bought this lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Sainsbury's at the weekend. It was reduced from £8.99 to £5.99, so it seemed like a good bargain. Also I know you can always count on a kiwi sauvignon! In fact, I have to admit that this is the only type of wine that I would confidently take along to a dinner party, because for me, with many other varieties it's often trial and error and I never quite know what's good. However, thanks to this blog and the excellent reviews that people have posted up, I am definitely going to start being a bit more adventurous now! Watch this space!

This Marlborough Springs wine is deliciously crisp and refreshing. It's a beautiful pale straw colour too. You can smell and taste the delicate gooseberries and citrus flavours. It's simply delicious and perfect with fish. Give it a go!

Thanks Alice!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Friday, 22 October 2010


Hi wine drinkers!
Hope you are all enjoying lots of wine this Autumn?
Im having a difficult time getting my red wines up to a decent
temperature before I drink! The house is so cold!

Reds are ideal at about 20-30 degrees. They shouldn't be really cold
to the touch when you pick up the bottle, just normal. If necessary
to warm up before you drink then uncork and put near the stove to
gently heat up whilst you prepare a meal!
A warm wine will have a greater flavour and aroma on the nose.
Sometimes they have a subtle perfume which is only really detectable
when warm. Use the central heating and enjoy your red wines at the
right temp!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Bail out

A new kiwi Chardonnay from Oddbins.
Delicious toasted toast and nutty influence on the nose with fresh pineapple fruit. Excellent buttery texture on the palate with an amazing creamy texture and refreshing long lasting finish.
Powerful Chardonnay from the fantastic Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand. The vineyard is located in the Gimblett gravels region behind Taradale. It provides the ideal vineyard location on an old riverbed and is not too far from the sea so it is cooled by ocean breezes yet heat is also retained in the gravel which helps ripen grapes at night.
A gorgeous golden wine that made me fall asleep on the sofa!
£7.99 from Oddbins.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

My dear Madeira

A heady rich drink for the winters night.
Thick, sweet and rich. Dried fruit and prunes on the palate with a
chocolatey caramel woody influence!

There are several different types of Madeira. This is the richest
after dinner type which is made like them all on the Portugese island
of Madeira in vast wooden barrels exposed to the summer heat which
gives it the gently oxidised characteristics!
Try any bottle from the supermarket or the excellent Duke of Clarence
£10.97 from Asda.
It will keep for ages even after it's been opened!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Storks Tower

Here is the first review from Roger. A Spanish wine from Tesco.
Sounds excellent!
Rich and def full bodied quite heavy ? Got shiraz as that red on the
weekend was that i got , had to warm up was cold on the shelf its a
little spicy if that makes sense but id say its a good buy for tesco
and worth its price . Cork bottle also influenced me . Hope that helps
. .

Wanna Go

Tempting article in the Guardian today about this restaurant run by the best sommelier in the world. In 2004.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


2005 Domaine Herestzyn Gevrey Chambertin
2000 Domaine Rene Engel Clos du Vougeot Vosne Romanee

Two amazing Burgundies tonight at home with my dad.
Both wines were seductively smooth with the older 2000 having a
fantastic farmyard aroma on rhe nise and a light cherry fruit
refreshing palate. Amazing for 10years old. Both good quality corks!
Check it out!

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Anna is a great fan of Carmenere and I've joined her tonight with a
beauty from Morrisons.
The Best Carmenere Reserva 2009
Colchagua Valley, Chile
Excellent sweet nose of fruit and brambles, liquorice and coffee with
a soft fruity palate and smooth fruity finish and chocolatey texture.
A lovely bottle of Chilean wine from Morrisons


Monday, 13 September 2010

Up North Trip

Not that far up north though.  I've wittered about Alella before a couple of times, but for all it's charm, we had never seen the town in full swing.  This weekend was the traditional town festes, including a posh car-park piss up with all the local producers vying for your tickets (€5 for three glasses and a glass to take home [broken en route]).


We got off the bus sometime around noon and it was already ram up and baking.  The gigants were patrolling the streets with bands of medievally-dressed Catalans, and there were a bunch of stalls lining the main street, whose cheeses and pastes we sampled and liked but forgot to buy.  To brunch we approached a stall with plump and fresh looking pastries, and I went for a patates braves filled bun, including the mayonaise.  It was the nearest thing to a chip barm i've ever had abroad and made me feel quite queezy.

We passed by the three wine shops that I know around the centre, where merriment was had in attempting to neck table wine from porrons.

We then swung round to the main event which was heaving, and queues for forming at each stand.  We all went for different options to kick off, me a 2006 garnatxa blanc from Joaquim Batlle, a couple of autoctonous pansa blanca joints from Alella Vinícola, sec and semi sec, were sampled; and a cava from Perxet rounded off the round.

It was agreed that the local grape was a winner for starters, floral and light with enough character to justify the €5 you'd spend on a bottle.

Round two before lunch and we switched up again.  I went for a chilled Syrah from Alta Alella (mistake), our two debutants sneaked a Rioja and a Ribera del Duero from somewhere, and Natalia, still on the cava, was seduced by the minimal elegance of a chardonnay 2006 from Alta Alella; clearly the most appropriate and ultimately rewarding choice.

We found a lunch spot, the always excellent Companyia d'Alella, and were looking forward to one of the local speciality dessert wines only to find that everything had shut, in true siesta style, until eight in the evening.  We found some of the staff from Alella Vinícola off-duty, who hooked us up with half a bottle of their garnatxa negre/ syrah rosé, which was finished in a wendy-house as we waited for our chariot home.

Another good day out in the Maresme.  As we'd been left wanting more, I'm tempted to attend some of the setmana del vi at the end of the month.

'Til then, Sitges hosts it's wine festival next weekend, which I may very well report back upon.

Word out.

Mark D.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Lovely rich red from Chile.
Chilean wines are very full flavoured and rich which I found goes well
with cheese.

Misiones Carmenere 2008
Valle Central, Chile
Deep violet in colour with a rich fruity nose and a toasted aroma. On
the palate lovely plum flavour with a medium body, touch of tannin and
a coffee like spicy oak element.

An excellent intense wine. A wine for a colder evening or evening in
which is just right for the end of the summer. Check it out

£6.49 down to £4.99 from Morrisons

Monday, 23 August 2010


Villa Maria Private Bin
2010 Vintage Sauvignon Blanc

I was very excited to try the first of the 2010 vintage NZ Sauvignons.
SB is the type of wine that is best when drunk fresh and young. This
will have only been in the bottle a couple few months by the time I
opened it.
Vintage 2010 was well balanced with varying levels of heat and
ripeness of the grapes. It was a cooler than average summer with a
warm dry autumn.

Intense on the nose with pineapple, lemon and black currant fruit
nose. On the palate it was actually quite smooth with a touch of ripe
melon on the body.
£8.99 from Tesco and Sainsbury

We also tasted the Asda extra special Cote du Rhone Villages
Which was smooth and fruity with a bit of vanilla oak influence and
nice warmth.
5.99 from Asda

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Summer Rose

Lovely summer lunch on the patio with a gorgeous glass of Rose.
Look at the brilliant colour shining through the bottle. Value Rose like this from Morrisons is an excellent summer lunchtime or afternoon drink to quench your thirst and make the most of the weather!

Good French Shiraz Rose
Pleasant ripe raspberry and fig fruit nose with an off dry palate that seems quite sweet at first but is really refreshing and drinkable.
Excellent, marvellous value.

£3.99 Morrisons

Monday, 2 August 2010

Classic Chablis

Chablis is a classic wine that you should get to know.
Made from Chardonnay grapes this wine has a distinct clean minerality due to the limestone rich soils where it is grown on the old seabed floor in the vineyards of Chablis!

Co-Operative Chablis 2008
AOC Prehy, Chablis

Sharp refreshing lemon and lime with a crisp palate balanced nicely by a touch of body from the minimal use of Oak barriques.
A smooth and distinctive wine that will age well. Must drink more Chablis.

Friday, 16 July 2010


Bargain Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile
Excellent! Enough said!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Get fresh with Sangio

If you have forgotten what wine tastes like then this is a good one to start with!
Something about Sangiovese always draws me to them. They seem to taste so raw to me -light and refreshing like this or the more mature and challenging Chiantis. I love it!

Bacaro Rubicone Sangiovese 2008
Pale pink ruby in colour this light coloured wine has a pleasant fruity aromatic nose. Very refreshing on the palate with a light texture and fresh raspberry flavour. An excellent approachable wine with quite a bit of tannin grip in the mouth and a sharp finish but lots of aromatics as well.
£5.99 from Majestic.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Drinks cabinet - government spends £17,500 on wine

More than £17,500 has been spent topping up the government's £850,000 wine cellar, it has emerged.

Friday, 11 June 2010


I know what you're thinking - it's something like this: "Hmmmm, Mendoza? Where do I know that name from?" and you're imagining it being shouted by someone with a gun. I reckon you're probably thinking it's got something to do with 80s TV series, like the A-Team or something. Close. It's the name of The Simpsons' TV hardman McBain's nemesis, Senator Mendoza. You watch too much TV anyway.

It's also the greatest wine region in Argentina. Again, you might be lapsing into some 80s anachronistic thinking - Argentinian wines got a reputation for being awful about 15 years ago. But they ain't.

Here's the angle: the UK is coming into summer, there's football around and a bit of sunshine, and this brings out an awful lot of barbecues and picnics, blokes drinking lager and supermarkets pushing rosé like it had just been invented. But what of the reds? It's a tough one - you certainly don't want something with a body that's too heavy; picnics tend to start as afternoon activities, and with a spot of sun on your head and a slightly chunky shiraz you'll pass straight through being talkative, to garrulousness and red-faced war talk. Cool it.

Similarly, you don't want anything too light. I'm a sucker for a summery Beaujolais, thin, fun, splashy-splashy. But they can get lost among the cabaret of British al-fresco eating - we're a nation that relishes condiments and marinades, strong and spicy flavours dominate barbecues. Beaujolais' Gamay grape can struggle to get a grip.

So here's what I'm talking about: "Get Mendoza".

Where's this coming from? I'm a massive fan of Manuel Vazquez Montalban's Pepé Carvalho series of books. Carvalho is an intense character - a private detective of the classic type (brooding, troubled, ambiguous past, happy to use questionable techniques to get results), with an interesting angle. He's not just a drinker (so many classic detectives are boozers, for my money Inspector Morse takes the cup since his fondness for it took him to diabetes and an early grave). He's a gourmet, a connoisseur, a chef and a gourmand - as was Montalban. Pepé's deepest insights into his cases come when he breaks off engagements with his prosititute-girlfriend, retreats to his house in Vallvidrera (on the hills overlooking Barcelona), lights a roaring fire by burning volumes of his extensive political and philosophical library, and sets about creating an exquisite menu. Montalban describes the recipes in detail - the books encourage the reader to indulge themselves in more ways than one.

In the penultimate book of the series (or, as it may be, ante-penultimate, if Millennium Carvalho ever sees posthumous release), The Beuno-Aires Quintet, our hero ventures to Argentina - a country which means very little to him. What do you know about Argentina? "Tango, Maradona, the Disappeared". In the book he discovers several other important features (and comes to understand two of these three a little better): meat and Mendoza. There are lengthy descriptions of family asados (which appear to be a cross between the British traditional Sunday Roast Ritual and a huge barbecue). Mendoza wines are a continual counterpoint to the beef. Hence this post.

The Mendoza region's first appellation went to Lujan De Cuyo in the early 90s, and its best known variety is their Malbec, which flourishes in their relatively dry climate. While the Malbecs get the most hype, and are probably the most confident among the Mendoza single varietal wines, I think the most unique contribution from the region is its (little known) Bonarda grapes. As I understand it, Argentinian producers are putting their weight behind the Malbec since they think the Bonarda isn't going to hit the mainstream well enough - but I'm all about the underground. It's an interesting grape, that bit lighter than the Malbec (which compares with the medium body of a Pinot Noir, but with the blackberry edge of a Zinfandel), and the Bonarda has more of a cherry flavour. The best Mendozas I've tried have been blends of varieties involving Bonarda - it goes very well with their Shiraz/Syrah grapes.

So what do you get? The classic Mendoza character is slightly on the heavier side of a medium weight, with handsome warm fragrances - cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry, slightly oaky. The density lets it carry two flavours clearly: the top notes are cherry blossoms, vanilla and sweet peppers, and the long, soft finish has a rich plum-and-wood smoothness. It's quaffable without being heady, so you can put it away quite easily and very enjoyably. It seems to have very little acidity compared with similar weighted wines, but this doesn't mean it disappears among stronger flavours. The sweetness and mellowness doesn't cloy - it's lively enough to keep you interested from cork to empty. That's why it's a recommendation for these picnics you're going on. Don't shy away from the blends - the Shiraz, Pinot Noirs and Cabernets are all good, but remember the grapes of note are the Malbec (confident enough to stand alone) and the Bonarda. (Here are two good current tips:

Casa Bonita Bonarda Malbec, 2005
- a blend of two uniquely Mendozan grapes, lighter than many from the region. A great chance to try the Bonarda at work. Red fruit flavours, touch of spice. Incredibly cheap from Morrison's right now (something to do with exchange rates) - priced at £2.99 or £3.99 depending on where you live (postcode lottery?). Get Mendoza!

Sainsbury's Taste The Difference: Argentinian Mendoza Malbec, 2008
- straight up 100% varietal wine, does everything you want a Mendoza to do, and currently on offer (I think this was around £6, down from around £9). It's from the Lujan De Cuyo area although it doesn't carry the DOC. They say: "Lush, violet-scented wine... velvety tannins and long finish". I think lush is good word for things that are green, it doesn't work for me here, but violet-scented is right on the money, and also captures the way the light bounces through it in the glass. Get Mendoza!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Vidall not Sassoon

On holiday in Cornwall.
We had superb weather for it all week!
The main activities were surfing, sailing, swimming, cycling, fishing, crabbing, canoeing and that was only half of it!
When not pubbing it in the evening we enjoyed a lovely glass of wine or two.

Vidal Syrah 2007
Fresh cherry on the nose with a bit of spice.
sweet palate of cherry and fresh fruit. Rich body with intense flavour smooth texture and long finish. Excellent rich and fruity Syrah with a touch of freshness.
Something completely different to an Australian Shiraz. Give it a go.
£9.99 from Waitrose

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Mobile Future Blog Of Tomorrow

This is the future! TODAY. Me and fellow Steel Wine Blog King Will simultaniously write and up a wine that he has cracked open to celebrate my extended stay in the UK thanks to the ash from the volcano Jadefhjnfsgjkhfdfcxxhoigdssgh.

So, a blast from the past: Marques De Grinyon's Emeritus, a  1998 recommendation from Penistone Wine Court. Will has decanted it and the glass sits in front of me in wait of my discerning judgement.

An attractive rusty hue borders the liquid, which retains its intense deep cherry colour.

(Decants more to sit on rug by fire.)

A reserved nose that may well be opening up with time and temperature, upon agitation an impression of tabacco. To taste at first, young tasting and subtle, light body and a hint of tannin from its time in the barrel. It is the taste of raisins, is long and seems to get sweeter for some time after each swig.

Cheers Will! And Spanner on the alcohol free merlot (pictured).
Mark P Dix

Its been a hectic weekend of heavy tunes, heavy drinking and daft dancing, We are blogging from a post party wine review in the living room.
Caramelized orange in colour with fringes fading gradually to the core.
Aromatic fruit, brulee in flavour. Licqourice and tobacco flavours with sweet oak.
Lovely balance of texture from the tannins and a long lasting finish.
Top top.
Will W

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Oaky Chardonnay evening.

Here is a big bold wine to be enjoyed and savoured. One for an evening in or perfect on Sunday eve. Rich, buttery and complex with a refreshing but long finish. I could drink a lot of this right now!
I love the rich, creamy, oaked Chardonnays from the new world. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa all have great examples of this. Chardonnay is easy to manipulate in the winery. Vignerons love the variety as they can influence the wine by tweaking the production process to get an individual wine of their making. Malolactic fermentation imparts a buttery toastiness which is sometimes amplified by siphoning the wine into brand new oak barrels to mature.

2008 Journeys End, Haystack Chardonnay
Big and rich in style with heavy use of Oak giving it a nutty toasted aroma. On the palate it is smooth and full bodied with bread, butter and toffee apple fruit but it is dry and comes with a very long finish. Excellent indeed.
£9.99 From Bibendum Wine.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

what a pino

I loved this bottle of Pinot Grigio from Marks and Spencers.
Only £4.49 for this light bodied treat!

Light straw yellow colour with an aromatic melon and apple nose. Mid weight texture, lemon and pineapple tropical fruit on the fresh palate with a tiny hint of spice and a crisp finish.
Highly recommended vibrant wine.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Land of the long white cloud

Wine of New Zealand.
I'm very very fond of all NZ Wines full stop. This is a supermarket gem which is easily available, though will set you back 9 squidders.
Its worth it for this sip
The South Island Pinot Noirs are superb due to ideal cold climate terroir growing conditions for the small Pinot Noir grapes.
This Asda own brand is produced by Wither Hills in the Wither Hills area of Marlborough. Subtle difference from the Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough region. It is savoury and fresh with delicious raspberry and redcurrant freshness along with slight farmy savoury note on the nose. Very smooth and well balanced on the palate with a nice bit of texture and tannins.
£9.00 Asda


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Fw: Monte la sarda 2008 garnacha

Monte la sarda 2008 garnacha
Garnacha/garnache (same, right?) Is a grape that appeals to me but I don't know why. It seems to speak of a tasty and bold sensation.

This wine is from bajo aragon in spain. The label says 'vinas viejas' and the maker says all the vines used are between 45-100 years old and are from a local strain. Someone more learned would know the implications of this.

As for the drinking? A strong but gentle smell, and an initial sweet/mellow hit on the tongue, followed by a smooth and fulsome principle taste. this doesn't outstay its welcome and a little nip in the tale keeps the memory of each sip fresh in the drinkers mind.

Megs rating- 8/10

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Snail

This is primarily a wine blog but here is a restaurant review for a bit of a change!

L'Escargot, London

Soho institution and probably the closest restaurant i have seen yet to the one they go to in Ferris Buellers Day Off. Very traditional french in style with tasteful decor and cool contemporary art such as a 3D giant gold dinosaur head.

Snails in garlic with a Bordeaux sauce. Served inside their shells on a spot of potato puree. It was ideal to fish out the meat with the snail holding device and then eat it with a mouth of potato and the lovely sauce. Gorgeous. This we had with a bottle of Sancerre which was laden with Terroir driven character. Steely mineral sauvignon blanc from the Loire valley of France. Refreshing and delicious accompaniment.

Main course of duck leg with ratte potatoes, pak choi and red chard was rich and superb with a lovely Cotes Du Rhone Villages. Ripe, fruity and smooth with touch of spice.

We spent many hours round the table chatting and laughing before finally getting coffee and petit fours.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Queens wine

Not really.
Buckingham Estate
Reserve Shiraz 2006 14%
Western Australia

There is a cool climate for wine in Western Australia. The main area is Margaret river sitting on a peninsular down from Perth.
The result of the cool climate is that this Shiraz is fresh and lean more like a french wine than a typical juicy Australian Shiraz.

Dark purple black in the glass. A nose of lovely perfumed ripe fruit with touch of spicy oak and licuorice. On the palatte fresh fruit, medium bodied with a light fresh texture.
Morrisons £6.00

Monday, 15 March 2010

Wines with the family

A selection of wines recently enjoyed with family and friends.

To start the evening we had some biscuity champagne which was delicious. Never turn down a glass or two of pop!
We discussed the bisuity versus toasty topic. Anna said she likes the really buttery toasty champagne. I think this is the style of Laurent Perrier which is a favourite of ours. I can also highly recommend Tesco Finest champagne which is top notch class as well as Waitrose own Cava which is always brilliant!

In the restaurant I tasted the wines for our table. A fresh and fruity Merlot from Italy and a complex oaked Chardonnay, big in style- also Italian. I had quite a few glasses of both the wines during the meal and why not! To go with dessert there was a delicious muscat sweet dessert wine.

Monday, 8 March 2010


Im digging the label of this Spanish bottle reviewed by Ambrose and friends.
Check it out from Oddbins!

Rafael cambra- 'dos' valencia collita 2007

A blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.

Tom: full, robust, tannin-rich, gives you a sore throat just to smell it. Adult flavour, oaky, burnt coffee ground. Almost scalded.
Megan: lovely
Ambrose: taste- like a baileys! Creamy, chocolatey, caramel. Faint burnt tinge. Nose- reminiscent...but of what?

Oddbins, reduced to 10 pound, or thereabouts.


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Respect At Last

Zerotes are like opinions, everyone's got one.  Which I suppose makes me and my wine gang qualified enough to judge in the 2nd Annual Vinya Cellar Masia Catalan Wine Contest.  And the fact that we were willing to part with €60 for the privilege.

The structure of the contest is thus: the products of 50 wine producers are judged by 100 anonymous and probably totally amateur judges via the internet.  The first round sees each judge consider six wines and cavas, my selection is pictured above.  The ones with the best scores are then sent out again to the judges, so each judge evaluates three of the wines that scored best in the previous round.

I decided that it would be fun to agree on the marks with a few friends, which we often didn't, so we ended up taking the average opinion from the six participants.

The wines had to be graded from 'insufficient' to 'excellent' on a number of points, namely:
  • appearance (cleanliness)
  • appearance (attractiveness)
  • nose (impact)
  • nose (intensity)
  • nose (quality)
  • taste (impact)
  • taste (intensity)
  • taste (persistence)
  • harmony
  • presentation
After each wine, our opinions were entered into the world wide web, through a screen like this:

followed by a screen like this:
whose design resembles that of a sixth-form website project.

Of the two cavas, one rosé, one white and two reds that we were dealt, only the first red, a 2007 Costers del Segre coupage of Ull de Llebre, Garnatxa Negra, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot named 'Saó Abrivat' recieved unamimous praise from the panel.

It was a good experience to value wines in this new way, and to feel a part of the official opinion formers, albeit a tiny one; and we look forward to rating the finalists and passing on these hot tips on to you, dear reader.

Mark D.

Friday, 19 February 2010

De France Avec Amour (Je Crois)

Some French men came to our house and when they left, there was a bottle of plonk left ont' dining room table.  I hope it was intended for us because we've just opened it and will attempt a dangerous LIVE blog about its nature for you gentle reader.

Ederra Crianza 2006
Bodegas Bilbainas
Rioja D.O.C.

Colour: deep granite/earthy burgundy.  Clearly marked restings when swilled around non-matching glasses.  Hint of browning around rim tee ho!

Primary aromas: Musty and sweet like as if at bodega itself.

Secondary aromas:  Very dense forest forest fruits and rubber.

Attack:  Pleasant and balanced.

Taste Time:  Really intense tempranillo, balsamic with a leather fondo.  Enough tannins to know they're tannins.

Going down:  Nicely but Natalia needs to go cut some strong cheese because this vino is too strong to enjoy alone.

Score: 7/10

Mark D. & Natalia P.S.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Training it

Its becoming standard for me now to drink and review a wine on a train journey. Picking up a mini from the station shop and consuming it on my journey. This time travelling Oxford to Sheffield with Lord Byron, Life and Legend and a nik naks nice and spicy.

Australian Shiraz Cabernet.
Wine of Australia
Rich, fruity, smooth and spicy with nice structure from some oak.
Just the ticket
£2.75 for a mini.
Marks and Spencer

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


From the poggiotondo region of tuscany, this chiant (I'm not that familiar with chianti) has a strong, smooth and fresh faced but gentle smell. Its taste reflects this, a confident but kindly imperceptible sweet edge lifts it at the end. Verdict - very drinkable. Wine tends to be drinkable tho I guess!

Pictured - a cheap steak, leek bake for dinner and a bottle of the poggiotondo chianti

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Gros Manseng

Innovative blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng grapes.
Aromatic, very fruity and fresh with a slight hint of nuttiness and apricot spice to it. This I guess comes from the Gros Manseng in the mix which also gives it a bit of body.
Really enjoyed this new blend from South of France. Check it out!

£5.49 CoOp

Wreck The Hoose Juice

Browsing a news report about wine consumption in Scotland, one brand stood out.  It's name is Buckfast, a fortified wine made in Devon but consumed with more vigour north of the border.

Unfortunately, it is not available in Spain, but there is a short video of a tasting of the wine by a somillier at Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh, which you can watch by clicking the link to the news report in the last paragraph.

Mark D.