Monthly Archives: December 2012

Cono Sur, 2010, Reserva

cono sur 001

This is the one with the bicycle on the label because ‘a bicycle is a lifestyle’. No, I don’t get it either. Cabernet sauvignon, from Sainsbury, price down from £8.99>£6.99. Geoff, who opened it yesterday said, ‘clear, deep red, cherry rim, some viscosity evident, initially vanilla on the nose which faded after 2 hrs opening, quite dumb, difficult to pick variety but v. slight blackcurrant, spirity nose which did fade, dry with sweet notes, firm & not overloaded with tannins, good weight, slight green/immaturity. Today, nose has vanished and it just tastes like a ‘red wine’ – can’t detect the CS at all.

Decanter gave the ’09 17/20 so that’s the one to buy if you have a choice.


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Drinking windows

Pouilly (slightly) fuming

Pouilly (slightly) fuming

Go on – admit it. Buying wine can develop into obsession. We see a bargain and think ‘that’ll be good’ or ‘that’s interesting’. Taking the bottle home, sneaking it into the house and squirrelling it away in the sock drawer, is all part of the exquisite challenge. Then …
….. we forget about it until, years later, it tumbles out when you least expect it. You were looking for a Cahors – and a Claret lands on your big toe. And it should have been drunk two years previously.
So this is a blog dedicated to just that experience.
Mathilde de Favray Pouilly Fume 2006 (M & S, currently selling the 2010 at c.£12) was bought about three years ago. It’s been sitting, quite patiently, waiting for me to open it. So Claire, Richard and I did so. Two nights ago. Me expecting it to match a fancy smoked salmon starter.
It presented a very pale yellow with a slight green tinge, clear and bright in the glass. So far so good. The nose, though still fresh, was more muted than we expected but there were some high notes of citrus. However, there was a slight cork taint which we thought would disappear. It didn’t. On the palate it showed its breeding. It had weight and was quite subtle but a slight woodiness could be detected which compromised the freshness it promised. Not a disaster but it had left its best days behind it. What a shame. I felt guilty to not do the wine justice by opening when I should have done – maybe 12/24 months earlier.
Result? We’re now searching through sock drawers, fishing under the bed and moving paint tins just in case there’s a hidden jewel somewhere that needs drinking. NOW!

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Gaja Ca’Marcanda ‘Promis’ 2009

2012-12-27 at 15-08-12

An Italian red from Gaja, really no more Italian than the Moncloa was Spanish. A blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah and 10% Sangiovese. Bought it from Majestic Wine, £22 if you bought two. Superb nose, smooth and rich taste with plenty of fruit, good length, finishes well, absolutely nothing to dislike. A really well made, drinkable wine and excellent with cold roast beef.

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Tintilla de Rota

An indigenous Spanish grape. So obscure it only gets a fleeting mention in the Big Bumper Book of Grapes recently published by Jancis Robinson. Most of the discussion elsewhere focusses on whether or not it is the same as Graciano or a clone. I’ve no idea since I’ve never tasted the latter, at least on it’s own. This blogger has done a lot of research, if you are interested. Anyway I’ve recently tried two wines which contain the grape, in varying proportions. The first is Barbazul. Made in Arcos de la Frontera about 40k east of Jerez, 50% tintilla. First tried in Jerez in the El Reino de Leon ‘gastrobar’ which, despite that self-description does really good food and has an interesting wine list. (Most Jerezanos pick Rioja if they are drinking red, rather than the local stuff.) Liked it so much we (friends I was in Jerez with) bought half a case each from Noble Green Wines. About £10. Their comment, ‘given that it’s such a high alcohol wine [it’s 14.5%], predominantly fruitful with a relatively low tannins.  In the mouth it almost has a sweetness but then the dryness predominates as the flavours lengthen.’ I’d add that the tintilla gives it a spicy and very appealing nose.

2012-12-21 at 21-21-50

The other wine is Moncloa, also made in Arcos, by Gonzalez Byass. Mainly cabernet sauvignon and syrah with, according to the website a ‘small proportion’ of tintilla and merlot. First tried this in La Carbona, a very traditional Jerez restaurant, set in an old bodega. Still available form Waitrose online at £15. A very smooth, very ripe wine, lots of fruit with a dryish finish. Very drinkable but nothing like a typical Spanish red.

2012-12-27 at 16-36-29

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Calem Tawny Port, 1990

2012-12-25 at 19-24-03

Yes, it’s a Christmas port. From the Wine Society, a few years ago, £22. A tawny from a vintage rather than 10/20/30 years old which is, I think, more unusual. Pale, well integrated, rich, tangy, very smooth, little nose. Would certainly buy it again – just checked – no longer stocked at WS, ah well. A very good partner to a cold roast beef sandwich with mustard.

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Envoy Riesling 2008

Enough of the journalese from me; here are just the facts, man.
Marlborough (NZ) Riesling from Spy Valley. Available from Majestic at £18.74 (14.99 for 2). Web site gives a 1* review complaining about petrol overtones. (this can be typical of the variety, though not to everyone’s delight)
Eye: star bright, clear, mid-yellow with green tinge indicates age with still some youth
Nose: immediately attractive, aromatic citrus acidity, full and forward.
Palate: some weight in the mouth, rich but, after immediate zingy hit round the sides of the tongue, the middle palate is lacking. The mineral finish kicks in at the end and helps dry the obvious sweet fruit notes. For me, there was no kerosene nose or flavours.

It may be still to develop a fuller palate and the various sellers stress the need to age it five/six years but that takes us onlyto 2013/4/5 (it was released 09). I’m not so convinced it will develop greatly, and at nearly £19 it’s on the expensive side. Just about better value at £15

There – just the facts, man.

Green with Envoy

Green with Envoy

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Geoff Merrill Chardonnay 1999



2012-12-22 at 16-40-53

I’m pretty sure I bought this from Tesco, several years ago when my local store had a ‘fine wine’ section, with imitation wine-shop wooden racking and a so-so collection of moderately expensive wines. Needless to say this didn’t last and the wines were sold of at reduced prices with this one being, I think £5.49. Still expensive if it tastes awful or has maderised. At first the deep old gold yellow tint made us suspect that had happened but on the palette it was a revelation. Some comments from Geoff: ‘…star bright, clear, deep golden with some viscosity, nose – mellowed fruit of an older wine, deep but still enough citrus to be interesting. Palate, still firm structure, dry but fruit sweetness. depth of flavour from age, a really good one and 13 years young!’


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