Author Archives: ricmmorris

Rare and rarer

Two things distinguish this wine (Norman Hardie unfiltered Pinot Noir 2015, WS £22). Firstly it is a Canadian pinot noir. Red wine from Canada is rarely seen, let alone a pinot – although we have blogged on Canadian chardonnay. This is from the same maker, Norman Hardie in Niagara. Secondly it is only 11.9%. I can’t recall the last time I tasted a red wine under 12.5% and even those are unusual.

Tasting the wine rather split opinion. I liked the delicate red-fruit style which, to me, looked like, smelt and tasted typically pinot. Not complex, certainly but very drinkable. Geoff also had a Burgundian pinot open which was heavier and more to his taste.

[Geoff: It did split opinion. Whilst liking its delicacy, I didn’t find the wine particularly complex. To me it tasted like alcoholic cranberry juice and reminded me of wine still undergoing fermentation. It lacked development which may come later, of course. Again, it’s interesting to taste these wine but I would not be tempted to buy.]


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Unmistakeable (again)

We’ve used this blog title before but some wines are instantly identifiable, usually just from the nose. Thus I recognised the aroma from this wine and thought (correctly) it was from the Jura. The aroma of the savagnin grape, with it’s sherry like nose, is hard to miss – even though we rarely taste the grape and have never blogged it. An aroma I particularly like, though Geoff wasn’t so keen. The deep yellow colour is also typical.

In fact this bottle (Domaine de la Pinte, Cuvée d’Automne) has some chardonnay added but I couldn’t detect it, unless it was the lemony, stewed apple taste. Jura wines are hard to find  and this one doesn’t seem to be listed by anybody in the UK. The producer lists it at €16.

[Geoff: definitely not to my taste. I found this too appley acidic, unsubtle and without any richness. It was a wine was interesting rather than enjoyable, like orange wines. There might be better examples but I won’t be looking too hard for them.]

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Friends and neighbours

Geoff and I live on the same road and we take turns to host wine tastings. Usually the wines are tasted blind so we have no idea what to expect. This most recent tasting – with the wine below, by remarkable coincidence, featured wines from the same region, made within a few kilometres of each other, not that I picked up on this.

‘Not pinot’ I confidently exclaimed. Certainly the colour – a pale clear red – was typical but the nose with lots of strawberry and raspberry led me to think it was a differently vilified southern french variety. In the mouth, rather firm and tannic, lacking complexity and without the flavour the vivacious smell led you to expect. But certainly moreish. Needless to say the wine was pinot. Perhaps I’ve tried too many New World pinots recently…

As you can see, quite a classy bottle. I leave Geoff to explain the geography.

[Geoff: Aloxe is the first Cote de Beaune village you come to driving south; it sits underneath the hill of Corton. Traditionally the wine has been thought of as having a fine bouquet but rather robust on the palate and I would say that is what we found. This wine was one of several different Burgundies I bought from M & S after they had been considerably reduced – to clear stocks – from the normal retail of £35. At full price it would definitely not have been VFM, as Richard’s description implies. It was good with some rich flavoured boeuf bourgignon, however.]


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Who needs en primeur?



Claret from Bordeaux was the first wine to be offered en primeur and it is still the biggest market for those of us who like to buy wine in advance of shipping or even bottling.

But, for a while now, dissenting voices have been heard. Unless you are after a particular chateau which may sell out early there is now little point in using the en primeur market since, firstly, there is an awful lot of claret around and, secondly, prices of newly released claret are much the same, or even more expensive than, mature wines.

Tonight’s wine – Chateau Coufran 2004 – is a good example. Around £17 from MWW, fully mature with the tannins integrated, classic claret nose – savoury, meaty, some eucalyptus. Big mouth feel, in a rich, not austere style doubtless caused by it being Merlot-dominated. A bargain and I’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy a similar 2014, say, as much.

[Geoff: Given my recent views about old red wine this was a great example of how they can taste. Not expensive and from a seemingly endless supply that Majestic possess, this wine is drinking well right now. Two years time may see it a little tired as the CS proportion is only 15%. As the better wine critics write ‘snap’ or ‘grab’ it now, ‘before it’s all gone’.]

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Classic Claret – Chateau Sénéjac 2011

A nice ruby red tint with medium intensity. Not tasted blind but a big blackcurrant and menthol nose (smelt easily over a heavy cold) made it unmistakeable. As ever the taste was not as rich as you initially think it might be, quite austere, moving towards dry and tannic, with medium length and savouriness. Some improvement in the glass made it a lovely drink, albeit one needing food.

[Geoff – traditional Sunday dinner of roast beef, gravy – sorry, jus – sprouts and roast potatoes demanded a traditional wine. And it was a perfect match. It had just enough black fruit richness, which was enhanced by the natural red meat salts, whilst not being jammy. Good winemakers can make good wines in poor years; this was an example. Great value from the Co-op at about £13.]

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Hárslevelü, anyone?

A white wine, tasted blind. I had no idea where it was from or the grapes, one of which was the above. Quite oily in appearance, clear lemon green. Coconut and lime on the nose and taste, rich but well balanced. However one glass was enough – it needed food. The other grapes were viognier (52%) which normally we would recognise, but not here, semillon (21%), which predominated, hárslevelü, from Hungary, which contribute the lime taste/aroma and sauvignon blanc.

In fact an (untypical) South African wine – not a country we taste very often.

[Geoff: An interesting wine without being memorable. Made to appeal but, after a time, was a little cloying without gaining any complexity. Okay (not oakey)]

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Another week, another blogger…

…gets a sparkling wine wrong. This time it was my turn to confidently assert ‘not champagne’ and be proved wrong. To me, at first, the nose was atypical and the taste rather sweet and lacking complexity. I thought it might be an upmarket prosecco or similar. On the other hand it looked like a champagne with lots of fine, persistent. bubbles and a dark gold colour. A second glass was drier which perhaps says more about my palate than the wine. Enjoyable and easy to drink. Now on sale (M&S) and worth looking out for but I don’t think it is good value at the full retail price.

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