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Pitti Pittnauer 2016

This is an Austrian blend of Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. We tried the latter grape recently but the former has been missing in action since 2014. This was a good Sunday drink – not too alcoholic at 13%, responsive to chilling – it was a warm evening – with light raspberry flavours, juicy, a little spicy and Cabernet Franc-ish and very drinkable. From TWS, no longer available.

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Classic claret

I have a memory of buying Chateau Citran en primeur, in the 1980’s when it was reckoned to be a reputable non-classified maker. This wine (the 2005) had an unmistakable cabernet – claret nose, albeit not as full-on and ‘cigar box’ as some, perhaps because it is 50% Merlot. Deep red with a brownish rim, austere but with a rich taste, balanced, savoury, still some tannin. A very nice drink which made me think – I must try more reds from Bordeaux.

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Muscadet?

A pale yellow wine, rather waxy and viscous in appearance, faint – even though decanted –  smell of lemon and melon, attractive mouth feel, medium length but without any strong distinguishing flavours. I thought it might be a muscadet but it didn’t have the chalkiness on the nose I usually associate with the wine and which was very evident when we last tasted the style. This was surprising since it was exactly the same wine.

Unfortunately I kept this thought to myself so the wine (Domaine Haute Févrie Monnières-Saint Fiacre 2014) went unrecognised until the label was revealed.

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‘It’s OK’

Having banged on last week about the ever increasing price of Burgundy I find myself saying much the same about the wines of my blind test on Sunday, a Barolo – not that I was able to identify it.

TWS lists eight Barolos with a price range of £25 to £115 a bottle. They are also offering the 2015s em primeur at similar prices and you have to wait till around 2030 to start drinking them. I should live so long.

The bottle shown was not as exalted as most those noted above. It had a sweet, spirity nose and I couldn’t get any variety from the aroma – no smell of roses, for example, a nebbiolo characteristic. The wine was quite sharp and thin, still tannic, slightly smokey but without much complexity. Not bad though, as the palate adjusted. Barolo is one of those wines – like Chablis and Châteauneuf  – that supermarkets offer hoping, we have always thought, to sell on the name, rather than the quality, which is often disappointing. This wasn’t in that category, just ‘ok’.

[Geoff: Four years ago, I wrote on the label ‘Good vintage. Keep 2019 – 2030.’ I don’t know where that information came from but the ’09 Barolo vintage reports are now mixed. I’m glad we drank it now. This was made by Ascheri for Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range and, whilst the wine’s style wasn’t clumsy, heavy and tannic there was little subtlety. The nose was delicately floral with a slight mushroom note but the palate was one-dimensional. I’ve another ’09, time to drink it, I think.]

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Sheltered (Cobijado 2014 Barbadillo/Carvajal)

Apparently ‘cobijado’ means sheltered in Spanish. The wine’s name refers to a kind of burka which used to be worn by the women of Vejer de la Frontera, where the winemaker’s mother came from. This is a 15% Vino de la Tierra de Cádiz, Tempranillo 35%, Merlot 25%, Syrah 15%, Tintilla de Rota 15%, Cabernet 10%. Dark red, a powerful an enticing nose led on to a very full bodied wine with some fruit and spice and gentle tannin. Very good and another classy wine from the Cadiz region. Purchased from the duty-free at Jerez Airport, about €18.

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It’s Pinot Noir, Jim…

…but not at all as I know it, so I was completely baffled, despite having tasted the grape in champagne, either alone or in a blend.

Haltinger Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs Trocken.

Pale yellow – I couldn’t see the hint of pink Geoff claimed, big floral, chalky nose which soon faded, rather oily in appearance which led to a thickish mouth feel, some acidity and a slight caramel sweetness, although it was definitely dry. No champagne notes for me. I also found it a little cloying on second taste. So, an interesting curiosity.

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Manzanilla

Just enjoyed a week’s holiday in Sanlucar de Barrameda, home to manzanilla. I tried a few over the course of our stay, as follows:

After we arrived I went out to look for a supermarket and came across an Aldi. Totally different wine stock to the UK stores with just one manzanilla, made by Bodegas Baron. Most locals buy their manzanilla in bulk, from the local bodegas.

Very light and very cheap at around €2.49.

I read about a good wine shop in the town centre – Albariza –  and went there the following morning. Lots of interesting manzanilla with, as is customary, all varieties of sherry sold in bulk, from barrels:

This was their manzanilla, blended by the owner’s father and sold en rama (unfiltered). Rich, mouth filling and very long at a bargain €4.50 a litre. It was a very hot week (30C+ every day) so I kept the glasses in the freezer.

Next, from another new wine shop Mar 7, opposite the Argueso bodega, this very interesting drink:

Their own label with no information about the maker, this wine had a pronounced smell of almonds, something I’ve never encounter before. Quite light and a pleasure to drink. €10.

We tried two San Leon manzanillas. The one on the left is a special bottling and was very full with the characteristic woody finish, good value at €5.50 for 50cl. The other is their standard drink (37.5cl, around €3 from the bodega) and one of my favourites. Lots of character and obviously related to the white label bottle.

The en rama revolution has been evident in this country for a while and most of the big bodegas have followed the lead of Tio Pepe in offering a version. I’ve tried La Gitana before – Tanners in Shrewsbury sell it while the Gabriela, a new name for me, was probably the drink of the holiday (€11 for a bottle). Very balanced, complex and moreish. The bodega was only a few streets away and I’d have liked to have tried some of their other wines, but we ran out of time.

Finally two more old favourites (both 37.5cl and around €3) which I always like to retaste since they are not easily available, if at all, in the UK. Las Medallas is the premier wine of Argueso and is rich and complex. The Barbiana is much lighter and great with seafood – Sanlucar is renown for the quality of its prawns.

Finally, back home a manzanilla we haven’t blogged before – Equipo Navazos no. 59 – a pasada (aged) style, unlike any of those drunk in Sanlucar. Heavier, more aromatic and much more expensive. Very classy with great depth of flavour like all the wines from this producer.

 

 

 

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