Monthly Archives: November 2014

Wine Geek Newsletter #92

92

Hi Winos!

I hope you’ve been enjoying my foray into Christmas sandwiches as well as the recent wine gubbins, but this weekend Xmas starts for real. It’s our first Christmas dinner, with my brother-in-law and the Ginger-in-law… and that means plenty of booze, some great food and a whole lot of opinion! Whether you’re kicking off your festive season or just opening a great bottle of wine, have a great weekend!

Oh… and I hope to bump into a few of you at the Wine Car Boot tomorrow evening!

Open doorNew post

Do you find Italian confusing? Me too! Hopefully this will help a touch:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/11/23/giro-ditalia-the-exciting-tour-of-italian-wine/

 

#newwinethisweek

After tasting the best Italy has to offer, Mike only goes and chooses Pinot bloody Grigio! But do you know what? Spend a bit more and have a look around the wine globe and the grape may well surprise you:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/11/27/newwinethisweek-week-47-pinot-bloody-grigio/

Drunk

Supermarket wine
As soon as I saw the Guigal Cotes du Rhône on offer at Waitrose there was no other choice. If £10 is your limit for a bottle of wine, make sure you buy plenty of this stuff when its offer; its my house red!

Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2011, Rhône, France (£9.19 was £11.49)
Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva 2009, Rioja, Spain (£9.49 was £12.49)
Errazuriz Estate Syrah Reserva 2013, Aconcagua Valley, Chile (£6.99 was £9.99)
Cave de Tain Crozes-Hermitage 2011, Rhône, France (£8.49 was £11.49)
Paolo Leo Primitivo di Manduria 2012, Puglia, Italy (£7.99 was £10.99)
Louis Jadot Macon Villages Chapelle les Loups 2013, Burgundy, France (£8.99 was £11.99)
Cune Barrel Fermented Rioja Blanco 2013, Rioja, Spain (£7.85 was £10.49)
Les Andides, Saumur-Blanc 2013, Loire, France (£6.99 was £8.99)

 

Wine in the news

The Chinese won’t stand for counterfeits… or so it seems:
http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/11/chinese-wine-dealer-smashes-fake-lafite/
Why Sauternes is under-appreciated:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/26/dining/why-sauternes-is-underappreciated.html?_r=0
Burgundy split over new Cote d’Or appellation plan:
http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/587755/burgundy-split-over-new-cote-d-or-appellation-plan
Is there a role for wine bloggers? Well is there??
http://www.harpers.co.uk/news/debate-over-role-and-relevance-of-wine-bloggers-continues-as-trade-figures-take-sides/373915.article
10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About La Rioja Alta
http://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2014/11/10-things-every-wine-lover-should-know-about-la-rioja-alta

 

Light relief

A few more 1-liners this week… including a favourite of The Fish!
“I saw Monty Python at the O2 this year. You know a troupe is getting old when you seeing them is on their bucket list.” Brendon Burns
“I occupy the difficult ground between being posh and liking hip-hop. I’d do a drive-by shooting, on a pheasant.” Ed Gamble
“I had an argument with one of the seven dwarfs. He wasn’t happy.” Rebecca Humphries
“I broke up with my girlfriend over creative differences. I thought I was creative. She thought differently.” Phil Wang
“Polygamy – the art of parrot-folding.” Lizzy Mace
“I’ll tell you what separates the men from the boys. Operation Yewtree.” Maff Brown
“The early bird gets the worm but the late worm gets to live.” Jonny Lennard
“When my wife and I argue, we’re like a band in concert: we start with some new stuff and then we roll out our greatest hits.” Frank Skinner
“My father was a magician. Well, not a magician, he just disappeared a lot when we were younger.” Alex Edelman
“I sold my guitar to a bloke with no arms recently. I asked him how it was going to work, he replied: ‘I’m going to play it by ear’.” Lloyd Griffith
“I believe in gay marriage so that gay people can be as miserable as straight people.” Tom Allen
“My Dad is a proper family man. He’s got three of them.” Steve Bugeja
“One thing you’ll never hear a Hindu say… ‘Ah well, you only live once.’” Hardeep Singh Kohli
“I’m a strict Catholic. This year I gave up abstinence for Lent.” Andrew Doyle
“If I discovered a new animal I’d call it a Quorn to mess with vegetarians.” Jim Campbell
“Inside every Russian doll there’s a Russian doll screaming to get out.” Phil Mann
“I don’t believe in sceptics.” Tom Binns

And the best one of all comes courtesy of The Fish…

“I hate Russian dolls… They’re so full of themselves.” The Fish

Nice rack

Xmas sarnie diaries
A great showing by Waitrose and a dirty pasty from Tesco among this week’s updates…

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/xmas-sarnies/

 

The boring stuff

Please let me know if you would rather not receive this excellent weekly email and I will take you off the list.
Remember you can register on the site to receive email as soon as new articles are published.
If you know someone else who might enjoy the newsletter and blog then please forward this email or drop me a mail with his or her email and I will gladly add to the list.
If there is anything you would like me to write about please drop me a mail and I will do my best to oblige.

Cheers and have a great weekend!

Wine Geek

confessionsofawinegeek.com
wine@confessionsofawinegeek.com
@winegeekconfess

 

 

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#newwinethisweek Week 47 – Pinot bloody Grigio!

Mike is playing some interesting games with us with his latest picks. Last week it was the hard to find, but definitely worth the effort, reintegration of Lambrusco into our repertoire… this week he has gone to the total opposite end of the spectrum, and plumped for perhaps the most ubiquitous grape on the supermarket shelf… Pinot Grigio:

http://pleasebringmemywine.com/2014/11/26/nwtw-week-47-pinot-grigio-from-italy/

I am going to be 100% honest here. I am not happy with Mike for this choice. Most of the Pinot Grigio available to us is the dullest, most uninspiring and boring wine out there. I have thought long and hard about what to write about this week’s selection and I am going to take a slightly different angle with my recommendations. But before we get there, let’s start with some background.

Cheap

Pinot Grigio is actually a mutation of the great red grape, Pinot Noir and looks identical in the vineyard until the colour of the grapes change at veraison. The other interesting fact is that it can be argued that Pinot Grigio is a style, as opposed to a variety. This is because another name (or the proper name?) for the grape is Pinot Gris; the “gris” refers to the grey, slightly pale and dusty colour of the grape in the vineyard in Pinot’s homeland of Burgundy. “Grigio” is Italian for grey, where the grape has become world famous for producing cheap, light, and dry white wines.

Amazingly Pinot Grigio is only the 4th most grown white grape variety in Italy, behind Trebbiano, Chardonnay and Glera (one of the Prosecco grapes). The light and crisp style that so many have fallen in love (why??) is achieved by high yields, early harvesting to retain as much acidity as possible (the variety is naturally low in acidity), and fermentation in huge stainless steel tanks to keep the clean fruity flavours to the fore… and to keep the costs down. That is how the blandness gets into the bottle and cost less than £5 on the supermarket shelf.

But there is a silver lining to Pinot Grigio. Let’s start with quality Pinot Grigio from Italy; it really does exist. Most of the bottles (and boxes) you find in the supermarket will have “Italy” as the source of the grapes. This could come from anywhere in the country and is probably be a blend of fruit from many different commercial vineyards. But look a little higher on the price scale and you will find wines from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige, where Pinot Grigio is taken seriously. The yields from old vines are cut low, the grapes are hand harvested, and the wine is matured for longer periods of time in oak barrels (not necessarily new). This creates wines of depth, texture and elegance that you would never guess to be Pinot Grigio if your only experience is a glass of house wine down the pub.

Map

The second reason for persisting with the grape are the fine examples, usually labelled as Pinot Gris, that are being produced outside Italy. These wines are richer and weightier, with complex aromas and flavours of pears, apples, peaches, sweet spices and even a hint of smoke. In my mind I don’t even associate these wines with Pinot Grigio, especially the bottles I have so thoroughly enjoyed from Alsace and, more recently, New Zealand. But that’s just me being a wine snob again.

So after my initial diatribe, it turns out there is good be had from Pinot Grigio. All I ask is that you give it a proper chance and look for the good stuff. Maybe we should start a campaign to reclaim the grape and restore it near the top of the white grape hierarchy? Just promise me you won’t buy a £3 bottle and tell us how crap it is!

 

Some Italians to try:

Tesco Finest Pinot Grigio 2013, Trentino-Alto Adige (Tesco £7.99)

St Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio 2013, Alto Adige (Waitrose £11.99)

Venezia Pinot Grigio 2012, Veneto (M&S £10.99)

Collavini Pinot Grigio Villa Canlungo 2012, Fruili (Wine & The Vine £14.95)

 

From elsewhere:

Cave de Beblenheim Pinot Gris Reserve 2013, Alsace (Waitrose £10.49)

Babich Pinot Gris 2013, Marlborough (Wine & The Vine £12.35)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giro d’Italia – the exciting tour of Italian wine

Learning about Italian wine is like trying to solve a puzzle without an answer. The geography is fairly easy to understand as Italy’s twenty wine regions correspond to the country’s twenty recognised administrative regions. Then we get to the classifications. At the top of the pyramid are the DOCGs (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin); there are 73 of these, spread across 15 of the designated regions, but the majority can be found in the famous vineyards of Tuscany, Piedmont and Veneto. There are a further 332 DOCs (Controlled Designation of Origin) at the next level spread all over the country.

Italy Wine Map

The problem for newcomers to Italian wine are the grape varieties. Sure you’ll find Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the like… but not in the famous appellations (let’s not even get in Super Tuscans here!) The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has authorised over 350 grapes varieties but there are more than 500 other documented varieties, most of which are indigenous to Italy. You would think that all of the progress that has been made with DNA testing would simplify the situation and identify many of these different grapes as the same thing… but no; if anything it has highlighted even more differences and mutations! Does it say Trebbiano on the label? Is that Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano di Aprilia, Trebbiano di Arborea, Trebbiano di Capriano del Colle, Trebbiano di Romagna and Trebbiano Val Trebbia dei Colli Piacentini or Trebbiano di Soave? See what I mean??

The labels aren’t much help either. Like in France, the Italians assume you know what comes from where and what varieties are permitted. The appellation is usually the main label designation; Barolo, Soave, Chinati etc. so it must be obvious to all that they contain mostly Nebbiolo, Garganega and Sangiovese. But what about Montepulciano, which is both the name of a grape and region… but guess what, the Montepulciano grape isn’t grown in the Montepulciano district (Sangiovese grapes for the wines from Montepulciano, Montepulciano grapes in the wines of Abruzzo you nit-wits!!)

But that’s not all! The word “Classico” on an Italian label doesn’t necessarily mean its better, it just means the vineyard is in the originally defined area. The Chianti region, for example, has grown over time so “Classico” simply means it is produced in the original area. “Riserva” on the label means it’s been aged before release… But the time required is different by region. Superiore on the label generally should mean better as the wine will be made from grapes with stricter yield and will have 0.5% more alcohol that the guidelines from it’s designated DOC.

But do you want to know the most ridiculous thing about Italian wine? It really is worth the effort. There is no country in the world that produces such a pallet of colours and plethora of flavours. Food and wine is intrinsic to Italy; the wines of regions are designed to be drunk with food from the same area… or it may even be the other way round. So sometimes it is great to taste your way around the country, which I did recently at a tasting held at the West London Wine School:

Ita;ian range

Cà dei Frati Laguna 2012, Veneto (The Wine Society £12.50)

Rich aromas of stone fruit, apples, even a touch of citrus, all combining beautifully with an engaging floral note and a hint of yeast. On the palate, the texture is rich, with great body; there are lots of peaches and apples, a lovely creamy texture and bright acidity. This is a lot of wine for very little money; complex, long and beautifully balanced. 92 points

Lugana

Vesevo Fiano di Avellino 2012, Campania (Slurp £12.19)

For a second I think someone has bluffed me with a glass of Gewurztraminer; lychees, citrus, sweet spice and blossom; also something sweet reminding me of pear drops. Lots of texture on the palate with apple and pear fruit along with some floral notes and jasmine. This is the kind of wine I describe as “interesting” (e.g. I don’t really like it) but lacking in balance. 86 points

 

Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico 2012, Veneto (Wine Trust 100 £25.00)

This is one of those expensive smelling wines; feels like some money has been spent on new oak (very little as it happens!). The aromas are bruised apples, some peach and a touch of sweet spice’ lovely nose. The attack is tense and rich, reminiscent of a good village Puligny, and there is plenty of peachy and apple fruit. But the finish is short and a little warm; shame, as I was really starting to like it! 88 points

 

Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2011, Tuscany (Slurp £19.95)

On first whiff I get that beautiful smell of a bonfire that has just run it’s course… smoky and enticing. Then come the cherries, even a touch of cranberry, all mingling beautifully with the smoke, spice and worn leather earthiness. Lovely tight tannins and great acidity; beautiful fruit, smoke and spice. 92 points

 

Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Rabaja 2010, Piedmont (Slurp £57.36)

Initially I got something a little medicinal, then the layers of cherries and musty earth took me to a serene place. Beneath the fruit are layers of herbs and forest floor; the nose seems to give more every time I stick my nose in the glass. The tannins are right in your face and very drying, but beneath the texture are layer upon layer of red fruit and sour cherries. There’s lots of oak and a deliciously savoury finish that is very, very long. All this wine needs is another 10 years and it will be fabulous! 94+ points

Barbaresco

Da Vinci Brunello di Montalcino 2007, Tuscany (Slurp £33.24)

Delightful balance of fruit and earth on the nose; cherries, raspberries, leather, smoked meat and wild herbs, which really defines this deliciously aromatic wine. Lighter on the palate than expected; a wine of delicacy and elegance. The acid is fine and the fresh fruit takes hold before giving way to dried, then leather and earth. Lovely wine with lots of finesse and class. 93 points

 

Vesevo Taurasi 2008, Campania (Exel Wines £24.90)

You can smell, even see the sun in this wine; almost black in the glass, with fruit smells of plums and blackberries, liquorice, dark chocolate and some dried fruit; you could easily mistake it for a Barossa Shiraz. The palate is super-ripe and concentrated with clack cherry and cassis, but hidden underneath are hints of raspberry and cranberry giving a great lift. The tannins are big and grippy, providing great structure and length, with a fresh acidity that keeps the palate beautifully clean. A blockbuster wine that is perfect for a glass in front of a winter fire, possibly even better in a few years. I need to check out more wines from Taurasi. 93 points

Taurasi

Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2009, Veneto (Slurp £45.60)

Huge liqueur-concentration on the nose; dried fruit, liquorice and chocolate. The attack is super-rich with stewed and dried red and black fruit and some bitter chocolate, but there is an astringency I just cant get on with. I love a good Amarone… but I’m convinced this is a good one. I love Amarone and I’ve tried Allegrini before and loved that too, so maybe this was a slightly flawed bottle; I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. No score, flawed

 

Santa Cristina Vin Santo Della Valdichiana 2008, Tuscany (Waitrose £11.99/375ml)

Sweet raisined fruit – I was sure this had been fortified, but no, just 5 months of drying out. The aromas are grapey and nutty, with treacle and marzipan notes and something very savoury. The palate is sweet with honey and treacle, combined with prunes, raisins and savoury almonds. I wasn’t so sure at first, but this wine is very moreish, especially with a piece of Gorgonzola. 90 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Geek Newsletter #91

News 91

Hi Winos! 

Sorry I’m a bit late this week, but as you all know, its always/never (delete as appropriate) worth the wait. I attended one of the best tastings of the year earlier this week – be sure to read about some great Syrah from Côte Rôtie, and we’re also bigging up Lambrusco… yes you read correctly!

Have a great weekend and do yourself a favour… drink a great bottle of wine.

Poem

New post

I love Syrah from all over the world… but Côte Rôtie is the heartbeat… and Guigal is the surgeon:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/11/19/guigal-chateau-dampuis-cote-rotie-vertical-1995-2009/

 

#newwinethisweek

Lambrusco has grown up… and is looking mighty fine:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/11/20/newwinethisweek-week-46-lambrusco-emilia-romagna/

 

Supermarket wine

You’ve only got a week left to take advantage of Tesco’s 25% off when you buy any 4 bottles; pretty god deal that.

Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne (£31.99 was £36.99)

Mumm Cordon Rouge NV Champagne (£26.49 was £33.49)

Finest Premier Cru NV Champagne (£15.99 was £19.99)

Castillo San Lorenzo Rioja Reserva 2007 (£15.99)

Cave Saint Desirat Saint-Joseph Cuvee D’automme 2011 (£14.99)

Finest Chablis Premier Cru 2011 (£13.99)

 

And for more everyday drinking, head straight for the Finest range:

Finest Viña Mara Rioja Gran Reserva 2007 (£10.00 was £11.49)

Finest Chianti Riserva 2011 (£8.99)

Finest Külapëlli Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenère 2013, Chile (£7.99)

Finest Crozes Hermitage 2011 (£6.69 was £9.99)

Finest Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 2013 (£6.49)

Finest Douro 2103, Portugal (£6.00

Finest Pouilly Fumé 2012 (£11.99)

Finest ‘Tingleup’ Riesling 2012, Western Aus (£9.99)

Tesco Finest Vermentino 2013, Sicily (£7.99)

Finest Albariño 2013 (£7.49)

Sexy Wine events:

Speaking of only having a week left… a week today you should be looking forward to an evening of wine and fun at Wine Car Boot:

Wine Car Boot 4 – £10

Friday, 28 November 2014 from 14:00 to 22:00

Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square E1 6EW

If you only go to one wine more event in London this year make sure it’s the fourth Wine Car Boot! Wines will be poured by Vinoteca, Borough Wines, Berry Bros & Rudd, Vagabond, Theatre of Wine, Lea & Sandeman, The Sampler, Newcomer, Roberson, Vin Vixen, LDN CRU, Passione Vino, Winemakers Club, Handford and Spitalifields locals Bedales and Uncorked. Plus loads of food options too!

http://www.winecarboot.com/

For a glimpse of what to expect, I wrote an article after my visit to Wine Car Boot 3:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/06/14/wine-car-boot-simply-a-brilliant-day-out/

 

Wine in the news

Specialist wine shops “thriving” in the UK… that is very good news!

http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/587740/specialist-wine-retailers-thriving-in-uk-says-study

Just what Burgundy needs… more complexity!

http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/587755/burgundy-split-over-new-cote-d-or-appellation-plan

Majestic’s profits slip:

http://www.harpers.co.uk/news/majestic-profits-slip-on-the-back-of-high-investment-costs/373643.article

Cave de Tain, perhaps the best wine co-op in the world, makes more investment:

http://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2014/11/northern-rh-244-ne-co-operative-looks-to-the-future

Save the wines of Lugana… they are magnificent:

http://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2014/11/lugana-winemakers-fear-the-train-a-comin

Sign the Lugana petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/matteo-renzi-prime-minister-of-italy-please-save-lugana

 

Light relief

I’m a sucker for one-liners… which means you must be to!

“I used to live next to a farm and every time I passed the cows in the field I used to inexplicably shout abuse at them. Turns out I’m dairy intolerant.” Alfie Moore

“I lost my virginity so late, that when it finally happened, I wasn’t so much deflowered as deadheaded.” Holly Walsh

“My name is Fin, which means it’s very hard for me to end emails without sounding pretentious.” Fin Taylor

“You ever hate your job with the passion that your boss claims you lack?” Stuart Black

“My wife told me: ‘Sex is better on holiday.’ That wasn’t a very nice postcard to receive.” Joe Bor

“I like to hold hands at the movies. Which always seems to startle strangers.” Tom Rhodes

“I’ve got very sensitive teeth. They’ll probably be upset I’ve told you.” Gordon Southern

“If I’m ever feeling down I just type: ‘Yo are the best’ into Google. Then it responds: ‘I think you mean: “You are the best”’ and I feel much better.” Jack Barry

“This bloke said to me: ‘I’m going to attack you with the neck of a guitar.’ I said: ‘Is that a fret?’” Tim Vine

“People say I’ve got no willpower. But I’ve quit smoking loads of times.” Kai Humphries

“Watson! I’ve overdosed on Immodium!” “No shit, Sherlock.” Andrew O’Neill

“The wedding invite said: ‘Simon Feilder +1’. So I turned up an hour late.” Simon Feilder

“I thought Benefits Street was a budget box of chocolates that you could buy at Lidl.” Imran Yusuf

“My friend got a personal trainer a year before his wedding. I thought: ‘Bloody hell. How long’s the aisle going to be?’” Paul McCaffrey

“I’m Clive Anderson, in case you were thinking so that’s what happened to William Hague these past years.” Clive Anderson

“The other day, I went to KFC. I didn’t know Kentucky had a football club.” Nick Helm

“Colin had his neck brace fitted years ago and since then he’s never looked back.” Alfie Moore

“Who remembers when X Factor was just Roman suncream?” Chris Turner

“Even the word misogyny is misogynistic. It should be ms-ogyny.” Bec Hill

“If I went on Desert Island Discs I’d choose the Desert Island Discs theme tune eight times. Just so listeners would think: ‘What’s wrong with my radio?’” John Kearns

“Have you heard about the evil group of men who control all the world’s cheese? The hallouminati.” Nick Helm

“I’m very good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet. I don’t know why.” Chris Turner

“My wife said: ‘Did you know butterflies only live for one day?’ I said: ‘That’s a myth.’ She said: ‘No, it’s definitely a butterfly.’” Tom Binns

“I watch so much Netflix that, rather than suggesting more shows for me to watch, it’s started suggesting I go outside.” David Morgan

“My brother and friends spend all of their time floating out at sea. Well, boys will be buoys.” Bec Hill

Cat

Xmas sandwich diaries

Some new reviews from Pret and Boots as well as another moan about Tesco:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/xmas-sarnies/

 

The boring stuff

Please let me know if you would rather not receive this excellent weekly email and I will take you off the list.

Remember you can register on the site to receive email as soon as new articles are published.

If you know someone else who might enjoy the newsletter and blog then please forward this email or drop me a mail with his or her email and I will gladly add to the list.

If there is anything you would like me to write about please drop me a mail and I will do my best to oblige.

 

Cheers and have a great weekend!

Wine Geek

 

confessionsofawinegeek.com

wine@confessionsofawinegeek.com

@winegeekconfess

 

 

 

 

#newwinethisweek Week 46 – Lambrusco, Emilia Romagna

If it feels like Mike is looking to the past with this week’s choice… but you don’t know how wrong you are… the Lambrusco renaissance has begun!

http://pleasebringmemywine.com/2014/11/19/nwtw-week-46-lambrusco-from-emilia-romagna/

images-2

Surely this is a joke right? A cheap and sweet throwback to the 80s on #newwinethisweek? Hell no, Lambrusco is making a comeback in a big way. A couple of months ago I visited The Remedy Wine Bar and they were celebrating Lambrusco Day; I genuinely didn’t know what to think about this so I went for the 3-wine Lambrusco flight they were offering. What was in those glasses was a real revelation to me and I’m sure it will be to you by the time the week is over.

The name Lambrusco refers to the grape… but in true Italian style, it’s not that simple. There are 6 common Lambrusco grapes; Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Montericco, Lambrusco Salamino, and Lambrusco Sorbara. The majority of the grapes are grown in the Emilia Romagna region (also home to balsamic vinegar, Parma ham and Ferrari), with a smaller amount coming from Lombardy. Up to 15% of non-Lambrusco grapes are permitted in the blend, Cabernet Sauvignon for example, to give a bit more structure and body.

Map

It was the sweet and fizzy stuff that made the wine (in)famous in the 1970s and 80s but these days Lambrusco is made in a variety of styles, with varying levels of sweetness in both still and sparkling form. The wines also have relatively low alcohol, some as low as 4%, but the more serious bottles tend to be around the 11% mark. What you should expect is lots of bright and refreshing berry fruits, which makes the wine taste sweeter than it actually is; a truly enjoyable glass that will make you yearn for the summer on these cold, damp evenings!

If you look at the bottles on the bottom shelf for £2.50 you’re not going to change your mind about Lambrusco, but if you take the time to look a little harder you may well find something that truly surprises you this week.

images-1

Rinaldini Vecchio Moro Lambrusco Grasparossa NV (The Wine Society £11.50)

Villa Cialdini Lambrusco Rosso 2011 (The Real Wine Company £9.99)

Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Pruno Nero NV (Bottle Apostle £12.60)

 

So a bit more work to find a bottle this week, but why not give it a go?

 

 

 

Guigal Château d’Ampuis Côte-Rôtie Vertical 1995-2009

It is almost impossible to talk about wines of the Rhône without mentioning the Guigal estate. Founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in the small village of Ampuis and now managed by his grandson Philippe (via Marcel in between), the estate has grown in size and reputation seemingly every year. The estate produces wines from all parts of the Rhône Valley, but it’s the breath-taking wines from the steep slopes of Côte Rôtie that have cemented the name of Guigal as one of the true legends of the wine world.

The famous “La-La” wines are considered the greatest wines from the Côte Rôtie vineyards; the three terroir-driven expressions have earned Guigal more 100 point scores than any other producer from Robert Parker, each wine going through a 42 month ageing regime yet still managing to express the true nature of the soil. La Mouline is often described as the most floral of the triumvirate, La Ladonne the most tannic and La Turque somewhere in between.

Chateau

Guigal acquired the beautiful Château d’Ampuis on the bank of the Rhone River in 1995 and produced the inaugural vintage of the eponymous wine from the same vintage. The wine is produced using grapes from 7 terroirs (Le Clos, La Garde and La Grande Plantée from Côte Blonde; La Pommière, Le Pavillon Rouge, Le Moulin and La Viria from Côte Brune) and contains between 5% and 7% Viognier grapes, which are interspersed with the Syrah grapes in the vineyard and vinified as a field blend. The wines are aged in new oak from Guigal’s own cooperage for 38 months and fewer than 30,000 bottles are produced in most vintages.

The Château d’Ampuis wines are pitched a level lower than the “La-La” wines; however for a lot less money you are still getting some of the best wines that Côte Rôtie has to offer. This was my first time tasting these wines and if I had to make a decision between a bottle of Ampuis or a Bordeaux Grand Cru Classe I would certainly be setting my coordinates for eastern France… What an end to Syrah week on #newwinethisweek!

The tasting took place at the West London Wine School and I have to say a huge thank you to Trevor, another frequent visitor and student, who supplied the wines and expressed a great passion for the estate and in particular the wines of Château d’Ampuis.

Range

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 2009 (Fine & Rare £65)

Highly fragrant with lots of dark fruits and spice; black cherries, plums, blackcurrants and blueberries sit alongside black pepper, hints of spicy cured meat, smoke and a touch of dried fennel – truly wondrous. The flavours is hugely concentrated, with good acidity and a super-soft and silky texture. The tannins are a touch overbearing on the mid-palate but the finish is wonderfully long and complex. This wine has got a lot going for it; all it needs is a bit of time. 95+

 

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 2007 (Fine & Rare £95)

Broody dark fruit but with just a hint of raspberry rearing it’s head the smoky bacon notes are present, along with spicy black pepper and plenty of dried herb – more delicate but just as complex as the 2009. There is a real zing on the palate with juicy red fruit and wonderful acidity. What I love about this wine is how the fruit stays with you throughout the long taste journey, supported by plenty of herbs and spice and just enough of the plush oak. Such a pure and elegant wine; right up my street! 96 points

 

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 2005 (Fine & Rare £70)

A deep and perfumed nose with kirsch-like concentration and power. There is some spice also on show but it doesn’t half take some coaxing; could it be going through a dumb phase? This is a hefty wine with lots of weight; the flavours are dark fruits, chocolate and liquorice… it’s a beast! At the moment the tannin is getting in the way of the finish right now. One for the long haul perhaps? 92+

 

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 2003 (Fine & Rare £80)

I must admit I haven’t met too many 2003s that I’ve wanted to drink again… but this may be the one. It is a hefty wine, as you would expect from an 03, with notes of chocolate and dried fruits; very rich but with a lovely herbal note wafting away in the background. Very nice indeed. It is brusk on the attack with some spiky tannins and some rough edges that I really like. Plenty of dark and concentrated dark fruit, balanced by an acidic freshness and a long and rich finish. Very good. 94 points

 

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 2001 (Fine & Rare £65)

Highly fragrant nose with a delicious mix of red and black fruit and a lovely dose of expensive leather and spice coming through as well as lots of smoky bacon and even a hint of forest floor. The body is full and has a delicious freshness – ripe cherries jumping onto the palate – absolutely delicious. Behind the fruit are layers of smoky meat and leather; this is the one to be drinking right now! 96 points

 

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 1999 (Fine & Rare £120)

Who would have thought it was going to get even better?! I am going to start by calling this a beautifully funkadelic wine – there is so much going its an absolute explosion on the nose. A delicious mix of red and black, fresh and dried fruit. The wine is developing wonderfully with notes of roasted meat and truffle coming through; fruity, earthy, spicy, herby… this is ACE! On the palate the elegance is simply brilliant, the tannins take a gentle grip and guide your mouth on a long, complex and fantastic voyage through fruit, spice, mineral, meat and a whole lot more. Bliss. 97 points

Ampuis 99

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 1995 (Fine & Rare £95)

The aromas take a bit of coaxing out but they are there; lots of dried and fresh red fruits, strawberries even… and a touch of something a little rubbery. There is plenty of bright red fruit still at play before the meaty, earthy and leather notes take over. Good grippy tannins provide good structure but the finish is a bit flat and falls off pretty quickly. Not bad for the first vintage I suppose! 91 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Geek Newsletter #90

News 90

Hi Winos!

As I’ve got older my weekends have calmed down. It used to be pub, bar, club, wherever would let me in at 2AM. These days I prefer to take a more relaxed approach; a nice meal with a couple of good glasses of wine, home early and open a good bottle. I like it that way. But its not going to fly this weekend.

This weekend I will be visited by a monster from over the Irish Sea… so I apologise now to anyone who has to see me on Monday; it won’t be my fault, it will be Damo’s fault! I am going to try and educate the beast, take him to some of the brilliant wine bars London has to offer; besides, I only have 5 more weeks myself in the capital! So wish me luck… I may write to you next week.

Oh, and I’ve added a seasonal section that has nothing to do with wine, just my reviews and ratings of this year’s Xmas sandwiches!

Brilliance​New post

I can’t take credit for this one, I merely contributed to this fantastic post by The Thirsty Kitten on one of my favourite topics; Riesling. I particularly like the fact that my comments are “seconded” by Robert Parker Jr!!

http://thethirstykitten.com/2014/11/07/for-the-love-of-riesling/

#newwinethisweek

I have gone for one of my favourite grapes from one of my favourite wine regions this week; let’s go to the Northern Rhone and explore some of the best red wines in the world… and some great value ones too!

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/11/10/newwinethisweek-week-45-syrah-northern-rhone/

Supermarket wine

I hope you got a few great bottles in the Sainsbury’s 25% off last week? This week I’ll focus on Tesco who are giving customers 25% off when they buy any 4 bottles until 25th November. Let’s start with a few premium bottles that you may choose to adorn your Christmas table with, including a couple of Bubblies that are already on promotion:

Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne (£31.99 was £36.99)
Mumm Cordon Rouge NV Champagne (£26.49 was £33.49)
Finest Premier Cru NV Champagne (£15.99 was £19.99)
Castillo San Lorenzo Rioja Reserva 2007 (£15.99)
Cave Saint Desirat Saint-Joseph Cuvee D’automme 2011 (£14.99)
Finest Chablis Premier Cru 2011 (£13.99)

And for more everyday drinking, head straight for the Finest range:

Finest Viña Mara Rioja Gran Reserva 2007 (£10.00 was £11.49)
Finest Chianti Riserva 2011 (£8.99)
Finest Külapëlli Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenère 2013, Chile (£7.99)
Finest Crozes Hermitage 2011 (£6.69 was £9.99)
Finest Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 2013 (£6.49)
Finest Douro 2103, Portugal (£6.00
Finest Pouilly Fumé 2012 (£11.99)
Finest ‘Tingleup’ Riesling 2012, Western Aus (£9.99)
Tesco Finest Vermentino 2013, Sicily (£7.99)
Finest Albariño 2013 (£7.49)

Reduce

Wine events

A great Christmas pop-up from Nyetimber and another chance for you to sign up to the Wine Car Boot – just do it!

Nyetimber Tasting Room
From 27th November to 13th December – various prices
39c Jermyn Street, St James’, London SW1Y 6DN
Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine is bringing a taste of West Sussex to London with it’s exciting new Pop-up venture this festive season. By day the temporary St James’s space will allow guests to discover the award winning range of Nyetimber wines through Masterclasses, which will include special sessions focusing on vertical tastings of multiple vintages of Classic Cuvee and Blanc de Blancs.

http://nyetimber.com/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pop_up_campaign

Wine Car Boot 4 – £10
Friday, 28 November 2014 from 14:00 to 22:00
Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square E1 6EW
If you only go to one wine more event in London this year make sure it’s the fourth Wine Car Boot! Wines will be poured by Vinoteca, Borough Wines, Berry Bros & Rudd, Vagabond, Theatre of Wine, Lea & Sandeman, The Sampler, Newcomer, Roberson, Vin Vixen, LDN CRU, Passione Vino, Winemakers Club, Handford and Spitalifields locals Bedales and Uncorked. Plus loads of food options too!

http://www.winecarboot.com/

For a glimpse of what to expect, I wrote an article after my visit to Wine Car Boot 3:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/06/14/wine-car-boot-simply-a-brilliant-day-out/

Wine in the news

The 10 most expensive bottles of wine in the world would cost you £39,040:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/the-10-most-expensive-bottles-of-wine-in-the-world-would-cost-you-39040-9851969.html

There’s a lot of Villa Maria wine available in UK supermarkets; they win lots of awards in NZ:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/10724923/Villa-Maria-tops-wine-show-awards

The magnificent WineFolly explains wine ratings:
http://winefolly.com/tutorial/wine-ratings-explained/

It’s Beaujolais Nouveau Day next week… will you be playing?
http://www.vivino.com/news/beaujolais-nouveau-day

The film Sideways is 10 years old!
http://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2014/10/ten-years-since-sideways-made-pinot-a-film-star

Michel Chapoutier elected as Cotes-du-Rhone president… should be fun!
http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/587704/michel-chapoutier-elected-cotes-du-rhone-president

And Lidl has the best value wine out of the UK supermarkets (love their Picpoul and Soave)
http://www.harpers.co.uk/news/lidl-best-value-supermarket-for-wine-says-new-app/373418.article

Xmas sandwiches

To those of you who think that it’s too early to start celebrating Xmas, you are totally wrong. Xmas should start the day the kids go back to school after the summer holidays… like it used to!
One of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is that I love it when the Xmas sandwiches appear on the shelves. As usual I will be trying them all… but this year I’m going to tell you all what I think (M&S won last year, Pret the year before). First up it’s Tesco:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/xmas-sarnies/

Light relief

As you know I never like to offend anyone much), and if there is a chance of it happening I merely blame it on my Dad… well thanks again Dad, and we’re only mocking the Irish because Damo is coming to visit! (PS. Great job in thrashing the Springboks at the weekend!)

Somewhere in Ireland…..

The mother-in-law arrives home from the shops to find her son-in-law Paddy in a steaming rage and hurriedly packing his suitcase. “What happened Paddy ?” she asks anxiously.
“What happened!! I’ll tell you what happened. I sent an E-mail to my wife telling her I was coming home today from my fishing trip. I get home…. and guess what I found? Yes, your daughter, my wife Jean, naked with Joe Murphy in our marital bed! This is unforgivable, the end of our marriage. I’m done. I’m leaving forever!”
“Ah now, calm down, calm down Paddy!” says his mother-in-law. “There is something very odd going on here. Jean would never do such a thing! There must be a simple explanation. I’ll go speak to her immediately and find out what happened.”
Moments later, the mother-in-law comes back with a big smile.
“Paddy. I told you there must be a simple explanation …..she never got your E-mail!”

Bottle

The boring stuff

Please let me know if you would rather not receive this excellent weekly email and I will take you off the list.
Remember you can register on the site to receive email as soon as new articles are published.
If you know someone else who might enjoy the newsletter and blog then please forward this email or drop me a mail with his or her email and I will gladly add to the list.
If there is anything you would like me to write about please drop me a mail and I will do my best to oblige.

Cheers and have a great weekend!

Wine Geek

confessionsofawinegeek.com
wine@confessionsofawinegeek.com
@winegeekconfess

 

 

 

 

 

#newwinethisweek Week 45 – Syrah, Northern Rhône

We’ve spent lots of time on #newwinethisweek discovering and trying new grape varieties and exploring new and exciting corners of the vinous world. But sometimes you good to go for what you know; for what you trust; for what you love. In week 38 we enjoyed the delicious Grenache-based offerings from the Southern Rhône, and back in week 35 we chewed on the power of Aussie Shiraz… so this week, let’s take a bit from each of those weeks and head to the Northern Rhône and appreciate some magnificent Syrah.

In Australia, what you see on the label is what you get in the bottle; although they may call it something different… Shiraz in Oz, Syrah most place else. The French don’t like to make it so easy. They expect us to know that red wines from Burgundy are made from Pinot Noir, an assemblage of Cabernets Sauvignon, Franc, and Merlot from Bordeaux. Not only do they expect us to know that red wines from the northern section of the Rhône valley will be dominated by the Syrah grape, but also expect us to recognise the appellations of the region… as there is no law stating that Rhône needs to appear on the label anywhere!

Historically, the best reds in the region have come from the steep and famous vineyards of Cote Rotie and Hermitage. You will get little change from £50 if you are looking for these names on the label, but some of my very favourite wines have come from these magnificent and remarkable vineyards. The wines from Cote Rotie (which can be translated as “the roasted slope” due to the long hours of sunlight the steep slopes receive) and Hermitage can be tough and unapproachable in youth, but given time to evolve they develop fruit flavours of plum, blackberry and blueberry, with added notes of black pepper, olive, violet, leather… and smoky bacon! Although most of the wines are made with 100% Syrah, a small amount of white grapes are permitted in the blend to add an extra touch of elegance (up to 20% Viognier in Cote Rotie, up to 15% Marsanne and/or Roussanne in Hermitage). In fact, it’s only in the appellation of Cornas, south of Hermitage, that the wines are mandatory to be 100% Syrah.

A view across the Rhone to the hill of Hermitage

A view across the Rhône to the hill of Hermitage

As well as some of the best red wines in the world, the northern Rhone is also home to some of the best value wines coming out of France. By best value I don’t mean the cheapest, but for between £8 and £15 in the supermarket or from your wine merchant, the wines of Crozes Hermitage and Saint-Joseph will give you a fantastic amount of drinking pleasure; always keep an eye out for these names on a restaurant wine list too. One of the big reasons for this value is the fantastic co-operative on the outskirts of Tain Hermitage, the Cave de Tain; many of the own label Crozes comes from here and the quality is consistently high year in, year out.

So there’s a bit of background, now it’s onto the fun stuff… time to get a steak on the griddle and enjoy a glass of wine heaven… and at a decent discount in some places!

Finest Crozes Hermitage 2011 (Tesco £6.69 was £9.99)

Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage 2011 (Waitrose £8.49 was £11.49)

The Society’s Exhibition Crozes Hermitage 2012 (The Wine Society £12.95)

Cave Saint Desirat Saint-Joseph 2010 (M&S £14.99 – outstanding vintage!)

Domaine de la Ville Rouge Crozes Hermitage ‘Inspiration’ 2010 (Wine & the Vine £15.99)

 

Or if you really fancy pushing the boat out:

Guigal Brune et Blonde Côte-Rôtie 2004 (Waitrose £39.99)

 

Don’t forget to come back and tell us what you think; please leave a score out of 10 and a review of what you drank in the comments box. Santé!

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Geek Newsletter #89

News 89

Hi Winos

Did you miss me last week? I was a bit under the weather, unable to have a slurp so I thought I’d take it out on you lot and skip a week… but no fear, I’m back in the drinking seat and there’s plenty to talk about this week, including the best wine event in the calendar, as Wine Car Boot announces details of it’s fourth episode… don’t miss out on this one!

More

New posts

Its not often you get the chance to try Lafite or Penfolds or Huet or Prüm… so how about the chance to taste them all, and more, in a single evening?

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/11/01/whats-in-a-name-super-fine-wine-tasting-lafite-beaucastel-penfolds-huet-prum/

 

#newwinethisweek

A real under the radar white this week as we head back to Alsace and check out some Pinot Blanc:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/11/03/newwinethisweek-week-44-pinot-blanc-alsace/

And if you missed last week’s selection, another chance for you to get your chops around a monster red from southern Italy:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/10/30/newwinethisweek-week-43-primitivo-puglia/

Glass a day

Supermarket wine

Sainsbury’s are running their annual 25% off the entire range when you buy a minimum of any 6 bottle – get in there by Sunday 9th November to start stocking up for Christmas, and here are a few of the wines I suggest you take a closer look at for your Xmas dinner:

Spaletti Brunello Di Montalcino 2008 (£23.00)

Perrin & Fils Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2011 (£22.00)

Faustino 1 Rioja Gran Reserva 2001 (£18.00)

Delas Freres Saint Joseph Les Challeys 2012 (£15.00)

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£21.00)

Antique Mollet Pouilly Fume 2013 (£17.00)

Brocard Chablis Premièr Cru 2012 (£19.00)

Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2013 (£13.00)

Peter Lehmann Portrait Chardonnay 2012 (£11.25)

Ascheri Gavi Di Gavi 2013 (£12.00)

And don’t forget about some great everyday options from the Taste The Difference range – some of them are already on promotion so its double-dip time:

TTD Amarone 2011 (£15.00 was £16.50)

TTD Gigondas 2012 (£13.00)

TTD Crozes Hermitage 2012 (£10.00)

TTD Barbaresco 2010 (£8.00 was £10.00)

TTD Priorat 2011 (£7.50 was £11.00)

TTD Sancerre 2013 (£12.75)

TTD Chablis 2012 (£10.00)

TTD Coolwater Marlborough Sauvignon 2013 (£9.50)

TTD Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (£7.00)

TTD Muscadet de Sevre et Maine 2013 (£7.00)

TTD Grüner Veltliner (£7.50)

Tesco are also running a 25% off promo across the range when you buy any 4, but that lasts a few weeks so I’ll cover them next week.

Knife

Wine events

Wine Car Boot 4 – £10           

Friday, 28 November 2014 from 14:00 to 22:00

Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square E1 6EW

If you only go to one wine more event in London this year make sure it’s the fourth Wine Car Boot! Wines will be poured by Vinoteca, Borough Wines, Berry Bros & Rudd, Vagabond, Theatre of Wine, Lea & Sandeman, The Sampler, Newcomer, Roberson, Vin Vixen, LDN CRU, Passione Vino, Winemakers Club, Handford and Spitalifields locals Bedales and Uncorked. Plus loads of food options too!

http://www.winecarboot.com/

For a glimpse of what to expect, I wrote an article after my visit to Wine Car Boot 3:

https://confessionsofawinegeek.com/2014/06/14/wine-car-boot-simply-a-brilliant-day-out/

 

News

What would you do if you got this bill??

http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/11/diner-mishears-wine-price-pays-100x-more/

A day late for Bonfire night, but what the heck:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/01/cheap-red-wine-bonfire-night

It’s Fiona again, this time giving her recommendations for the Sainsbury’s 25% off promo:

http://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/news/recent/13-terrific-wine-bargains-from-sainsburys-current-25-off-promotion/

Where is confessionsofawinegeek???

http://www.cellarer.com/best-wine-websites/2014-10

The Standard like new wine bar Mission… so do I!

http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/bars/mission–bar-review-9827999.html

 

Light relief

Apologies for skipping a week and being late with some Halloween gags… but what the heck (thank Dad!)!

  1. What is a Mummie’s favorite type of music? A. Wrap!!!!!
  2. Why do demons and ghouls hang out together? A. Because demons are a ghouls best friend!
  3. What’s a monster’s favorite bean? A. A human bean.
  4. What do you call a witch who lives at the beach? A. A sand-witch.
  5. What did the skeleton say to the vampire? A. You suck.
  6. Why did the ghost go into the bar? A. For the Boos.
  7. Why was the girl afraid of the vampire? A. He was all bite and no bark.
  8. Why did the game warden arrest the ghost? A. He didn’t have a haunting license.
  9. Why didn’t the skeleton dance at the party? A. He had no body to dance with.
  10. Where did the goblin throw the football? A. Over the ghoul line.
  11. Why doesn’t Dracula mind the doctor looking at his throat. A. Because of the coffin.
  12. Why is a ghost such a messy eater? A. Because he is always a goblin.
  13. What do you call a goblin who gets too close to a bonfire? A. A toasty ghosty.
  14. Why did the Vampire read the Wall Street Journal? Q. He heard it had great circulation.
  15. What tops off a ghost’s ice cream sundae? A. Whipped scream.
  16. What are ghosts’ favorite kind of streets? A. Dead ends
  17. What kind of makeup do ghosts wear? A. Mas-scare-a.
  18. What happens when two vampires meet? A. It was love at first bite!
  19. What did the ghost say to the man at the coffee shop? A. Scream or sugar!
  20. Who was the most famous skeleton detective? A. Sherlock Bones.
  21. Who was the most famous French skeleton? A. Napoleon bone-apart
  22. Which building does Dracula visit in New York? A. The Vampire State Building.
  23. Where do most werewolves live? A. In howllywood, California
  24. Why did the skeleton go disco dancing? A. to see the boogy man.
  25. What do you get when you cross a black cat with a lemon. A. sour-puss
  26. What do you get when you cross a vampire with the internet? A. blood-thirsty hacker.

Drip

The boring stuff

Please let me know if you would rather not receive this excellent weekly email and I will take you off the list.

Remember you can register on the site to receive email as soon as new articles are published.

If you know someone else who might enjoy the newsletter and blog then please forward this email or drop me a mail with his or her email and I will gladly add to the list.

If there is anything you would like me to write about please drop me a mail and I will do my best to oblige.

 

Cheers and have a great weekend!

 

Wine Geek

confessionsofawinegeek.com

wine@confessionsofawinegeek.com

@winegeekconfess

 

 

#newwinethisweek Week 44 – Pinot Blanc, Alsace

Pinot Blanc

This week’s #newwinethisweek, Pinot Blanc, has a bit of an image problem. It covers over 20% of the vineyard area in Alsace but is considered a “workhorse” grape, far less revered than its regional counterparts, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. Jancis Robison even describes it as “useful rather than exciting”; I think this is unfair and this week hopefully you’ll find out why.

Alsace

Centuries ago Pinot Blanc was a revered grape in Burgundy; a few of the wine makers I met over there say there is still a decent proportion of Pinot Blanc still hiding amongst the world famous Chardonnay vines. It is also often found in Italy under the pseudonym Pinot Bianco, and can be used in the production of sweet Vin Santo, and England are having a good go at it too!

Pinot Blanc is the un-credited star of Cremant d’Alsace, but by itself it can produce clean, fresh and aromatic still wines. In fact, if it says Pinot Blanc on the label of an Alsace wine, you are probably drinking a blend of Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir (vinified without skin contact). But however it’s made and whatever is in it, I think it makes a brilliant afternoon slurper or a great aperitif; I’m a big fan and I’m hoping you will be too by the time the week is over.

Un fortunately there isn’t much of it available on the high street, but I urge you to head to your nearest wine merchant and get on the Pinot Blanc bandwagon:

Calvet Alsace Pinot Blanc 2013 (Asda £9.00)

Cave de Hunawihr Kuhlmann-Platz Pinot Blanc 2013 (Majestic £8.99)

Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2012 (The Wine Society £9.50)

Hunawihr Pinot Blanc 2013 (Oddbins £10.50)

Dopff Pinot Blanc 2013 (Wine and the Vine £11.99)

 

Or check out this fab English number:

Chapel Down Pinot Blanc 2011 (The Wine Society £12.50)

 

Once you’ve had a slurp, please come back and let us now what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

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