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Allegrini Valpolicella Classico 2007

Date: Sun, Apr 19, 2009 Wine Tasting

Allegrini Valpolicella Classico 2007

Allegrini Valpolicella Classico 2007 is a perfect example of Valpolicella done right and at a fair price. A great example of its type, Allegrini Valpolicella Classico 2007 will be a terrific accompaniment to a summers picnic and saw me through an afternoon re-run of the Formula One GP, a perfect wine to relax with.



Allegrini are one of the top producers in the Veneto and one of my personal favourites (you'll notice them mentioned a few times on the blog). They are pioneers in the area and produce some exceptional wines including a blend "La Grola" (Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Syrah and Sangiovese) and a 100% Corvina wine "La Poja" that regularly scoop all the top scores and awards as well as a magnificent Amarone of which I like to keep a magnum or two in the house at all times.

Allegrini Valpolicella Classico 2007 - BUY - £7.75
A striking ruby red in the glass the wine is hugely aromatic and attacks your nostrils as you uncork the wine. Lively notes of glazed cherry and herbs on the nose with a light-mid bodied palate with some cherry fruit on the mid-palate. The wine has good acidity and is a typical Valpolicella Classico with a bitter note on the finish. 86 Points

Where can I buy this wine?
Americans - The Wine Buyer - $11.99
Europeans - Superiore - €7.90
Brits - AG Wines - £7.75

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Your perfect summer wine?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Suavia Soave Classico

Date: Fri, Apr 17, 2009 Wine Tasting

Suavia Soave Classico

Suavia have had a mega couple of years with their Soave Classicos scooping WineSpectator and Gambero Rosso awards. Suavia produce only Soave wines and with 4 very different Soaves (2 you can see in the episode below, a further oaked Soave Classico and a Recioto di Soave) they seem on the fast track to joining the other kings of Soave, Inama, Pieropan, Gini and Anselmi. Watch the video below to see how their entry level Soave Classico and Tre Bicchiere award winning "Monte Carbonare" faired.



Hows that for some crazy titles?

I really can't recommend these wines highly enough. This is real quality wine for £7 and £11 and represents the very best of Italian white wine value. Its common knowledge that the southern whites, the Fianos and Falanghinas have come on in great strides over the last 5-10 years but that you can get this level of quality from Soave for £10 is something worth shouting about. Please go out and try these wines. Then come back here and let me know what you thought. Do it now :)


Suavia Soave Classico 2008 - BUY - £7
A straw yellow colour with green hues the wine is generously aromatic with a strong note of nettles as well as wet rocks and grapefruit. On the palate the structure is elegant with great acidity and fruit balance producing a fresh and lively wine, really cutting acidity. A good length dry finish completes a brilliant example of Soave. 90 Points

Suavia Soave Classico "Monte Carbonare" 2007 - BUY - £11
A darker straw yellow with good intensity. On the nose the wine has a nutty character but the over-riding pineapple and apricot fruit shine through, earth and mineral notes combine to give this wine a multi-dimensional personality on the nose. The palate is luscious and full with a tropical flavour continuing with strong apricots on the mid palate and a fruity generous finish. Less cutting but still fresh and lively. Top quality Soave. 92 Points

Where can I buy this wine?
Both Soaves can be bought at the UK retailer Bibendum
Both Soaves can be bought at European retailer Superiore
The Soave Classico can be bought at SuperwineWarehouse and the Monte Carbonare at Winerz in the USA.

Leave a Comment
Both these Soave wines come from 50 year old vines yet Suavia don't mention that fact. Most producers with old vines will make a point of letting their customers know this. Why is it that Suavia are not making a fuss over this? Are 50 year old vines par for the course in Soave? Does vine age matter less with Gargenega?

Any general comments about Soave or bullfrogs are welcome :)

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Joachim Heger Spatburgunder Q 2005

Date: Fri, Apr 10, 2009 Wine Tasting

Joachim Heger Spatburgunder Q 2005

Joachim Heger Spatburgunder Q (Baden) doesn't leap to mind as a wine for a dreary Good Friday in SW London for it really isn't a wine for that occasion but this was "Foreign Friday" and I'd just taken delivery of this interesting Spatburgunder!



This really is a wine for food suited perfectly to chinese foods like Peking Duck or Sweet and Sour Pork but not to drink on its own as its far too acidic and lacking in character on the palate.

Joachim Heger Spatburgunder Q 2005 - PASS - £11
Light garnet red colour with a beautifully perfumed nose of roses, cinnamon, cherry stones and cranberries. On the palate the wine is light bodied with very high acidity, no real fruit but is soft and easy drinking, lack complexity. 80 Points

80 Points is really low for a wine of this price but this is a food wine, with food, this wine could score considerably higher.

Where can I buy this Wine?
Americans - Winebuys - $20
Europeans - Chile Wein - €8
Brits - Virginwines - £11

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Anything Spatburgunder? Like, don't like? Tried, never tried? Tell me about your Spatburgunder experiences.

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Just a Quickie

Date: Wed, Apr 8, 2009 Wine Tasting

Just a Quickie

Well, a quick blog entry post and not a quick video. Here I am with the winesleuth tasting two wines that are outside my usual Italian remit. Two 2005 Chardonnays, one from the Macon and one from California. Both these wines were really enjoyable and I'd buy both again. Click below to see what happens when USA meets the UK in wine bloggers world. Who doesn't know what a mini milk is! Tsk.



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Cheese and wine. Which food combinations go best in your house?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Tusk N Red

Date: Mon, Apr 6, 2009 Wine Tasting

Tusk N Red

You gotta love the name Tusk N Red, so called because its kinda 00's funky but also because its a Californian wine with a touch of Sangiovese. Tusk N Red is from Mendocino county, north of Sonoma, and has a bevvy of grapes in the blend including Zinfandel, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Carignane and Sangiovese. Check out the video below to see how Tusk N Red fared against a real Tuscan Red, the Fattoria il Pupille Morellino di Scansano.



Not really a fair fight as Fattoria il Pupille is a top class producer of Morellino di Scansano. Neither of these wines were bad for the price though the MdS is clearly the better made, better structured wine with the Tusk N Red being a very quaffable, fun, easy drinking effort and, actually doing a fairly good job in aping a Tuscan red.

Mendocino Wine Co. Tusk N Red 2004 - BORDERLINE - £9
A light purple colour in the glass with a forward nose of dark cherries, plums, chocolate and herbs. A soft supple palate with high acidity and low tannins, a food wine of medium body that is easy drinking and enjoyable but not special. Borderline Buy/Pass. 86 Points

Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano 2006 - BUY - £12
A dark red/light purple in the glass with typical notes of cherry with blackberry, plum and earthy notes playing back up. On the palate the wine carries good fruit through to a mid length finish on a well structured wine that could probably do with some time out of the bottle. Chewy tannins, but a rounded wine and a good priced example of MdS. 90 Points

Where can I buy this Wine? (MdS)
Americans - Fame Wines - $11 (half) or PlanetofWine - $17
Europeans - Enoteca Italia - €7.50
Brits - Classic Wine - £12

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Any opinions on either of these wines or Morellino di Scansano welcome. Favourite fake accent ever? Daphne from Frasier? Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins? I gotta come close!

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Casa Catelli

Date: Fri, Apr 3, 2009 Wine Tasting

Casa Catelli> Casa Catelli Vlog #1

Casa Catelli are a producer specialising in southern Italian wines. Casa Catelli have vineyards throughout the south and produce fair priced, youthful, entry level Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Negroamaro, Primitivo, Nero d'Avola and Aglianico wines.




So here it is. After 18 months of threatening to produce the Vlogs here is the very first one, no expense spared direct from my kitchen. No famous producers, nothing from the Piedmont and not even wines from the Cellar Door, I thought I'd start the Vlog with something new and affordable and both these wines turned out to be decent value for money and the Primitivo; actually rather good. If you ignore the sunlight streaming into my eyes and the cars beeping their horns outside you'd almost believe we were in BBC television centre and not one of the busiest roads in Wimbledon - home to the tennis, the wombles and me.

Casa Catelli Primitivo 2004 - BUY - £9
A dark and intense ruby red in the glass the wine is big on aromatics producing a knock out nose of plum jam, strawberries, spices and a floral note. On the palate the wine has good structure easily holding its 14% alcohol, is mid bodied with good fruit continuing throughout. The finish is of a good length, a very complete wine but an atypical example of the variety. 88 Points

Casa Catelli Nero d'Avola 2005 - PASS - £8
Vibrant ruby red colour with an interesting strawberry custard note on the nose. Mid bodied wine with a smooth and fruity initial attack, on the mid palate a bitter licorice note appears that continues through to the finish which is watery and uninspired. Not an unpleasant tasting wine, easy drinking and interesting but not a quality Nero d'Avola. Better examples out there for £8. 85 Points

Where can I buy this wine?
Only available at Everywine.com

Leave a Comment?
What are you drinking out of southern Italy? How am I going to get the scratches out of my table from the aggressive swirling?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Bisol Prosecco

Date: Sat, Mar 28, 2009 Wine Tasting

Bisol Prosecco

Bisol Prosecco holds the fine honour of being the subject matter of the very first Wine90 Vlog. Its taken 18 months, 150 posts and a few non-violent threats but here, finally, is the first Vlog edition and what better way to start the Wine90 Vlogs than with Italys finest sparkling wine Prosecco, from one of the best producers of Prosecco, Bisol.

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Château Léoville Poyferré

Date: Wed, Mar 25, 2009 Wine Tasting

Château Léoville Poyferré

The wines of Château Léoville Poyferré hold such a place in my wine heart that I can't quite believe its taken two years for me to feature the estate. Château Léoville Poyferré count among my Top 10 favourite non Italian producers for creating approachable, sensual, fruit forward Bordeaux at a fair price, especially considering the name and classification. Possibly down to the high percentage of Merlot in the Poyferre compared to the Las Cases and Barton, the Poyferre, in my experience, drinks well from under the gun and, except in key vintages, the prices are very attractive.

Twas not always the case. Regarded as the third Leoville of the "super seconds" the reputation of Léoville Poyferré languished well behind Las Cases and Barton for much of the 60', 70's and to a less obvious degree the 80's too. Great strides have been made at the estate over the past 20 years and while the trend is actually to reduce the Merlot and style Poyferre in the image of the other Leoville properties no one can argue with the quality and value coming from Poyferre as it stands today. The recent increases in new oak and later harvests have added weight to Poyferre allowing them to stand amongst the very best from St Julien.


I'll go Poyferre in almost any situation calling for Bordeaux and have consistently enjoyed the vintages of the last 10 years, especially the 00', '03 and '04, with '04 one of the best value Bordeaux wines in that £30 price range and '03 hard to come by thanks to 98 Parker points.

Château Léoville Poyferré is a second growth St Julien property producing three wines, the grand vin, "Chateau Leoville Poyferre", the second wine "Chateau Moulin Riche" and the third label "Pavillon de Connectable". A historically significant producer, there has been wine production here since 1638, Poyferre was the largest vineyard in the Medoc at the time of the French Revolution, qualified as a 2nd growth in the 1855 classifications and in 1920 was bought by the Cuvelier family who still own the property today.

The grand vin is currently a 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc blend. The grapes at Poyferre are hand picked and sorted. The lush, opulent style of the wine is helped along by 50% malolactic fermentation in barrel with 75% new oak for 18-20 months. The Moulin Riche, Poyferres second label is also a savvy purchase, less expensive than the grand vin the Moulin Riche is partly rejected grand vin and partly wine coming from a second, separate property. At half the price this wine can be hit and miss but in certain key vintages can provide real value for money. Look out for the '00 and '05.

Léoville Poyferré 2004 - BUY - €40
Lovely deep red in the glass. My bottle came out of the fridge in a tiny restaurant in the Marias so the nose was almost impossible to decipher. Some definite vanilla, cherry and a hint of smoke on the nose. Super mouth feel, really firm and fruity, great tannins, rounded and opulent. 92 Points

Léoville Poyferré 2003 - BUY - €90
Blazing hot '03 created one of the best Poyferre wines of all time. A deep ruby red, full bodied and thick. On the nose the wine is a mesmerizing blend of sweet cassis, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pencil notes and minerals. Luscious mouth feel, a dense wine that treads that line between strength and finesse, superb balance, strong, firm tannins and a long fruity finish. 94 Points

Léoville Poyferré 2001 - PASS - €40
Dark ruby red with a less Poyferre than usual nose, more obvious oak this time but a smoke/graphite note too. Great on the palate mid-full bodied with low acidity and firm tannins. Really obvious dark cherries on the palate and a nice length to the finish. 90 Points

Léoville Poyferré 1996 - BUY - €60
Ruby red, a touch brown towards the edge. A fine nose, graphite, tobacco, smoke and black currents come together to create a fabulous profile of this wine on the nose which flows into the palate. A full bodied wine, the structure here strikes you first, soft tannins, full bodied, complex with lasting cherry notes. Strong lengthy finish to an opulent and smooth wine. 94 Points


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Which Leoville is your favourite and why?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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La Giustiniana Gavi di Gavi Montessora

Date: Tue, Mar 10, 2009 Wine Tasting

La Giustiniana Gavi di Gavi Montessora


La Giustiniana's Gavi di Gavi Montessora is hands down one of the best value white wines from the Piedmont. La Guistiniana are one of the few producers in the area whose chief aim is to realise the potential of that little known grape, Cortese (the grape that goes into Gavi). These are also my personal favourite producers of Gavi and the Montessora my favourite Gavi wines around.
La Giustiniana's philosophy is that wine making starts in the vineyards and there are no pesticides or chemicals allowed within their 110 hectares. Combine this with low yields and exacting vineyard care and you are left with one of the best made Gavi di Gavi wines around.

This is the first time I've spoken about Gavi or Cortese on the blog and sharing their region with Barolo, Barberesco and Barbera these wines are often overlooked, as are all Piedmont whites. Gavi comes from the Alto Monferrato with Acqui, Ovada and Gavi the most famous production areas. Made solely from the Cortese grape, these wines have crisp flavours and are usually medium in body with good acidity.
Gavi wines inparticular run the gamut of quality and it's imperative to know your producers. There's a lot of poorly made, insipid Gavi flowing around especially in the bars and restaurants on the west coast as the wine is an obvious accompaniment to seafood.

Gavi has gone through many changes since being awarded DOCG status and thus been en vogue and out of it several times in the last 50 years. At the moment, the fashion is for unoaked Gavi following the belief that oaked Gavi is strikingly similar to any new world oaked Chardonnay and we all know how far that has fallen from grace. So, perhaps due to the real best expression of Cortese in Gavi or perhaps with a nod to the success of Pinot Grigio the very best Gavi you'll find is unoaked, fragrant and delicate.

There are really seven producers of Gavi di Gavi whose name you can remember and be assured of quality. Here are your seven, in no particular order and with random currencies attached (I spoil you). Remember these names, basically they are all going to run £10-£15.

Morgassi Superiore - Gavi di Gavi - £10
La Scolca - Gavi di Gavi - $13
Villa Sparina - Gavi di Gavi - €13
Castellari Bergaglio - Rovereto - £12
La Guistiniana - Montessora - €12
Gian Piero Broglia - Villa Broglia - £9
Nicola Bergaglio - Gavi di Gavi La Minaia - £10

As good value as these wines are, and they really are as these producers vie for the best Gavi year on year, in my mind it is the Montessora that gives the most pleasure and is the star turn at the La Guistiniana vineyard. It's not often that you can try the very best wine from arguably the very best producer of an AOC/DOCG/DO whatever for under £10. This wine is the creme de la creme of the creme de la creme and I'm happy to be paying these prices any day for a wine with such low yields (40hl/ha for the Montessora) and quality wine making, go find it!
La Giustiniana Gavi di Gavi Montessora 2007 - BUY - €12
A straw yellow with green hues the wine is aromatic after a good spin cycle. On the nose the wine is delicate and has a distinct mineral quality with notes of apple, peaches and apricot. Mid bodied on the palate, soft and luscious but with a striking bitter finish, bitter good, not bitter bad. Refreshing with great acidity, clearly a wine for food. Good structure and more persistent than standard bottling. 88 Points
Where can I buy this wine?
Americans - Readers Wine - $13 - (Cant find the Montessora this is La Giustiniana's standard Gavi)
Europeans - Trimani - €12
Brits - Nickolls and Perks - £14
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I'm guessing no one here has tried a Gavi wine outside of my geeky twitter contingent *waves at Geeky twitter contingent* I love you bestest If you have, or have anything to say about anything wine related I'm always delighted to hear your ramblings. Post away.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl

Date: Sun, Mar 8, 2009 Wine Tasting

Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl


Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl was the wine chosen by Twitter poll last night over the Portuguese Dao (which I also opened but was far far less impressed with) for my Saturday night spent all by my lonesome with only the "blllurp" from the tweetdeck for company. *sob*
It was little wonder the Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl blew away the Portugese Dao as, at six times the price and from one of the most prominent producers in Alsace, had the little Dao come anywhere close I'd be jumping up and down and alerting you to a QPR doozy. Sadly not.
Today's blog entry is simply a sum up of the wines I haven't yet posted, a Super Sunday round up if you will. To stay in the Italian vein perhaps the best value of all was from Lagrein. Another dreaded Lagrein. Those familiar with this blog will know I am forever trying to find a place in my heart for Lagrein and end up panning it. Not this time, £10 from Virgin wines and Bobs your uncle. Not our Bob. Just the proverbial Bob.
However it was the Gewurztraminer that stole the show and is my wine of the week. This is a wine for a special occasion by one of the very best producers in Alsace, some might argue the best Gewurztraminer in the region too and would go great with a variety of styles of food. As Alsatian Gewurztraminer is high in acidity compared to other Gewurztraminers from other areas you would do well to pair this with moderately spicy Indian, Chinese or Thai food. Any of these will go much better than the sunflower seeds I nibbled on during my tasting.
Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 2005 - BUY - €50
A dark golden yellow with green tinges. On the nose you could be tricked for thinking the wine was a young Sauternes. Aromatically intense with notes of lychee, apple, spices and cream. On the palate the wine is wonderfully smooth and elegant, concentrated and exciting. Great structure with a creamy sweetness. Thick and mouth coating, perfectly balanced, good acidity and a long finish. 94 Points
Quinta de Cabriz Dao 2005 - PASS - €8 (Portugal)
A dark deep ruby red to the rim, super nose of plums, dark fruit, coffee, raisins, blackcurrent and noted oak, spicy like a xmas pud. On the palate the wine is too acid, mid bodied and very extracted with the finish turning soft. Started well, faded too quickly. A real borderline BUY or PASS, get someone else to buy it for you. 84 Points
Castelfeder Lagrein 2006 - BUY - €12 (Italy)
Dark ruby red in the glass with a sweaty sock component on the nose, a beefy, savoury wine on the nose but turning to good fruit on the palate. Mid bodied, high acidity, high tannins but soft and rounded, plenty of dark fruits with a gorgeous dark chocolate note on the finish. Robust and varietally true, a good introduction to Lagrein. 87 Points
Domaine Potel Savigny les Beaune Vieilles Vignes 2004 - PASS - €25 (Burgundy)
Light garnet red. A giving nose of glazed cherries as well as a meaty, leathery note. On the palate light to mid bodied with high acidity and firm tannins with a floral flavour profile. Good length on the finish but for €25 I can't recommend this wine. A wine for food. 86 Points
Frogs Leap Zinfandel 2005 - BUY - €25
Deep ruby red and all Zinfandel to the finish. Aromatically up for it, this wine is oozing vanilla, blackberries with a few wet rocks wrapped in smokey bacon. Full bodied on the palate with a concentrated blackberry and ripe back fruit flavour. Excellent balance and not over the top like so many Zins out there. Bio-dynamic producer. 90 Points
Where can I find this Wine?
Americans - Hart Davis Hart - $100
Europeans - The Wine Society - €50
Brits - The Wine Society - £44
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Tried any of these wines? What was your wine of the week?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Chenin Blanc Tasting

Date: Fri, Mar 6, 2009 Wine Tasting

Chenin Blanc Tasting

What's wine90 doing a Chenin Blanc tasting for? Well, multiple reasons. Firstly, to support the good old peeps at Red Nose Day, secondly because my exp of Chenin Blanc as an Italian wino leaves a lot to be desired and thirdly, it was a Thursday. And?

Here I am, being very supportive of the Red Nose White but unfortunately the wine really was a one dimensional glugger but for £5 and a S.A Chenin Blanc was I really expecting something better? I think the face says it all. This wine actually outperformed the Pecan Stream Chenin Blanc, which at twice the price, was abysmal and one of the worst wines I've had this year.

So, lets talk about Chenin Blanc then.

Finding its best expression in the Loire valley, Chenin Blanc is a grape capable of making a variety of wines in many styles. A grape of high acidity you can find Chenin sparklers, dessert wines and regular still wines. Chenin is a tricky little guy to cultivate and begs for low yields. This is what it gets in the Loire valley with crop yields governed by AOC regulations to be no higher than 45hl/ha even in standard Anjou bottlings. So, perhaps it wasn't really surprising then, that of the 5 Chenin Blancs that made their way to the tasting panel... that's me and the wine sleuth... the Loire Chenins made a clean sweep.

Sadly, all the wines brought to the table were dry and not a thing from Vouvray or Coteaux du Layon but we did get to taste a Samur which just edged out the Anjou "Chateau de la Guimoniere" to be my favourite Chenin of the night.
As you can see, there wasn't only Chenin on the table so after the formalities of the Chenin evening (which took a lot out of me I can tell you) we moved onto to happier places, a nice 2004 Savigny les Beaune and a zappy little Zin, the Frogs Leap 2005.
*takes deep breath*..... AND TASTING NOTES TIME.
La Grille Classic Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2007 - BUY - £8 - 3rd place
A pale straw yellow with obvious green glints. On the nose the wine has a nut, apricot and green apple profile but it's on the palate where this wine really satisfies with razor sharp acidity, great balance and a long clean finish. Notes of peach on the palate. 87 Points

Saam Mountain Red Nose White Chenin Blanc 2008 - BUY - £5 - 4th place
Pale straw yellow in the glass, a dull faded, "dole" tropical fruit nose with pineapple and mango showing, good weight to the wine, a mid bodied effort. Ok acidity and vegetal on the finish but really not a bad effort for the money. One dimensional, a bit like an alcoholic Lilt but drinkable. 82 Points
Chateau de la Guimonière Chenin Blanc 2005 - BUY - £9 - 2nd place
Dark straw yellow with vibrant fresh tropical fruits on the nose. A creamy mid bodied wine with some noticable nutty notes on the palate, good acidity and structure with a lingering powerful finish. Top Chenin, 89 Points
Pecan Strean Chenin Blanc 2006 - PASS - £10 - 5th place
Golden straw yellow, not particularly aromatic but when it finally comes regular tropical notes ensue. Really lacking in fruit, mid bodied, off point, and unpleasantly green throughout. 77 Points
Les Andides Samur 2007 - BUY - £6 - 1st place
A mid straw yellow, this wine is bursting with fresh tropical aromas on the nose, even with hints of kiwi. Super tight and crisp acidity with a citrus palate, coating mouthfeel with an aspagus note on the end. 89 Points
Where can I buy these wines?
All available at Waitrose exlucing the Chateau de la Guimonière which is available at Winerack.
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Favourite Chenin regions? Favourite Chenin wine? Suprised at these results?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Artisan and Vine Battersea

Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 Wine Tasting

Artisan and Vine Battersea


The Artisan and Vine wine bar in Battersea is a pleasant place to while away a Sunday evening. A sling shot from my London pad it's amazing I hadn't discovered the Artisan and Vine before. Not only are there 120+ high quality wines on the list, (several by the glass) but they're also big friends to English winegrowers stocking some very good fizz, whites and even passable reds. The best thing about the Artisan and Vine is that you aren't going to wake up the next morning with a tongue like a badgers wotnots or a thick head because the Artisan and Vine specialise in natural wines. Dropping all those sulphites and dodgy yeasts that go into so many wines not only means you can taste more without the hangover but these well made wines are also easy drinking with a great deal of smoothness.
Situated between Clapham and Wandsworth the bar wasn't exactly jumping on a chilly March evening, there's plenty of seating as well as passionate and knowledgeable staff. This is a brilliant place to come and try the best of natural wines in an informal environment. What you must not miss, especially if you're English, are the English wines. This weekend I spent some time in Brighton and noticed many of the bars were also stocking English whites and fizz. English wines are everywhere at the moment and us Brits should really be drinking the best of them.
The Artisan and Vine is also very fairly priced. You will not find your 300-500% mark up on wines here. A very modest mark up per bottle is added and if you decide you like a wine or want to try some of the other natural wines on offer you can buy bottles to take home some 30% cheaper than the prices on the wine list. I took full advantage of this purchasing a Frog Leaps Zinfandel. As if all this wasn't reason enough to take a trip to Battersea the food here is also first class providing great accompaniments to wine. Winner winner chicken dinner. Get yourself down there for a glass of top drawer natural Rioja, they even stock the Ostertag wine I reviewed last week. G'wan. Treat yourself.
SARAH NEWTON IN WINE DRINKING SHOCKER. READ ALL ABOUT IT. BELOW.
Oliveir Rivière Rayos Uva Rioja 2007 - BUY - €8 (Spanish)
A dark brooding purple in the glass. The nose is a delight. Whilst still being recognisable Tempranillo you are not bombarded with oak instead fresh aromas of dark fruits, chocolate and spices with the vanilla playing fourth fiddle. On the palate the wine is very tannic but not overly dry and chewy, favourable tannins create the structure within a raisined fruity and luscious mouth feel. When talking about the finish on these wines you are reminded that these are natural wines without the throat stripping finish, this wine had a mid length to the finish. 91 Points+
Biddenden Ortega 2006 - BUY - €8 (English)
A light straw colour the wine was offering some interesting mineral notes. On the palate the wine has very good acidity and a pleasant sweetness. Apple fruits but very basic, mid bodied, off dry. Not a complex or particularly interesting wine but really easy drinking and just tasty. Super aperitif wine. No world beater, it is what it is and I enjoyed it. 83 Points
Bookers Vineyard Blackbird Merlot 2006 - PASS - €13 (English)
Dark ruby red, a gorgeous colour followed by a pretty nose of cherry and plums. The promise is short lived as on the palate the wine is light bodied, insipid and lacking in fruit and overly acidic, unbalanced wine that started so well but tastes really quite average. 79 Points
AA Cos Rami Bianco 2006 - BUY - €11.50 (Italian)
Dark golden straw colour in the glass. A highly aromatic blend of 50/50 Inzolia and Grecanico with notes of creamy pineapple and melons. Great acidity on the palate the wine is so on point here that you would not be guessing such a warm terroir as Sicily. Gentle and rounded on the palate, mid bodied with a seductive finish. Well made. 89 Points
Joining me on my night at the Artisan and Vine was fellow wine blogger, The Wine Sleuth. I presume she will blog these up and have a completely different take on all these wines! We shall see. We also tried a Loire Chenin Blanc that threw me, Denise describing it as "voluptuous" with my take on the wine being "flabby". They sound very similar but our meanings were very different.
Where can I buy this wine? (The Rioja)
Americans - Goose Egg. Sorry.
Europeans - Wijnfolie - €8
Brits - Zelas - £14.99
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English Wines. Natural Wines. Your opinions?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Artisan and Vine Battersea

Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 Wine Tasting

Artisan and Vine Battersea


The Artisan and Vine wine bar in Battersea is a pleasant place to while away a Sunday evening. A sling shot from my London pad it's amazing I hadn't discovered the Artisan and Vine before. Not only are there 120+ high quality wines on the list, (several by the glass) but they're also big friends to English winegrowers stocking some very good fizz, whites and even passable reds. The best thing about the Artisan and Vine is that you aren't going to wake up the next morning with a tongue like a badgers wotnots or a thick head because the Artisan and Vine specialise in natural wines. Dropping all those sulphites and dodgy yeasts that go into so many wines not only means you can taste more without the hangover but these well made wines are also easy drinking with a great deal of smoothness.
Situated between Clapham and Wandsworth the bar wasn't exactly jumping on a chilly March evening, there's plenty of seating as well as passionate and knowledgeable staff. This is a brilliant place to come and try the best of natural wines in an informal environment. What you must not miss, especially if you're English, are the English wines. This weekend I spent some time in Brighton and noticed many of the bars were also stocking English whites and fizz. English wines are everywhere at the moment and us Brits should really be drinking the best of them.
The Artisan and Vine is also very fairly priced. You will not find your 300-500% mark up on wines here. A very modest mark up per bottle is added and if you decide you like a wine or want to try some of the other natural wines on offer you can buy bottles to take home some 30% cheaper than the prices on the wine list. I took full advantage of this purchasing a Frog Leaps Zinfandel. As if all this wasn't reason enough to take a trip to Battersea the food here is also first class providing great accompaniments to wine. Winner winner chicken dinner. Get yourself down there for a glass of top drawer natural Rioja, they even stock the Ostertag wine I reviewed last week. G'wan. Treat yourself.
SARAH NEWTON IN WINE DRINKING SHOCKER. READ ALL ABOUT IT. BELOW.
Oliveir Rivière Rayos Uva Rioja 2007 - BUY - €8 (Spanish)
A dark brooding purple in the glass. The nose is a delight. Whilst still being recognisable Tempranillo you are not bombarded with oak instead fresh aromas of dark fruits, chocolate and spices with the vanilla playing fourth fiddle. On the palate the wine is very tannic but not overly dry and chewy, favourable tannins create the structure within a raisined fruity and luscious mouth feel. When talking about the finish on these wines you are reminded that these are natural wines without the throat stripping finish, this wine had a mid length to the finish. 91 Points+
Biddenden Ortega 2006 - BUY - €8 (English)
A light straw colour the wine was offering some interesting mineral notes. On the palate the wine has very good acidity and a pleasant sweetness. Apple fruits but very basic, mid bodied, off dry. Not a complex or particularly interesting wine but really easy drinking and just tasty. Super aperitif wine. No world beater, it is what it is and I enjoyed it. 83 Points
Bookers Vineyard Blackbird Merlot 2006 - PASS - €13 (English)
Dark ruby red, a gorgeous colour followed by a pretty nose of cherry and plums. The promise is short lived as on the palate the wine is light bodied, insipid and lacking in fruit and overly acidic, unbalanced wine that started so well but tastes really quite average. 79 Points
AA Cos Rami Bianco 2006 - BUY - €11.50 (Italian)
Dark golden straw colour in the glass. A highly aromatic blend of 50/50 Inzolia and Grecanico with notes of creamy pineapple and melons. Great acidity on the palate the wine is so on point here that you would not be guessing such a warm terroir as Sicily. Gentle and rounded on the palate, mid bodied with a seductive finish. Well made. 89 Points
Joining me on my night at the Artisan and Vine was fellow wine blogger, The Wine Sleuth. I presume she will blog these up and have a completely different take on all these wines! We shall see. We also tried a Loire Chenin Blanc that threw me, Denise describing it as "voluptuous" with my take on the wine being "flabby". They sound very similar but our meanings were very different.
Where can I buy this wine? (The Rioja)
Americans - Goose Egg. Sorry.
Europeans - Wijnfolie - €8
Brits - Zelas - £14.99
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English Wines. Natural Wines. Your opinions?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Bonny Doon Big House White

Date: Fri, Feb 27, 2009 Wine Tasting

Bonny Doon Big House White


California Whites! We've got it all here folks. The Bonny Doon Big House White 2004 was popped and poured (well, unscrewed and poured) last night and just for once I reckon I'm in too late. That is the Bonny Doon Big House White 2004 is teetering on, and in my opinion has fallen off, its drinking curve into "past it".
There's only one thing worse than drinking wine too early and that's drinking wine too late and whilst this wine was just a tenner and not like opening a Margaux on the turn I still felt mildly wounded, especially as I'd bought it the previous week. Whatchagonnado?

So whilst I'm going to give my opinion on this bottle and, of course, tell you to pass do remember that this is just a note on the 2004 vintage, this particular year, and the Big House 2007 may well be drinking beautifully.
Bonny Doon are a big name in California. Up in the Santa Cruz mountains Bonny Doon produce a big range of wines but no longer this one. In 2006 Bonny Doon sold the Big House brand to The Wine Group LLC so if you are looking to buy the new vintages of Big House Red or White or want further information you need to be here and not here. Bonny Doon are famous for popularising Rhone grape varietals in California and have done a pretty good job with both red and white wines at fair prices including the Syrah I wrote about a few weeks ago as well as experimenting with Nebbiolo (there's the link!).
I'd be very interested to see if the Piedmont adventures work quite so well as the Rhone forays for Bonny Doon. I've only experienced one Californian Nebbiolo and that was from Palmina who actually do a pretty good job considering the reluctance of Nebbiolo to travel. If you've tried Nebbiolo outside of the Piedmont lets hear about it.
As for the Big House White, this is a 13.5% ABV blended white with Viognier, Chenin Blanc and French Colombard grapes. No idea what the percentage of each grape is sadly, the label doesn't feel compelled to reveal that information.
Bonny Doon Big House White 2004 - PASS - €12
A mid straw yellow colour with good intensity. Can not state enough how hugely aromatic this wine is with peach blossom, honeysuckle, lychee and orange peel. A lot going on with this nose. On the palate the initial attack continues with a floral note but the transition to the midpalate starts a bizarre descent in quality. The wine becomes obviously flabby and off balance with poor acidity and the finish is lacking in all flavour and turns green. In the end you're left with a cheap vodka taste. 81 Points
So once again, the wine seems old, unless this is how it rolls with the Big House White and if so it serves as another deterrent to stay on the right side of the law. In the interest of fairness I'll have to buy a more recent vintage and amend the bottom of the page.
Where can I buy this wine?
Americans - Empire Wine - $6.95 (2006)
Europeans - Revelstoke Wines - €10 (2006)
Brits - Revelstoke Wines - £8.50 (2006)
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Experiences of Bonny Doon please, especially the Big House White. Also any tales of non Piedmont Nebbiolo? Does it work for you?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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