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Eos Paso Robles Petite Sirah

Date: Tue, Dec 2, 2008 Wine Tasting

Eos Paso Robles Petite Sirah

Eos Paso Robles Petite Sirah 2005 is not the wine I thought I'd be writing about today. Having attended the Decanter Fine Wine encounter last weekend and with over 50 notes its incredible that the Eos Paso Robles Petite Sirah is the wine that has moved me to write my first blog entry in two weeks. My lack of blogtiviy hasn't been down to sheer laziness, that in fact makes up for only about 50% of it. The other 50% is the Christmas madness that wine stores, online or offline, face around this time of year with The Cellar Door being at its busiest EVA!

That's a good enough excuse? Ok, let's press on.

Last weekends Decanter event showcased some of the very best wines in the world. I made my way round Finca Sophenia, Grant Burge, Peter Lehmann, Chateau Faugeres, Craggy Range, Maison Chapoutier and the best of the Italian stands including Petrolo, Planeta, Feudi di San Gregorio and Braida. If that wasn't excitement enough I also got to rub shoulders with a certain Steven Spurrier and the very talented Oz Clarke. Trying over 50 wines on the Sunday of the event and not figuring out sooner that I really should spit meant I felt I should take my leave at around 2pm still with some great wines untried. Live and Learn! If you're interested in the tasting notes from this event I'll post them on the next Wine90 entry.

So onto what I've become most excited about over the last 2 weeks and that is the £10, available at Wine Rack, beautifully fragrant and oh so long on the finish Eos Paso Robles Petite Sirah. I have to admit to never having heard of the winery Eos. Californian wines not being my strong suit I was quite sure this would be an outside bet for my £10 but, low and behold, and really for the first time since coming home I've found a bargain.

I'm in love with Petite Sirah generally, I've enjoyed the limited amount of Petit Sirahs I've been able to get my hands on whilst living in Italy and whenever I see a Petite Sirah in a wine shop I make a grab for it. Completely undervalued and virtually unknown to the general populus in the UK, Petite Sirah is something you should be drinking in 2009. If you haven't yet compiled your new years resolutions then "drink lots of Petite Sirah" should be the first on your list.

Although labelled Petite Sirah the Eos bottling contains small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Franc but with Petite Sirah making up 96.8% of the blend and no indication of these other varietals on the bottle I'm not sure why the winemaker has opted to add the other grapes. If you know, add a comment below. Aged for 22 months in new and old oak (some of it French!) the wine is surprisingly cheap considering the quality and the effort the winemaker appears to have taken. As a late harvest grape, Paso Robles is the ideal terroir for Petite Sirah as the rains come later than in Napa or Sonoma. Education part over, the upshot is that this wine has an exquisite nose, thick and ripe in the palate with a finish that makes your eyebrows raise and twitch. Long story short, this wine rocks and you need to try it ASAP.

EOS Paso Robles Petite Sirah 2005 - BUY - £10
Deep purple in the glass and right off the bat you are hit with a blockbuster nose of cherries, spices and pepper detectable even to those with a touch of the flu. On the palate the wine is thick and jammy with a lustrous mouthfeel, flavourful and smooth with acres of blackcurrent in the mid palate. 14% alcohol held with absolute style, nothing harsh or hot in the finish which goes on and on with notes of chocolate. Not really complex just simply delicious. 90 Points

Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Talking Wines - €12
Americans - Napa Cabs - $10
Brits - Talking Wines - £9.99 (or in Wine Rack/Threshers)

Leave a Comment
Are you into Petite Sirah? Do you have a favourite? Share your Petite Sirah experiences and recommend Petite Sirah wines to me cos I can't get enough of 'em. Cheers.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Pio Cesare Barolo 2004

Date: Thu, Nov 20, 2008 Wine Tasting

Pio Cesare Barolo 2004

Pio Cesare Barolo 2004 is the 6th place wine and top placing Italian effort for Wine Spectator's annual Top 100 wines of the year awards. Pio Cesare Barolo 2004, remarkably, despite having drank it on 3 occasions this year has not made its way onto the blog. Only the 2004 Barbaresco has been mentioned so far but I have a back note to share with you. I must admit to being confused on what criteria these awards are given. Of all the Barolo releases from 2004 for Pio Cesare to be taking the top wine is a mystery. Looking down the full top 10 list, you can see these wines do seem to fall into a QPR and their availability to US consumers relationship that must be influencing the decisions on which wines win out.

Disappointingly only 1 Italian wine made the top 10 but the plethora of wines in the top 100 backs up my recent findings here in London that wine in the £15-£25 price range from Italy is some of the worlds best value.

Top 10 Wines of 2008:

1. Casa Lapostolle - Clos Apalta Colchagua Valley 2005
2. Chateau Rauzan-Segla - Margeaux 2005
3. Quinta do Crasto - Douro Reserva Old Vines 2005
4. Chateau Guiraud - Sauternes 2005
5. Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe - Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2005
6. Pio Cesare - Barolo 2004
7. Château Pontet - Canet Pauillac 2005
8. Château de Beaucastel - Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005
9. Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale - Carnival of Love 2007
10. Seghesio - Zinfandel Sonoma County 2007

Top placing Italian wines:

6. Pio Cesare - Barolo 2004
14. Aldo & Riccardo Seghesio - Barolo Vigneto La Villa 2004
15. Sette Ponti - Toscana Oreno 2006
22. Avignonesi - Vino Nobile di MontepulcianoGrandi Annate Riserva 2004
31. La Massa - Toscana 2006
45. Jermann - Venezia-Giulia Vintage Tunina 2006
50. Firriato - Nero d’Avola-Syrah Sicilia Santagostino Baglio Soria 2006
51. Fattoria di Felsina - Chianti Classico Berardenga 2006
59. Terredora - Falanghina Irpinia 2007
70. Attems - Pinot Grigio Collio 2007
75. Suavia - Soave Classico 2007
76. Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi - Chianti Rufina Castello di Nipozzano Riserva 2005
81. Querciabella - Chianti Classico 2006
84. Stefano Farina - Barolo 2004
96. Cabreo - Toscana Il Borgo 2006

However, I am pleased to see Pio Cesare in the top 10 I recommend going for this producers Barolo and Barberesco wines and as they are so well exposed over here and the USA they will likely be the only Barolo and Barbaresco wines you'll come across in the fine wine sections of your local supermarket. Or maybe that's just me.

So onto what I really want to talk about today and that is Decanter magazines "Fine Wine encounter" that I'll be attending this Sunday (so if you see me say hello!). Every year Decanter hire out a venue, this year the Landmark Hotel in central London and some of the worlds finest producers come along and show case their wines. This year there are around 100 producers from around the world and whilst I will give it my best shot to get around as many as possible and naturally all of the Italian producers I would like you guys to give me some inspiration about which of these producers I should make a bee line for and which wines I should be tasting.

Recognise any of these:
Argentina
Finca Sophenia

Australia
Grant Burge
Peter Lehmann
Voyager Estate
Wakefield
Yalumba
Yering Station

Chile
Amayna
Casa Lapostolle
Errazuriz
Montes

France
Baronne Philippine de Rothschild GFA
Château Beychevelle
Bollinger
Château Brown
Château Corbin
Château Coutet
Château de Campuget
Château d'Issan
Château Faugères
Château Larmande/ Soutard
Château La Nerthe
Château L'Arrosée
Château Lagrange
Château Marquis d'Alesme
Château Miraval
Piper Heidsieck
Château Phélan-Ségur
Château Prieuré-Lichine
Château Rauzan Segla / Canon
Château Saint-Jacques d'Albas
Château Vray Croix de Gay
Domaine de la Bégude
Domaine D'En Ségur
Domaines Faiveley
Domaine Ott
Domaine Paul Mas
Domaines Schlumberger
Lanson
Les Vins Skalli
Louis Jadot
Louis Latour
Maison Chapoutier
Vignobles Brumont

Germany
Weingut Martin Wassmer
Weingut Ziereisen

Italy
Baglio di Pianetto
Benanti
Barone Ricasoli
Batasiolo
Braida
Cantina Terlano
Castello Banfi
Castello della Paneretta
Fattoria Nittardi
Feudi di San Gregorio
Il Molino di Grace
Petrolo
Planeta
Tenuta di Valgiano
Tenute Silvio Nardi

Lebanon
Château Ksara

New Zealand
Auntsfield
Craggy Range Vineyards
Mud House
Paritua
Villa Maria

Portugal
Cockburn's
Fonseca Port
Graham's
J Portugal Ramos
Quinta do Noval

South Africa
Kaapzicht Estate
Ken Forrester Wines
La Motte
Meerlust
Moregenster
Rupert &Rothschild

Spain
Abadia Retuerta
Bodegas Alto Moncayo
Bodegas Baigorri
Bodegas Frontaura
Bodegas Muga
Bodegas Ordoñez
CVNE
Faustino
González Byass
Marqués de Caceres
O. Fournier
Pago de Cirsus
Pago de los Capellanes

USA
Diamond Creek Vineyards
Heitz Wine Cellars
J Jacaman Wines
Peter Michael Winery
Sonoma Cutrer
Stags Leap Wine Cellars

Yeah, I thought you might! If you have any favourites there then I will be your ambassador and take down some notes for you. I am nothing, if not a public servant.

So camera and note book at the ready for Sunday. Full report to follow on Monday (or Tuesday depending on the thickness of my head). Ciao for now.

Leave a Comment
Um. Tell me which wines to taste!

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Rhone by Roger Sabon

Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2008 Wine Tasting

Rhone by Roger Sabon


Rhone by Roger Sabon: is it a wine or the latest eau de toilette? I suppose it could be used for either, the nose is good enough although dabbing this number behind your ears will attract passing wasps in summertime but as its as cold as a snowmans cold bits outside you could certainly opt for this. At €5 its cheaper than Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker and provides more kudos than Intimate by Victoria Beckham. I think it may also work as a natural mosquito repellent too. Everyones a winner.
Forgetting the pros and cons of this wine as a perfume lets try to focus instead on what this product was really made for, that being getting slightly tiddly.
Rhone by Roger Sabon is one of the wines I picked up two weeks ago whilst on my tour of Chateauneuf du Pape. The cave of Roger Sabon was given a rubber stamp recently by Mr Parker as being one of the must visit vineyards in the world and I was lucky enough to try their latest top CNdPs along with their less expensive Rhone wine, this, the Cotes du Rhone. So impressed was I by the QPR here that I picked up a bottle and at €5 there was no chance I could pass. Be aware though, these are Chateau prices and you're looking at double these rates on the high street.
The Rhone by Roger Sabon is your baby CnDP using some of the same grapes. This wine is composed of mostly Grenache with Syrah and Cinsault playing back up in varying amounts depending on the success of the vintage and the choice decisions of Mr Sabon. As a Roger Sabon CNdP will set you back around €30 the credit crunch thing to do is to stock up on 6 of these bottles instead. Cotes du Rhone wines, especially from top producers in good vintages like we have here, will benefit from a little ageing but who has the patience for that with a €5 bottle of wine? Not me. The 2007 is drinking just lovely today and as seems to be customary on this blog - I've decided to write a tasting note for y'all.
Rhone by Roger Sabon - BUY - £8.99
Deep purple in the glass from centre to rim. On the nose a sweet cherried character with some accompanying raspberry and hints of cinnamon. Super silky tannins and a filling generous mouth feel with a snap of heat on the finish. Good value. 89 Points
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. This wine goes perfectly with Orange Roast Chicken, a meal I prepared all by myself with no help whatsoever and to break with tradition I will post the recipe too.
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Quaffit - €11
Americans - Finest Wine - $32
Brits - Quaffit - £8.99
Leave a Comment
I am hugely proud of my culinary masterpiece and can now make at least 6 or 7 home made meals *beam* As successful as it was, Lasagna is my signature dish. What is your "never fails" number 1 best meal you like to make to impress a date, the mother in law, anniversary type dish?

Orange roast chicken

Ingredients
2 oranges
4 garlic cloves
1 oven-ready chicken, about 1.35kg
3 cinnamon sticks
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
Honey
450ml chicken stock or water
3 sweet potatoes
2 corn cobs
2 red onions

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Cut each orange into 8 wedges and tuck half of them and an unpeeled garlic clove into the cavity of the chicken.

Place the cinnamon sticks, rosemary, bay leaf and remaining garlic in a large roasting pan and set the chicken on top. Pour half the stock or water into the pan and add honey. Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour, basting the chicken with the pan juices after 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 3–4cm chunks. Cut each corn cob across into 4 pieces. Peel the onions and cut each into 4 wedges. Remove the pan from the oven and add the vegetables and remaining orange wedges, turning them in the pan juices to coat evenly.

Add the remaining stock or water to the pan and return to the oven to roast for a further 50–60 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Baste with the pan juices halfway through the roasting time.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a warmed serving dish. Lift out the vegetables with a draining spoon and arrange around the chicken. Discard the cinnamon, rosemary, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Skim any excess fat from the juices and heat until boiling, then serve with the chicken
.

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Rhone by Roger Sabon

Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2008 Wine Tasting

Rhone by Roger Sabon


Rhone by Roger Sabon: is it a wine or the latest eau de toilette? I suppose it could be used for either, the nose is good enough although dabbing this number behind your ears will attract passing wasps in summertime but as its as cold as a snowmans cold bits outside you could certainly opt for this. At €5 its cheaper than Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker and provides more kudos than Intimate by Victoria Beckham. I think it may also work as a natural mosquito repellent too. Everyones a winner.
Forgetting the pros and cons of this wine as a perfume lets try to focus instead on what this product was really made for, that being getting slightly tiddly.
Rhone by Roger Sabon is one of the wines I picked up two weeks ago whilst on my tour of Chateauneuf du Pape. The cave of Roger Sabon was given a rubber stamp recently by Mr Parker as being one of the must visit vineyards in the world and I was lucky enough to try their latest top CNdPs along with their less expensive Rhone wine, this, the Cotes du Rhone. So impressed was I by the QPR here that I picked up a bottle and at €5 there was no chance I could pass. Be aware though, these are Chateau prices and you're looking at double these rates on the high street.
The Rhone by Roger Sabon is your baby CnDP using some of the same grapes. This wine is composed of mostly Grenache with Syrah and Cinsault playing back up in varying amounts depending on the success of the vintage and the choice decisions of Mr Sabon. As a Roger Sabon CNdP will set you back around €30 the credit crunch thing to do is to stock up on 6 of these bottles instead. Cotes du Rhone wines, especially from top producers in good vintages like we have here, will benefit from a little ageing but who has the patience for that with a €5 bottle of wine? Not me. The 2007 is drinking just lovely today and as seems to be customary on this blog - I've decided to write a tasting note for y'all.
Rhone by Roger Sabon - BUY - £8.99
Deep purple in the glass from centre to rim. On the nose a sweet cherried character with some accompanying raspberry and hints of cinnamon. Super silky tannins and a filling generous mouth feel with a snap of heat on the finish. Good value. 89 Points
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. This wine goes perfectly with Orange Roast Chicken, a meal I prepared all by myself with no help whatsoever and to break with tradition I will post the recipe too.
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Quaffit - €11
Americans - Finest Wine - $32
Brits - Quaffit - £8.99
Leave a Comment
I am hugely proud of my culinary masterpiece and can now make at least 6 or 7 home made meals *beam* As successful as it was, Lasagna is my signature dish. What is your "never fails" number 1 best meal you like to make to impress a date, the mother in law, anniversary type dish?

Orange roast chicken

Ingredients
2 oranges
4 garlic cloves
1 oven-ready chicken, about 1.35kg
3 cinnamon sticks
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
Honey
450ml chicken stock or water
3 sweet potatoes
2 corn cobs
2 red onions

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Cut each orange into 8 wedges and tuck half of them and an unpeeled garlic clove into the cavity of the chicken.

Place the cinnamon sticks, rosemary, bay leaf and remaining garlic in a large roasting pan and set the chicken on top. Pour half the stock or water into the pan and add honey. Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour, basting the chicken with the pan juices after 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 3–4cm chunks. Cut each corn cob across into 4 pieces. Peel the onions and cut each into 4 wedges. Remove the pan from the oven and add the vegetables and remaining orange wedges, turning them in the pan juices to coat evenly.

Add the remaining stock or water to the pan and return to the oven to roast for a further 50–60 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Baste with the pan juices halfway through the roasting time.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a warmed serving dish. Lift out the vegetables with a draining spoon and arrange around the chicken. Discard the cinnamon, rosemary, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Skim any excess fat from the juices and heat until boiling, then serve with the chicken
.

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi 2005

Date: Tue, Nov 4, 2008 Wine Tasting

Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi 2005

Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi, at around £10, is the threshold Zin crossing over from Pap Zin to Good Zin. It's the Audi TT of Zinfandel, not quite in the super car range, or the cool car range but it's saying, "hey, I have some cash, I'm appealing, I'm doing alright for myself". Ravenswood is possibly the worlds most famous Zinfandel producer and as such is available pretty much everywhere (except Italy of course) so the poor bashed Zin fans won't have to carry their brown paper bag too far home, their cheeks burning red with shame.

"No Wimpy Wines" is the tag line of the Ravenswood winery in Sonoma, California and it's an apt claim indeed. Having sampled around half of the Ravenswood range over the last year all the wines, all Zinfandel, have punched me square in the mush. These are big fruity wines, not about finesse and/or balance, the wines are fruit bombs that are guaranteed to please anyone who loves heaps of fruit and sugar. Think of a thick alcoholic Ribena and you're really close to a Ravenswood Zinfandel. Not a match for my Salmon dinner last night, not even close, but it is a wine you can drink very easily at a party and at 15% alcohol it's no wonder my head is a touch sore while I type this.

I liked it. Actually. I really did. There's a time and a place for classic wines and there is also room in my wine world for a jammy, one dimensional Zinfandel hit and this Ravenswood number is not going to disappoint anyone who likes it a bit sweet now and again.

Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi 2005 - BUY - £9
Deep purple in the glass, good intensity. Fast and furious with the nose, heaps of vanilla, cherry and strawberry. Huge, mouth filling, jammy palate with acres of cherry flavours. Nothing delicate about this offering. Fruit bomb. 88 Points

Many people enjoy this international fruit bomb style, many do not. Personally I get a kick out of all wines. There is no bad varietal, just bad timing. So shushy.

Where can I buy this wine?
Don't be lazy! Everywhere.

Leave a comment
I'm pretty sure loads of you have tried one Zinfandel from the Ravenswood range. Are you down with the Ravenswood?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Chateauneuf du Paped

Date: Tue, Oct 28, 2008 Wine Tasting

Chateauneuf du Paped

You know when you've been Chateauneuf du Paped! This weekend I spent a fabulous time in the capital of the Southern Rhone, Avignon. A beautiful town, once home to the pope and just bursting with French flair, above average cuisine and saturated with CNdP, Gigondas, Hermitage, Tavel, Beaumes-de-Venise, Vacqueyras and all the other fabulous wines of this region.


I visited the region exclusively to tour the appellation of Chateaneuf du Pape and took a tour with Francois from Avignon Wine Tour. Going behind the scenes at the Domaine de Beaurenard vineyards and tasting a variety of wines here and at the excellent Brotte museum, Roger Sabon winery and also with Domaine de Nalys, some of the most well established producers of Chateauneuf du Pape and Cotes du Rhone wines.


The Chateauneuf du Pape area is best known for its red wines and this year got an extra bit of critical acclaim when one of its top producers, Clos du Papes, was awarded with the Wine Spectator "wine of the year" award. However, there are some very enjoyable white CndP wines though they make up only 5% of the output of the appellation. Speaking of "appellations", another enjoyable fact about the CndP area is that it is from here, CndP, that the AOC was created with local producer (and qualified lawyer) Baron Pierre Le Roy putting together the rules and regulations for Cotes du Rhone wines that would eventually be adopted for all the wine growing regions of France. This structure was later copied by countries the world over preventing an American company from calling their sparkling wine "champagne" for example.

Although I had the privilege of trying the latest releases in both CndP and Cotes du Rhone wines from many fine producers the highlight of the tour was certainly the Brotte museum. An extremely informative and well thought out history of the region as well as an explanation of wine production. The tour ends with a tasting of wines from all over the Southern Rhone with the sommelier asking if there are any specific wines you want to try and then fishing them out for you. I'd like to think this is because I am very special and/or attractive but I think everyone gets the same treatment.
At the Brotte museum you can try Gigondas, Tavel and Muscat de Beaumes de Venise which of course are not wines produced within CndP. So if you do tour CndP, which you definitely should, here is the best place to get a more rounded view of the Southern Rhone.
Avignon itself is a very attractive town, very expensive on the main avenue but with zero litter and filled with wine and souvenir shops. Never in my life have I been approached more often for money and cigarettes though. Avignon has a serious hobo problem that the town council really should be striving to clean up. Avignon is a tourist town and the sheer amount of drunks and people sleeping rough on the street casts a shadow over one of the gems in the French tourist crown.
My advise if to stay outside of the walls and try not to walk around alone after dark! Try to stay off the Rue de la Republique for your restaurants. Not only are these hiked up tourist prices but they're not the cleanest either with a cockroach joining myself and my dining partner on Saturday night.
Avignon, beautiful but grubby.
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Château La Variere Anjou Villages Brissac Caberner Franc

Date: Mon, Oct 20, 2008 Wine Tasting

Château La Variere Anjou Villages Brissac Cabernet Franc 2005


After all the Sainsburys bashing recently I decided I'd better switch supermarkets and found this, the Château La Variere Anjou Villages Brissac Cabernet Franc 2005 at my local Waitrose. Having had mixed experience of Cabernet Franc from North East Italy I thought it was time to get some French Franc but, always loving to go with the kooky, this is left field Loire.
It worked out well. A wine suitable to bring to parties (as I did for my flatmates partner this Friday) and a wine I can see going great with some Ardennes pate and harder cheeses the wine is total value at £8 and not your stinking vegetal Cab Franc but your smooth, subtle raspberry number that will get your house mates taking down the name on the label. Brava Waitrose.
This was the best value from a mixed bag on the night that included a promising showing from the Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano '03 and a corked Stroblhof Blauburgunder Riserva.
At £8 the Château La Variere Anjou Villages Brissac has got me looking at other wines from the Anjou area. As high quality red is not something the area is known for real bargains can be found. If you have had some exposure to the wines of Anjou then you'll certainly know the area is awesome in their Chenin Blanc based sweet whites (Coteaux du Layon) but to have a red wine of this standard from the area is a little special so I highly recommend you keep your eyes peeled for this. It may not be £8 for much longer (especially after my review! Haw Haw)
Château La Variere Anjou Villages Brissac Cabernet Franc 2005 - BUY - £8
High intensity ruby red the wine opens up quickly giving off a generous nose of ripe berries and vanilla. On the palate an amazing initial attack, the wine is smooth and well balanced, some serious tannins but a good acidity keeping everything in check, 14.5% alcohol shows a little hot on the end. Enjoyable finish with fruit all the way through the tasting experience. Thoroughly enjoyable as a stand alone wine. 90 Points
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano 2003 - BUY - £25
Ruby red with orange hues. A typical Barolo nose with obvious flowers, tar and truffles as well as a sweet strawberry note and touches of cinnamon. On the palate the wine is drinking well today though still quite tannic, good flavourful wine with a long finish though still a few years from a decent level of maturity. 91 Points
Expecting the Tortoniano to take off in a couple of years but for a lower end Barolo this is good value. For drinking today, buy 3 bottles of the Château La Variere Anjou Villages Brissac Cabernet Franc.
Where can I buy this Wine?
Just Waitrose - £8
Leave a Comment
I went to see Sarah Silverman at the Hammersmith Apollo last night and she bombed in a similar fashion to the Stroblhof Blauburgunder Riserva. Question is: Which wine makes you want to curl up in a ball, start rocking back and forth, and hope the ground swallows Sarah Silverman up?
Or anything else wine related :D
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Chinese Red Wine

Date: Thu, Oct 16, 2008 Wine Tasting

Chinese Red Wine

Chinese red wine. That is, red wine from China. No, really. On Tuesday night whilst perusing the aisles of Morrisons supermarket I found one bottle of very dusty and rather trendy labelled Chinese Red Wine. It appears, from the inch thick layer of dust covering these bottles, that Chinese wines are not all the rage in deepest darkest Sutton but, as a Brit who will routinely cheer for the under dog, I took pity on it and took it home to accompany my low fat dinner. Chinese red wine and low fat dinners - Livin la Vida Loca!

Now, whilst trying to find out a little bit about the producer, the area the wine was produced etc etc, I found that no one else in the world, excluding myself has ever tried this wine. FACT. I can't find it to buy anywhere, I can't find another geeks notes, not on cellar tracker, not on the interweb, this wine is my own personal Narnia. In fact I'm really not sure it's called Silkroad anymore so I'm going to have to re buy and then edit this post! Apart from the review there is little more to say about Silkroad Cabernet Sauvignon. No photos or nuffink!

So instead I will tell you what we all know, in every situation in life and that is, that the Chinese are coming. China is one of the fastest growing markets for wine, with white wine a symbol of femininity and class for women and red wine a symbol of power and wealth for men. Whilst the fashion is for European and American top name wines the Chinese themselves are starting to produce better wines, and with their economy can produce wine extremely cheaply with both land and labour insanely cheap. That factor didn't pass itself onto "Silkroad", the wine was £5.99, and for such an unknown quantity this is quite a price.

China doesn't naturally lend itself to grape growing so the fact this wine tasted under ripe and at times, plain bizarre isn't a surprise. Knock £2 off this wine though and we're starting to get into a decent, quaffable price range.

Silk Road Carbernet Sauvignon 2005 - PASS - £5.99
Sitting dark purple in the glass the wine is aromatically forward with a chocolate/cherry nose but also a touch of fake sweetness. On the palate the wine is less interesting and a touch over acidic and under ripe. Pleasant to drink but not with the tell tale signs of classic Cabernet, disappeared fast on the finish. Despite all these drawbacks the wine was more than drinkable though I wouldn't buy it again for £6. 83 Points

Where can I buy this wine?
Morrisons. Supermarkets worldwide are embracing Chinese wines, probably because there is a massive mark up on it!

Leave a Comment
Where is the most "left field" country from which you've sampled a bottle of wine?

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Braida Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone

Date: Tue, Oct 14, 2008 Wine Tasting

Braida Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone 2003

Braida Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone was another of those Italian wines that I'm really meant to be holding onto but had to break out in order to wash down the muck I've been tasting this week. I'm beginning to think there can only be two possible factors at work,

a) Italian wines are just the best value in the world FACT or
b) My taste buds are so attuned to Italian wines that no others are getting a fair crack of the whip

Over the past 4 days I've had a terrible run. A 2005 Morgon Beaujolais, an 2004 Pouilly Fumé, a 2006 New Zealand Pinot Noir and the Salisbury's SO Organic (Cecchi) Chianti all, in varying quantities, made it down my kitchen sink. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not that hard to please but all these wines didn't just pale in comparison to the Braida, they out and out stunk.

And then there was Braida. I'd forgotten how much I love Braida, the producer, the bottles, the taste of top quality Barbera. Along with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Barbera is providing the best quality QPR in all of Italy and the advantage of Braida's top end Barbera (this one), is the ageing potential. Sadly, every bottle of Bricco dell'Uccellone I've ever had (there's a 2001 note on here too somewhere) never reaches it's Christmas destiny. It's just too damned GOWJUS.

I'll tell you what's not GOWJUS, Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2006. £15 and smells like cabbage.

Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2006 - PASS - £15
Brooding dark purple in the glass to the rim. Total vegetable nose, cabbage water, mud, some minerality, no fruit. On the palate the wine picks up, well balanced, good integrated tannins, a little spice and smoke but still there with the veggies. Good finish, a well made wine, just not to my tastes. If you like your vegetable style wines, you may like it, never a Pinot, would have called it Cabernet Franc all the way down the line. 85 Points

Sainsburys SO Organic (Cecchi) Chianti 2006 - PASS - £8
Pretty ruby red with good intensity. Pretty nose, dark cherry and vanilla, little raspberry too but aromatically closed. Hugely tannic on the palate, thick mouth feel, flavour profile is overwhelming currants, tastes under ripe. 83 Points

Braida Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone 2003 - BUY - £21
Deep purple in the glass. Aromatically opens up after an hour to develop a characterful strawberry nose accompanied by some coffee beans. A standout palate with luscious mouth-feel, good balance of acidity and tannins and a continuation of fruit to the finish which lasts a good 30 seconds. Nice job. 90 Points

Where can I buy this Wine?
Europeans - Enoteca Ronchi - €30
Americans - Wine Exhange - $45
Brits - Telegraph Wines - £21

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I'm trying to think of a great name for a dog. I have been told that "Beaujolais" (even though Beau for short is cute I reckon) is ridiculous. Name ideas for my dog please.

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich

Date: Thu, Oct 9, 2008 Wine Tasting

Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich


Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich comes in a variety of sweetness styles (Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese) and for around £10 is one of the more reliable Rieslings around that price point. Dr Loosen's range of Rieslings is phenomenal and for those of you, like myself, getting into Riesling this producer is a good place to start to get well acquainted with the grape. They also produce an award winning Eiswein for those of you who like it super sweet.
As one of the major Mosel producers you shouldn't have any problem at all sourcing this wine, readily available in many wine shops as well as supermarkets and down my local Sainsburys too.
Last night I went Mexican, and despite forgetting both the Salsa and the Guacamole managed to produce some very edible Fajitas! Spicy Mexican food and wine is always a tough combo but the Kabinett Riesling was not a bad match at all though probably more suited to shellfish and blue cheeses.
Actually, I went a bit crazy yesterday picking up a New Zealand Pinot Noir but more interestingly, Sainsburys BOB SO Organic Chianti (actually a Cecchi production) and will be interested to see what Cecchi are doing for Sainsburys for the £7 price tag. These notes will follow next week as will an interesting announcement about Wine90. Oooooooohhhhhh. *drumroll* Yes, there is a reason I've been a bit quiet lately, all will be revealed, be patient!
Dr Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2007 - BUY - £10
Sitting straw yellow in the glass the wine gives off generous amount of honeysuckle, pears and minerals. On the palate the wines initial attack is obvious fruit, continuation of pears (in syrup), creamy and fresh. Striking balance but shocking sweetness that had me check the label on two separate occasions. Easy drinking, simple finish, but lively and very enjoyable. 89 Points.
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans - Vivavin - €8
Americans - Dee Vine - $21
Brits - Sainsburys - £10
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Fajitas and............... ? Is this a time where a cold beer is required?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Bovio Barolo

Date: Tue, Oct 7, 2008 Wine Tasting

Bovio Barolo

Bovio Barolo was my party saving wine this weekend as the mega brands, Concha Y Toro and Penfolds faded into the bland background of wine obscurity against the mighty (if unheard of) Bovio. Cracking open the reserves clearly I am missing the mighty Italian wines. As much fun as trying the international varieties is sometimes you just have to come home to old steady and drink what you know you'll enjoy. That being said, on Sunday night myself and two friends shared a fantastic Chilean Carmenere (Adobe) at the Willie Gunn restaurant in London's, Earlsfield. We paid £19 but obviously these are restaurant prices and hiked up x3. You can find, what I'd consider a 89 point wine, for around £5-6 in many of the high street stores.

Back to the Bovio, this was sadly my final of a 12 case I purchased back in Christmas. The Bovio Barolo is a really good value wine, most quality Barolos start at the
£30 mark, this wine comes in underneath that and the 2003 vintage can happily be awarded 91 points to my palate. The wine is fruit forward but extremely tannic, really shouldn't be drinking today but there are foods, like my partners "Lemony chicken" that the huge tannic base seemed to compliment quite strangely ... and against the textbook. When I say Lemony, I'm talking obscene Lemony. 5 Lemons on one chicken, Is that even legal?

Penfolds Rawsons Retreat 2007 - PASS
- £6
Shiraz/Cabernet blend sits purple in the glass. Uninspiring nose, candied fruit, sugary but not too bad, some good fruit too. Fruit on the palate, a hollow and unsatisfying finish. Serviceable but not great. 84 Points

Sainsburys Taste The Difference Gewurztraminer 2006 - BUY -
£7
Dark golden yellow. Explosive spicy nose, petrol and melon. Great mouth feel, good balance, fruit continuing to the finish, seems off-dry but is not. Exceptional value from Sainsbury's. Highly recommend. 90 Points

Bovio Rocchettevino Barolo 2003 - BUY - £24
Dark ruby red to the rim. Exceptionally forward nose, wine not decanted, mineral, vanilla and dark fruits show quickly in a beautiful mixed general aroma. The palate is hugely tannic but bright acidity and lively fruit contribute to the best Bovio Barolo I've tasted. If I had 3 thumbs, they'd all be up. 91 Points.

As you can probably guess where to purchase the Sainsburys wine (which is a BOB in the UK, non UK residents seek out "Cave de Turckheim" - same wine, different label, then It's the Barolo displayed below.

Where can I buy this wine?
Only a handful of stockists sell the Bovio label - Barolobrunello.com, Handford Fine Wines, and Decorum Vintners. All European.

Leave a Comment
Surely you folks must have tried a Penfolds? Which supermarket is your favourite for buying wine (the Waitrose/Sainsburys debate continues) and for you in the USA too, which superstore is selling the best wines? As always, any other comments or feedback are appreciated. Ciao for now!

Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Terza Volta Malbec

Date: Fri, Oct 3, 2008 Wine Tasting

Terza Volta Malbec


Terza Volta Malbec - Everyone who's anyone is drinking Malbec these days. Taking over the groovy grape mantle from Aussie Syrah I was interested to see what the hullabaloo was about. You can never judge a grape from one bottle and that's a jolly good job because this wine is dullsville.
In yet another case of my head being turned by a funky name and a pretty bottle I reached out for this Malbec (along with a Tokaji and Gevrey Chambertin) on Wednesday night at a very interesting local shop Wines of the World. In this wine store there are no Penfolds or Gallo wines, nor even the top producers I would recognise from Italy but an interesting selection of lesser known producers yet still covering all the main regions and grape varieties. If you make it over to Earlsfield, hook a left out of the station, walk 100 meters and there you have it.
So where does Malbec come from? Well Malbec is actually a Bordeaux grape that has a lot of business in Cahors, it's a grape that has been embraced by the Argentinian growers and does especially well in the most famous region of Argentinian wine, Mendoza. The Mendoza Malbec wines are apparently less tannic than the Malbecs of Cahors which, given this wine, must be like swilling your mouth with mud (or Greek coffee).
So, if it's not this Malbec that's setting the wine set on fire which Malbec is it? Achaval Ferrer? Vina Cobos? Impossible to find in the UK thus far and incredibly pricey. Who is producing quality Malbec in the £20 region? Comments purlease below! :D
So onto the review
Terza Volta Malbec 2006 - PASS - £9
Intense deep purple in the glass to the rim. A very interesting sour and spicey nose with detectable sour cherry. On the palate the initial attack is strong and under ripe, detectable tannins with some fruit on the mid palate turning watery and uninteresting on the finish. 86 Points
£9 and 86 points. Yep that's a pass. We're in pounds now, did you notice?
Where can I buy this wine?
Why would you?
Leave a comment
Malbec recommendations? Was 2006 a good Argentinian vintage? Are you part of the Malbec Mob?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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Home

Date: Wed, Oct 1, 2008 Wine Tasting

Home

Welcome to the same look, same style, old and unimproved version of the wine90 blog, London edition. I'm back, I'm home and I'm absolutely cream crackered (dats Cockney for Knackered innit). That being said it's good to be in Blighty. The sun is shining, the chicken shops are a plenty and the range of wine and wine shops in my little corner of SW London is plain OFF THE HOOK. I'm talking big major wine shop FACING specialist vintage wine shop just past the station and if walking in that direction bores me, I can about turn and hot foot it down to Sainsburys. What a world we live in eh?
For those in the know, (well actually a recap for those not in the know) I have spent the last few days travelling from Venice, via Milan, Mont Blanc, Geneva, Gex, Reims to make my way back home to London after 3 years in Italy. During that time this blog was 98.4% dedicated to Italian wines. From today it'll be more like 33.3%, as I continue to bring wines from all over the world into my tasting history.

The original idea was to get a few shots while on the road. Sadly, all I managed to get were shots of the road.

While in Gex I found myself amongst the pressing throng of the Gex Bleu cheese festival. All roads into Gex, bar one, were shut down for the benefit of the 2 table exhibition of one of, as it turned out, my least favourite blue cheeses EVA. If you do ever find yourself in Gex, you're probably lost.

So through the twisty terrain of the alpine foothills in Jura I began thinking about the next wines to appear on the blog, and after careful consideration opted for wines I already owned that were pretty similarly priced. Photo above... Not Gex neither.

So here they are. The truly honoured first wines of the same old Wine90 London Edition. Chateau Gloria 1995, Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2003, Chateau Doisy-Vedrines 2003 and from the new world (fan fare, toot toot toooooooot) Ridge California Lytton Springs 2005 a mostly Zinfandel wine with some Petit Sirah and Carignane playing wing men.
For those with concerns for my personal health, this was something of a party and not just a regular Sunday's drinking sesh.
Chateau Gloria 1995 - PASS - £25
Still very dark purple. On the nose notes of cherry, but heavy on the earth. Smooth texture with both lower tannins and acidity levels than expected, not giving off a lot of fruit, it felt closed down. Finish was average. Clear quality but the lack of fruit on the nose and the palate is telling. 86 Points
Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2003 - BUY - £30
Light ruby and transparent in the glass, the nose was an all Piedmont affair with a real Barolo nose plus a smattering of floral notes. On the palate the wine is still quite tannic but balances ok with the acidity. Superb mid palate of violets and sweet spices. Long pleasing finish that was a tad too hot but didn't take away from my enjoyment of the wine. 91 Points
Chateau Doisy-Vedrines Sauternes 2003 - BUY - £20
Golden yellow in the glass with a sweet (and I mean SWEET) nose of honey, creme brulee and custard. A mid bodied wine with good acidity and extreme sweetness, nice length to the finish. Good bargain Sauternes. Turned to sickly quickly but that is a 75cl you see above. 90 Points
Ridge California Lytton Springs 2005 - BUY - £20
Sitting deep purple and hue-less the Ridge California Lytton Spring would fool no one in a blind contest, maybe we have some Petite Sirah and Carignane here but this is true blue Zinfandel USA. Blackcurrant, Ribena Berry nose for weeks with a touch of spice too. Mouth filling and big on the palate, heavy blackcurrant on the mid palate the wine is super well structured, 14% alcohol not a problem. 92 Points
Passing the Chateau Gloria only for drinking today, I'm sure this wine needs another 10 years in bottle and if you can wait that long, then £25 investment for a 1995 Bordeaux from such a respected producer is actually a BUY situation. For drinking today? The worst wine of the 4.

Lastly, for anyone else who drinks their wines with Jelly Babies, I can say, with no shadow of a doubt, that by mixing the black and red Jelly Babies together you get a perfectly complimentary food match for Pio Cesare Barbaresco. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy Jaffa Cakes and Sauternes. That's it Gals and Pals and by jove, it's good to be home.
Where can I buy this wine? (Ridge California Lytton Springs)
Europeans - Weingarten Eden - €26
Americans - Vingo Wine - $26.99
Brits - AG WINES - £20
Australians - Stephen McHendry - AUS$64
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What's the best thing about your town? Tried any of these wines? Blue cheese - nectar of the gods or food of the devil?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye...

Date: Thu, Sep 25, 2008 Wine Tasting

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye...

Well, the time has finally come for me to bid a fond farewell to Italy and turn my back on exclusively reviewing Italian wines. It's time to spread my wings, broaden my horizons, put myself about a bit and enjoy the variety that London has to offer. Will I miss being woken at ungodly hours by construction work? Eating pasta and pizza for each and every meal? Being charged for things I didn't buy? Not so much. I will miss the people, I will miss the sun and scenery and I will miss the fabulous prices you get on Italian wine which I will not enjoy in Blighty. We get stuffed on every import and unless I can attune my taste buds to Chapel Down and Camel Valley *stifles the bile* then I will just have to embrace the variety even if it comes at a cost.
So hello to French wine, Greek wine, German wine, English turpentine and all the other pleasures that await on that fair isle I'm growing increasingly proud to call home. My first love is, and will remain, Italian wine and I shall represent the Italian wines most frequently on the blog. So tomorrow I start my journey, leaving Venice, past Milan, up through Switzerland, past Geneva and stopping in Gex. On Saturday we make our way through a twisty and frightfully dangerous piece of Alpine terrain and through to a hotel outside Reims and then Sunday morning I take the cinder line Eurotunnel to Folkestone and wind up in London about 11am. So anyone wishing to take me out has the full gen. Monday I'll be back blogging my celebratory Sunday wines so be sure to stay tuned.

As promised today I'm going to dig out the "best and worst" wines of my 3 years in Italy. They might not be the highest scoring but they are wines that, for whatever reasons, have stuck fondly in my memory bank. For Jill, the Petite Verdot I was telling you about last week.

Castello di Verduno Barbera d'Alba Bricco del Cuculo 2006 - PASS - €14
Nice colour, hues were lighter than expected for a 2006 Barbera. The nose, was giving me very little of anything, not the merest hint of fruit, just a very sugary winey artificial nose that did nothing for me. The mouth feel was ok, uninteresting tannins, extremely acidic, I can't think of anything positive to say, I wouldn't use it in a cooking sauce. 73 Points

Casale del Giglio Petit Verdot 2004 - BUY - €10
Dark purple in the glass, very deep intensity. A little timid on the nose but aromas of spice, berries and cherries with the most intense smell profile being blackberries. Shockingly refined and balanced on the palate denoting a classier wine that the price, some nice fruit on the mid palate. A really enjoyable and easy drinking wine. The lack of intensity on the nose is the reason this missed 90 points. Perfect for dinner parties. 89 Points

Bruno Giacosa Dolcetto d'Alba 2006 - €10 - BUY
A dull dark purple/violet with interesting ruby reflection, full bodied to the eye. Knockout nose, so strong that the glass had to be left for 30 mins. Characteristic nose of cherries and vanilla, very clean and with just a hint of spices and pepper. Full out attack on the palate, medium body, good acidity and balance with a mid length finish of berries and a touch of plum. Smooth with balanced tannins. Decant for a minimum of 1 hour. 89 Points

Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche 2000 - BUY - €49
Mid ruby red in the glass with slight change in tonality at the edges. An opulent and feminine wine whose nose and palate flow perfectly, great balance. Aromas of strawberries and walnuts, really impressive nose with a second wave nose profile of vanilla. The palate is a joy, mid bodied with super rich and silky tannins. The wine is not forceful, its a truly beautiful, seductive wine with a good 30 second finish. 95 Points

Villa von Steiner Lagrein 2004 - PASS - €9
Fantastic penetrating dark purple, all the way thru, what hues? ink black vino. The nose just stinks, wet rocks mixed with onions, soil, even horse manure, I mean this nose is seriously unpleasant and here is where the wine can play mind games with you. The immediate mouth feel is gorgeous, black fruits and such a soft silky mouth feel, you begin to forgive the manure, and then it comes back in the mid palate and you lose all fruit, it turns acidic and very plain and uninteresting and then it gives you a really long finish of this foulness, and you think, "what the hell happened". A confusing wine, but for that I have to give it some kudos for being so interesting. 82 Points

Arnaldo Caprai Rosso Outsider 2005 - BUY - €30
Sits ruby red in the glass and colour consistent on the tilt. Another stand out nose, really an occasion where words can´t describe the intensity of the aroma. Sensational nose, make a kebab out of a wet pencil, blackberries, cherries and strawberries and wear it as a mustache for a week, you´ll get close to a quick sniff of this wine. Majorly exciting for nosehounds. The palate is also knockout, still very tannic, needs time but super potent, super soft a really intense wine experience. 95 Points
So that's a wrap. All that's left to say is goodbye to all my ex-pat friends who read this blog, my poor old parents whom I dragged to Italy and then deserted and a fond farewell to the bureaucracy, bills and speeding tickets that financially crippled me. That's ungrateful, I'm kidding, Rome is still my favourite city in the world, I still want to retire to Todi and no city offers as much "seat of your pants" fun as Naples. It's been a blast!

So long Silvio and thanks for all the fish. *wipes away tear*

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What do you love (or hate) about Italy? Will you still read this blog when the dirty foreign wines creep in?
Italian Wine Blog - Wine90

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