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What I am drinking today: Bonnievale Cellar, cabernet shiraz 2010

when I first started drinking wine before the birth of the rainbow nation ( much in the news after the sad death of Nelson Mandela) South African wines were largely absent from the supermarket shelves, least that’s how I remember it. Scince then there has been an explosion of imports so much that many shelves will be reserved for wines of south Africa. it has developed a reputation for steely dry wines from chenin blanc and has its own signature red varietal in pinotage.
  I have always been unsure of buying wines from here unless I was sure of the ethics of the  producers. Farming and land rights is a delicate political issue, an approch you can argue doesn’t help the wider economy economy so harms all.
I got this wine as part of an introductory case from new merchant rude wines  http://www.rudewine.co.uk . It comes from Bonnievale Cellar’s premium range. Its from Robertson a district of the breed river valley.

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its a blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz ( pictured above) very much a new world marriage. The great vine of the medoc and the star of hermitage began their courtship in Australia , hence the Australian synonym, and I must say they make a very complimentary couple!
As soon as it hits the glass you get the deep purple colour with aromas of spicy dark fruit. I definatly got a tell tale hint of pepper so often seen with shiraz but also some ripe fruit and vanilla from some oak treatment . The finish was quite smooth all un all a very pleasant drop definatly one to have again.

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what I am drinking today: Petit chablis , Alain Geoffroy 2012

Chablis just at the north west of the bulk of the burgundy region, almost far enough away to be thought of a region on its own. It shares with burgundy the claim to be thought of as the spiritual home of chardonay, as all the wines of the top four ac’s  grand crumbles premiere crumbles chablis and petit chablis are all 100% chardonnay . Blending is permitted in basic ac bourgogne. It is also hotbed of discussion of that particular French concept of terroir – simply stated wine is an expession of place and particularly soil. Purists believe that chablis shoud only be grown on the kimmeridgean clay and not on the similar portlandian soil which was largely given the lesser petit chablis appelation . The lines have been blurred recently. Unlike aussie and other new world charrdonnays chablis does not tend to see any oak, its the flinty mineral character the producers crave. This style is becoming much more common style as the fashion for big oaky wines has become passe
This example from Alain Geoffroy is light golden in colour with a lovely floural aroma ,you definatly get the minerally elements with some citrus flavours good acidity and a long finish. Top notch stuff!

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wine review

what am I drinking today: Portinho do covo 2012

It is only in recent history that modern techniques such as stainless steel cold fermentation have changed the nature of the white wines we drink. Before these modern interventions the type of aromatic fresh fruit driven styles would not be possible.
Like I’ve said previously that Portugal has kept faith with its array of local varieties and this blend is no exception . Fernao pires is widely planted in Portugal but is sometimes described as having off aromas! Bit of a disgusting start. Verdelho more commonly used in Madeira but also now grown in Australia , where it makes vibrant lemon full bodied wines , getting better. Finally Moscatel ,which here is muscat of Alexandria, usually known for its grapey aroma and residual sweetness seems promising.
The winemakers have used a slow cool fermentation, capturing fresh aromatic qualities. This pale wine has some lovely crisp citrus flavours balanced with the muscat fruitiness I enjoyed this on its own but would be suited to the traditional white meat and saefood lovely!

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what I’m drinking today: Albarrada Alentejano 2012

Think Portugal, think beaches think Cliff Richard’s hoilday home. What is probably less well known is that Cliff is also a portugese winemaker . Its not that long ago that portugese wine conjured images of vinho Verde or mateus rose if funny looking bottles. Well things have moved on considerably. Over recent years the reputation of portugese table wines has slowly gained ground now most merchants shelves with have an array of choice. Unlike other ‘rediscovered’ regions the resurgence of Portugal has not soley rested upon the usual international varietals . Many growers have kept faith with the vast array of indigenous grapes but have embraced modern metods and techniques . This can make shopping for portugese a little daunting without that easy hook of merlot, chardonnay etc. This is where a trusted source like a good merchant comes to the fore. I got this one from Laithwaites for years a great sorce interesting, good value quality wines.
Back labels or reviews on sites are a good handle on styles but best of all is a knowledgeable wine advisor who can help you through the minefield of styles.
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Now to the wine! This wine had a deep colour almost like ink, on the nose was all red fruit. Its quite soft easy drinking nature made it a great early evening wine to unwind with on its own!

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crisis what crisis

A report from Morgan Stanley created a bit of a stir in the media and wine world last week. The apocalypse trailed by this report was an iminent global shortage of wine as demand begins to outstrip supply. While this seems have the hallmarks of peak oil doomsday there has been some empirical evidence to back the claims. Harvests in Europe have been poor for the last couple of years and recent stories of hailstorms lead to doubts about 2013 harvest. The problems haven’t been limited to the northen hemisphere either: drought in aus and frost in chilie. So should we convert the garage to a eurocave or dig an underground celler into the drive? Well lets not call the architects just yet! As many experts have been quick to point out the whole falacy of their argument is wrong. Set aside that California has had another bumper crop and just a small increase in yeild would soon eliminate this percieved shortfall. This brings us to the crux of the issue. Even if there was a shortage of the large ammounts of mass produced,shipped around liked crued oil ,wine isthen that’s not necessarily a bad thing. To wean the world off this homogonised insipid stuff has got to be a boon. At last with the abc movement we hopefully will see some more interesting varietals on the supermarket shelves (where 95% of wine is sold) I do believe we might have to wait till the anything but pinot grigio movement to kick in!

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