March 25, 2006

Chateau Reignac

Tim and Catherine came over for dinner last weekend, and brought a bottle of this rather fine Claret they'd picked up at swanky west-london wine shop Jereboams.

Chateau Reignac was just a 'bordeaux superieur' which could have meant anything - not that I know anything about claret - but oooooh it was just marvellous. As I'm largely a rhone/burgundy man these days it was also a blockbuster of a return to Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich and leathery and sumptuous and chewy with hints of cardamom and spice. Just a faint memory now, but this is to remind me to go and buy some more and try it again.

What it is to get some of that Holland Park glamour... :-)

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2005

Sauvignon Blanc DESSERT Wine?????

Yes, Sauv Blanc, the gooseberriest and cats-weeiest of all grape varieties in dessert form.
Thank you Majestic for finding that oddness. I look forward trying it.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 03:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 11, 2004

What would Nigella do?

So, imagine the scene. It's been a lovely weekend, and you're reclining in the living room with the fabulous party episode of 'Green Wing' on for the second time. There's some great food on the table, and you're settling back with a nice glass of red.

But disaster strikes!

An unforeseen and ill-timed coughing incident (or was it a cat, or just plain clumsiness, I can't remember) means a huge great glop of red wine leaves your glass and lands on the sofa cushions.

(Actually, this isn't a complete disaster. The sofa is red. Our cream rug would have been a disaster.)

But you're not fazed. You know what to do. There's already some sauv blanc in the fridge so a quick slosh of that goes over the top. Just time to drop some salt on and you'll be fine.

And then, with a sinking sensation, you realise just how deeply middle class you've become.

Rock salt for salt mills - check.
Maldon sea salt - check.
Bog standard bucket of Saxa - um, nope.

And so for five minutes you would have been party to the sight of me frantically seasoning our sofa from a beautifully designed brushed steel salt mill, while desperately trying to get the screw at the top done up tight enought to produce fine grains.

As they say, never forget where you've come from...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 20, 2004

It's all over when someone compares the other to hitler...

Nope, not USENET arguments this time, but a bit of a spat between Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson

Turns out Robert Parker, the wine guru of Maryland, doesn't like the fact that I don't like what I have tasted of Ch Pavie 2003 - and takes the trouble to write hundreds of words attacking my opinion. I suppose I should be flattered but, yet again, all I really want to say is that wine assessment is subjective. Am I really not allowed to have my own opinion? Only so long as it agrees with Monsieur Parker's it would seem. I do wish we could simply agree to differ.

Different world, same flame structure...

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2004

Montana New Zealand Unoaked Chardonnay

[We had this on a night of many fine wines, including a claret that I had to resist hard as I was driving. Thanks to Phillip and Lyn]

This rather generic new world bottle came as a complete suprise. We picked it up as 'the least unpromising or obvious thing on the shelf in Somerfield' and I think it cost around £6.50 a bottle. We were tempted because we've not had much NZ Chardonnay, though we drink NZ Sauv in huge quantities when we can afford it. To also have it unoaked sounded like an extra ingredient of interestingness.

And it was bloody marvellous.

It had all the crisp fruity freshness of a sauv from NZ, but without the biting acidity or cat-wee scent. A touch of grassiness too. And when you actually drank it - woooo.

Vicky said it tasted of candyfloss, but there was also a sharpness that reminded me of the mouth-lacerating 'Rhubarb and Custard' penny chews from when I was little. It was beautifully balanced, and by the end of the glass I worked out that the flavour lurking at the very end I'd not been able to pin down was - of all things - pomegranete.

Fascinating, suprising, and well worth checking out.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 01:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2004

Get it while you can...possibly

Just thought I'd flag up that Sainsbury's are for some reason doing a clearance price on 1996 Vintage Lanson Gold Label Champagne. Down from 27 quid to 22. Oddbins still have it at 28 quid.

1996 was one of the best champagne vintages of recent times, beaten only by 1990, so this should be well worth getting hold of while you can. From my researches it seems it's still got a good bit of cellaring life left in it should you want to keep it for later, but if ageing don't forget to keep it in the dark - champagne is very sensitive to that.

Lanson are generally described in the wine books as 'rapidly improving' so I hope that it's well on the upward curve, rather than at its beginning. Anyway, we've bought a bottle for when spadger is born so will be able to report back on the taste then. If it's good, lets hope there's still some left on the shelves!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2003

WineBlog: 2002 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc

[belated posting - we drank this last weekend]

A beautiful complex fresh wine that tastes like it couldnít be anywhere as young as it is. Itís bottled with a screwtop, rather than a cork, on the basis that it would mess up the subtleties of the wine. That seemed like hype, but having tasted it, you can see Brent Marrisís point.

Thereís a soft gooseberry aroma on the nose, and a sweet honey scent. Tastes far less acidic that youíd think for a NZ sauv. Beautiful mineral taste which then subdues into a sweet melony hug. (In hindsight, melons are definitiely the thing I remember from this wine)

Itís unbelievably pale Ė barely a light green, like a soave. It looks like itís not going to taste of anything, and fit for nothing other than swigging in the sun. Itís definitely wine for summery days, but save it for the best ones with the best company.

(bought as part of a leaving present 6/2/03 from the BBC)

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February 24, 2003

Wineblog no 1: Cotes du Rhone Villages - Seguret Domain La Montagne D'Or

So, thanks to The Wine Society, the wife and I were able to pick up our 2000 Rhone valley wines on Saturday. It's a real pleasure buying wines in bond, because of the process of gradual revelation. Not least in terms of price.

A big list turns up filled with exciting sounding things, at prices ranging from the cheap and cheerful to the staggeringly exorbitant. But none of them are quite as much as you think - handy when selling the benefits to your partner.

You order, and money goes out of your credit card. And then, about 18 months later - possibly two years even - you get a slip of paper saying "your wines are in the country, pay the VAT and duty, and you can have them". So you hand over what seems like a *tiny* amount of money, and get all this fab stuff to take home. Most of which you now can't buy.

Anyway, last night we opened the first bottle of our case of 2000 CdR Villages Sťguret Domaine La Montagne D'Or. Apparently this will be good from now till 2009 - not bad for a bottle that cost us less than a fiver all in.

It's a really intense purple colour, and is so high in alcohol (14.5%!!!!) that the wine doesn't so much form legs as leave a thick coating on the inside of your glass. The first mouthful was like an enormous punch of cherry flavours, and with the high alcohol level, you couldn't fail to be reminded of black forest gateau. There's a feeling of soft brown sugar, and perhaps something a bit tobacco-ey. I was taken back to all the meals I had when in Cannes for Milia - which was odd because we normally had Bandol - a mourvedre. This is old-vine grenache.

Okay, so it's still a bit astringent and tannic, and for the next couple of years you'd want to have it with food, but it's a truly fabulous find for what we thought would be 'just cheap light plonk'.

Roll on 2005 so the Gigondas is ready!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack