Sunday, 28 January 2007

La Grille - Sauvignon Blanc

It's been a quiet weekend in the Vin house. The January blues arrive so we book a week in Italy next month as something to look forward to.
Our fortnightly trip to Waitrose involves stocking up on a couple of cheapies to keep us going. We're in a hurry so I choose quickly.
La Grille has an usual label design, not traditional at all. It has a cream background and a photo of a small boat on the Loire. The name on the label Henry Bourgeois is familiar. After reading the label on the back I realise why, the family have also planted vineyards in New Zealand, I feel sure I have tried one of these wines whilst living in Wellington. This label also explains the picture on the front; the flat bottomed gabarre with its square sail is almost unique to the Loire, traditionally carrying wines down the river to the Atlantic seaports and to clients the world over.
We had this wine on its own and then with chicken the next day. It's crisp and fresh with great lively green fruits.
It's easy drinking and light, a great bottle of wine for only £5.99

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Chrismas Day - 2006

Henriot Brut (NV)
A gift from Monsieur Vin

I've opened my presents by 9:30am, amongst other things I have received:
2x Denby wine glasses - there lovely, I plan to buy a couple more the same so I have set
Susy Atkins - The Really Useful Guide to Wine - I'll let you know my thoughts on this one
Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book - 2007 (30th Edition)
A bottle of Spanish Red (no vintage noted on the bottle)
A bottle of Henriot Brut Souverain Champagne (NV)

But best of all I am now a a 3D Wines 'wine partner.' This means I have rented a row of vines in a vineyard in France for one year. The one I chose is Domaine de Salvert in the Loire Valley. There's lots of other extras in the pack they have sent me. I'll dedicate a blog to this in due course.

We ope the Henriot Brut before leaving to go to Bellini's for Christmas dinner.

To look at: The bubbles are small and move slowly through the pale yellow liquid
To smell: Biscuits, toast, buttery with a splash of lemon
To taste: The mousse tickles my lips, citrus fruit burst, limes and lemons, a lovely fizz on tongue followed by a savoury buttery flavour

I haven't tasted any fine champagnes, but I know what I like and this is lovely. It's an NV but the maker is listed in my Hugh Johnson Pocket Book. I don't know the cost as it's a gift, I hope Santa pops a bottle in my stocking next year.

Montepulciano D'Abruzzo - Christmas Eve 2006

Montepulciano D' Abruzzo, Doc 2005, Umani Ronchi
Waitrose £3.99

A dense fog has been covering most of the UK for the last few days causing travel chaos in the run up to Christmas. Tonight, Christmas eve it reached Edinburgh. We made our way to the National Portrait Gallery to have a look at the Goya Exhibition, you couldn't see the top of the Ferris wheel on Princes Street . The exhibition was certainly worth seeing, a wonderful display of Goya's drawings. After a brisk chilly walk along George Street we arrived at 'Teuchters' for a couple of pints of Landlord and a warm by the fire.
We arrive home and settle down to chicken in red wine sauce pie, gravy and veg. We purchased the wine at the same time as the pie from Waitrose, 3.99 a bottle. The tree lights sparkle and there's festive TV to watch, A Christmas Carol starring Patrick Stewart. A great classical actor but I still find it hard not to picture him on the starship Enterprise.
I chose this wine as it's an old favourite of ours. Sometimes you can get a real lovely wine from this area for a very good price. It's not the best example we have ever had, but it's certainly not the worst either!
To look at: It's deep ruby red, the colour of a precious stone
To smell: Fresh dark fruits, black berries and earthy herbs, hints of tarragon.
To taste: It glides across the palate with ease, the fresh blackberries are prominent. It's a little flabby and not very high in tannins.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Le Chenin des Mulets, Chateauneuf du Pape, Recolte 2000

Mis en bouteille per perrin et fils - 84100 Orange, France. Jean-Pierre & Francois Perrin.

It's a grenache & syrah blend. Named after the old mule track which leads from the hill town of Chateauneuf de Pape into eastern hills of the Cotes du Rhone.

I bought this wine for Monsieur Vin's father a couple of years ago, I can't remember where from or how much but I don't think it was more than £15.00.

We'd flown from Edinburgh to East Midlands Airport, picked up a hire car and completed the short drive to Donington le Heath. It's a cold December night and we are here primarily for the delivery and collection of Christmas presents. The log fire burns and Magic the sleek black cat plays on the hearth rug. Monsieur Vin senior served the wine with a cassoulet, a perfect match to be sure.

The wine has a savoury, bitter aroma and the alcohol burns the inside of my nostril. The feint hint of tobacco and light smoke feels calming after our journey. I take a sip, it's smooth on the tongue with a long elegant finish. The ripe dark fruits, tannins, food and company make a perfect occasion.