Monday, 23 November 2009

FRESHCASE Part 2/Montegicchi Chianti Classico 4 years on

Montegicchi Chianti Classico - 4 years on
I purchased the 2001 Montegicchi, Chianti Classico Riserva back in October 2006, my tasting notes read:

Deep ruby red in colour with lighter red brick edge. Looks like a top Bordeaux. Dusty in appearance. Rich dark fruits on the nose, blackberries and vanilla. On the palate - smooth, fruity blackberries.

Three years on I'd say there is some black fruit on the nose and palate, but not rich, they're more subtle now. It's really lovely, I think I'll be opening the other 3 bottles in the not too distant future!

FRESHCASE at the end of week one
Still fresh and fruity wine

InterRhone Tasting on a Canal Boat in Edinburgh

I completed the WSET Advanced Cert in Wines & Spirits with the Case Studies Wine School in Edinburgh, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. When I received an invite for an evening hosted by InterRhone organised by the school I signed up immediately.

It was a truly atrocious evening in Edinburgh, driving rain and blowing a gale. Fortunately I only live a five minute walk from Edinburgh Quay where the Case Studies Wine School canal boat is moored.

Linda Field from InterRhone, a resident of the Rhone Valley, took us through the classification system, appellations and terroir. She did a great job of picking out the pertinent facts of the 58 slide show provided by InterRhone, I learnt a lot.

It was a really interesting selection of wines too.

1) Domaine Magalanne Cote du Rhone AC Rouge, 2008
2) Domaine de Beaurenard Rasteau Cote du Rhone Village AC, 2007
3) Domaine la Monardiere Les 2 Monardes AC Vacqueyras Rouge, 2007
4) Terra Ventoux Terres de Truffes AOC Ventoux Rouge, 2007
5) Cave de Tain l'hermitage Fleur de Roc AC St Peray Blanc 2008
6) Domaine de la Pigeade VDN AC Beaumes-de-Venise Blanc 2008

The Cave de Train l'Hermitage Fleur de Roc, a 50/50 Marsanne/Rousanne blend and it's had some oak treatment. Peachy and spicy on the nose and a delicate buttery taste on the nose, a big wine that would be great with food, perhaps with pork in a creamy sauce.

The contrast between the Domaine la Monardiere and the Terra Ventoux was pretty dramatic. The first being savoury, earthy and spicy, the latter being packed with black cherries. My personal preference was the Domaine la Monardiere a great wine for the €11 price tag.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Domaine de la Pigeade lovely honey on the nose with grapy peaches and apricots on the palate, great length too.

Linda Field also offers accommodation and wine courses in the Rhone Valley at Auberge Du Vin

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

WiBF Wine Tasting Event with Great Grog, Edinburgh

I met a member of the WiBF (Women in Banking & Finance) at a recent wine tasting and figured their next event, a wine tasting, sounded my sort of thing. Just to give you an idea, the group is essentially a networking group which connects professionals from every sector of the banking and finance industry in London, Bristol, Edinburgh and Dublin.

Tonight Great Grog are running the tasting and I quote from their website We are an independent Wine Merchant in Edinburgh (Internet/Warehouse/Wholesale/Retail/Wine Bar/Educators), established in the last century (1999!). We peddle the thrifty... to the rare & ultimate drinking experience. We flog grog that we, as practised drinkers, like to glug, at the price we would like to glug it at.

I'm intrigued to see how this is going to work. Networking isn't easy in a standard seated wine tasting event. Great Grog adapt well and adopt a two pronged attack of Matt manning the tables and filling glasses and Simon pacing the floor with a bottle. This works really well and gives everyone the opportunity to try the wine and network/chat at the same time. Both Simon and Matt are also available to answer any questions about the wine and have a really good back ground knowledge of all of the wines on offer.

They've put on a varied selection too. From the Prosecco (becoming a popular choice for a starting point on many tastings) to the full fruity Murray River, South Australia Nebbiolo (nothing like the Italian Nebbiolo's I've tasted).

Prosecco Ca' Bolani Brut, Italy £7.99
Handmade Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2009 £6.99
Kahurangi Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Nelson, NZ 2008 £7.99
Las Corazas Rosado, La Mancha, Spain 2008 £4.65
Juan Gill Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain 2007 £6.75
Trentham 'La Famiglia' Nebbiolo, Murray River, South Australia 2005 £8.85

They're all pretty good, I like the Monastrell, a nice easy drinking wine, balanced with a savoury edge along with red fruits and a different grape from the norm. Generally the favourite amongst the group seems to be the NZ Sauvignon Blanc a great wine for a reasonable price. It's not too vegetal like some NZ Sauvignon Blancs and has nice white fruit flavours too. It's a great atmosphere and a great bunch of people.

I've been to the Great Grog shop but confess I have never attended one of their tastings, something I have to rectify as soon as possible. So many wines, so little time...

Monday, 16 November 2009


After a week of being out and about and a weekend suffering from a stinking cold tonight is the night to crack open the FreshCase wine. For those of you who don't know about FreshCase, it's a different way of transporting and dispensing wine, the key difference being it holds the equivalent of 3 bottles of wine, but the wine stays fresh for 6 weeks.

The instructions are straight forward and easy to follow (no cork screw required) and I'm pouring the wine in no time. The wine is clear and clean on the nose. It's now sitting on the side in the kitchen, let's see how we go over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Highlights of today's surfing

I try and have a 'wine-surf' of an evening, checking out the RSS feeds I've set up and links I've followed from websites I like and newsletters I've signed up to receive by email. I don't get chance to read them all everyday, but I'd like to share with you now and again the highlights of an evenings surfing.

So as I sit with my feet up, mac book perched on my lap, Spooks followed by True blood on the TV and a glass full of 2001 Glorioso Gran Reserva Rioja purchased from Oddbins on my way home from work, here goes.

There's a lot of chatter of Twitter from the US for Thanksgiving preparations and Enobytes followed this theme with quite a nifty little slide show to help guide you through the trials and tribulations of wine and food pairing to make the event as stress free as possible (@enobytes).

A link from the Decanter website led me to the Colchester Wine Company and New Scientist Experience, a short article but I found the scientific overview for each of the wines really interesting, definitely learnt something here.

I also get sent various links from friends and family today Monsieur Vin sent me a link to Fledgling Wine a great way for those of you in San Francisco to combine wine drinking and charity, a rather lovely idea and a great cause too.

A must read for any wine enthusiast comes from the oldest blogger on the block (not in age I hasten to add, but years of service to the blogging world), today the Wine Anaorak introduces me to Chilean cold climate Sauvignon Blanc, now on the hunt to purchase and try...(@jamiegoode)
And as I start to feel sleepy...

The Tasting Note blog were truly desperate to celebrate the 40th birthday of Sesame Street but couldn't find a wine link, so used the Muppets instead, the clip of Steve Martin as the wine waiter is priceless and an excellent note to end the evening's surfing on.
Also realised I'm not following them on Twitter (@thetastingnote) so put that right.

Thanks all and good night.......zzzzzzzz

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Wine Experience - Italy

It's been another one of those weeks at work, I'm exhausted. Leaving the office at 7pm I head into the city, I'm off to a wine tasting, a last minute decision and one at this point in time I'm beginning to regret. Queen Street is bumper to bumper and my taxi driver opts for sitting in the traffic rather than taking an alternative route, I ask him to take the quicker route and he turns at the next junction, two minutes later I'm there. The Royal Scots Club, Abercromby Place, Edinburgh is housed in an amazing example of Georgian architecture, spread across numerous floors there's a restaurant, meeting rooms and accommodation, all in traditional Scottish style. I make my way through the bar and down two flights of stairs to the Dumbarton Room.
Ian (@thefinewineman on twitter) offers a warm welcome and I take a seat. I instantly spot a bottle of Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese rowed up for us to try, excellent one of my favourites.

It takes to half way down the rather large taste of Prosecco we have first for me to start to wind down and relax.

It's a really good selection of Italian Wine, I like all of the reds:
Masi Bardolino Classico 2008 DOC
Serego Alighieri Pssessioni Rosso 2005 IGT
Itynera Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2008 DOC
Tomaresca Neprica 2007 IGT
Masi Campofiorin Rosse del Veronese 2006 IGT
Tasca d"Almeria Camastra 2005 IGT

The Serego Alighieri a Valpolicello blend with Merlot and aged in cherry oak is quite unlike anything I have tried before, it has lovely black cherry aromas and taste. The Masi Campofiorin (an old favourite of mine that I first tried when living in New Zealand) a wine that seems to have black fruits, red fruits, spices......... every time you take a sniff it seems to change.

The cold meats and cheese provided are just right for making a great combination for the palate.

The well thought out selection of wine underpinned an evening that provided a good grounding about Italy and it's wine regions. Ian's enthusiasm and knowledge of wine also made the evening informative but not too serious.

By the time I left the Royal Scots Club to make my way across the city towards home I was really glad that I went and made a mental note to check out the other events the wine experience have on offer.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

FreshCase arrived today

As a bit of a geek with an interest in innovation when I had the opportunity to check out a new style of packaging I jumped at the chance, FreshCase arrived today.

As a brief introduction to FreshCase, it's a combination of card and plastic packaging that holds the equivalent of 3 bottles of wine. The packaging keeps the wine fresh for up to 6 weeks.

I'll be putting it to the test over the next 6 weeks with regular updates on my blog how things are going.

"Meet Up" Wine Group Edinburgh

After signing up for the group at the weekend I attended the first "Meet Up" this evening. Whighams Wine Cellars in the heart of the city, just off Charlotte Square is probably the most well known wine bar in Edinburgh. With its semi dark nook and cranny seating it's an ideal spot for a wind down after work or a secret assignation.

Tonight Liberty Wines, T.M. Robertson Wine Cellars and Forth Wines showcase a selection of 50 wines.

The restaurant area is set up for the tasting and the crowds scramble forward, tasting glass in hand. Around the tables conversations with numerous people, all of whom seem to be here as part of the "Meet Up", so I'm guessing it's a good turn out. Not surprisingly I meet someone who works for same company as me, but she also works in the same office building and only one floor away, I can probably see her from my there no escape! She's a lovely lady and I get an invite to a Women In Business wine tasting evening - fantastic!

I try numerous wines a Lebanese Chateau Musar, A Mano Bianco from Italy and a Beaumont Mourvedre from South Africa. The Mourvedre is good, but at £30 a bottle a little pricey for what I'm after tonight.

I'm looking to get a few bottles of something white, dry and packed with citrus to fill a gap in the rack and something Monsieur Vin will like too. I plump for the Schloss Vollrads Castle Riesling (Germany), at £12 a bottle and a convenient time for me for delivery. It has the great citrus punch I'm looking for and will go well with the numerous fish dishes we have of an evening.

I also made an impulse buy tonight - A Winter's Tale Amontillado sherry, a great nutty aroma, smooth sweetness on the palate and a lovely warming feel. A great aperitif and winter warmer for the coming winter and festive season. Should have checked the prices on my iPhone before ordering as readily available on the Internet at a cheaper price - you can't win 'em all............

Monday, 2 November 2009

Joining a group of wine lovers Edinburgh

I was having lunch in Henrick's yesterday, a quick club sandwich and pint of Belhaven Best before getting back to the day job - yeh I know - on a Sunday........

Anyway I spotted an advert for The Edinburgh Wine Meet Up group, sounds like my cup of tea/glass of wine.

Off to my first event on Thursday at Whigham's Christmas Wine Fair, with 50 wines to this space...........

Check out the website here

The earth, vine and wine

I've long been a believer that climate change is fact not fiction. I know people have their doubts, but I look at it like this,
if it's not true and we find in the future that temperatures drop again, water levels don't rise and deserts don't appear across the globe, what have we lost? So we've all cut our fuel bills, we drive smaller cars and businesses have spent something extra to run more environmentally friendly buildings. If it's true and environmental catastrophe ensues, well at least I can say I did my bit to try and save the planet for future generations.

At the current rate it won't belong before the UK may have the temperatures to sustain a wine industry to compete with the very best producers (although increased rain may be on the cards too). They certainly seem to be anticipating great wines for the future and taking innovation firmly in hand by using cutting edge technology such as the Oenoview system as detailed in a recent BBC article. The system "analyses the images to determine vine leaf density, soil water content and grape bunch sizes"

So as the UK gears up for great vintages of the future what of the wine regions where the risk of the vineyards becoming arid wastelands? Spanish winemaker Torres are taking it very seriously, even going to the lengths of purchasing land in the Pyrenees "just in case", reducing CO2 emissions and taking the time to talk to environmentalists about the issue. The Guardian article goes into further detail about the man behind the Torres label. I think it makes for interesting reading for wine producers, sellers and consumers alike.