Tuesday 16 February 2010

Edinburgh Wine Meet Up Group

I've been to two events since joining the The Edinburgh Wine Meet Up Group. The first was a New Zealand tasting held at a members house. I guess it felt pretty daunting turning up at a strangers house, to meet a bunch of strangers..

However, from the first welcome it was clear that the people involved in the group are all just people interested in socialising with the added element of having an interest in wine. Alan the organiser provided a balanced selection of wines giving people the opportunity to try something they probably already knew and have easy access to purchase, along with something a little bit different. It's certainly wasn't an occasion for analysis of each of the wines, but then that isn't what this group is about. Alan is on hand to share his knowledge of the wine region and wine making process and answer any questions group members have in a really relaxed environment.

Tonight's event was different, labeled 'new members night' it gave new (and old) members the opportunity to have a larger get together. The venue, Whighams a place I seem to have frequented a lot of late. Appellation Wines of Dalry Road, Edinburgh (and on-line) provided a choice of red or white as a taster to the attendees. It's a freezing cold night in Edinburgh so I decided to stick with the red to warm me up. The red from Firmament, Minervois 2003 developed nicely as it warmed up in my glass. It's a deep red, a blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan. It's just the ticket for a cold Edinburgh night. Black plums and pepper prominent on the nose and the palate. It's tannic which I like, some may prefer to leave this wine for another few years. It was certainly a winner for the more hardened red wine drinkers of the group.

This group gives me the opportunity to meet a great mix of people, the organisers have some interesting ideas for wine events, I'm looking forward to the "wine in the woods" event planned for next month...

Sunday 7 February 2010

January 2010 - Wine Round Up

January 2010 brought snow storms, journeys to my home town of Nottingham to visit hospital bound relatives and a day job that although I thought couldn't get any busier; did..

Fortunately there were some wine moments to get me through the Scottish winter, wine blogs to read, wine articles to ponder over and of course wine in the glass to contemplate.

Jamie Goode's blog about his trip to New Zealand made me feel nostalgic for the place that started my interest in wine. He's visited many an old haunt, such as the Martinborough Hotel where I spent Christmas 2006. This coupled with some reviews on some great wines and fantastic photos made for a really enjoyable read.

The Guardian Newspaper wine section provided some interesting articles. I've added links to my favourites below.

Victoria Moore offered an interesting take on wine selection in supermarkets, listing what not to select


Alistair Smith seemed to be on a mission to find drinkable wine in theatres, I have to agree with the article, only I've chosen an alternative solution, I drink beer when I go to the theatre.


The wine of the month for me was a rather lovely Gewurtztraminer (2008) from Zarcillo winery in the Bio Bio Valley, Chile. An elegant wine with a floral, citrussy and spicy mix. This was in the case I received for Christmas, a gift from my husband, purchased from The Wine Society.

Monday 1 February 2010

Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon Tasting

I'd enjoyed the Chateau Musar, Gaston Hochar, Cabernet Sauvignon & Cinsault, 2000 that I had at Cafe St Honore (my favourite restaurant in Edinburgh). When I received details of the Whighams Chateau Musar tasting event I jumped at the chance to attend.

The restaurant area of Whighams provides a nice (if not a bit noisy) setting for regular wine tastings. This one was clearly a popular event and very well attended.

Ralph Hochar (Grandson of the vineyard founder) shared the history of Chateau Musar. Although a winery has stood on the land since 1857 Chateau Musar was founded in 1930, although in the early days the winery produced enough wine for the family to have with their Sunday lunch. Over the years the vineyard developed and with French influence it grew into a more commercially viable outfit. The turning point for success in the UK was the attendance at the Bristol Wine Show (the wine of the time) in 1979.

Chateu Musar wines we tasted:
Mosaic White £10 (blend - Viognier/Chardonnay/Vermintino, no oak)
Mosaic Rose 2006 £10 - (Cinsault, 30-32 hours skin contact)
Mosaic red 2006 £10 - (blend - Cabernet Sauvignon/Cinsault/Syrah, no oak)
White 2007 £20 - (blend - Chardonnay/Semillon (native equivalent of))
Rose 2004 £18 - (blend - Cinsault/Obeideh)
Red 2002 £31 - (blend - Cabernet Sauvignon/Cinsault/Carignan)
Red 1997 £36 - (blend - Cabernet Sauvignon/Cinsault/Carignan)

Mosaic is a new easy drinking range from the vineyard and they are all fresh and clean on the nose. The rose is a really bright ruby red with fresh red fruit on the nose and on the palate, lovely. The red is smooth and balanced and light too, definitely easy drinking.

The Chateau Musar rose is interesting and reminds me of some Southern France roses. It's a pale/orange. On the nose it's fruity, but on the palate it's quite savoury, unusual and and interesting, I had to order some to try it again.

The 1997 & 2002 reds offer something different too, the fruitier 2002 and has hints of cherry oak. The 1997 is more earthy, nicely balanced tannins but some red current. I ordered some of the 1997, just my personal preference as they are both nice wines.

This event provided great insight into Chateau Musar; a family owned and operated vineyard where vintage variance still occurs and the wines offer a few surprises.

A huge thank you to Forth Wines for organising and to Whighams for hosting, a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

You can visit Chateau Musar (flight to Beruit and then a drive), they can only cope with small groups so don't all turn up at once...