If you judge a book by its cover or a wine by its label, hide your head behind the sofa now. I’ve never read such total utter bollocks on a wine bottle. Piers Morgan and Worzel Gummidge’s love child could have written something more coherent and less smug. Fortunately, I have an open mind. Unscrew the cap, James…
If you like red wine so fruity that it tastes like a compote, made from 3 metric tonnes of berries reduced down to 3 fl oz, then you will love this Tannat.
Personally, for a wine that retails at north of fifteen quid, I would like to see a real cork, or a screwcap, instead of a trendy black ‘plastic cork’. Conversely, and equally surprising at this price point is a bit of metal, a lead seal (presumably also plastic) on the label. What a waste of money that could have been invested in a new vat, or some wine making expertise.
I’m tempted to call this a triumph of marketing over quality. In fact, the wine is quite nice. Just not £15.99 nice, even with 25% Angels’ discount. Come on, Naked, you can do better than this.
Anyone who has forked out silly money in a restaurant for Alta, or even Zapata, will know that Catena produces the daddy of Argentinian Malbec.
Feeling a bit silly for never having tried their Chardonnay, I instructed my bank manager to remit 995 new pennies to the Wine Society and this is what I got in return (postage included).
Chardonnay, and in particular South American Chardonnay gets a bad rap for a being a bit passé, a bit Footballers’ Wives. The shout at every wine bar in Peckham in the PPG (Pre-Pinot Grigio) era, might seem a little bit 1980s, but in my experience, most non-winos when questioned, don’t even realise that the finest white Burgundies are Chardonian.
I, for one, would like to see a revival of this classic old world grape, especially when experimented with in the new. So I have high hopes from one of my favourite wine producers, from one of my favourite wine countries (not that I have forgiven Maradona for the 1986 Hand of God incident).
Just as it is a massive error to drink red wine too warm, over-chilling a rich Chardonnay will stifle your enjoyment. If you are going to put your bottle in the bottom of the fridge for 3 days, you deserve all you get and you could save a lot of money by drinking Echo Falls, since it will taste equally bland. About 20 mins in an ice bucket (from room temp) should be more than enough. I like to drink it in a large, wide bowl glass to maximise the nasal intake.
And the aroma is likely to blow your socks off, or make you gag, depending on your taste buds. The Catena is richer than Tiger Woods, albeit more faithful. It tastes stronger than the 13.5 ABV that it is. Pineapple and stewed fruit combine with sautéed flint stone to give a pleasantly warm and buttery acidity.
It’s not going to beat a top Burgundy, but at a third of the price, it doesn’t have to.
Catena is available widely so if you have some weird vendetta against The Wine Society you can find it at Bibendum, Winedirect, Slurp.co.uk and others.
My (software) day job is pretty intense right now. I can’t afford to spend hours researching wine. Yet, somehow, I still find time to drink it (early evenings only, you understand, and in sensible measures).
So, you can find all about this Franco-Argie mix just by Googling it, or by visiting Jamie Goode’s excellent Wine Anorak.
If you want a handful of words about whether to invest your hard earned readies (at >£50 per bottle, you may well want to ponder for a moment before you ring Barclays for a banker’s draft), read on.
My mate Paul gave me a bottle of wine and told me that it is never wise to look a gift horse in the mouth. So let’s take a glance at its teeth then!
If you are looking for a cheap and cheerful Malbec, you could do a lot worse than try this specimen from Naked wines.
Imagine a bowl of fresh cherries and vanilla ice cream. Not as dark and devious as many Malbecs but tasty and good with or without food. Seems like incredible value at £7.99 (less a mysterious discount of x%*) which probably means you are paying little more than a fiver.
* x = 1/y+3σ (no I can’t work out Naked prices either).
My 1986 Hand of God driven campaign to avoid everything from the land of Peron ended for two reasons. Firstly, I finally forgave Maradona. Lurching from national crisis to personal crisis, he cuts a sorry figure on the world football stage these days. Secondly, Argentina produces some of my favourite wines and, at my age, there is little point in cutting ones stem off to spite ones Riedel Vinum.
This Malbec from Catena Alta is a prime example. It is quite expensive, although nowhere near the 37M euros that Maradona owes the Italian tax authorities. Is it worth it?
With superstars like Robert de Niro sponsoring Tribeca as an upcoming area (and selflessly trousering a good portion of the profits of Tribeca Grill), despite the proliferation of convenient subway stops, there was only one way to arrive. I asked our Taxi Driver why he was tanking down these Mean Streets like a Raging Bull. He said that given the Heat, and whilst he was not the King of Comedy, he was a Goodfella and, put simply, The Mission was to Meet the Parents, and not least, The Godfather (Part II) before the Midnight Run. Before I had time to Analyze This, it was Showtime – the waitresses were Flawless and it was time to Meet the Fockers.
I assured some French friends who visited recently, that ignorant southerners who claimed that it rained in Manchester 24 hours a day were plain wrong. In my experience the average precipitation is a considerably more modest 23. I am looking forwards to tomorrow between 8 and 9am when we are promised a refreshing spot of light cloud.
Tonight I am drinking Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2006. A very nice wine and worth every penny of the £8.50 I paid Costco for it.
This is one of the staples of the Gaucho Grill wine list, but when average wine markups in the UK are between 100 and 200% (i.e. double to three times the wholesale price) how come Gaucho thinks it can charge £37.50, a 341% uplift, and that is against the RETAIL price. Is this a new British and Commonwealth record?