Archive for August, 2008

Cape Mentelle 2007

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Going Mentelle...for some reason

It is no secret that I am one of the remaining few who still enjoys a glass of Cloudy Bay, the “iconic”, yet some say over-priced, fire-starter of the Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc phenomenon, even though they “sold out” to LVMH and revered founder, David Hohnen, left in 2003.

Strange then that I have never tried any of the wines of Hohnen’s other famous former enterprise, Cape Mentelle, from Australia’s Margaret River.

Being a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, as opposed to the pure SB of Cloudy Bay adds a softness to the wine.  Less of the gooseberry and rhubarb of Cloudy Bay and just a touch of honey and pear thrown into the mix.  Less acidic and therefore perhaps suited to a range of foods.

I really like it but like Cloudy Bay, it is not so cheap.  I got this from Majestic at £11.99.

How to wash your dog in Spain

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Every now and again, someone leaves a comment on this blog that makes me laugh.  Recently, I nearly wet myself when this comment appeared on my post about the Costa del Crime:

Hola, por si entiendes español, te mando esto, deberias elegir otros vinos en España, los que eliges ( valga la rebundancia ),aquí se utilizan para desatascar el inodoro y el cava freixenet para lavar al perro. Saludos

As it happens, Spanish is a language that avoided me at school, so it is not technically true that I wet myself when Lorenza left the comment.  Fortunately, my mate Paul, who learnt Spanish on a beach near Barcelona whilst variously selling deckchairs, running a water skiing school and generally bumming around for several years, was able to assist.  Here is his translation:

Hello, in the case of you being able to understand Spanish, I am sending you this. You should choose other wines in Spain, the ones you choose, here we use them to get rid of smells and Cava Freixenet is for washing the dog.

Thoughts of massaging Cava into Bonzo’s furry skin got me to wondering whether Spanish dogs are exported to Korea as a canine take on wagyu beef?

Firesteed Oregon Pinot Noir 2006

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

There was quite a reaction to my criticism of Costco recently.

Whoa there boy!

Whilst I stand by my slight lack of confidence in Costco’s wine buyers, this does not stop me buying a few bottles every now and again, especially when I see something interesting.  This Oregon Pinot Noir, at £9.39, stared at me longingly, “I’m only a tenner” it whispered flirtatiously.  “You look bloody lovely!” I replied a decent number of decibels to the wrong side of audibility.  But a few queer glances from bemused fat folk do not deter me.  I picked the bottle up and took it home, reasoning that a US owned store ought to know a bit about US wine.


Sula Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Friday, August 8th, 2008

The fully loaded cost of employing a call centre agent in the UK is about £20 to £25k per annus horribilis.  Off-shoring to India typically cuts the cost per head to £8 to £12k.  Many argue that the quality is not as high, and that cultural divisions make the customer experience a bit dodgy.  I think that if the process is simple, and the off-shore agent has proper access to the company’s computer systems then there is a place for off-shoring simple human contact processes.  However, like everyone else in the UK I can tell numerous tales of horrific experiences, trying to get through to “Dave” at my local Indian call centre.

Sulky Sula

According to a straw poll of my wine rack, the average price of a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is about £10 but this Indian one from Sula Vineyards, Nashik Estate was only £7.49.  Does this cost advantage represent a simple process done with cheaper labour, or a quality Hammer House of Horror?


The Criterion Grill rediscovers Gaul

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

We regularly use the plural when we mean the singular.  Nowhere is this more true than in Latin derived words used in a business context.  For example “can you tell me the single criteria for success?”.  Erm no I can’t, but I might be able to enlighten you with the criterion.

A gruff Yorkshireman with mixed ancestry by the name of Marco Pierre White clearly spotted that the single criterion for a good restaurant was to serve good food.  This is certainly a baseline, but in my view there are other criteria.  For one, there is history.  Criterion pre-dates Piccadilly Circus itself by 4 years putting a big red tick in that particular box.

Blimey it\'s like Piccadilly Circus round here!


Veranda Reserve Pinot Noir 2007

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

I’ve been on a crusade recently, to try to persuade the public that white wine is almost always served too cold, whilst red wine is almost always too warm.  I have appealed to restaurateurs and bar owners to join my Wine At Right Temperature (WART) campaign, but every single one has responded that they are merely reflecting public demand and, in any case, displaying my helpful acronym in the window of their premises is hardly likely to invite custom.

This is a bit like saying that the media is a reflection of society, when most sane people admit that it plays a leading role in many circumstances, and as a minimum is quick to jump on any bandwagon as soon as it looks like there is any public support.  Take the current credit crunch.  The media, including respected sources like the BBC, are constantly talking the economy into a recession.  Soon enough, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Veranda....and a bottle of wine for some reason


2007 Dog Point – more cat piss?

Friday, August 1st, 2008

The title may sound like a cryptic crossword clue, but it simply refers to the last time I tried Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, the 2006 vintage, which was a superb example of this varietal’s clichéed ability to smell of cat pee.  I was pleased to receive a bottle of the 2007 recently as part of a mixed case so I wondered if I should hide the neighbour’s cat (on heat) before I opened it.

I know some of you beat up on Kiwi SBs and find them the height of 1990’s fashion – so last decade man – yawn, yawn, yawn.  If you are one of those, or you are not into feline urolagnia, switch off now.

Do you mean its nose or do dogs debate?