Archive for December, 2008

Marcos, Hightown, Cleckheaton

Friday, December 12th, 2008

A posthumous restaurant review.  Is this a joke?

Grim oop North!  Marco's drab exterior.


Miudiño Albariño 2007, Rias Baixas

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

I have given mixed reviews of Virgin Wines in the past.  In truth, the quality has varied from the sublime to the downright ugly, but you can’t argue with the prices.  That means value has to be taken into account.  For example, if you sign up for their Wine Bank promotion you merely need to commit a credit crunch dodging £20 per month to your wine account and every three months, Virgin adds another £20 implying a 25% discount on the prices on the site.

So, having tried some bottles at the cheapest end of the spectrum, I thought I would order a few at about a tenner.  But I forgot that this Miudiño Albariño advertised at £9.49 only cost me £7.12 because of Wine Bank.


Pirie Estate Pinot Noir 2005

Monday, December 8th, 2008

It’s amazing what you can find through Google.  I typed in Ivy Gestapo and found my website top of the list!  Freixenet pronunciation is another phrase that puts me top, Prezzo Thame is not bad, neither is Cloudy Bay 2007.  Finally, if you are truly bored, try wine combine harvester, another everyday search string that finds my site.

Finding good wine, however, sometimes takes a little more effort.  I made a trip out to Majestic in Leeds and picked up this Tasmanian devil for £14.99.

Pirie Estate - a Tasmanian Devil?


Naked wines exposed

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

So, Naked Wines has launched and as the website quips “Rules:  Nudity Optional” but this looks like a serious undertaking to me.

You may recall that Rowan Gormley described it as the LastFM of wine shopping, but there has been some controversy over the half launch of Naked Wines, the latest project from the former founder and MD of Virgin Wines.  Its aim is to match wine makers to buyers directly (well via Naked Wines to be precise).  True to his irreverent style, Mr Gormley claims that winemakers “would rather be with their vines than in a Travelodge waiting for an appointment with Tesco”.  This is what the internet was invented for.  Look at the effect it has had on auctions, travel agents, banks, electrical stores, estate agents, bookstores.  The internet is the world’s cyber-wholesale Exchange & Mart.

On the other hand, orders still need to be processed, the wine still needs to be shipped, local duty accounted for, customer service delivered, refunds processed.  In this sense, is Naked Wines really so different from other online wine retailers?

I was invited to join the “tasting panel” and three bottles arrived in the post a few days later.  I was expecting some yawningly predictable staples:  a Petit Chablis, an Aussie Shiraz and a NZ Sauvignon for example.  In fact I got a South African Chenin, a Chilean Cabernet/Carmenère and a Spanish erm….thing.  My interest is aroused but I can assure you I was fully clothed as I tasted the first two – both reds.


2004 Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Friday, December 5th, 2008

There’s something uniquely British about November 5th.  Celebrating a failed attempt to blow up one’s house of parliament is a tad eccentric.  Doing so by trying to burn down our own houses and gardens is plain odd, but admittedly good fun.

Our house looks over a valley, so there is never any need to buy fireworks.  I merely park a deck chair on my balcony, sport a warm coat and enjoy them at my neighbours’ expense.

You are probably expecting me to construct a treasonable plot that this Châteauneuf-du-Pape smelt of gunpowder.

Even I am not that cheesy.  There was an explosion on the tongue though.  Red apples, liquorice, milk chocolate and vanilla.  Luscious, opulent, smooth, delicious.  Probably the best wine I have tasted from Virgin although, at £18.49, certainly not their cheapest.

Apparently, living on the side of a valley puts one in a time warp amongst other things, since today we celebrate the one month anniversary of November 5th – sorry this one was a bit late.

Isabel Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Buying an iPhone is a bit like getting married to Pamela Anderson and then finding out she’s done a porno.  Almost everything is exquisite, near perfect, round, supple and enticing.  But you quickly start finding out that a few assumptions you made were wrong, and everyone knew but you.

Charming name, simply divine dahhling


Concha y Toro Winemaker’s Lot 9T Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Amongst the longest wine names you can find on a bottle belong to Concha y Toro…

Concha y Toro Winemaker’s Lot 9T Sauvignon Blanc Lo Ovalle Vineyard D.O. Casablanca Valley by Ignacio Recabarren 2007 is all the information you get on the front of the bottle.  There is a little more info on the back but it’s all claptrap by the Wine Society who charge £6.95 for an odd shaped bottle of this Chilean white wine.

Let’s all have a Concha, let’s all have a Concha, na na na na, na na na na!

Actually, the wine is super value for money and would give many a NZ Sauvignon a run for its honey, although this one was more grass, gooseberry, grapefruit and red cherryade.  The only thing missing is a good dose of cat’s piss (yes, just one this time).

Once again – Concha y Toro proves itself to be one of the big wine brands to trust.