Archive for January, 2009

Chablis 1er Cru Defaix 2000

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Is the Sony brand dead?

I used to be a Sony snob – hifi, TVs, Playstations, Walkmans.  OK I admit I never had a Betamax, but I know early adopter friends who did.  In the 1970s our household was the first in the street with a colour TV.  In the 1980s we were last to invest in VHS technology, albeit by virtue of Radio Rentals and with a third of my first adult weekly paycheque as a deposit.

I am currently watching a Sony TV from the 1990s which is fab. I also own a Sony TV from 2007 that is total tosh – picture quality, software, remote control – all about as user-friendly as a Doberman shaped perambulator.



Château Vaugelas 2004

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

In the race to taste the latest “holy grail” Bordeaux vintage, or “super-domaine” from Burgundy it’s easy to overlook other wine regions of France that can offer much better value.  For example Languedoc.

After experimenting with some Fitou several years ago I was left with the impression that wines from this most Mediterranean of French régions, were thick heavy, spicy and coarse.  Clearly this was because I was drinking the cheapest possible produce.  But then I tried a cracking 2003 Corbières that got my juices flowing, both in the brain and elsewhere…

This Château Vaugelas 2004 came from Costco at £6.75 plus VAT.  That is either £7.93 or £7.76 depending on whether you bought it before or after 1 December 2008.  I am proud to have made the marginal contribution of 17 pence to help my government sort out the banking crisis.


Gevrey-Chambertin 2004 Alain Burguet

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

This may be made from M. Burguet’s favourite old vines but I am not that impressed.

Gevrey and some fairy liquid...for some reason

The first bottle I opened was cloudy as a January day in Manchester (any day in January, take your pick) and as bitter as a teaspoonful of chicory essence – remember that wartime coffee substitute?  No I don’t either.

The second bottle wasn’t cloudy but failed to live up to its price tag of £26 from the cyber-shelves of the Wine Society.

I will give the second bottle the benefit of my detox tainted palate, but I will be writing to Messrs Johnson and co to get my £25.95 back for the first.

For the record it was a little soapy although had a few redeeming flavours of radishes and Eton Mess.  I would expect more from a £7.50 bottle of Chilean Pinot.

Mr Blobby does sit ups

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

One of the advantages of detoxifying ones body is the opportunity to lose weight.

The Xmas festivities somehow adversely affected the accuracy of my bathroom scales causing a mean error of plus 6 lbs.

Happily, rigorous exercise, sensible eating, and abstinence means I am now below last year’s weight already.  I am not one to rest on my laurels but it is time for a treat.  A certain cheeky little Pinot Noir has my name on it for this evening.  YUM!

Virgin wine sale climaxes too early

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I was planning to tell you about another stonking January wine offer.

You might recall my review of Landelia 2005 Malbec last March where I was a Virgin’s thong away from apologising for visible trouser stains.  I love the smooth chocolate and cherry flavours that slip from a glass of Malbec like a soulful line to the ladies from Theophilus T Wildebeest.

But Lenny Henry’s parody of Barry White probably lasts all night, or at any rate, longer than the Virgin Wines New Year sale.

I picked up six bottles of Landelia Malbec for £40.74, or £6.79 per bottle only a couple of weeks ago.

If you want some now, you have missed the boat.  The price is back to its original £8.49.  But even at this level, you would be naiive not to tuck a couple of bottles away, if only as an ingested alternative to Stud Delay.

Stonking January wine bargains

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

To pass the time during my New Year detox, I have been hoovering up wine bargains to stock up for the year ahead and to get my taste buds flowering in anticipation.

Two bargains stand out from the crowd, one from Costco, one from the Wine Society.  One Champagne, the other red wine but from a relatively close starting point.

Freebie-jeebies.  Nice glasses!


Mystic Meg needed for EWBC2009

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Apparently I am a wine blogger.  I know this because I was invited to (and attended) the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference 2008 in La Rioja.

The organisers are canvassing for candidates to attend the 2009 event “in mid June in Italy”.  Not very precise, but then again in these credit crunched times I don’t blame them for trying to assess likely interest before committing to the cream cracker budget.

If you are interested, email Rob, Ryan and Gabriella at and let them know who you are.  If it lives up to half the value, fun and fuzzy memories of the 2008 event it is one not to be missed.

If you can also predict when and where it will be, can you let me know.

Winninger Uhlen Riesling Kabinett von Heddesdorff 2007

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Germans never use three letters when it is possible to craft a word from three k’s, four ch’s and at least two consecutive f’s.  W also features prominently.  Perhaps it was a German who extended the short form “world wide web” into the excessive and unnecessary “www”, possibly the only acronym with three times as many syllables as its original “long” form.

Perhaps it belies a Teutonic predilection for taking more time than is sensible in the name of quality, or detail at least, and if this applies to winemaking, this may explain some of the prices of German Rieslings I have seen recently.  And I bought most of mine before Sterling/Euro parity played havoc with my holiday plans.  I don’t suppose Angela Merkel would have welcomed me to her country anyway, given her views on Gordon Brown’s “world saving” economic initiatives.

Winningest Riesling?


Water of choice for the January detox

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Every January I do my penance and teach my evil body a lesson by depriving it of alcohol, caffeine and fried foods, and forcing it to strain and pump to weird tunes on my cross training sessions.  Usually I get bored after about two weeks.

Sat here in the middle of my current detox, not one single person has asked me which water is best for detoxifying with, so I thought I would tell you.

The still water of choice in the Wino household is Volvic.  I find Evian just a tad too chalky, and others too expensive, although my local Spar currently has 4L of Evian for £1.25 so chalk it is for now.  Well we are in a depression aren’t we?

On celebratory evenings, my fizz is supplied by San Pellegrino, the sparking water of kings and the Mafia.  The bubbles are just right and if drunk cold, is a perfect refresher after exercise.  The bottle recommends serving at 8 to 10 degrees Celsius but I say take it straight from the fridge at about 5 deg.

So for good detox simply sleep well, drink water and exercise a lot.  You will feel great, but don’t die of boredom.

Currently I have only old wine notes to publish, which offer limited stimulation to a writer’s juice flowing equipment.  Oh well, once more unto the breach of the cross trainer…

Adobe Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Smoky, moody, deep, mysterious, bitter, fruity.  All adjectives that, I have been instructed to inform you in no uncertain terms, do not associate themselves readily with my wife.  At least not for 25 days of every month.

Just as well she didn’t visit the Virgin Wines website and pay £5.65 of her hard earned cash for this Adobe Cabernet.

Radiator valves and wine...always a fine combination