Archive for March, 2009

Agustinos “Green” Chardonnay 2006

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The primary responsibility of a wine producer is to make drinkable or, better still, remarkable wine.  It is a bit like a restaurant whose benchmark is firstly decent food, then cool atmosphere, warm ambience, decent price, and finally how good looking the waitresses are – oh and the quality and price of the wine list helps!

Agustinos Chardonnay…..made in Chile from green things…for some reason

Fundamentally I care about our planet and I am very much in favour of reduced carbon emissions.  Irrespective of whether you believe the global warming doom mongerers, you would have to be a nincompoop of Victorian standards not to accept that pumping out all this shit into our precious H2O is simply a route to premature apocalypse.

However, is there really a need to shout so loud about your green credentials?  I expect as a matter of course that winemakers use ever more green and efficient production methods.  So I am always suspicious about any product that claims to be “greener” – it is the Toyota Prius effect applied to the wine industry.

This “green” one from Virgin at £8.99 wasn’t undrinkable but it was unremarkable.

Brasserie 44, Leeds

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

If West Yorskhire is within striking distance and you think you might enjoy looking out over the River Aire at a regatta of swans following a canal barge  of revelling diners (I waved to them – birds and blokes alike) then Brasserie 44 is a place you might want to try.

Brasserie 44 shares a converted Victorian grain store with infamous hotel, 42, The Calls, one of the early entrants on this refurbished homage to modern city living.  The Calls has turned the industrial past into the post-modern future – lofty living, dining and drinking quarter of Leeds city centre.

Classy yet industrial


Roaring Meg Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2007

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Have you ever watched a football match where the result went against the run of play?  Or fancied a bird whose face was constructed from the Pam Ayres book of beauty?  Or eaten something like a Seekh Kebab that looks like a dog turd but tastes bloody lovely?

Difficulty Mounting this?  Ask Meg.


Fabre Montmayou 2008 Torrontés

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I’ve sacked Mybloglog.  What is the point when Facebook (you see, no need to provide a hyperlink) is taking over every social interaction on the web.  I like to think that LinkedIn looks after business interaction, but Facebook’s success in the social space has undoubtedly been due to its open platform.

Fabre, Sabre, Labia, Quaver - but in the end a good match for Beans On!


Hughes’ look says it all

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

So Man City’s UEFA dream survives after clinging by the loosest of threads for 90 minutes plus extra time and penalties.

I never supported the appointment of Mark Hughes.  However, I have held my tongue whilst others have defended him.  Apologists are fine, but with the budget he has, I think the fans deserve more.


Clos des Porrets St-Georges, Henri Gouges 2001

Monday, March 16th, 2009

I’m not having much luck with my latest Burgundies from the Wine Society.  This one would have cost £24.25 if it had not been included in a cheapo Burgundy bin end case.  The 2004 is available at £28.50 – maybe that is a better bet now?

The 2001 I opened the other evening was slightly oxidised but there was clear evidence of a super wine under the dull acidity.

Clos des Porrets and some kitchen roll....for some reason

Apple and blackberry, raspberry and ginger.  It tipped a good nod to Pinot Noir with the smell you get when you chuck damp leaves on a fire.  It wasn’t so badly oxidised as to make it undrinkable but a £25 Nuit St-Georges like this should have had me in ecstasy rather than objectivity.  Shame.

Juanicó Teru Teru Tannat Reserva 2007

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Some gadgets are adorable and some are practical.  None are both.

My iPhone is adorable but lacks practicality on so many levels.  It is missing some very basic technical features like cut and paste.  I keep dropping it because it is too smooth to hold.  It always looks like it’s been pawed by a jello wrestling dog that has just walked across a skid pan.

Teru Teru Tannat, and and iPhone...for some reason


Venise de Paradou – 2006

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Jo le taxi (aka wine delivery driver) this week brought me a small but intriguing parcel I ordered en primeur over a year ago.

The reason I was interested in this wine was threefold…

1) it was by Paul Jaboulet Ainé
2) it was from Beaumes-de-Venise, a well known sweet white wine area but this was a red Grenache/Syrah
3) it was pretty cheap!

Venise-de-Paradou - Jo Le TAXI!


River Plate Steakhouse, Leeds

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

As taste sensations go, there is little to beat a hunk of well seasoned Argentinian beef, chargrilled and accompanied by a glass of decent Malbec.  Chewing on the salty, aged and bloody meat causes a tingling in your gums as if a bovine mouthwash.   This then undergoes some kind of chemical reaction with the deep, moody, spicy wine that leaves you digesting the meal for a whole week.  Sharp pangs – taste reminders – keep haunting you like salivating ghosts of taste past that make you press your teeth together in muscle memory.

River Plate - not exactly a stadium!

As Argentinian steakhouses go, The Gaucho Grill takes the biscuit.  Not only for great steaks with superb ghost potential, but also for awesome (by which I mean sky high) wine prices.  Markups of over 300% are commonplace.  That is four times the retail price and presumably they pay the importer much less!  Is there a venue which matches the steak quality and authenticity, but where the only fleecing is associated with an occasional lamb chop?

In Leeds, a place I dine all too rarely these days, River Plate has appeared on the site once known as the Calls Grill.  The menu looked pretty similar to Gaucho but, to be frank, the wine list looked cheap!


A wine (nearly) as old as me

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I was at Sam’s Chop House in Manchester earlier this week.  Pat and Martin were kind enough to chip in and buy me a decent bottle of wine in memory of my birthday.  One from the year of my birth and reduced by an impressive £50 from the normal price.

Riojanas Monte Real Reserva 1964 had a dodgy cork, took an age to decant and was served too warm for me (about 23 degrees – I would serve at 18).  But it is probably the oldest wine I have ever drunk, so I was intrigued.

Monte Real, my part in its victory....