Archive for February, 2010

Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

I could fall in love with Jane Hunter,
I have never met her, she might be a munter,
But if I could turn back the callous hands of time,
Her success, her money and wines would be mine.

After all, if her wines are a personification of her true self, then surely she must be gorgeous, tasty, exciting, full-bodied and just a little tarty (in a nice discreet way)?

But, probably, I would not ask her to hurry the wines to my cellar because, having tried her Sauvignon Blanc for the last few vintages, I think it tastes much better after a year or more of ageing.  I know this flouts convention, that NZ Sauvignon Blancs should be drunk within a year.

Is this Hunters 2009?  Yes or NO?  Please simply answer the question!

There is much competition amongst Kiwi winemakers these days.  Since the success of Cloudy Bay, ten thousand maniac (give or take a few thousand) imitators have gradually eroded the price of Marlborough gooseberry cat-pissers.  I got my 2009 Hunter’s from the Wine Society (£10.50) at barely a gnat’s fart more than the price of the 2006 (£9.95).

The 2009 is a bit two dimensional.  Gooseberry and sugar.  It is zingy but bland, if that is not too much of an oenological oxymoron.

Nonetheless, from previous experience, I suggest you buy a few bottles and lay them down for, oh I don’t know, twelve to twenty four months and I am sure you will see massive improvement.

Virgin Bubbles

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

If you are a UK based champagne glugger who buys the brands you might want to check out Virgin Wines who seem to have some pretty sharp prices right now.

I haven’t done extensive research but bog standard Moet is £23.99 which is about the same price as Tesco and if you subscribe to the Virgin Wine Bank* there is an effective 25% discount on that.  Other champagnes look similarly discounted.

*Wine Bank asks you to make a regular monthly contribution (I pay £20 for example) and every quarter a monthly subscription gets added.  So I have just spent 6 months of contributions (£120) on £160 worth of bubbly.  Luvvly jubbly!

No, I didn’t go for the Moet, I did include some Perrier Jouet and Mumm in the mix though.

Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir 2006

Monday, February 8th, 2010

I was in New York City a couple of months ago and stumbled across a wine shop on the Upper West Side.  I posed the shop guy a challenge.  I wanted to take just one bottle back to the UK.  What would he recommend?  Something American, good value, underrated, and not available in the UK.

He suggested that I see through the marketing gimmicks of Cycles Gladiator and try the Cabernet Sauvignon at about 11 bucks.  I’ve not tasted it yet.

At a California Wines event in London last month, I stumbled across the same brand.  A number of thoughts raged.  It’s available in the UK!  And they do a Pinot Noir!  And it’s the same cheesy label!  And it tastes annoyingly good…

On yer bike, lass!


Catena Alta Malbec 2005

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

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?

Catena Alta 2005 Malbec


Hawksmoor fails to wow…

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I realise I am risking treading on revered toes.  Almost every food blogger within Patriot Missile range of London thinks that Hawsksmoor is legend.  Esteemed mainstream critics from Jay Rayner to Giles Coren have extolled its fleshy virtues.  I was recommended, no, TOLD to go there by cheese lover, Ramsay denier and beefy beefcake Chris Pople.

In short I expected great things.  But whenever you set high expectations, it is inevitable that not everything lives up to the dream.  And a few things fell short for me.