Archive for September, 2010

Secret Wine Tasting

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Maybe this is the future of wine marketing, maybe it is just a bit of fun.  Either way, PR société, Agence Clair de Lune of Lyon, France has created a bit of a stir with its Secret Wine promotion.

85 wine bloggers from around the world have entered a competition to guess the “appellation” of 3 mystery red wines, mailed out over the last week.

There is bluff and counter bluff going on with bright green replacement corks in non-specific bottles, and apparently randomly numbered labels.  The fact that the PR company is based in Lyon might lead one to think that the wines are from the Rhone or Burgundy.  I am not 100% convinced that they are all even from France, but I am making that leap of faith as a starting point.  Even having made that assumption, is it one appellation showing off its variety, or a region showing diversity, or is something more devious going on?

Psychology works.  There is a mood on the Secret Wine website (voters choices are shown on the home page) that tends towards the South of France regions.  The wines arrived with a note advising the correct drinking temperature was 14°.  This smacks of Rhone rather than Languedoc to me, but I am going to try to ignore all the misleading signs apart from the country of origin.

I’ve never done a blind tasting and come out any better than looking a complete fool, but fools never learn to keep their gobs shut, so, with little trepidation, here is my take on the wines.

714 – the petrol and elastic bands smell from the glass is what I always get from Monastrell/Mourvèdre.  Could this be a barking mad Bandol?  If it wasn’t a French PR agency I would have said a Monastrell from Barcelona.

390 – tastes like a classic Bordeaux blend to me – let’s go for Cotes de Bordeaux.

079 – I wondered if this was primarily a tough but flowery Cabernet Franc so I Googled where this grape predominates and randomly chose Chinon as my guess.

I am clearly wrong or I would now be in possession of the prize holiday.  I can’t wait to find out how much egg I need to wipe off my face.

Casillero del Diablo Carménère, 2008

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I was mooching through Sainsbury’s wine section looking for something interesting to go with a pork chop dish I have been working on.  I have to say it was a pretty depressing mooch, with very little to trouble the adrenalinometer.  Rescue came in a bottle of Casillero del Diablo Carménère, a wine I have tried before and enjoyed.  It is from Chilean giant, Concha y Toro, the one brand that seems truly capable of producing wines that rise above the lowest common denominator of the North American and Australian market leaders.


Château Laroque, 2004

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Fellow Wino and blogger, Edward, threw down a gauntlet.  I haven’t played chess in 20 years and I’ve no idea how to send a letter to Australia.  So, following Bathgate logic, I took up the challenge and we have now locked horns in a game of postal chess!


Mi Casa, San Juan, Alicante

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Finding it is a bit like going to a rave.  First, you need to know a local hombre to get the number.  On tinkling, you are directed to another telephone box to wait for a call.  Then, like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn, a taxi appears to pick you up from Alicante town centre and you are driven 20 minutes up the coast, blindfolded.

This sort of experience excites the hell out of me and has my salivary glands pissing like a Dutch dyke.


La Salamandre, Pauillac

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

On a frenzied wine tour through Bordeaux it’s nice to take a relaxing break for a long lunch, and you could do much worse than stop in Pauillac during your Medoc leg.

La Salamandre, looking out directly over the river is charming, top quality, well presented, and has a great wine list.


Château Chasse-Spleen, 2004

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

After a visit to the Wine Gallery in Bordeaux where I tasted some of the best (or in any case, most expensive) wines in the world, La Brasserie Bordelaise was the destination for a bloody, but fatty, grisly and tough, entrecôte steak.  What could match the power of Château Latour or Cheval Blanc to accompany such a dish?


Le Puy-Paulin, Bordeaux

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Tucked away in a place so secret that only the French Foreign Legion knows of its existence, this place is more charming than Dartagnan and better for juicing up a hot date than a pair of George Clooney’s underpants.

You can expect French service, though, which is the exact opposite of New York service.  That is to say, friendly but slow.