Archive for November, 2010

A Naked, Virgin tale

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I’ve just placed my first order with Naked Wines.  Is this news?  Not really, I suppose, but the strange thing is the reason why.  Naked has persistently pestered me, offered free samples, discounts and special offers and I have resisted for over a year.

I attended EWBC 2010 and witnessed something very interesting.  Naked founder, Rowan Gormley,  (fortunately wearing clothes in front of several hundred people) standing side by side with Willi Klinger of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, a top guy by any standard, running a mass taste-off between 11 Austrian Wines.


Domaine de Gournier, 2009

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

If there is a wine region in the world right now that is in the ascendance, it surely is the South of France and, specifically, the Languedoc.  Partly driven by credit crunch belt tightening, and partly by improved quality, and wider availability (in the UK, at any rate).

This stonker came via the Wine Society from Cévennes at a mere £5.75.  At this price it is hard to fault.

Rich, earthy, root vegetables and plums, well worthy of your attention.  Follow WART advice and stick it in the fridge for half an hour before opening.

Austrian wine could invade Europe (finally)…!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

If you are at the intersection of wine and social media, then you were probably at EWBC 2010 in Vienna this October.

It’s a diverse and eclectic group of folk: Wine-makers, journalists, blog authors, wine educators, PR people, sponsors.  All have their own reasons for attending.  Mine are manifold but the two most important are to meet really interesting people and to learn about really interesting wines.

Partly due to my own ignorance, and partly due to the lack of wines available in the UK, Austria has been a bit of a blind spot for me. The best I could say of most Austrian wines is that they broke the spellchecker.  However, in a 3 day blitzkrieg of wine tastings I learnt that Austria has so much more to offer the world than Grüner Veltliner (not that ‘Gruvee’ itself is boring or ubiquitous).

I write this to capture a few favourites and, if I may, offer a few suggestions to the rare few amongst you with even less Austrian wine experience than me. These were some of the wines that torpedoed my subs…


Lucy’s, Bowness on Windermere

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

The business card for Lucy’s carries the tagline “share in the experience”.  Oh dear, looks like I’m washing up again…


Cycles Gladiator strikes again

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

In February I sampled the 2006 Pinot Noir from this brand and gave it a good account.  A 2008 appeared recently, I figured it was worth another go.  But Pinot Noir is notoriously fickle and as a result is often expensive.  Is it possible to make a decent one and then ship it half way across the world and then sell it for a pittance?


Malumbres Rosado, 2009

Friday, November 5th, 2010

I have pondered, on increasingly rare occasions in my curmudgeonly middle age, whether to write about poor wines.  It is hardly constructive.  There is at least one theory that says make positive comments public and keep negative ones private.

But this website is my own personal record that I rely on for my own future advice.  So I reckon it is OK to report wines that I really don’t get on with.  Otherwise I might buy them again in the future, at my own cost.

Malumbres 2009 came to me as part of an end of season mixed rosé case from my most dependable supplier, The Wine Society.  Here, in England, we have experienced an Indian summer, at least in terms of temperature.  I was in London today – early November and 16° C!  That would have charmed June in the 1970’s (OK, 1976 excepted).

But this Spanish wine, that should boast of bull fighting and castanets and taste of sunshine actually couldn’t even outshine a (burnt) microwave massacre# pizza from Sainsbury.  Lacking in acidity and fruit, it reminded me of the place I once worked: The 3 B’s:  Bitter, bland and burnt.

Note to self:  When you look back at this post-senility, BBBs stood for Bradford & Bingley Building Society.  Like Accrington Stanley, who are they?  Precisely…

# Following on from the Sainsbury Basics and, Taste the Difference ranges, Microwave Massacre is the latest Sainsbury lifestyle brand.  Or at least that is my prediction for 2011.