Archive for the ‘Rest of France’ Category

Domaine Tempier, Cabassaou, Bandol 2006

Friday, March 9th, 2012

It’s deep, rich, spicy, and makes the inside of your mouth feel like a souk. What’s not to like about Tempier Cabassaou?

Single varietal wines can be a bit like pedigree dogs. Beautiful, but temperamental. Domaine Tempier has whipped the Mourvèdre grape into shape and got it behaving like a lovable mongrel. Maybe that’s why it has a reputation for being a tad barking mad…

Personally, I love all the Tempiers I have tried. Hardly foaming at the mouth but, be warned, they are not cheap. This one came from the Wine Society for a whopping £39.

Many people think they improve as they get (much) older. I am afraid I couldn’t risk dying before I tried this bottle. I’m glad I managed to squeeze it through my liver before I bought the farm.

Jean-Marc Burgaud, Régnié Vallières 2010

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Although it is rumoured that I can poach an egg, I am, in truth, impotent in the kitchen. If I was a porn star, I suspect that I would really struggle with the vinegar stroke, not least the timing thereof.

I’ve been experimenting with a pork chop recipe comprising various measures of mustard, thyme, garlic, skillets, pans and ovens. I’m certain that the ingredients are all going to work in balance one day, but it may take me another 30 years to get there.

Equal challenges must be faced by winemakers. How do you get that elusive balance? This Régnié has zingy plums, spice, bright acidity and just enough tannins to match up to a robust (even burnt) pork dish at a beautifully light 12.5% ABV. Unusual for the Gamay grape to display such agility. Softcore as ever, a rare bed partner of longevity.

The Daffodil, Cheltenham

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

It’s easy to be suspicious of restaurants that inhabit buildings with a past, especially those that use it as a theme. Former banks, embassies and even car showrooms have proudly displayed elements of their previous lives in the rush to find kitsch spaces for the entertainment industry of the zeitgeist.

Under 40s will find it hard to believe, but dining out has not always been so in vogue. My childhood caught the end of the movie-going era. Any self respecting date was played out in the back row while some Woody Allen film droned on in the background. Nowadays, sharing a rib of beef and some polite chatter has replaced a silent and clumsy fumble in the dark. How times have changed.


The Star at Harome, North Yorkshire

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

If there’s one thing better than a pint of Black Sheep, it’s a pint of Black Sheep served in a cosy warm Yorkshire pub, after a long Sunday morning walk on the moors.

The Star at Harome is just such a warming and friendly establishment but with the added bonus of being a restaurant that serves game, fish and fine wines. Oh and it has won just about every “best gastro pub” award going including, at one point, a Michelin star. It’s grouse season and I might just be in heaven. I am going to pay a celestial price too, £111 (a Nelson) plus service is more than a trifle in this part of the world.

The Star at Harome


Nicole Chanrian, Côte-de-Brouilly, 2009

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Beaujolais 2009 seems to be getting better and better. I’ve still got a case or two, supposedly improving with age but, in reality, finding its way into my belly faster than the breaking of a New Year resolution.

Take this Côte-de-Brouilly from Nicole Chanrion, which I got from the Wine Society for £9.95. There is full on fruit in a way that makes it hard to believe it is crafted from the Gamay grape, that in poor hands can taste of little more than Bazooka Joe with Cherry Coke.

By contrast, Chanrion has delivered an intense boost of full on fruit. Not so much lipsmackin’ as tonsil tingling and jowl jiggling. It’s a really good beans-on wine match (remember to use Branston Baked Beans if you are an adult).

The Wine Society looks to have left 2009 behind, in favour of the subsequent vintage. The good news is, 2010 is another super year for this lovable, reasonably priced, yet often overlooked region.

Moulin à Vent, La Salomine, Joseph Burrier, 2009

Monday, November 21st, 2011

I hear that 2010 Beaujolais is even better than 2009, and I thought that was the best I have ever tasted. So I have to make a little room in my Combine Harvester by clearing out a predecessor.

This Moulin à Vent, or to give it full title, Joseph Burrier, La Salomine, Château de Beauregard, Moulin à Vent, 2009, cost £14.95 from The Wine Society and is worth every penny. Blackberries, tart blackberries and sweet blackberries. Potent, yet refined and combining the youth and vigour of the Gamay grape with the middle aged maturity of nearby Burgundy.

Despite the 2010 hype, if you can still get hold of 2009 Bojo, I would stock a few away. I think most will keep improving for a couple more years yet. Meanwhile I am going to cover both bases and stock a case of each.

The Society’s Corbières, 2008

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

I’ve been looking for a reason to slate The Wine Society.  I have not always got on with this venerable and sometimes crusty institution.  At the moment, however, it seems that it can do no wrong.

So let’s try to find their Henry IV moment – not dying majestically in battle but from a limp bout of debilitating psoriasis.

A bog standard own brand at the low end of the price range? Check. From the cheap as chips, rough and ready end of France, the Languedoc? Check. Come. Sharpen the knives. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown!

Wine Society Corbieres 2008


Perrin et Fils, Rasteau, 2007

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Quite earthy and rich and tasting of beetroot and tomato purée with some plummy fruits and vanilla thrown in, this Côtes du Rhône Villages goes brilliantly with Heinz tomato soup, which if you are over 9, only really tastes acceptable when accompanied by a tipper truck load of ground black pepper and a toasted white pitta bread.

So, having set a British & Commonwealth record for the longest opening sentence on a Confessions post, my mind turned to where I may have procured this very decent tasting bottle, and its pecuniary value, given that I (unusually for me) kept no record, nor scrawled any details on the label, and whether I was also going to set a record for the second sentence, and penultimate paragraph before I ran out of breath and all remaining readers had passed out, so I wantonly speculated that this was probably a £7.50 wine and turned to Lord Google.

It is rather nice, so I shouldn’t have really been so surprised to find it at Berry Bros.  They only have it In Bond (for delivery when?) at £130 per case which is just under £11, but normally one must add shipping and VAT, so maybe my estimate is out by a factor of two?  Hmm I might stretch to that for a couple of bottles, but the price does appear to have been influenced by a Parker rating of 88-90.

Domaine Tempier, La Migoua, 2006

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

And while we are on the topic of barking mad wines, I’ve had a variety six pack of Domaine Tempier in the rack for a while now.  Meanwhile, the perfect wine marriage for beans on toast remains unconsummated in my experience. Can you see what’s coming?


Domaine Raynier, St Chinian 2009

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Avoiding ugly tasting shite like Echo Falls, where do we look for a cheap, but decent, red wine?  South America is one place to focus on, where even the big brands can taste excellent.  The next place to look is probably the south of France.

This Languedoc came from the Wine Society at £5.50.  So, it fulfils the “cheap” requirement.  When first opened, bitter damsons clogged my cheeks forcing a Vito Corleone face-pull.  Not wanting a horse’s head on my pillow, I allowed it to warm and drank on.  It developed nicely in a vanilla and cherry compote frenzy.

It is always going to taste a little cheap , D’Oh!…It is!  But it goes incredibly well with hummus (other spellings are available) and pitta bread, and it is much more fashionable to be seen with than the branded wines from the US and Australia.