Archive for the ‘new zealand’ Category

Belmonte Pinot Noir

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

You may recall my suspicions about a new case from Virgin Wines were mostly unfounded, as the first bottle I tried was rather nice.

Belmonte Pinot Noir and its siblings…for some reason

The case also contained three wines from the same stable – a Marlborough outfit by the name of Belmonte.  I tried the Pinot Noir recently with surprising results.


Isabel Marlborough 2006

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Is it really necessary?  On a bicycle?  I mean, I am thinking of buying a mountain bike but should I put a bell on the handlebars?  Enough of the knock knock jokes, let’s get straight to tonight’s wine which is the last remaining in a case of Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs I procured from the Wine Society, and the second most expensive of the batch.

Find the lady in my extensive collection of random male spirits….

The title of most expensive, was awarded, obviously, to Cloudy Bay 2006 Sauvignon.  A pure rhubarb delight but so it should be for the best part of £20.  This Isabel 2006 was also from Marlborough but I only had to work for 23 hours to afford it.  At 13% alcohol, it had the typical gooseberry aroma, but it was more complex than most Kiwi SBs.  White grapefruit with caster sugar was my conclusion.  Perhaps notes of honey adding interest.

A super long finish of refined zing.  I think it’s a real challenger to Cloudy Bay.

Fortnum & Mason wins “least rip off” prize

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

My last (and first) visit to Fortnum & Mason 1707 Wine Bar was such a success, the very next time I was in London I revisited.

This time my flight comprised three Pinot Noirs and I also added a plate of charcuterie to nibble on.  At £13 an American would starve on this dish, but the quality soared.  The meat was, interestingly, not Italian, the most notable of a good bunch being Gloucester Old Spot Prosciutto which stood up to any Italian prosciutto I have ever tasted.

The Pinot Noirs were all worthy of drinking, for the record:

Fortnum & Mason Bourgogne Rouge Drouhin 2004 – soft and supple, the most subtle of the three with redcurrants and a creamy finish.

Merricks Creek Pinot Noir Victoria 2004 – a powerful strawberry flavour wine, jammy and louder than Ian Paisley in full rhetorical flow.

Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir Waipara 2004 – the most interesting of the bunch.  Cherries and some mineral.  A bit like the French one but with a bit of kiwi intensity and sharpness.

I couldn’t resist trying one more wine and was pleased to see the Fortnum & Mason Pomerol Clos Rene 2003 served in a Riedel Bordeaux glass from the Vinum range. Black fruits prevailed in contrast to the red fruited Pinots.  A bit of cooked cabbage, quite tannic with a long finish.  Quite a serious wine as you might expect

I tolerated some rude treatment from the staff because of the excellent pricing policy, £10 corkage being added to the shop price no matter the value of the wine.  Clearly the place to go if you fancy a 1961 Latour.

So I award F & M my top prize for least rip-off wine drinking prices in London wine bars or restaurants.

I also enjoy trying the flights of three wines linked by grape and comparing the different treatments.  But next time I think up an award, I really must construct a snappier name.

Finally, you don’t have to drink wine, coffee and tea is available.  It is also very quiet, so I use it for meetings when I am in Piccadilly/Mayfair.  I used to frequent The Wolseley for this purpose but it is nowadays too busy.  Oh well, my secret is out.  I’ll have to find somewhere new, now.  Ciao.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Is it so wrong to like Cloudy Bay?  It used to be the wine for the cognoscenti but it got a bit too big for its boots.  It’s not exactly a mass produced and marketed wine like Jacob’s Creek (perish the thought), but those in the know yawn and say “Cloudy Bay?  It’s a bit 1990’s man….”

Cloudy Bay getting a massage…for some reason


Trinity Hill 2006 revisited

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Is wine tasting an art, a science, or just a personal experience?  One of the great things about keeping this online wine diary is the opportunity to look back at what I thought of different wines.  The first time I tried Trinity Hill 2006 Sauvignon Blanc I tasted gooseberry as the prominent flavour with apricots and grapefruit in the background.

 Trinity Hill with a picture of my mum at the Café de Paris in London in 1954 (for some reason)


Wither Hills: Burgundy basher

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Is the UK banking system about to collapse?  The current credit crunch has resulted in Northern Rock taking an “emergency” loan from the Bank of England.   Banks normally lend to each other but when times are tight, the BoE is there to ensure that confidence in the banking system is retained by being a lender of last resort (albeit at premium rates).  The Old Lady, and most financial commentators keep emphasising that Northern Rock is fully solvent and there is no crisis.  And yet Northern Rock customers are queuing round the block  to withdraw their savings.

We all know, from bitter personal experience, that building confidence in anything takes an age, whilst successful attempts to undermine confidence are normally sub-second torpedo strikes.

After building my confidence in several New Zealand Sauvignons I realised that Pinot Noirs from the land of kiwi were gaining in reputation, and promised to try one or two.  I didn’t have to queue round the block for this Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2004, which I simply ordered online.

Wither Hills Pinot Noir….and evidence of Man City actually winning a game (for some reason)


Hunters Sauvignon Blanc 2006 – revisited

Monday, September 10th, 2007

In line with most reality TV shows where the presenters go back after 12 months to see how the subjects are coping with their new Russian blind dog, I always like to taste a wine more than once.  It’s like going back to the scene of a crime to see if Gil Grissom has worked out that you were the perpetrator – exciting.

I have just re-tried Hunters Sauvignon Blanc 2006.  I liked it last time but I claimed there was too much gooseberry .  Well, this time I still got the gooseberry but so many more complex flavours like peaches, passion and other exotic fruits.  A bit like dipping into a coconut but finding ice cream with the awful milk, or prising open an oyster to find a pearl necklace already assembled.

I much preferred Hunters this time.  Just goes to show that you should give everything in life a second chance.

Hunter’s Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

As I write this, I am listening to BBC6 Music.  It’s a digital radio station that I am tuned in to through my TV.  My TV is a Sony Bravia 26″ LCD.  I’ve never seen worse software on a digital TV.  It is so poor I am thinking of buying a Sky box just to get usable software (but I am not thinking of buying a new TV by the way, or subscribing to Sky for that matter).

Hunters and a pack of Hula Hoops (55% less saturated fat)…for some reason (more…)

This dog has got a point!

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

OK so I’ve slagged off New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.  Well actually, far from having slagged them off, I’ve merely suggested that French Sauvignons, and in particular, those from the Loire Valley should be given a 2nd chance.  But I’ve always expressed my admiration for NZ Sauvignons, and Cloudy Bay is my favourite so far.

So when I was offered the chance to buy a mixed case of Kiwi SBs from 2006, including a bottle of Cloudy Bay for only £109, I jumped at the chance to make a few comparisons.  An opportunity to retest my theory that the French are moving ahead again in quality and VFM.

The first bottle I tried was Dog Point 2006.  But this was no dog!

No dogs here!  Dog Point..with a juicer (for some reason)


Pouilly Fumé Les Cris for me

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

I have been on a bit of a mission to persuade anyone who will listen to try French Sauvignon Blanc and in particular the Loire appellations of Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre.

In the 1990’s the Loire wines lost focus and, some say, attention to detail.  The rise of the New Zealand SB with its bright zingy flavours stole the limelight.  I am still a big fan of Cloudy Bay and many of its Kiwi imitators.  However, the French have fought back admirably in my opinion and the price difference (at least for us Brits) is no longer an issue.

Pouilly Fumé Les Cris, and a puzzle book….for some reason.

This 2005 Pouilly Fumé (pwee foo-may) from Domaine Cailbourdin at less than a tenner is a good example of why the French should be given a second chance.

On pouring is was pale straw coloured, like one’s urine should be (but mine never is).  At 12.5% it is probably the average strength of my urine though.  It smelt peachy like a bellini (the wine I mean) but tasted of gooseberries.  For me it had the zinginess of Cloudy Bay but with less fruit and somehow more subtlety.

I’ll be drinking more of this one over the summer.