Chablis 1er Cru Defaix 2000

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Is the Sony brand dead?

I used to be a Sony snob – hifi, TVs, Playstations, Walkmans.  OK I admit I never had a Betamax, but I know early adopter friends who did.  In the 1970s our household was the first in the street with a colour TV.  In the 1980s we were last to invest in VHS technology, albeit by virtue of Radio Rentals and with a third of my first adult weekly paycheque as a deposit.

I am currently watching a Sony TV from the 1990s which is fab. I also own a Sony TV from 2007 that is total tosh – picture quality, software, remote control – all about as user-friendly as a Doberman shaped perambulator.



Gevrey-Chambertin 2004 Alain Burguet

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

This may be made from M. Burguet’s favourite old vines but I am not that impressed.

Gevrey and some fairy liquid...for some reason

The first bottle I opened was cloudy as a January day in Manchester (any day in January, take your pick) and as bitter as a teaspoonful of chicory essence – remember that wartime coffee substitute?  No I don’t either.

The second bottle wasn’t cloudy but failed to live up to its price tag of £26 from the cyber-shelves of the Wine Society.

I will give the second bottle the benefit of my detox tainted palate, but I will be writing to Messrs Johnson and co to get my £25.95 back for the first.

For the record it was a little soapy although had a few redeeming flavours of radishes and Eton Mess.  I would expect more from a £7.50 bottle of Chilean Pinot.

Gevrey-Chambertin Domaine Maume 2005

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

I guess it’s a bit early to be drinking 2005 Gevrey, but I am an impatient man.  My father’s death taught me never to put things off, especially if they are things you might enjoy.  As the old saying goes, if you do it today and you like it, you can do it again tomorrow.

You might think it trite to apply this logic to a bottle of wine but having the patience of a sinner is my cross to bear.  I am the curious cat with tannin stained whiskers.  The Kentucky Fried Chambertin.  The Blackberry addict who switched to Apple too soon.  The oenological antithesis to Mother Theresa, at so many levels.  And anyway, I ordered half a case, so I can do it again tomorrow if I feel like it.

Domaine Maume and an antique teapot.....for some reason


Remember Château Soutard 2005

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Remembrance Sunday (and Tuesday) saw me observing a total of five minutes of silence – that’s a miracle I hear you cry!  The first two at the anointed hour of 11a.m. Sunday, somewhat bizarrely, in a queue at our local Tesco store, the third at the Man City vs Spurs game, and the fourth and fifth driving across the Pennines on Tuesday morning listening to the Ken Bruce Show.

It’s amazing how time flies.  I remember about 1976 when I first commemorated the war dead.  I never imagined I would still be here 32 years later.

Château Soutard has a recommended drink by date of 2040.  I am certainly not going to wait and see if I live another 32 years to try the first bottle of the case I bought en-primeur from somewhere at about £21 per bottle.  St Emilion wines being mostly Merlot (in this case 70%) compared to the rougher, and tougher when young, Cabernet Sauvignon, are generally more approachable in youth so I was determined not to die before I sampled the Soutard.

Soutably attired


Kanzem Altenburg 2007 Riesling

Monday, November 10th, 2008

I’ve held my tongue for a while.  I don’t want to sound like yet another whinger that told you so, but I was never in favour of Mark Hughes being appointed manager of Man City.  I admit that I reneged on my promise to turn up at the first game of this season and shout the Sven mantra.  I actually turned up at Eastlands yesterday to see Man City suffer a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, albeit after some questionable refereeing and grim Manchester weather.

But whilst luck and refereeing even out over a season, we have a number of more fundamental weaknesses.  Dunne is looking disastrous, Vassell is just not in the same class as his team-mates, Zabaleta still has to convince me he is even close to Corluka who left for Spurs in August.  Worryingly I hear rumours that Hughes’ intentions of splashing the Abu Dhabi cash in the January transfer window are targeted at a handful of his Blackburn ex-employees.  The ones who helped him reach the astonishing heights of mid table obscurity, admittedly at low cost.

Sometimes, though, if you have the money, you need to aim a bit higher.  I am not exactly rich so it was a stretch for me to fork out £21 to the Wine Society for this Kanzem Altenberg Alte Reben Riesling Spätlese, von Othegraven, 2007 from the Mosel.  A mouthful in every sense…


Château Durfort-Vivens 2003

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Château Durfort-Vivens Margaux 2003, a deuxième cru from Lucien Lurton who also owns another 2nd growth Margaux property, Château Brane-Cantenac,  82.3784% Cabernet Sauvignon with 9.632% Cabernet Franc and the remainder Merlot.  20 months in oak.

If you want to read stuff like this go somewhere serious like  If facts bore you and you prefer the experience of wine, then why not join me having fun as I learn.


Drop of Eden Valley to drown my sorrows

Friday, October 31st, 2008

When my flat was constructed in 2006, at the peak of the city centre building boom in Manchester, decent workmen were hard to find, or so it seems.  One employee of venerable but notorious subcontractors, Boddgit and Scarper, found a new use for 4 inch nails:  Namely to use them not only to station a roughly fitted cupboard shelf but also to make an elegant, if unnecessary, belly button piercing in the hot water pipe that feeds the kitchen tap.

It is a miracle that this did not result in a visible leak until late summer of 2008.  The nail finally rusted away and now most of the hall floor, skirting and cupboard wall has been temporarily removed, whilst a dehumidifier is valiantly trying to soak up the excess “moisture” like a digital sponge.

I often find that Aussie Shirai (I assume that is the plural of Shiraz) are a bit drying in the mouth, so I don’t drink anywhere near the amount of down under wines that I should.  I am not about to launch a flood of reviews but let’s try to redress the balance one drip at a time eh?  A drop of Eden Valley “The Saviours” 2003 had been sitting in my rack for a while.  I needed something to take my mind off things.

Mmmmm nice legs - that's what 14.5% alcohol does to you...


Sarget de Gruaud-Larose 1997

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

If a bottle of wine costs more than £20 then I take it seriously.  I am tight as a gnat’s chuff after all, being from the north of England.  My recent visit to Nicolas on Berwick Street (in the grim South of England) resulted in £23.50 being added to my overdraft and the harsher penalty of ridicule from some readers.  The stakes placed on this St Julien are high.

Yes Sergeant Major!

Since I discovered Nicolas in London, I’ve spotted new branches appearing more frequently than Caffé Nero coffee shops.  It’s like buying a Ford Mondeo then realising that everyone else on the road also owns one, and most chose the same colour as you.  Reading around, it seems that the famed wine “corner shop”, revered by French drinkers possibly since Napoleon was in shorts, bought venerable British institution, Oddbins and had started converting stores to the French brand in large number.

The restructure brought about by the new owners of Oddbins was not without controversy.  The Nicolas brand was not so popular in the UK.  Accused of being bland, arrogant, and too Franco-centric it was the very cliché of the British view of les bleus.


Fortnum & Mason Ruster Ausbruch 2004

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Fortnum and Mason is my secret preferred meeting place in London because its 1707 basement wine bar is discreet, well located, and staffed by knowledgeable people who serve wine in the correct Riedel glasses.

Rusty old bush


Blason de l’Évangile 1999

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

On a weekend when Obama is charming Europe and Gordon Brown is being pummelled on the ropes of a certain Glasgow by-election, my thoughts have turned to politics.

Most people’s political maturity curve starts as a radical teenager, transcends into a left wing twentysomething and then slowly but surely keeps bending to the right.  Money and the confidence of age surely plays a part.  So why do I seem to be moving in the opposite direction?

Blason an IKEA shelf....for some reason