Hunter’s Riesling, 2011

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

I used to buy a case or three of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc a year and always Jane Hunter featured in the centre. But zingy cat piss can only bring on so much excitement, and the last couple of years have seen almost zero feline urolagnia staining the Wino doorstep.

However, the grand old grape of Riesling, revered by so many winos, is also widely grown in Middle Earth. Mix an awesome winemaker with awesome materials and the mouth waters. The Ruby Murray came by moped from The Sharma in Heckmondwike. Jane Hunter is widely available. My bottle was delivered by the Wine Society for £11.95.

The wine is incredibly appley. Shut your eyes and you could be eating a crisp Royal Gala. A hint of flat champagne when first opened (too cold, straight from the fridge), it evolved as the apples warmed and added nutmeg, elderflower, and cream. It is an apple strudel in a glass. Definitely worth a try if you used to like Kiwi SB and you think Blue Nun was under-rated.

Penguin Sands Pinot Noir, 2009

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Mooching through Sainsbury looking for the perfect wine to match my experimental dish of pork chop with thyme, garlic and mustard, depression was setting in. Supermarkets only seem to stock lowest common denominator wines these days.  No experimentation, no originality, no joy.

I plumped for this Central Otago Pinot Noir at £9.99. A price point which, in riot torn Salford, apparently requires a security tag. How many bottles of wine can you actually smuggle out in your underpants? And how many rioters would actually dare to choose a Kiwi Pinot?


Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, 2010

Monday, July 4th, 2011

It’s been a while since I slavered over a Dog Point and its Cats’ Piss flavours.  The main reason is that the Wine Society (who I slagged off royally in the same post)  hasn’t stocked it for a while and I have been way too lazy to look elsewhere.

One of the problems of writing about feline urolagnia is where to place the apostrophe.  I mean how many cats do you want to fill your pissoir?  Or is it more pure, and less disgusting, to think of a single cat’s pee as the sole occupant of your bottle?

Actually this is quite tart.  In addition to cats, there is evidence of gooseberry and grapefruit and just a little too much tongue tingling, lip squelching, palate stripping acidity.  Whilst I have since made up with the Society, personally I am a bit disappointed with the wine.  There are much better Kiwi SB’s around at a lower price than the £12.95 that my bank manager credited to the Wine Society.

Wine Society own brands

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

At two separate Wine Society events recently, one wine has stood head and shoulders above the rest for me, and I have been looking for an opportunity to shout it out.

However, it raises a wider issue about wine branding.  When it comes to certain wines (mostly French if I am honest) I like to think that I should be able to choose the original wine over one badged by a retailer.  So am I being immodest to think that I can do better than an institution that has been around since 1874?  Am I <gasps> a “wine snob”?  And worse, an ill-informed one to boot?


Julicher Pinot Noir, 2007

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Interest rates artificially low.  Share prices rising.  Inflation a constant news item.  Retailers gloomy.  The price of luxuries like clothing and food are under threat.  Irish banks bailed out yet again.

Could there be any clearer signals that the double dip is on the way?  When it comes to recession theory, I firmly believe in the BIG W.  The other big W in my life belongs to Bacchus.  But how much longer will I be able to subscribe to the President’s Cellar?  Pretty much the only wine I buy from the Sunday Times Wine Club these days, and the only circumstance in which I relinquish the responsibility of choice, delivers 6 secret bottles every 6 months at about £20 a head.


When to drink Cloudy Bay

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I am deeply unfashionable by nature, and may be the last wino on the planet who still finds Cloudy Bay a good slurp and even (gasp), value for money!

Over the last few years, I’ve been experimenting with drinking it at different stages of youth.  I have just opened a 2007 and discovered a wrinkly old fella.  Tastes flat and tired,- no zing or spring in its step.  Notes of cardboard, straw and sour lemon.

Conversely I find baby Cloudy Bay, on release, a bit uninspiring.  Almost too fresh and grassy.

So I have concluded that my favourite time to drink this Kiwi standard is about 12-18 months after release where I find the classic cats’ piss, gooseberries and lots of fresh zingy grapefruit.

Has anyone tried this with other Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs?

Mahi Pinot Noir Reflections

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I wrote recently about Mahi Pinot Noir 2008 and provoked a bit of a reaction.  “Unfiltered” is obviously some kind of USP.  I rudely described it as “Cloudy” and not in the “Bay” sense.

Respondents pointed out that I may have treated the wine with less than the respect I would reserve for David Hohnen, at least in terms of preparation of my dining table and wine servature.

I have just spanked the last of three bottles, and this one has been slightly chilled and stood upright for four days.  But it still looks and, more importantly tastes, cloudy.

The flavours are fine, almost lovely.  But the mouthfeel is more Myrtle Beach than Mâcon Rouge.  Taste quite nice, texture not for me.  Sorry, not for £18.

Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir 2009

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

With a name sounding like a female porn star’s anal discomfort, this wine is also priced to make the eyes water.

From the Wine Society at £20, it tastes of cinnamon, stewed fruit and rotting veg.  Hits most Pinot Noir benchmarks but possibly a bit rich at that price.

Spy Valley Riesling, 2009

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried.  The Riesling grape, to serious winos, is what Der Ring des Nibelungen is to opera buffs.  If you don’t understand it, appreciate it, enjoy it, you are a mere Muggle.  Muggles merely struggle to consume the enormous contents wondering what type of hash cakes the buffs eat for breakfast.

And like The Ring, the natural home of Riesling is the Federal Republic of Engineers.  But at the risk of you thinking I have Teutonic Plague, my favourite Rieslings have come from Australia so far.  Just don’t tell anyone, please.


Felton Road Pinot Noir 2007

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I normally spend Easter breaks punishing my evil liver.  This time I’ve been sharpening the saw.  My third New Year resolution in a row, and most futile yet, to lose weight, has resulted in a lonely and shameless 2 pounds sneaking off disguised as female musicians.  So time for a bit less booze and a bit more exercise and, most incredibly, no chocolate at all.  I managed 492 sit-ups on Easter Monday amongst other exercise – ouch…

But all work and no play makes Wino a dull boy so to brighten my spirits I picked out an expensive bottle from the Combine Harvester to end the weekend.

Felt 'em, smelt 'em