Chapoutier Les Meysonniers, 2006

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive – John Sladek.

Buying wine futures is no different to taking a long position on Brent crude, although the end result is often tastier – Me.

Except buying en primeur is fun and when I stick to the more reasonable end of the price range I frequently get outperforming wines for the price.  This Crozes-Hermitages was a great example at about £10 per bottle.


Fetzer Valley Oaks Syrah Rosé 2007

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Blimey!  I didn’t mean to start World War III with my cast aside comment that Mark Hughes might not be the right manager for Man City.  Even though I regularly tell anyone who will listen that I never approved of his appointment in the first place, even I, the Bathsheba Everdene to Mr Hughes’ Gabriel Oak, acknowledged that the least worst option was to give him more time to prove himself.  Instead the Man City hierarchy (and I smell the ruthlessly inept Garry Cook behind this one) make us look fools again, executing a manager change with the dexterity, care and good intentions of Fred West laying a new patio.

Nice hat!  Or is that a Fez???


Ugaba Stellenbosch 2006

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Sounding like a Vic Reeves’ Shooting Stars comedic expletive is not normally a criterion by which I evaluate whether to buy a wine, but somehow this just grabbed my attention on a recent visit to Majestic, Leeds.

South Africa is a bit of a blind spot in my wine rack and I occasionally have to remind myself that good wine comes from English speaking zones, as well and French and Spanish.

Iranu?  Uvavu!

This wine is made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in proportions 42:32:26 and spends 10 months in French oak.

On opening there was faint Hydrogen Sulphide but this quickly dissipated and left a passable impression of a decent claret.  At first it smelt deep, moody and just a tad yeasty with a raspberry rush.  First sip was raspberry, violet, and vanilla.  Far from being spoilt, it was bright, fresh and almost as exciting as a freshly powdered slope (snow I mean, not cocaine).

Eranu or Uvavu?  Ugaba Stellenbosch 2006 is £11.99 at Majestic and this represents good value.  ERANU!

Château de Cazeneuve Les Calcaires 2007

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Exploring the South of France is a profitable pastime right now and it is hard not to fancy it at least a little.  The art of seduction has not passed le Med by.  In fact every online wine merchant seems to have stocked up with credit crunch specials from this erstwhile unfashionable zone.

But there are uncomfortable price points too amongst the care free lovers.  For example, this Pic St Loup from the Wine Society was part of a price driven marketing drop, yet cost me a not insubstantial £12.95.

It's all over, Casanova....


Palo Alto Reserva 2007

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Where did all the money go then?  In my quest to account for some of the missing credit crunch trillions, once believed to have been squirreled away by bankers, I spotted that £7 billion has been invested in the search for Higgs Boson – the clitoris of particle physics.

Palo Alto and an iron...for some reason

But last September, the Large Hadron Collider hit technical snags and some magnets over-heated bringing the search to a premature climax with helium gushing out all over the place.


Naked Wines – Ladies Shooting Greedy Sheep

Monday, April 20th, 2009

If you want to enter a declining market and make a meaningful dent then you better innovate.  Naked Wines is doing just that and gaining publicity by the jeroboam.

Rowan Gormley’s latest stunt was to hold a “crowd taste off” with AU$100,000 of Naked Wines purchase orders available to the winning wine makers.

The tasters were the 50 most active customers of Naked (fully clothed, I believe).  The winemakers were selected by The Government of South Australia and the Australian Trade Commission.  After rounds of tasting and price estimating, the final coup de théâtre was the winemakers themselves in a reverse auction to adjust their prices to see how much of the $100k they could take in orders.

Greedy sheep ate my hamster!

I managed to get my paws on three of the winners that will be going on sale via the Naked Wines website in the next few weeks:


Venise de Paradou – 2006

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Jo le taxi (aka wine delivery driver) this week brought me a small but intriguing parcel I ordered en primeur over a year ago.

The reason I was interested in this wine was threefold…

1) it was by Paul Jaboulet Ainé
2) it was from Beaumes-de-Venise, a well known sweet white wine area but this was a red Grenache/Syrah
3) it was pretty cheap!

Venise-de-Paradou - Jo Le TAXI!


Château Vaugelas 2004

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

In the race to taste the latest “holy grail” Bordeaux vintage, or “super-domaine” from Burgundy it’s easy to overlook other wine regions of France that can offer much better value.  For example Languedoc.

After experimenting with some Fitou several years ago I was left with the impression that wines from this most Mediterranean of French régions, were thick heavy, spicy and coarse.  Clearly this was because I was drinking the cheapest possible produce.  But then I tried a cracking 2003 Corbières that got my juices flowing, both in the brain and elsewhere…

This Château Vaugelas 2004 came from Costco at £6.75 plus VAT.  That is either £7.93 or £7.76 depending on whether you bought it before or after 1 December 2008.  I am proud to have made the marginal contribution of 17 pence to help my government sort out the banking crisis.


Yann Chave Hermitage 2005

Friday, December 26th, 2008

I’m in Dublin for Christmas and for the first time there are several pubs opening on St Stephen’s Day.  There was a time when this holy, but dry, day was almost as sacrosanct as Good Friday.  It’s always fun coming for an Easter break, getting on the plane with a load of stag and hen parties innocent of the complete pub shut down.  Already anticipating a top Friday’s binge drinking, like alcoholic lambs to the slaughter of the Guinness Reaper, the look on faces when word gets around, and if no-one else has told them then I am happy to take on the role of harbinger of doom, that Ireland does not do pubs on Good Friday.  But judging by this St Stephen’s, maybe next year will be different.  Irish Society has changed dramatically in the 10 years I have known it.  Part multicultural immigration, part Celtic Tiger driven affluence (and effluence), it is even possible to find a good selection of restaurants in Dublin these days (although fewer and fewer pubs).

Talking of expectations, I have few when it comes to Rhone reds.  It is probably the single region of France I ignore the most.  But this is not a dislike of wines from the region, simply a blind spot.  By the time I have drooled over various Bordeaux and Burgundy reds, my French Red Wine Budget has such an adverse variance there is nothing left for other regions.

But occasionally a nice looking wine arrives and is debited to my Mixed Case budget.   This one was a double entry in a 6 bottle pack from the Sunday Times Wine Club as part of their President’s Cellar offer – two half cases per year at about £20 per bottle.

Yann Chave Hermitage 2005 is actually reported as £30 per bottle on the STWC website – ouch!  Is this spicy Syrah worth that?


2004 Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Friday, December 5th, 2008

There’s something uniquely British about November 5th.  Celebrating a failed attempt to blow up one’s house of parliament is a tad eccentric.  Doing so by trying to burn down our own houses and gardens is plain odd, but admittedly good fun.

Our house looks over a valley, so there is never any need to buy fireworks.  I merely park a deck chair on my balcony, sport a warm coat and enjoy them at my neighbours’ expense.

You are probably expecting me to construct a treasonable plot that this Châteauneuf-du-Pape smelt of gunpowder.

Even I am not that cheesy.  There was an explosion on the tongue though.  Red apples, liquorice, milk chocolate and vanilla.  Luscious, opulent, smooth, delicious.  Probably the best wine I have tasted from Virgin although, at £18.49, certainly not their cheapest.

Apparently, living on the side of a valley puts one in a time warp amongst other things, since today we celebrate the one month anniversary of November 5th – sorry this one was a bit late.