Orballo Albariño 2007

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

After Mad Cow disease and Foot & Mouth, those of us living in the pig free zone of West Yorkshire are pleased to see an agricultural problem that does not affect us directly.  I started feeling sorry for the pig farmers in Wiltshire until I realised that a sneeze in Mexico was like a butterfly flapping its wings in Hong Kong, or a banker collecting his bonus on Wall Street.  In any case, the impact on the world is (potentially) awesome.

Orballo and some clouds...for some reason

So while I sit indoors in my H1N1 isolation with a super strength face masks in 100 packs, in an ante-pandemic panic order, my only consolation is yet another Spanish wine, a nice Albariño from Virgin Wines at £9.99.

Smelling of perfume (which makes a change from flu), grapefruit, parma violets and the sort of mixed flavours you get from cheese and pickle, this is a dry wine that does well as an aperitif, or with barbecued belly of pork.

A tissue please…..sneeze into it, bin it, wash your hands, drink lots of wine, survive the pandemic (hopefully)…….

Artadi Orobio Rioja 2005

Monday, May 11th, 2009

In order to test my hypothesis that it is possible to contract Deep Vein Thrombosis whilst watching an opera, I went to see the 3.5 hour epic Don Carlos at Leeds Grand Theatre last week.  But way back in 1867, Giuseppe Verdi must have foreseen that the seats in the balcony of this fine theatre would be designed for pigmies and children only.  Although there was only one interval, he thoughtfully planned the opera in four acts with a total of six scene changes.  My calves yelled with delight each time the curtain fell and I was able to stand for a few brief but exquisite seconds.

As an opera, Don Carlos has it all.  Intrigue, deception, death, war, royalty and of course, adultery, all of which delivered by a huge cast.  I know you southern types have Sadlers Wells and the Royal Opera House, but up here where it’s cold, wet and cheap… Well we have got Opera North and we are justifiably proud.  This was one of the best productions I have seen with the pick of the cast being William Dazely as Rodrigo, veteran of equally excellent ON productions of Let ’em Eat Cake and Of Thee I Sing where he was a great President – John P Wintergreen.

Anyway back to Spain where Don Carlos (son of Philip II King of Spain) had to suffer the ignominy and heartache of having his promised love, Elisabeth de Valois, marry his father in a political settlement, and as you can imagine, that makes for a promising start to any story.

Artadi Orobio - young style or greedy winemakers?


Agustinos “Green” Chardonnay 2006

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The primary responsibility of a wine producer is to make drinkable or, better still, remarkable wine.  It is a bit like a restaurant whose benchmark is firstly decent food, then cool atmosphere, warm ambience, decent price, and finally how good looking the waitresses are – oh and the quality and price of the wine list helps!

Agustinos Chardonnay…..made in Chile from green things…for some reason

Fundamentally I care about our planet and I am very much in favour of reduced carbon emissions.  Irrespective of whether you believe the global warming doom mongerers, you would have to be a nincompoop of Victorian standards not to accept that pumping out all this shit into our precious H2O is simply a route to premature apocalypse.

However, is there really a need to shout so loud about your green credentials?  I expect as a matter of course that winemakers use ever more green and efficient production methods.  So I am always suspicious about any product that claims to be “greener” – it is the Toyota Prius effect applied to the wine industry.

This “green” one from Virgin at £8.99 wasn’t undrinkable but it was unremarkable.

Fabre Montmayou 2008 Torrontés

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I’ve sacked Mybloglog.  What is the point when Facebook (you see, no need to provide a hyperlink) is taking over every social interaction on the web.  I like to think that LinkedIn looks after business interaction, but Facebook’s success in the social space has undoubtedly been due to its open platform.

Fabre, Sabre, Labia, Quaver - but in the end a good match for Beans On!


Ch. Teyssier Puisseguin St Emilion 2004, 2005 and erm….

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Have you ever been haunted?  The name Teyssier has been my stalker recently.  It has bought out the best of Virgin Wines and contemporaneously the reason why they often ever so slightly under-achieve.  Well, nobody can please everybody every day!

Teyssier from St Emilion


Virgin wine sale climaxes too early

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I was planning to tell you about another stonking January wine offer.

You might recall my review of Landelia 2005 Malbec last March where I was a Virgin’s thong away from apologising for visible trouser stains.  I love the smooth chocolate and cherry flavours that slip from a glass of Malbec like a soulful line to the ladies from Theophilus T Wildebeest.

But Lenny Henry’s parody of Barry White probably lasts all night, or at any rate, longer than the Virgin Wines New Year sale.

I picked up six bottles of Landelia Malbec for £40.74, or £6.79 per bottle only a couple of weeks ago.

If you want some now, you have missed the boat.  The price is back to its original £8.49.  But even at this level, you would be naiive not to tuck a couple of bottles away, if only as an ingested alternative to Stud Delay.

Adobe Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Smoky, moody, deep, mysterious, bitter, fruity.  All adjectives that, I have been instructed to inform you in no uncertain terms, do not associate themselves readily with my wife.  At least not for 25 days of every month.

Just as well she didn’t visit the Virgin Wines website and pay £5.65 of her hard earned cash for this Adobe Cabernet.

Radiator valves and wine...always a fine combination


Churchaven Wellington Malbec 2007

Monday, December 29th, 2008

If you like Malbec (and I do) you might like to explore a bit further than the varietal’s adopted homeland of Argentina.

For example, at the time of writing, Virgin Wines has this South African on offer at £5.99 (normally £9.99).  If you subscribe to Virgin’s Wine Bank, you effectively get an extra 25% discount.  This is stonking value for money.

Churchaven - Purgatory?

Rich and hedonistic with black cherry, leather and spice.  Slightly rough around the edges like your lovable mate, the diamond geezer, this Wellington beaut tastes much more expensive than £4.50.

Blackford Estate Reisling, 2007

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

More from my latest virtual world tour – Riesling.  A grape I know little about, but grown up winos tell me is one of the most important in the wine world.  So I better start cramming.

Blackford Estate - isn't that what Henry Ford made?

And when I say cramming, I probably mean squeezing every last drop into my capacious gastrointestinal wine canal.

This wine is not like the German Rieslings I have tasted recently.  Quite dry and a touch of sherbet in the taste with possibly some peach and grapefruit.  Zingy and refreshing.  Hints of a NZ Sauvignon Blanc?

Whisper it in case the purists hear.  I find Aussie Rieslings rather good, and generally better priced than the statuesque Germans that have so far been cleansed by my kidneys.

I got this one from Virgin Wines at £7.07.

Miudiño Albariño 2007, Rias Baixas

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

I have given mixed reviews of Virgin Wines in the past.  In truth, the quality has varied from the sublime to the downright ugly, but you can’t argue with the prices.  That means value has to be taken into account.  For example, if you sign up for their Wine Bank promotion you merely need to commit a credit crunch dodging £20 per month to your wine account and every three months, Virgin adds another £20 implying a 25% discount on the prices on the site.

So, having tried some bottles at the cheapest end of the spectrum, I thought I would order a few at about a tenner.  But I forgot that this Miudiño Albariño advertised at £9.49 only cost me £7.12 because of Wine Bank.