Wines with style

Three french wines, and a partridge in a pear tree!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

[In song] On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…. three french wines, and a partridge in a pear tree!
There’s one thing we can all say about Christmas and that is it’s predictable. We have turkey, family, friends, too much food, too much booze, a credit card in the red and a stack of New Years resolutions about to be broken. When it comes to wine the same could be said for the choice available on our high street, little is new and most is predictable. So, discovering wineries that are actively doing something different is a real joy. Calmel & Jospeh are one such French winery based in the Languedoc region that caught my eye having declared a penchant for creating wines that will it’s tasters into uncharted taste territory. Not many wineries could make such a claim and actually deliver. ………

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An unusual white that’s wintery….

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

[In song]
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me a
n unusual white that’s wintery!

There’s been big debate in the wine world over the use of heavy weight bottles for so called Icon wines; you know the ones I mean, they look like they should be playing rugby with their overly broad shoulders and have a massive dent or punt in the bottom.

The use of these mega bottles can be a way of marketing your wine to seem more special than it is in a manner of “it must be good, look at the bottle!” I often regard it as an expression of a winery’s insecurity, think of some of the most expensive bottles in the world from the likes of Bordeaux and Burgundy, none of them are ponced up in oversized glass. Which is what makes this bottle of Terres Viognier-Chardonnay 2011 Domaine de la Baume* unusual. Firstly Viognier-Chardonnay blends are not all that common and secondly it’s from the Languedoc in the South of France and the French just don’t do macho bottles.


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An expensive bottle of bubbly….

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

[In song] On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me an expensive bottle of bubbly…
Sometimes only Champagne will do: when celebrating a big occasion like an engagement or wedding or as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve. Billecart Salmon’s Vintage 2004 Champagne* is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, 20% of which was vinified in oak, and is the bottle for just such an occasion.
Right now it is tasting crisp and fresh but with a nod towards its ageing potential in a tasty lemon biscuit sort of way. I’d be inclined to get a bottle now and drink it next year because I prefer my Champagne with a bit more age. But at this stage in its youth I’d say this vintage is just what you need to waken your palate at  zero hundred and keep dancing into the wee hours!
* Available from Berry Bros & Rudd, Hedonism Wines, Harrods and, RRP £65.00

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Bad mouthing Malbec…. never

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Words and phrases we use everyday can be so imbedded into the way we talk that their makeup can be completely over looked: ‘keep your eyes peeled’ always makes me wince and I only stopped to think about ‘grapefruit’ when I ordered a mocktail in Portugal and was given a drink made from grapes.


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Double your money or quits….

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

BBC1’s Watchdog made interesting viewing last night. Did you see it? Oz Clarke unveiled what many of you have suspected for years: a wine that is on promotion for several months of the year is not worth it’s original price tag.
Having this fact confirmed for us though may not necessarily help us resist these temptations in the supermarket aisles, but if it has put you off buying cheap for a while then double your money and your chances of seriously enjoying a wine with a bottle of Longview The Whippet Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills in Australia.

It was the standout white wine by a mile at the Oddbins Press tasting this week ………

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The High Street Edit…. The Coop

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts but when it comes to wine the first taste of most bottles we buy is with our eyes. For me there is no denying that the label, bottle, closure and price all contribute to my first impressions and overall enjoyment of a wine but with the exception of the Harpers Design Awards, which judges wines on initial impact and overall aesthetics, even the most respected wine competitions are held blind which means judges are critiquing wines using a system completely alien to the reality of actually buying bottle..

What we need is a half way house; ………

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