Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Why I work in the wine trade

This email came in today - very nice to receive something like this! 

Hi,

I am brand new to your site, having found it whilst looking for something else: and I must say that it is one of the best wine websites I've come across so far.

There is an excellent selection of wines of a type that you just don't see in the supermarkets and at competitive prices to boot!

I just like the layout and the user-friendly way it works, plus you give more in-depth details about each wine. 

Well done, I am already telling my friends about you.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

By Appointment Wine Dinner last night

Started with Michel Rocourt's superb Premier Cru Champagne which was extremely well received. The extra bottle age (over most NV Champagnes available) contributes to the wine's complexity and the softness of the mousse, it was generally agreed.

With the goats cheese starter, Jonathan Maltus' "Pezat" Blanc seemed an obvious choice with its Sauvignon lemony zing and was a far better food match (though not necessarily a better wine, of course) than the Givry Blanc from Michel Sarrazin, a far softer wine with its subtle oak ageing.

The main course of lamb was the time to bring out the big guns: first a 2004 Rioja "Amenital" from Miguel Angel Muro (Oz Clarke has just rated it his 9th best wine for 2011) which has lovely forward fruit and good acidity and tannins so very much a wine for food.

I was slightly nervous about the 2004 Cahors "Le Cedre" from Chateau du Cedre, thinking it would be far too young still. In the end it was a fairly unanimous wine of the night thanks to its intense, rich fruit complemented by a superb structure of acidity and tannins balanced by just enough alcohol. A magnificent wine.

The pear and apple tarte tatin was paired with two very different wines: Domaine Rotier's "Renaissance" Doux from Gaillac and Bressy-Masson's Rasteau Rancio. The first is a deliciously sweet, late-harvest white from the Loin de l'Oeil variety (not one you see every day!) with around 150 grams/litre residual sugar. Always a winner, my only concern is how well the wine ages as it is never around long enough to find out.

The Rasteau Rancio is a wine whose ageworthiness is never a concern: its Rancio character means there is no harm in letting this age further. All that will happen is that the Rancio effect will be exacerbated. A slightly nutty character came though with the food at least. Some preferred this to the Rotier; others enjoyed the Gaillac more. I didn't hear anyone say they didn't like either though!

A good tasting dinner (and a good dinner!) - now I have to prepare for this afternoon's walkabout tasting here!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Italian wines

For some reason, all orders received today have been for Italian wines. Very strange. All the reds have sold one way or another and I even had an enquiry about a wine I haven't stocked for some time. Having tasted most of the Italian range quite recently, I realised there was one I hadn't: Marco Maci's Copertino 2001 "Duca d'Antene". A recent bottle of the 2004 "Fra Diavolo" was big with sweet, slightly raisined fruit, exactly what I want from a Primitivo (or, come to that, a Zinfandel) but the 100% Negroamaro "Duca" should offer something quite different. Time to pull the cork? Actually it's only ten past five so I am getting ahead of myself! In the words of an indifferent Hollywood actor, I'll be back.

Pre-Christmas Wine Tasting Evening at By Appointment, Norwich

From http://www.byappointmentnorwich.co.uk/littleexcuses.htm
 
... on Friday 19th November 2010

'This is going to be an informative as well as a very enjoyable fun evening where you will get the chance to try some lovely wines and indulge in some delicious food'

James Bercovici from the Big Red Wine Company based in Mildenhall, has very kindly agreed to come and show us some fabulous Big Red Wines from the Rhone as well as a selection of white and red Bordeaux / Burgundy and Rhone wines.  To accompany these spectacular French wines there will be a delicious three course dinner, cheese and coffee.  

This evening is priced at £59.95 per head and includes everything.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

A bottle of Mourchon

I really can't see the 2005 Grande Reserve from Domaine de Mourchon getting any better than it is now. The tannins have fully integrated and the wine is now like a thick, plush velvet chocolate bar only better because it's wine, not chocolate. It wasn't really the right wine to go with the Thai curry I had made but it went surprisingly well. That said, the rest of the bottle, enjoyed after the meal showed what this wine really can do.

2005 was undoubtedly a great vintage but some of the wines were quite hard initially and I would include the Mourchon wines in this group - the 2005 Tradition seemed almost impenetrable until it was about four years old (then it all sold out, of course!). The oak ageing of the Grande Reserve always helps to make it a little more accessible in its first flush of youth but this wine shut down to the point where, at a two day tasting this time last year, it wasn't until day two that I was happy showing this to anyone. I think you have to be interested enough in wine to be reading blogs like this to have the appreciation and understanding of wine's ability to develop with age. I suspect that, for many, this is just an urban legend. Before I get slapped on the wrist for this, the facts bear me out with the vast majority of wines being consumed within eight hours of being purchased (or is this just another urban legend?)

This wine is now appearing at Cafe 103 in Norwich - or you can still buy it here!