Friday, 20 November 2009

General, 15 Nov 2009

Three wines with dinner, all available from

Raats Family Chenin Blanc 2008. Stellenbosch, SA.
£14 | A-

A gorgeous example of well made SA Chenin Blanc; shows really why there is all the hype for this varietal in SA. Very lively on the nose, with limepeel and tropical fruits leading the way; the fruity tangy palate is awash with plenty of crisp acidity, there is even some smoky and waxy notes (in a good, almost old world style, kind of way) at the back of the palate. Good level of minerality and zip (highly technical term that it is) helps keep everything together; overall, very well balanced and carries itself with much aplomb. I'd like to see how this will evolve with time, but for now, enjoy by the bucketful.

Ladies who shoot their lunch, Riesling 2008. Victoria, Australia.

£16 | B+

A very well made new world riesling - notes of kerosene and esters shows in the nose, as well as citrus fruits and some floral characters; overall lovely aroma. The oh-so-slightly off-dry palate is dominated by citrus fruits, most notably grapefruit (with the slightly tart flavours). The acidity provides a good backbone to the wine, as does some underlying flinty minerality, making this wine incredibly enjoyable. Overall, well balanced and presentable wine. Didnt give it higher rating for several reasons: (i) short-ish finish (ii) doubt as to ability to age - all top-notch rieslings should improve with age, not sure this will (iii) slightly pricey at £16.

Was had with: Roast pork, crackling and apple sauce. Went very well, especially with the apple sauce.

Domaine Cristia Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2006
£15 | B

Smells of tinned fruits (pears and peaches); nose is honeyed and sweet which unsurprisingly carries through on the palate. Wine drinks cleanly and isnt cloying (more like icing sugar than golden syrup) but is rather thin and lacks depth. The burst of sweetness is not balanced by any tangible acidity, leading to a rather unbalanced wine. This may sound stupid but it tastes fortified (spirit-like); I've had other VDNs that have managed to hide the alcoholic addition. Was unimpressed with this wine, and at £15, is not brilliant value.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

General, 8 Nov 2009

Two wines with dinner, both available from

Domaine de Malartic Cotes de Gascogne Petit Manseng 2007
£11 (750ml) | A-

Lifted aromas of white fruits; on the palate, lots of sweet pears, apples and even grapes (quite unusual for wine, really). The honeyed sweetness is not cloying, balanced by soft, muted acidity. Overall, a very drinkable and versatile dessert wine that is refreshing when slightly chilled. Was had with cream of corn soup (very good match actually, sweetness complemented each other) and spotted dick with custard (again, no complaints here - good match). Would probably be better if sold as half bottles at half the price.

Castillo Catadau Gran Reserva Valencia 2002
£10 | B

Old world in style, musty / earthy notes on the nose, almost ashy. On the palate, its smooth but a bit timid, the remnant of dark fruits is just about clinging on, leaving a rather empty mid palate. The tannins still quite bitter at the back along with some fungal / herby notes, an underwhelming finish. Either I got a bad bottle, or this wine is past its best. Was had with roast beef (OK, could have done with a bit more fruit and body).