Tuesday, January 20, 2009

3 Great Rhone Wines

I've been on a bit of a Rhone Valley wine trail the last week or so...and I've been having great fun working my way through 3 fantastic wines from (probably..) my favourite wine region..

Mas de Libian Bout d'Zan AC Cotes du Rhone 2006 RRP 14.95

A blend of Grenache (mainly) and Syrah this is a cracking bottle of wine..Ideally it needs to be opened an hour or two in advance to fully enjoy all the aromas and flavours..Having said that, quite often with this wine I just "pop and go"

Fairly full-on the wine is absolutely packed with all sorts of fruit and spice..a really enjoyable drop and one I'm sentimentally attached to (since it was the first winery we shipped directly from.. way back in the 1998 vintage!)

La Pialade 2005 AC Cotes du Rhone RRP 25.00

A wine from the Chateau Rayas (Chateauneuf du Pape) people and a real stunner.

Mostly Grenache, 80% I believe..this wine is a must for Grenache lovers..fairly light in colour, beautiful silky spicy flavours, smooth tannins..I 've tried several wines from this producer (Fonsalette and Pignan) and the quality level is outstanding. This wine also comes from the excellent 2005 vintage, pretty good across the board in France and really good in the Rhone Valley...I'm saving up and on the lookout for Chateau Rayas..its usually close enough to 100euro a bottle and hard enough to find..

Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage 2003 RRP 19.95

A superb wine from the Northern Rhone and a really good example of what good Northern Rhone Syrah should be..elegant, spicy, savoury (its amazing how you can pick up a smoky bacon or barbecue note on the nose mixed in there so nicely with lashings of fruit and spice) A real beauty. I think the fact that it was 5 years old was a help..I tried the 2005 about a year ago and found it decent but a bit closed..I was expecting fireworks from the 2005..I got them this time with the 2003!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Le Chemin des Reves Exubérant 2006

Tried this wine again the other night..tasty stuff indeed..

Its from a winery in the Languedoc called Le Chemin des Reves and a relatively new winemaker called Benoit Viot, who's getting some great reviews for his eclectic and downright funky range of wines. (thats Benoit on his bike!)

I met Benoit on my trip to France last spring, fell for his wines and agreed to ship a selection late last summer.There are 6 different reds in his range to try!Thats nearly one for every day of the week... even the Wine Gods have to rest up one day a week!

Exuberant 2006 (Gres de Montpellier) RRP 15.95
Its a blend of Grenache(mainly), Syrah and Carignan..weighs in at 13.5%..
Lighter and more restrained in style than his Abracadabra Pic St. Loup (one of my favourite wines of 2008!), this one has lovely fresh aromas of wild red berries with just a hint of chocolate and spice..Went down very nicely with Roast Chicken and Gratin Potatoes! Oh yeah and the Tarte Tatin for dessert wasn't half-bad either..

Why I love wine (Part 2)

From the film SIDEWAYS

I don't know. Why are you into wine?

… I do like to think about the
life of wine, how it's a living thing.
I like to think about what was going
on the year the grapes were growing,
how the sun was shining that summer
or if it rained... what the weather
was like. I think about all those
people who tended and picked the
grapes, and if it's an old wine, how
many of them must be dead by now. I
love how wine continues to evolve,
how every time I open a bottle it's
going to taste different than if I
had opened it on any other day.
Because a bottle of wine is actually
alive -- it's constantly evolving
and gaining complexity. That is,
until it peaks -- like your '61 --
and begins its steady, inevitable
decline…And it tastes so f##king good!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New year.. new vintages

Onwards and winewards into 2009..

We were excited to receive the new vintages from our Barossa wineries Kalleske, Pirathon and Red Nectar and delighted that no bottles were broken on delivery!..the pallets got stuck across the road from our shop in the new tarmacadam the builders left there before Christmas..

Cue panic in general..

Anyway everyone got stuck in..customers, neighbours (Thanks Damian!)and helped stop the traffic and handball the wines into the shop safely (before the rain came down!)

My vision of a 4 car collision in Sandyford village with smashed glass everywhere and an all pervading bouquet of fabulous Barossa Grenache and Shiraz did not (thankfully!) come to pass..

Tried the brand new Kalleske Moppa Shiraz 2007 (29.95RRP) last night.
This is Troy's new baby and he was raving about the wine during his visit in October.
I was well looking forward to trying it..we only have 36 bottles to sell..

it didn't disappoint..its an absolute beauty..

The wine is made from Shiraz fruit sourced from Kalleske's Moppa vineyard and Troy added a dash of Viognier and Petit Verdot to the mix..gorgeously pure fruit character (all the wines are certified organic),quite typically Shiraz in style, its a bit fresher and lighter than some of Troys other monster reds, which can have a warmer spicier feel to them.It has that signature Kalleske smoothness and super long lingering flavour which I absolutely love.It weighs in at 14.5% all the same so its a fairly big wine by any standards.The bottle disappeared rather quickly..Bravo Troy!

Wines over Christmas/New Year

One of my standout wines this Christmas was most definitely the Zenato Amarone 2003 which we enjoyed with chocolate dessert at the end of Christmas Day dinner..a stunner of a wine, really luscious with layer upon layer of flavour. It really worked so well with the chocolate too..would remind you just how good a wine and food combination can be..note to self.. think more about food and wine pairings in 2009

I also picked up a bottle of Remelluri Rioja Reserva 2004 (25euro) in County Clare which I couldn't resist trying..its one of those much-hyped Rioja wines you read stellar reviews for.. and I was curious to see what the hype was about..anyway it took a while for the wine to open up..definitely one to open in advance of drinking..very savoury in style, I guess classic old-style Rioja with soft red fruit and plenty of spicy notes.. no modern-style fruit bomb here..would work wonders with lamb I'd say..those dry savoury spicy notes had me dreaming of a barbecue in Sunny Spain..a lovely wine made in a fairly traditional style..not sure if its really worth 25bucks though..I can think of a few other wines around 15 or 16 euro which would give it a good run for its money..still I have to say I enjoyed the wine..very true to its origins..

That reminds me of my recent trip to Barcelona where on the first night of arrival I nearly fell off my seat when handed the bill for several sensational rounds of tapas and wine..the wine bill was 4.50euro for 3 glasses of Rioja! 1.50 a glass..I think it was cheaper than a bottle of Coke..note to self..retire to a wine producing country!!