Amazon.co.uk Widgets
 

Wine

...now browsing by category

 

2010 De Toren “Fusion V”, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Vintage: 2010
Type: Bordeaux Blend
Country: Stellenbosch — South Africa

2014-01-21 19.21.43

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I travelled to South Africa for my first time in August 2013. I prepared a great deal for this trip through a destination management agent (Margot from “7th Sense” in Cape Town) on all details relating to airport transfers, hotels, restaurants, a rental car, safari expeditions, etc., but nothing could prepare me for the roller-coaster ride that is the South African wine industry.

My previous exposure to South African wines was limited: I had tried a couple of bottles of the famous Pinotage varietal over the years in London but that was it. I had not consumed enough South African wine to form a proper opinion. This first (and possibly last trip) to South Africa was a real eye- and palate-opener for me. South African vineyards, unlike those of the Canadian Okanagan region, are in my opinion, focusing on varietals they know work for their terroir and can therefore target oenophiles in foreign markets.

In separate posts, I will discuss my experiences at individual Franschhoek and Stellenbosch vineyards/wine estates.

Here I describe my first red South African wine, which I enjoyed in a group setting at a seafood restaurant based at the V&A Waterfront: the 2010 De Toren “Fusion V”.

Before jumping into the technical review, I would like to say a few things about this red wine. It’s a wine that is masterfully blended using five popular grapes that are grown in France, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot leading the composition. On this basis alone, I knew it had the potential to make our group of international diners very happy. Although I paired this wine with a meal made of langoustines and prawns, it would better suit dishes made from the exotic game of South Africa, such as slow-roasted Springbok shank or grilled Ostrich steak.

Technical Review

Appearance
Clear, deep Ruby.

Nose
Clean and pronounced. Aroma characteristics of ripened black fruits (plums, cherries), with hints of chocolate and something from the woodlands, like pine or mint leaf. A vanilla note comes through, possibly due to the use of new, toasty oak barrels.

Palate
Dry-medium sweetness, high acidity, with smoothened tannins. Medium-bodied with long finish. Flavour characteristics are similar to its aromas.

Conclusion
Excellent and worthy of a high price (>£15.99 per bottle); drink now, with the potential for ageing. This Bordeaux-inspired blend will drink superbly in 10 years. Resist the urge to open it because I am sure it will be worth the wait.

2010 Pinot Gris by Domaines Schlumberger, Les Princes Abbés, Alsace, France

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Vintage: 2010
Type: White (100% Pinot Gris)
Country: France–Alsace

2014-01-08 18.22.31

This is the only bottle of wine that I ordered during a business trip-turned-chaotic situation on the East Coast of the USA in early-January 2014.

In the middle of a terrible snow storm (or “polar vortex” as Americans started to call it), a reciprocal visit was arranged for me to the Cornell Club in New York City and I was fortunate to secure two seats at a Members’ “Wednesday Lobster Night” dinner. What a treat for me and my husband!

There was ample choice on the Club’s Cayuga Dining Room wine menu, but given that we would each be eating a 2 lb lobster with a variety of starters, we opted for an acidic white wine that might help cut through all of the salt and butter.

We selected the 2010 Pinot Gris by Schlumberger, which, with its elegant, elongated bottle neck and honeyed sips, brought back delightful memories of our driving tour through the Alsace region, also in 2010.

In retrospect, I should have elected to drink this wine on its own on a warm autumn afternoon (perhaps with a selection of soft, continental cheeses on the side), but it does make for a satisfactory accompaniment to a fleshy seafood dish.

(Apologies for the picture that I have uploaded. Photographs were not allowed inside the Cornell Club, so I had to sneak it without a flash.)

Technical Review

Appearance
Clear, pale lemon.

Nose
Clean, light aromas of stewed apple, honey.

Palate

Medium sweetness, medium acidity, low tannin.  Medium-bodied. Similar flavours to the aromas above. Medium length finish.

Conclusion

Good, ready to drink now (not intended for ageing). Could possibly command a medium price (>£12.99).

Château Trebiac 2006

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Vintage: 2006
Type: Bordeaux Blend
Country: France – Bordeaux – Graves

This is a bottle that came in a Bordeaux sample pack provided by the merchant, Adnams.

Given that this is a Bordeaux blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, I knew that it would be an acceptable bottle to drink.

This wine was aged 3 months in oak barrels and then another 9 months in stainless steel vats.

Appearance:

Clear, medium Garnet

Nose:

Clean, medium nose of red fruit (strawberries and cherries), as well as vanilla.

Palate:

Full-bodied, high acidity, medium tannins. Characteristics of sweet spice. Medium finish.

Conclusions:

Good.

This is a claret that would go well with simplistic, lightly-flavoured, traditional English food, like Chicken and Mushroom pie or Toad in the Hole.

Wine Tasting the WSET Way

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Recently we completed the Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits at the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET). WSET taught us a completely new and sophisticated way of tasting and evaluating wines and spirits.  They have registered this way as the “Systematic Approach to Wine Tasting.” Industry and its professionals also follow this approach.

In the past, we took a relaxed approach to reviewing wines, sometimes (or often times!) using vague, non-technical terms . Yes, this approach was fine, but now we have the tools to provide a technical analysis for the benefit of more serious wine professionals or educated wine lovers.  Therefore, from now on, any blog entry of mine (Eleanor) will include not only general impressions and fun commentary of a wine but also a technical analysis component.

So what is this “Systematic Approach to Tasting”? I will not give away everything here because keen readers of this blog should educate themselves and appreciate wine through WSET’s courses too; however, I will take you through the basics:

Step 1: analyse the APPEARANCE of the wine or spirit. For example, is it cloudy or clear?

Step 2: analyse the NOSE of the wine or spirit. For example, is it a clean or unclean condition? Lightly-fragranced or pronounced? What kinds of aromas do you smell?

Step 3: analyse the PALATE of the wine or spirit. For example, is it dry or sweet? Does it have high tannin? How high are the acidity levels? What kinds of flavour characteristics come through? How heavy is the liquid in your mouth (body)? How long do the desirable characteristics linger in your mouth (finish)?

Step 4: give your conclusions. Did you think it was an acceptable or outstanding wine for its category and price point? Remember that you should make your conclusions on a wine by comparing like for like. Finally, do you like this wine and will you buy it again for yourself?

To push your knowledge and appreciation of wine to the next level, I would highly recommend that you consider taking a formal course. You’ll find your journey through wine less daunting, meet like-minded people, learn from people’s careers, and gain greater respect for the science and geography of wines.

Enjoy the evolution of the wine blog! I promise it won’t be too complex!

Château Cantinot 2005

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Vintage: 2005
Type: Red Bordeaux Blend
Country: France – Bordeaux – Premières Côtes de Blaye

Full bodied with blackcurrant and red fruit on the palette. Very smooth tannins slightest earthy Bordeaux hint and an incredible finish. A top wine from a great vintage.
Full bodied and aromatic with notes redcurrant, blackberry and figs. Concentrated black cherry and blueberry fruit flavours combine with soft tannins, long finish

 

Technical Review

Appearance
Clear, deep Ruby.

Nose
Clean, prominent. Characteristics of dark fruit and spice (blackberry, plum, and cherry) with a hint of oak and vanilla

Palate
Medium acidity. high tannin. Flavours of dark fruit, spice chocolate and cherry.  Full body. Long finish.

Conclusion
Outstanding

Weingut Alfred Bonnet Friedelsheim Riesling Kabinett 2003

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Vintage: 2003
Type: Riesling
Country: Germany – Pfalz

Rieslings should be able to lie down and age well but this 2003 seems to have prematurely peaked (perhaps due to my storage conditions). Don’t you hate it when London flats get too warm and your sensitive wines react poorly?

Like most older Rieslings, this one has taken on a slight petrol smell. It is off-dry (slightly sweet) and unfortunately does not offer a complex nose.  Drink this now if you have any and do not want it to go to waste.

Domaine de la Madone Fleurie Cuvée Prestige 2007

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Vintage: 2007
Type: Beaujolais
Country: France – Burgundy – Beaujolais – Fleurie

This wine is slightly different than your typical Fleurie since it has spent some time ageing in French oak.  because of this, it still has the flavours that you would expect with the gamay grape: berries and fresh fruit.  The oak adds a loving level of complexity and depth. This is a sophisticated Beaujolais . Excellent effort!

Château Tayac 2000

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Vintage: 2000
Type: Red Bordeaux Blend
Country: France – Bordeaux – Côtes de Bourg

This wine is has a medium garnet colour, fading to a nice brownish colour on the edge. On the nose are blackcurrant, raspberries and dark fruit with a hint of vanilla. On the palate are flavours of dark fruit, cherry, blackcurrant and coffee. Nice long finish. A very nice glass of Bordeaux that is drinking well at the moment.

 

Technical Review

Appearance
Clear, deep Ruby.
Nose
Clean, prominent. Characteristics of dark fruit, spice, blackberry, plum, and cherry, coffee with a hint of oak and vanilla

Palate
Medium acidity. medium tannin. Flavours of dark fruit, spice chocolate, coffee and cherry.  Full body. Long finish.

Conclusion
Outstanding

Janisson Baradon & Fils Champagne Le Toulettes Brut 2000

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Vintage: 2000
Type: Champagne
Country: France – Champagne

This is a special bottle of wine. Smooth and round with citrus notes and toasty vanilla. Lots of bubbles and acidity, so it will still last some more though it is drinking very well at the moment. The wine is the essence of great vintage champagne. If you can find a bottle buy it for a special occasion!

Tarlant Champagne Cuvée Brut Prestige 1998

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Vintage: 1998
Type: Champagne
Country: France – Champagne

This Champagne is clean and fresh on the nose with hints of citrus fruit and loads of autolytic notes.  On the palate there are loads of yummy flavours of biscuity yeast and citrus. Smooth and elegant, this wine is maturing nicely and has lots of life in it still.