Warre Porto Bottle Matured Late Bottled Vintage 1999

Written by neal on May 3rd, 2012

Vintage: 1999
Type: Port – Bottle Matured Late Bottled Vintage
Country: Portugal – Douro

A very nice LBV at a decent price.  Full of sweet plums, vanilla and price with a long finish.


Tesco’s Finest Douro 2010

Written by eleanor on February 5th, 2012

Vintage: 2010
Type: Red Blend
Country: Portugal–Douro

This is a wine that I sampled at the Tesco Wine Fair held at the Royal Horticultural Halls this past autumn.  I wasn’t considering buying any Portuguese wines to stock the racks at home but after swirling this wine around and around my glass, it grew on me. This is a perfectly acceptable blend of various regional grapes, appropriate to serve with a basic dinner or selection of cheeses. Tesco describes this wine as, “a deep coloured, rich and warming red wine with aromas of violet and black fruits.” I would not disagree but I do recommend swirling small amounts in your glass for a few minutes in order to encourage aeration. After some minutes, taste it. If it is still highly tannic and a bit sour, just give it a bit more exposure to air.

Technical Review

Clear, medium Ruby.

Clean, with aroma characteristics of flowers (violets, in particular) and dark, black fruits.

Medium acidity. Strong tannins. Medium body.



Château Trebiac 2006

Written by eleanor on 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.


Clear, medium Garnet


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


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



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.


Ocean’s Ridge Pinot Noir 2008

Written by eleanor on January 25th, 2012

Vintage: 2008
Type: Pinot Noir
Country: New Zealand – Marlborough

This was a gift presented by friends from New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand is a region that has Pinot Noirs rivalling those of Burgundy … this one lives up to the reputation. It is a light, lively, fruity red wine that goes well with summer dinners. It is 13% alcohol and easy to drink quickly, so slow down and savour it with your food. This wine was paired with Italian roasted tomato sausages and mushroom tortellini in a creamy basil sauce.

Technical Review

Clear, pale Ruby.
Clean, medium. Characteristics of strawberries and cherry. Some sweet spice, such as Cinnamon.

Medium acidity. Low tannin. Flavours of red fruit, although not complex. Medium body. Medium length finish.
Very good.


Chateau Monconseil Gazin 2005

Written by eleanor on January 20th, 2012

Vintage: 2005
Type: Bordeaux Blend
Country: France – Bordeaux – Blaye

This is a very nice wine originating from the right side of the Gironde in Blaye, Bordeaux. 2005 was an exceptional year in the region, so any winemaker could have made a good wine (or so winemaker, Vincent Rousselle, tells me) because the fruits were fantastic in that vintage.  Drink this with a reasonably meaty meal, such as calves liver with lardons  or duck breast with an orange jus sauce.

Technical Analysis:

Appearance: Clear, deep Ruby.

Nose: Clean, medium intensity, aromas of red fruits (cherry), vanilla and oak.

Palate: High acidity, medium tannin, flavour characteristics of cherry, sweet spice, butter (possibly due to malolactic fermentation). Long finish.

Conclusion: Very good.


Michel Sarrazin et Fils – 1re Cru 2005

Written by eleanor on January 15th, 2012

Vintage: 2005
Type: Pinot Noir
Country: France-Burgundy-Givry

This wine comes from a good lineage: it is classified as a Premier Cru from one of the Grands Vins de Bourgogne (a particular, quality plot of land). I had the pleasure of trying the last bit at the end of the work day. This is a very easy drinking wine that would complement a light, spring or autumnal dinner.

Technical Analysis

Appearance:  Clear, medium Ruby.

Nose: Medium and clean. Characteristics of red fruits such as strawberries and cherries. Hints of oak and vanilla. Some earthiness and truffle-like aromas.

Palate: High acidity, medium tannin. Flavour characteristics of red fruits and oak. Medium finish.

Conclusion: Very good.


Bodegas Riojanas Rioja Monte Real Gran Reserva 1978

Written by neal on December 10th, 2011

Vintage: 1978
Type: Rioja Gran Reserva (Tempranillo)
Country: Spain – Rioja

On the edge, the colour has matured to a reddish brown. On the nose is tobacco, light oak and a hint of dried fruits. On the pallet is a surprising amount if red fruit, this wine is still going strong! The tannins are completely integrated and the finish is long and supple.


Wine Tasting the WSET Way

Written by eleanor on 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

Written by neal on 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

Clear, deep Ruby.

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

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



Weingut Alfred Bonnet Friedelsheim Riesling Kabinett 2003

Written by eleanor on 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.