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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).

2011 Rosé de Croûte-Mallard by Château Gros Moulin

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Vintage: 2011
Type: Rosé (100% Cabernet Sauvigon)
Country: France–Bordeaux–Cotes de Bourg

2013-03-09 15.19.06-2

This is a wine that was suggested to me by Les at the Villa St. Simon (Blaye) for my “Finding Value in Bordeaux” event at the London Business School on 8 MAR 2013. This particular event focused on the Right Bank of Bordeaux and it was a pleasure to start the evening with this bottle. It is a simple, easy-to-drink rose wine that the guests were pleased with.

(Apologies for the picture that I have uploaded. This particular bottle was placed in a bucket of ice and water for a long time, so the label began to peel off.)

Technical Review

Appearance
Clear, medium pink.

Nose
Clean, light aromas of strawberry and peach.

Palate

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

Conclusion

Good, ready to drink now (not intended for aging).

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!

The Opportunist (A competition)

Friday, March 4th, 2011

The Challenge

One of the companies that I have bought form in the past, Find Wine — they sell wine from Some Young Punks and the excellent Conan the Barbera to name a few —  is running a contest (details here) for the chance to be their wine critic for three months.  The contest involved reviewing a bottle of wine (which they sent to me free of charge) with 5 or more friends and posting the results.  A fee bottle of wine and the chance for even more wine from a supplier that I have been quite happy with in the past?  It was a no-brainer!

Of course getting 5 people together in London to try the wine proved quite the challenge.  Fortunately, the stars aligned on a Friday and here is the result.

The Opportunist

The bottle around the taster glasses ready to be drunk

The Opportunist group just before trying the wine

The group, just before consumption of the wine.

The Results

Like its name, this wine seeks to capitalise on the prevailing popularity of Shiraz among wine lovers.  Seeking a “crazy” description to this wine from a diverse group of professional 30-somethings was near impossible! Overall, the group felt the wine was a bit to light on the nose (“barely fragranced”), young, darkly coloured, lightly oaked, and typical for a Shiraz. Flavours of  cassis, chocolate and tabacco.   One of the group likened the wine to a White Chocolate Magnum!

Here is my review:

Vintage: 2008
Type: Shiraz
Country: Australia – Limestone Coast

The wine is a bit weak on the nose, but with a hint youth and alcohol that is typical from Australia.  A dark ruby colour with  rich cassis, chocolate and a hint of tabacco.   I would not be disappointed to be served this in a restaurant with a steak.

Remember to go to check out Find Wine’s Facebook page and Like the review!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Find-Wine/156597197691226

tobacco

Some Young Punks Battle Island 2009

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Shiraz Cabernet
Country: Australia – South Australia

Nice full bodied Shiraz Cabernet from Australia, displaying typical characteristics from an Aussie Shiraz – big bold fruit and high alcohol content. The tannins are still quite young and strong in the wine, which hints that it will stand up to a bit of ageing. Full flavours of cranberry and blackcurrant with hints of pepper and spice.

Joseph Gruss & Fils Gewurztraminer Eichberg Grand Cru 2008

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Vintage: 2008
Type: Gewürztraminer
Country: France – Alsace – Eguisheim

None of Andre’s wines disappoint me but you can believe me when I say this is a lovely wine, full stop. The flavours of citrus fruit and lychees fill the mouth nicely. It is a sweet wine but not overpowering.  There is a distinctly thick and creamy texture on the tongue. Gorgeous.

I imagine myself holding a picnic in a field of wild flowers, absorbing the sun’s warmth, enjoying a variety of oriental dishes … this wine would be the main event of my picnic.

Jacob’s Creek Shiraz – Cabernet 2006

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Vintage: 2006
Type: Shiraz Cabernet
Country: Australia

This bottle is typical of most mass-produced Australian reds, good flavour and easy to drink without being memorable.  Nice flavours of blackberries with a layer of oak.  I would certainly order this in a bar, as it’s easy and pleasurable to drink.

Domaine de la Madone Fleurie Cuvée Tradition 2009

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Beaujolais
Country: France – Beaujolais – Fleurie

This is a lovely Beaujolais with an excellent flavour full of fruit. Nice acidity and easy to drink. Tonnes of fruit on the palette – almost bursting with flavour.  Nice hints of minerality as well.

Domaine de la Madone Fleurie Grille Midi 2007

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Beaujolais
Country: France – Beaujolais – Fleurie

A more serious Fleurie, though it is still quick youthful and fruity with a hint of frivolity. Excellent bottle overall full of fruits and light tannins.

Campo Azafran Vino de la Tierra de Castilla 2008

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Vintage: 2008
Type: Rioja – Tempranillo/Shiraz Blend
Country: Spain

Overall this is a decent tempranillo that tastes OK once it has been given a bit of air.  Typical hints of oak and red berries, but overall nothing too special.  Not bad value-for-money.