Thursday, 30 September 2010

A Secret Wine

A French PR agency, Clair de Lune, recently organised a competition for wine bloggers, called the Secret Wine, which I have to say was a fantastic piece of publicity. It was open to the first 85 to register and the winner was the first blogger to correctly name the wines we’d been sent. It attracted bloggers from all over Europe and even as far away as New Zealand and Canada.
We all received a package of three wines that had been rebottled, sealed with synthetic green stoppers and labelled with the Secret Wine logo and a random number, so as not to give us any clue as to what the wines were.
After tasting the wines, and getting myself quite confused as to what I thought they were, I went through all my notes from previous tastings to try and give me an idea. Rightly or wrongly I presumed that as the agency was French, so were the wines!
Wine No. 079, had a deep ruby colour with dark fruit/cherry and forest fruit flavours, with a good level of acidity and tannin, reminded me very much of a Bordeaux blend more from the left bank than the right though. My guess was a St Emillion.
Wine No. 390, had a deep ruby/purple colour again with flavours of dark fruit and cedar, giving away the fact that it had been oaked, again a good level of acidity and tannin and a reasonable length of flavour. This time I went for the right bank in Bordeaux and guessed it was a Haut Medoc.
Wine No. 714, had a much lighter ruby colour, very light flavours of red berries and a low level of acidity and tannin, which led me believe it was a Beaujolais, as it was quite a simplistic wine so I went for standard Beaujolais and not a Beaujolais Village.
Having posted my answers on the website, it became very obvious very quickly that I wasn’t right. The interesting thing has been seeing everyone else’s guesses, and the wide ranging answers that everyone has given. Four days in still no one has won, and I dying to find out what they were, can someone please hurry up and guess them correctly!

Friday, 24 September 2010

A South African Sauvignon Blanc

This is the first wine from South Africa that I’ve written about, and again I’m not sure as to why, they do produce some fantastic wines, and they also won Bibendums World Cup of Wine against Italy earlier this year. So I think I should really have covered some of their wines before now!

The wine in question comes from the guys at the Boekenhoutskloof winery in Franschoek, and is their Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2009. The fruit for this wine comes from vineyards in the Malmesbury, Wellington, Robertson and Franschoek regions. They also add about 2% of Semillon to the blend to give it greater complexity and another dimension. The fermentation is maintained at low temperatures to ensure they capture more of the tropical flavours, the wine is also left on it’s lees to add even more complexity.

In the glass, it had an almost water white colour, with aromas of tropical fruit which were not particularly pronounced, but enjoyable. You got these flavours coming through on the palate, where the tropical fruit was predominately that of Pineapples. It had a high and very level of acidity, which really made your mouth water and worked very well with the fruit flavours.

While this, surprisingly due to the high level of acidity was a well balanced wine, it lacked the complexity I expected from the lees ageing and the addition of the Semillon. However it was an enjoyable drink that would go very well creamy Chicken pasta dish.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Another Great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

I know I’ve posted several reviews of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s, but as I’ve already stated, it is one of my favourite wines, and you can never get enough of what of you enjoy. This one is from Villa Maria and is their Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009; the Marlborough region is at the northern most part of the southern island and is where most of the good Sauvignon Blanc hails from.

On pouring this one, you noticed the almost water white colour, I'd say it was along the lines of apple white. It had the classic subtle aromas of gooseberries with some tropical fruit coming through in the back ground and a touch of grapefruit added into the mix. On the palate, again you got the flavours of gooseberries with the grapefruit really starting to come through with some vigour. It also had a good amount of acidity which really made your mouth water, while not being too tart. The other thing you noticed about this wine was that the flavours really lingered around on the palate, combining all these together gave you a really beautifully balanced wine, which was such a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing drink.

I know I've said this a lot, but it is a very good wine, as you would expect from the guys at Villa Maria. At around £9 a bottle it's a good buy, better than the Shelter Bay wine I also tasted earlier in the year, not that that was a bad wine at all!

Friday, 3 September 2010

A Fortified Desert Wine

I’ve tasted several Ice Wines on my wine adventures, but I’ve never seen or heard of one that had been fortified, until now. On a recent trip home a friend bought me a bottle of Kittling Ridge Ice Wine & Brandy, which sounded like it could be very interesting.

The first thing I had look into was where did the brandy come from, and unsurprisingly it was Canadian. Produced by Kittling Ridge themselves from grapes grown in Niagara, Ontario, using traditional copper stills and then age the brandy in small oak casks for seven years.

The Ice Wine is made from the Vidal Blanc grape, and as with other Canadian Ice Wine the grapes aren’t harvested till the temperature drops to minus eight degrees Celsius, to ensure most of the water is frozen to leave a very sweet and concentrated grape must. It is then fermented in steel tanks and bottled; it receives no oak ageing in this case.

To blend the two of these together I thought the brandy would have completely over powered the flavours and aromas of the Ice Wine; however I was very pleasantly surprised.

In the glass you had this bright lemony gold colour, which you could almost see the sweetness of the wine due to its viscosity. On the nose you got these wonderfully pronounced aromas of tropical fruit and almonds with floral notes coming through in the background. To taste it was as you could imagine, lusciously sweet that almost coated your mouth with the fruit flavours, then came the warming sensation of the Brandy, which just complimented the Ice Wine superbly. Their was a low level of acidity which cut through the sweetness perfectly making it all faultlessly balanced and an amazing drink, not what I would have expected.

This fortified desert wine, due to the Brandy was not as sweet as Ice Wine, but beautifully blended to extract all the aromas and flavours of each component, without either one over powering the other. Would I recommend this, absolutely, it took an amazing wine and added another completely dimension, without ruining either.