Sunday, 31 July 2011

A Red From The Rhone

This may only be me, but does anyone else ever find that after friends have been round for dinner, there’s always an odd bottle of unopened wine that some one brought round and never got drunk. Well this bottle is one of those!

I knew absolutely nothing about this wine other than what information I could glean from the label, the obvious was then name. La Tour de Marrenon 2010 Reserve, Ventoux, and is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. On close examination of the back label, I found that it had been imported by one of our leading supermarket chains and produced by Marrenon!

AOC Ventoux is a region located in the south east area of the Rhone, where 80% of it’s reported production goes to reds blended from  Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and Carignan. With the whites coming from Clairette,Bourboulenc,Grenache Blanc, and Roussane, they also produce some Rose; the style is very much that of light and fruity, the minimum alcohol is 11%, this one came in at 13,5%.

In the glass it had a bright/youthful ruby colour, and quite pronounced aromas of blackcurrant, with black pepper coming through from them background. On the palate, again it had quite pronounced flavours of blackcurrant, with a touch of red currants thrown in to the mix, and then you got the peppery spice. It had quite a large amount of acidity with very little fine tannins, which didn’t really work for me.

Would I recommend this wine, it wasn’t really an inspiring wine, there was nothing wrong with it in itself, but it just didn’t set my taste buds alight, if I saw it on the shelf would I buy It, then the answer is no, but if someone did bring it around again I would drink it.

Monday, 25 July 2011

A Surprising Pinotage Rose

Pinotage can produce some fantastic wines, but it also produces an awful lot of poor wine, now this isn’t all down to the grape itself, but it’s also down to the winemaking techniques used. Grown in South Africa, where it has become their signature grape, it is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault and was developed in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold, the first Professor of Viticulture at Stellenbosch University.

I’d never seen a Pinotage Rose before, until a friend brought round a bottle of Kumala Eternal, Western Cape, Pinotage Rose 2011, since tasting this one i found several others that are available. I’m not the biggest fan of Kumala Wines having drank some very poor wines from them, many years ago, but in the interest of fairness, I thought I should give it a try!

In the glass you got a bright, strawberry red colour without looking artificial. On the nose you had quite pronounced fruit aromas of Water Melons and Strawberry’s, you got these coming through on the palate with the pronounced Water Melon really hitting your taste buds. Combine these juicy/fruity flavours with a serious amount of acidity, and they work brilliantly! The acidity really makes your mouth water and making it a very refreshing drink; don’t get me wrong, this is most definitely not a great wine, but it is a good one for what it is.

Would i recommend, if your looking for a fruity rose to chill for a hot summer day in the garden then this is definitely worth giving a thought too, great fruit loads of acidity to cut through the fruit, but if your looking for some thing with a bit of complexity and structure, then stay well away from it.

Monday, 11 July 2011

A South Australian Shiraz

We were out last Friday night for a friend’s 30th, and as usual the wine list was passed down the table to me with the instruction to pick something good. I have to admit it was rather a good list which was making the decision all that more difficult, but while I was scanning down the reds I spotted a shiraz from Geoff Merrill, and I remembered tasting one at the imbibros tasting I'd been to recently, which I'd thought was absolutely stunning, so it seemed like a good bet to me.

The wine in question was their 2008 Pimpala Road Shiraz from South Australia, and unfortunately is only available to the UK through the on-trade. Which is always something that annoys me, why must I only be able to drink certain wines in a restaurant and not at home, but I think that’s a topic for discussion at a later date.

Getting back to the wine, it had a deep red/purple colour in the glass, with wonderfully pronounced aromas of blackcurrants and spice. On the palate you got the fruit of blackcurrants and red currants, with the spice coming through as liquorice and a touch of clove, which were far more predominant than the fruit flavours. There was a good level of acidity which just made your mouth water profusely, helping the flavours linger that little bit more, there was a very small amount of very fine tannins which surprisingly combined beautifully and resulted in an outstandingly well balanced wine.

Is this a wine that I’d recommend, if your out for dinner and your lucky enough to find it on the wine list, then it’s definitely worth giving serious consideration, again it’s only a pity you can’t get it to take home to enjoy, If you want to try one of their other wines, give their Jacko’s Blend 2006 from McLaren Vale a go, it was rather delicious. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A Stunning Shiraz from Jim Barry Wines

The other night we decided to open a bottle of Jim Barry, The McRae Wood Shiraz 2005. Jim Barry Wines are a member of the Australian First Families of Wine; Jim Barry founded the vineyard in 1959 with his wife Nancy when they purchased their first property on the northern outskirts of Clare, in 1964 they added 70 acres of prime river flats from Duncan McRae Wood in the Armagh area of Clare. In 1977 they added a further 329 acres, with the purchase of the Lodge Hill Property, and in 1986 his sons added the renowned Florita vineyard, which is celebrated for its superb Rieslings.

The fruit for this wine as you may have expected comes from the Duncan McRae Wood vineyards, which were planted with Shiraz vines in 1964, which I have to agree was an inspired choice of location and variety. In producing this wine two thirds will spend 15 months in new American oak, with the other third being in older American oak, before being blended.

On pouring you got an opaque inky/purple colour which is just amazing, on the nose you wonderfully pronounced aromas of Blackcurrants, Raspberries, Liquorice and violets. On the palate you these, with the sweet spice of liquorice and cinnamon being more predominant, to go along with these you also got a hint of cocoa, that just lingered around in the mouth for ages. With these flavours and aromas, you got just enough acidity to make your mouth water, and a large amount of fine, silky tannins that just combined together to create what I can only describe as an absolutely stunning wine.

This wine showed great structure and complexity that while it was drinking great now, will last for a good few years yet refining it further and making smoother and smoother. Is this a wine that I would recommend, most definitely, the only piece of advice I would give is to make sure you let the wine breathe before you start to drink it, to make sure all the flavours come through beautifully.