Sunday, 27 April 2014

A chance to try some Sicilian wines off the beaten track

Berry Brothers has what looks like a well researched and reasonably priced (though not particularly cheap) offer on Sicilian wines at the moment.

Having spent some time there myself indulging, I can attest to the quality and originality of Sicily's wines.

The Berry Brothers blog tour with lots of detail, which is well written and researched, starts here.

I went with these to try a cross section. I'll report back in with tasting notes in due course.

2011 Quota 600, Etna Rosso, Graci, Passopisciaro, Sicilia 75cl £29.00

2012 Perricone, Porta del Vento, Camporeale, Sicily 75cl £14.95

2013 Catarratto, Porta del Vento, Camporeale, Sicily 75cl £15.95

2012 Kerasos, Nero d'Avola, Valdibella, Camporeale, Sicily 75cl £12.50

2011 Grappoli del Grillo, Marco De Bartoli, Marsala, Sicily 75cl £23.25

2011 Faro, Bonavita, Messina, Sicily 75cl £24.95

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bisquertt Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2009 - A very decent Chilean quaffer

This is a solid easy drinker from Chile's Colchagua valley.

Now at five years old it's got a certain maturity, lots of forward fruit with balanced oak (i.e. not too much vanilla) and black cherry, some cloves and cassis.

You can't seem to go wrong with Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. I've not had one I disliked.

Some are over the top on the fruit, the alcohol and the American oak (which gives the vanilla undertones)

This one was around £14 bought at duty free in Guilin airport in China.

Some of the other wines from Bisquertt seem to be a lot cheaper, the same in USD, so perhaps I over paid.

On the other hand this is apparently a reserve so who knows.

Anyhow, it's nothing hugely special, but goes down wonderfully as I drink it here in Taiwan on holiday, with, of all things, wasabi soy nuts.

Not ideal food matching, but the Bisquertt can handle it.

Perhaps this wine is not to everyone's taste, but very tasty nonetheless. A Burgundy fan probably won't like it.

The producer has a lovely website, and says Wine Spectator rated it a top value 2009 Cabernet.

Their site is here, worth a look around.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

CNP Du Pegau 2005 - simply stunning

This Pegau 2005 is without a doubt the greatest CNP I've ever had.

That may not be saying much given my limited experience but I've had a few beaucastel wines of various vintages.

None have matched this wine so far.

I had it in my current favourite London restaurant, 10 Greek St, over lamb, which it suited perfectly. 

It was a few weeks ago and I neglected to write any tasting notes. I was too busy enjoying the Pegau.

Many rate 2005 as a 19/20 wine year. There are not many of them. 1945, 1961, 1982, 1990. Perhaps 2000 but I disagree with including that year. The Bordeaux wines of 2000 taste well, a bit green, a bit thin for me.

This 2005 Pegau is a rare beast these days. Demand must be high and stocks low. Experts at London's Hedonism wines (a must see) say they can't get hold of any. 

It had everything you want in a great CNP: A slight mustiness, open, full but subtle fruit, plenty of complexity and an intensity that filled the mouth and lasted much longer than you'd expect. 

It was around £50. At restuarant rates that's an absolute steal. 

It's around £30 at retail. Here's some background on the chateau.

Gerard Bertrand Minervois 2010

This carignan and syrah (surely shiraz?) blend is truly excellent value in a Languedoc region that undoubtedly combines big quality flavours and low prices like no other.

At around £8-9 from UK retailer Waitrose you can't go wrong. 

The blend is well balanced, lasting and benefits from a couple of hours in the decanter. Big alcoholic fruit, but never overpowering. As it oxidises it mellows. 

I visited the vineyard near Beziers in August 2013 and was impressed with it variety, scale and hospitality.

Their top wines can age 10-15 years, which is highly unusual in the region. 

Faugeres, not far away, with its schist soils, also has some very solid wines, as long as you don't mind big flavours and high alcohol. Par for the course considering the sun, grapes and terroir.