A week in wine 20th to 23rd Feb 2023

Excellent - bon voyage. If you haven’t been to Woodlands for their Cabs make sure you do !

Luckily McH-H is available in the UK…

I’ll second that! The Chardonnay is excellent.

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Well this brings a beaker full of the warm south to a chilly February evening.


Just a touch of the purple, and on the nose it’s more like grape juice than any wine I’ve had, quite soft and sweet red fruit flavours, could do with a bit more bite and acidity but will go down nicely with pizza. Not one that many here would seek out, I think, but it’s quite fun.


Continuing my attempt to reduce the number of bottles in the garage (let’s call it “wet February”)

La Rioja Alta Selección 874 Reserva, Rioja 2013 £110 for 6 back in 2017 - at the time expensive, on reflection a bargain.

Pic stolen from tinterweb.

Early on this was rough with unresolved tannins - hence being forgotton about for several years. This evening it’s all crushed velvet & spices… (hardly any nose… although the bottle was opened yesterday) on the palate front & centre there’s raspberry liqueur, a rasp of tannin, then those deep oaky notes you only get with the finest Rioja - none of your cheap vanilla here.

Very fine wine. The raspberry is a new one to me - I don’t remember that when it was younger.


A Unicorn wine.

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Louis Tête Coup de Tête! Beaujolais Blanc 2020

Picked this up on the cheap from Majestic recently as a makeweight to get to 6 bottles. Wanted a non-oaky Chardonnay today with fish & seafood gratin, and this was to hand and fitted the bill. It was fine for its price well under £10. Citrus, Apple, hints of peach and a streak of minerality. Short finish, but did the job.


Opened yesterday and finished tonight ( with chilli beef tacos, tomato and avocado salsa, lettuce and cheese )…

…a Koyle ‘Los Lingues’ Alto Colchagua Reserva Carmenere 2020 ( £8.75 ).

TWS notes described it well ’ planted at above 500m this carmenere has ripe fruit but also a refreshing palate with hints of black pepper and cloves and is more drinkable than the fruit bomb style from warmer spots’. Otherwise, ripe blackberry and plum fruit with fresh acidity and discreet tannins to structure. Undemanding, easy drinking but a surprisingly good match to the not particularly wine friendly flavours in the fully loaded tacos all the same.

Upping the ante somewhat, and in lieu of dessert, a couple of glasses of this…

…a Chateau Doisy-Vedrines 2011. From a mixed case of halves, bought EP and which was my first, and still only, serious foray into the world of Sauternes.

Anyway, as you can see, a lustrous golden yellow colour. In order, botrytis, apricot preserve and a floral, liqueur-like, note on the fragrant nose. Apricots. thick cut marmalade, citrus zest and a touch of caramel on the creamy textured and unctuous palate. Fresh acidity provides lovely cut and balance to the syrupy sweet flavours and some lip smacking tang on the lengthy finish. Very nice indeed :yum:


A novelty snack hamper from Christmas included this:

Like a packet of meat crisps … but it’s meat. Kind of crispy and yet chewy at the same time. The bag even had a sachet of silica gel inside but I was feeling quite full by then, so chucked it in the bin.

Made for Rioja on the front and back of the packet, as if I need persuading on a Thursday evening - okay then…

The Society’s Rioja Crianza 2018.

Absolute textbook crianza, soft strawberries and yes, there’s vanilla, but there’s also enough of the spice rack to keep it interesting. I’m a slow drinker, but this slipped down all too easily. Kept some back for tonight though.

As for the spicy-dried-meat pairing, well, all it seemed to do was make the Rioja sprout tannins that were never there before :person_shrugging:


Very strange - as I understand it the very opposite is supposed to happen, with the tannins bonding on to the protein (and the wine appearing softer). You are just going to have to do more research :slight_smile:

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I know what you mean, it seemed incongruous, but I think it was the spiciness that accentuated tannins that were otherwise under the radar. Or that was my take on it anyway.

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Can’t believe you did that!! It’s added seasoning for the crispy meat. The new


What a mistake! I’ll be sure to go for the full chorizo-with-added-desiccant experience next time :+1:


Some enjoyable bottles had this week.


Monday I made vegetable curry and opened

2017 Bellevue Estate Pinotage Houdamond (South Africa, Stellenbosch)
Very nice Pinotage from a family owned estate I know well.

Tuesday is Mrs M’s Bridge night so early dinner of Mrs M’s favourite crispy grilled aubergine strips in tomato sauce with penne and a mixed salad with no-brainer™

2020 Casa Vinicola Roxan The Wine Society’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Italy, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)
Then while she played Bridge on-line I watched the final two episodes of Happy Valley. I got into the series, a sort of family life soap crossed with a gritty and violent police drama.

Wednesday I’d just gone into the kitchen to prepare dinner for 7pm when Mrs M got a phone call. She came into the kitchen asking for dinner in 15-30 minutes. That wasn’t possible, I couldn’t produce one - Deliveroo couldn’t deliver one and we couldn’t get a take away that quick. So she had her steak pie, boiled pots and veg when she turned off her computer’s camera. The call had been from one of her chums reminding her about a Bridge game they hadn’t told her about in the first place.

The wine was

2020 Bonpas Côtes du Rhône Reserve de Bonpas (France, Côtes du Rhône)
and jolly drinkable Grenache/Syrah blend it was too, especially when that nice Mr Sainsbury has given 25% off.

Thursday a bread day. In the morning I made four loaves

and in the afternoon I used OO flour to make dough for pizzas which we had with

2019 Mas Querido White Field Blend (Spain,Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León)

I’m a sucker for field blends. The vineyards today are planted with a single variety, so this is from old vines. It doesn’t name them on the label but Majestic’s site says the main varieties are Airen and Macabeo. Well, it was crisp, dry and very pleasant.

(Houdamond from M&S, Montepuliano from TWS, Bonpas from Sainsbury and Mas Querido from Majestic)

Several online merchants list it, some at cheaper prices. I see my local independent shop also has it.

Sounds like a faulty wine - Ontario’s small Niagara region makes some very fine wines and the best Chardonnay I have ever had came from Niagara.


They wouldnt include it if not edible. This is your moment to shine, taking one for the team as it were. Looking forward to the tasting notes :slight_smile:


It was funny to open a bag of food and find something inside with DO NOT EAT in about six different languages all over it, plus a big crossed-out drawing of someone eating it, in case I still wasn’t sure :laughing:


Better late then never… me again with report of a South West London Wine Appreciation dinner at Artisans of Sardinia held on 22 February 2023. We had a Burgundy theme, some late dropouts due to illness meant some wines were missing from the line up.

The food Massimo presents is getting better and better, no dud whatsoever this time around (true for the wines, too).

Is Argiolas Isola dei Nuraghi Vermentino di Sardegna 2021 replaced the fizz to match the cured salmon. Wonderful balance on the salmon, the wine was very decent and slipped down with relative ease.

The langosines were then paired with the Duplessis Chablis Montee de Tonnerre from the indestructible 2014 vintage. What a wonderful dish, sweet langostines with savoury fish roe and the creamy burrata. The wine was also a revelation, difficult to elaborate from the distance of 7 days, but this wine could convince Chablis sceptics I am sure. Matchstick galore.

The first of three pasta courses (no excess believe me the fresh pasta at this place is to dies for) with crayfish was matched with the Domaine La Soufrandise Pouilly Fuisse VV 2017. There was a discussion re VV later in the evening and that it means little, but I am digressing. Very good match and as expected fuller and hints of tropical fruits on the wine.

Red Burgundy gets a lot of stick for being hit and miss and being the eternal search for the Holy Grail. Not this evening, three wonderful examples have been had.

Then onto the 2013 Ponsot Clos de la Roche from Magnum with the fennelly lamb ragout. In its infancy and developed nicely over the course of the evening (advantages of a magnum). A nose to remember and so much concentration on the palate. Could leave for a good few years. Not worth the price of course.

Venison Fettuccelle with the 2012 Jadot Savigny Les Beaune PC Lavieres was a point. More advanced in its development, probably at the peak right now. Wonderful red Burgundy experience from a lesser (?) vintage.

The dish of the night (and the burrata) with the 2010 Bruno Claire Savigny Les Beaune PC Les Dominodes followed. A match made in heaven (again). A bit lighter style with traces of malo present. Fantastic tertiary falvours of wet autumnal forest. As I said, a lucky night of red Burgundy.

Lavender Panna Cotta with the 2015 Kunstler Hochheimer Kirchenstuck Riesling Beerenauslese. Just shy of the top of the German wine classification. Great blackbone of acidity, wonderful flavours from botrytis to match the panna cotta perfectly. Great.



Second dinner in a row where all wines were consistently good! Have we reached the pinnacle of wine x food? :grinning:
A very good start to 2023


Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Pio Cesare 2021 £17.50

A pale red Grignolino grape in Piedmonte from Pio Cesare who many of you will know for their Barolo etc. Pale in colour (and body) but most certainly not light & ethereal - it really delivers on the nose and palate with masses of aromatic bilberry, tart cranberry, some sharp tannins. The bitter/ sour complexity is very Italian, hints of Campari going on.

I wouldnt keep this one, it’s a wine to enjoy brimming with primary flavour yet complex because there is a lot going on at the same time. Pio Cesare REALLY know how to make excellent wine. Possibly a wine for Salami, cheese, Italian nibbles.

Dining chez Chateau Lapin tonight (cos Daughter no.2 is visiting) Lamb curry, chicken tikka, spinach / potato / cheese curry, brown rice, mint & yoghurt raita, pickled kohlrabi. All homemade so might turn out quite differant to expectations !

UPDATE, next day. Not much left over from yesterday (it was very more-ish) - but by this evening had become a touch sour. Definitely a ‘one session’ bottle, enjoy it in the moment.


With fishy dishes came these.