AND a very fine welcome to this glorious week, the last of September and from now on Autumn kicks in no matter what the Met office say.
So a topic for this week: Does this forum contribute to an upwards spiral of ever increasing wine related pleasure? or do we spend more money (especially with recent hikes) … but critique the wine more and enjoy it less ?
I give to you in evidence: a TWS mystery case for £7.08 a bottle. Really should be £11 ish.
So far I’m three bottles in (Fleurie, Valpollcello ripasso, TWS Claret_) and conclude they are all very straightforward & simple, yet also without any faults whatsoever. The claret is a case in point: no harsh tannins, fruit forward yet not jammy, light and enjoyable without shouting about it. The Fleurie and Valpolicella are to my mind very good indeed - but drink the bottle over two evenings.
I’m wondering if now is the time to revert to those ‘student days’ where a bottle of wine was simply for drinking, and you would not dream of spending more on the wine than the food ?
I’m clinging, limpet like, to the fact that I don’t start back at work until tomorrow, so technically it’s still holiday time (look, the illusion works for me). So tonight, with Imam Bayildi, Jacobs Ladders smothered in Oregano and olive oil, and garlicky Tzatziki, and a fairly warm evening, I can still pretend I’m not really here…
Anyway, confirming all my prejudices about Xinomavro, this is just absolutely square in it’s drinking window. Tomato paste, black olive tapenade over pomegranate and cherry. Just really, really good and for the money. Classy and underrated… for now.
We don’t normally drink mid-week, but it’s my wifes birthday, so we opened this. Louis de Grennelle, a 7/7/4 blend of pinot noir, cab franc and pineau d’aunis. It’s lovely. Clearly a BdN and made in a champagne stlyle. To be honest, I wouldn’t know that it wasn’t champagne blind. Good value at €20ish at Louis de Grenelle in Saumur.
Interesting opening statement on the weeks forum, a long way from student drinking last night but there was no disappointment in the wines whatsoever.
So granted a splurge last night at Hawksmoor Manchester BYO. Following on from the article on social laziness I made the trip into town to have dinner with my best mate who was back on a fleeting visit from NYC for family reasons.
Thought he deserved some nice bottles….
All 3 were fantastic.
Bollinger PNTX 2017
Everything I had expected rich, concentrated fine bubbles lovely autolytic flavours.
**Ridge Pagani Ranch 2021
Does need a few more years to peak I think but nevertheless a lovely wine. Not had a great deal to do with Zinfandel but this was nicely balanced with good fruit and grip. Fantastic nose.
Vin de Constance 2017
Undoubtedly the star of the show, only me second time drinking it and it’s stunning. It’s masterful in its balance with acidity and sweetness that is in no way cloying leaving a long clean finish.
Woke this morning carrying some wounds from the above but overall enriched by good food, wine and friendship.
Campervan Cuisine here in Finland. We’re parked up at the lovely Vuohensaari campsite and are the only customers - they close for the year at the end of this week. This is within striking distance of the Tallinn ferry for the morning.
They have a free bar - so long as you bring your own. And the only place with a wi-fi signal.
Cuisine was a mismatch ragout of leftovers plus pasta - typical - but much nicer a) than anticipated on paper and b) with the dregs of this BiB Puglian rosso ( ISTR it was negroamaro, primitivo and merlot )
First glass no decanting, it’s just what the doctor ordered: ripe juicy Tempranillo all lush wild strawberry & plum, no tannin to mention and I’m sure there is a touch of oak yet none is mentioned, a very short finish which invites another sip. One could easily enjoy a number of glasses without having to check for points from cellartracker et-al.
A Macon Villages Vieilles Vignes 2020, Andre Bonhomme.
A bright yellow gold colour. Citrus and peach fruit, a floral quality and a hint of oatmeal on the inviting nose. On tasting, a cocktail of peach, grapefruit and lemon fruit is further lifted by fresh acidIty and a subtle leesy minerality. To add to its pleasure, weight of flavour builds through the mid-palate and there’s a touch of textural chew on the finish. All in all, a really enjoyable example of its type and excellent value for the £12.50 paid.
It was a happy match to my roasted cauli cheese and pork ribeye meal too. Which was mostly an exercise in using up veg leftover from the weekend with the pork being pulled from the freezer.
We spent a lovely evening with The Wine Society Dining Club tonight taking part in a tutored tasting of the wines of Spain event hosted by Pierre Mansour. I really didn’t realise Spain was such a diverse region before tonight and in my my they were all exceptional. I remember Pierre said at the beginning that he’d be disappointed if anyone enjoyed all of the wines he presented as it would mean he didn’t provide enough diversity, well I’m afraid I am that guy so sorry to disappoint. I think the stand out wines for me though were the two red Riojas with the obvious winner being the 2001 Gran Reserva, sadly not available for purchase. The Priorat was really pleasant too… powerful and fruity and a completely new variety for me. The sherry at the end was my wife’s favourite. We had some great company at our table which really made the event. A really lovely evening.
Landed in Tallinn -maybe you went on a different carrier; we did Viking Express; yes there was a buffet - sold by weight - but the various cafés on board all sold the same range of things. We noted how, at 10.30 am the passengers were tucking into not only wine on tap, but hard liquor. We abstained… the duty free was mega-uninspiring too.
Anyway, driving out of the port is a nightmare - they seem to be digging up every road, which really confused the Garmin, but finally arrived at a splendid well equipped campsite in Vanamoisa, so I’ve poured myself the last of the souvenir beers from Rovaniemi. (apologies it’s not wine…)
Anyway tomorrow it’s a trip into Tallinn which includes a pre-booked guided food and beer trail, but luckily there’s a suburban train station just a km walk away from here…
It’s fascinating what you’re doing at the moment it’s almost the reverse of something I planned to do some years back but never quite got around to it. When I had the big motorhome I always planned to end my Chamonix ski season by driving home by way of Poland, Estonia(Taillin), Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. They do say the shortest route between two points on the globe is not a straight line!!!