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Weekend Drinking Thread 14-16 January 2022

Interested in your reaction to this. What was missing for your taste? I only had Cubillo for the first time last year, although I’ve had Tondonia more often and like the LdH style - perhaps some find it a bit austere but I love the smokiness, silkiness and freshness.

We got through 5 of 6 Cubillo 2011s in about six months, I haven’t had the 2012 but have a couple of 2013s coming.



Don’t get me wrong I don’t think it’s bad, I’d even say it’s good (especially after some time out of bottle) but just not as good as I’d been expecting from the many praises it gets here. Which is no criticism, just that it didn’t quite match my expectations. In particular I found it a little unbalanced in the tannin and acidity area which, in fairness, did settle and integrate by the second night.


Mushroom Risotto and a 2012 Baudana Barolo Ceretta today. The wine is lovely a combination of sweet fruit, acid and tannic bite that you wish for on opening a youngish Barolo. Great match. From a TWS mixed Barolo case that had also had a bottle of Mascarello Monprivato in it… never going to happen again.


I would be happy to sip that all day

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Last night we opened an Urbina Crianza 2012. Given this is one of my favourite Rioja wineries and I haves loved everything I have previously tasted, it was a disappointment. Perhaps too cold or a poor food match but to me it tasted wrong. Not wrong as in tainted but just not on the expected Urbina flavour profile of old fashioned smooth vanilla red Rioja. An unwelcome surprise with crunchy tannins, sour cherries and too much acidity.

I hope they haven’t gone all mod cons. They do make some more modern expressions and some I have enjoyed - though not as much as their traditional range. Until now :frowning::thinking:


A mix of last week’s bottles and this weekend’s. Starting with the gorgeous and most delicious of them all, the Exhibition Douro 2014, which was smooth, delicious and perfect drinking. Also a bit of an extravagance being a magnum :flushed: , but in my defence, it did last most of last week.

The most disappointing was the Valpollicella which had that unmistaken nose of wet cardboard. Even a day later, it was undrinkable and went down the sink. Luckily it’s well within its drinking window, so have flagged it on the website.

There are more in Reserves, so am hoping they’re better than this one.

I coravined a glass from the 2010 Rioja, one of a trio of wines of this vintage tasted this weekend. Very good, weighty Rioja with plenty of grip and fruit - plenty of time left to develop more of those nice leather and tobacco notes, but at £42, it’s an expensive treat.

The other two wines from the 2010 vintage were a little bit ‘meh’. Neither was past it, in fact there was little evidence of visual aging. The Madiran opened with a bit of a funky nose, which went after an hour or so. It retained just enough tannin to cope well with protein and was smooth with plenty of black fruit, but no more. It was a bit non-descript to be honest.

The Chateau Pitray was slightly better and certainly quite drinkable, but there was just no excitement to it unfortunately.


Glad you enjoyed the Riesling. Hope to see more Mochel wines in the future.


Not stock at the moment as I’ve just looked , great wines :ok_hand::+1:.

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I bought half a case of these a long time ago and never thought much of them, being 2005 and Clos de Chenes they ought to be good but I have always found them a bit dumb and awkward.

This certainly should be mature enough but it doesn’t feel over the hill, I might almost suggest a few more years (and a lot of other 2005s). A solid colour in the centre fading, but not browning at the rim. A sniff of undergrowth on the nose but it isn’t giving much away. Nice and soft on the palate with a bite of acidity to pick it up. Still some fruit. Still that suggestion of awkwardness. I shall give it some more air and food…


Crab linguini for dinner this evening, and I opened this 2019 Langhe Arneis to accompany it:

I credit Ascheri’s Arneis with being the wine that got me into the grape. Way back when (OK, maybe 4+ years ago), M&S used to sell it, and I bought it on a whim only to discover a fabulous varietal/wine which I then bought several times subsequently. Shame they stopped stocking it!

Straw-like hue in the glass, the nose has notes of Golden Delicious apples, white peach, white blossom, chamomile and marzipan. On the palate there is a perfect balance between ripeness and freshness with just a dash of leesy breadiness. There’s pear, but more prominent are the citrus notes - lemon, mandarin, maybe orange zest - and then a just-ripe apricot (one of my favourite fruits - miss eating it fresh from the tree!).

The mouthfeel is rather waxy and even a touch viscous, but the acidity keeps things in check. It’s rather perfumed as it goes down, and the nicest bit is the bitter nuttiness on the finish (almond, walnuts…? who knows). Harmonious and delicious wine - can’t wait to have it with the food.

Happy Sunday, all! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: :clinking_glasses:


A long run of satisfying and interesting wines continues here today with this…

…an Oak Valley ‘Groenlandberg’ Pinot Noir 2018 from Elgin, S.A. From relatively young vines planted in 2001 and 2008 on a clay and shale soil. Enjoyed with a sockeye salmon fillet and Puy lentils. Having thoroughly enjoyed a couple of Catherine Marshall pinots from the same region I was interested to see if there were any similarities.

For starters, the pale translucent colour was a box ticker. As was the compellingly savoury and mossy, sweetly spicy, red fruited nose. Light to medium in body, softly ripe and savoury, macerated strawberry fruit with plenty of leafy sous bois complexity on tasting. Fresh acidity provides lift and balance and discreetly ripe tannins structure. Impressive stuff and right up my street :yum:

Hmm I might just have to try and find an excuse to try their chardonnay sometime midweek now !

All the best for the coming week everyone.


A mature claret over the past 2 days. Tasting notes are pretty well documented in this board

Medium bodied. Blackcurrent and cassis with nice savoury notes and cedar. Medium finish with some liquorice and a faint mocha. Very well made and I thought good value.


Adding to @Tannatastic excellent list of low alc beers: You have to admire him taking one (several) for the cause.

4 out of 5 = Brewdog nanny state, so far the pick of the litter. Dark amber and a good balance of malt & hops, surprisingly little head although I must have had the bottle knocking around for a couple of years. Could be bottle conditioned - don’t know how they managed that.

3 / 5 = Sams brown ale. I wasn’t so keen on the sweetish notes, but I guess it is a brown ale.

2.5 / 5 = Galactic milk stout. Again, rather sweet without enough bitterness to balance.

5 / 5 - Osu cider vinegar + blueberry & pomegranate (Waitrose). Surprisingly very good, and once diluted right down didnt even taste of vinegar. £7 a bottle but a little go’s a long way and I can see this turning up in summer salads or de-glazing a steak pan.

Conclusion… as @Tannatastic says, low / zero alc beers have come a long way but remain a far cry from the real thing. To my palate, fruit vinegars are pretty good and I am trying my hand at home-made.

As a final note… Friends came round for supper last night so I dropped off the wagon for the evening with a bottle of the snappily titled “Massif d’Uchaux Côtes du Rhône Villages Vieilles Vignes, Château Saint Estève 2015” 50/50 Syrah Grenache, very well balanced blueberry yoghurt notes & a pleasing slightly bitter (morello cherry) finish. Not easy to pigeonhole because the Syrah shifts it away from Cote-du-Rhone whilst not arriving in St Joseph territory. Very drinkable right now, yet I think it will become more interesting if allowed a few more years bottle age.


Completely agree with you on the madiran; I posted in a similar vein a couple of weeks ago…

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Grown up wine, nothing like the usual party Prosecco. At first it was underwhelming but then I tried at different temperatures and it showed really well as @Inbar has previously posted notes. Went very well with lunch.


Mrs JamesB is a kindred spirit with those of you going for dry January this year. I am not and am trying instead to cut down on sugar. I figure that overall (1) - though there may be a bit of justifying this to myself because I will find it slightly easier - it should bring me more health benefits and (2) I do not want to bite off more than I can chew in terms of multiple deprivations.

It does mean I need to drink more if I am going to get through as many interesting wines. I will struggle through…

I’ve had this for the last couple of days. I am getting spoilt with my new-found enthusiasm for white burgundy but this does a decent job, a bit more oak but still in balance. As per Toby’s advice, it it much more appealing when a bit warmer and having been open for a couple of hours,

Happy Sunday all.


You need a SPONG. Around a tenner on e-bay etc - they are almost indestructible. Perfect for doing small quantities of meat mincing.


Big night last night. Its taken some time to come around today.

Friends over for dinner. Champagne featured. Lots.

Bollinger, Lanson 2009, TWS (Gratien).

Whites included Au Bon Climat 2019 and MINIMALIST Experimental 2020, TWS Burg

Reds included Peter Lehmann 8 Songs Shiraz 2016 and this

More than a trifle nervous after my last Beaucastel (2005) proved to be corked. Opened and decanted an hour before serving and thankfully all was well. In fact, it was excellent. A great match for the venison casserole and gone in the blink of an eye.

Recollections a little hazy after that but noted a bottle of Cotswold Distillery Whiskey in the empties this morning.

Needing something with some real zip this evening to revive my jaded palate. No brainer to reach for a bottle of Envinate. So much energy and vigour in every sip. Just the ticket.

Dry January was never on the agenda here!


I’ve still got the 2009 and 2011 Pichard Madiran’s to drink too. I’m not giving up on Tannat as a grape because I’ve loved the Pisano wine from Uruguay, but these French wines have been a little disappointing to be honest.

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Last night’s line-up for (mostly) English wine tasting.

The idea originated after some friends were gifted a box of English white wine. They all turned out to be Bacchus (at a range of prices).

We tried three of them, from which sample size I have decided I am not a fan. Clearly well-made, but I found the onslaught of lime and gooseberry a bit much.

Both sparkling wines very good. The Sugrue was exactly 2 years from its disgorgement date but can go for a good few years yet.

Both Pinots very early in their development curve (I see what you mean about the acid on the Danbury Ridge @szaki1974) but opened out nicely by the end of beef wellington. The Dornfelder, with a bit more age was ready-to-go. Not had this grape before and probably wouldn’t rush back, but didn’t have as strong reaction as to the Bacchus.

We also opened a Bellavoine Bourgogne rouge (2019) to compare with the English pinots. Agree with Toby’s comments earthier today on its restraint, compared with the richness you got from the 2018.

The Demi sec Vouvray accompanied cheese. I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t remember too much about that.