Weekend Drinking Thread (24 to 26th February 2023)

@wine.arbitrageur and @RogerS - thank you for your nice comments. Don’t worry - they do grow up eventually!

It was back to creative cooking for me this evening, as I cooked lamb rumps, with roasted pumpkin and a spiced pumpkin seed and pistachio topping, smoky aubergine and tahini purée, and a tzatzki sauce.

I thought long and hard about the wine. I considered @peterm’s legal warnings about what’s acceptable with lamb. I considered that I had made Bordelais snacks this afternoon. But in the end the Greek vibe of the food won out, and I found the call of Thymiopoulos Rapsani Terra Petra 2018 impossible to resist.

Rapsani Terra Petra, Thymiopoulos 2019 (link to 2019, we drank 2018)

Claret might have been good - this certainly was, and needs no introduction. There seems to be a slight CO2 liveliness to it, which I’ve noticed in other bottles of the vintage, but I don’t think it’s faulty - it just needs a bit of swirling and shaking the bottle. That liveliness actually adds to its food-friendliness - the same bright redcurrant and red cherry fruit allied with thyme herbiness that I expect, but a bit of something extra to balance out the fat in the lamb.

Hope everyone has a good week.


My son bought me some cans of wine. I am now enjoying them. Roumier and Barthod take a back seat.



Tonight with a venison stew. It’s really lovely.


My most recent residency in the UK comes to a close this weekend and today I’m off south to the Pyrenees for a while. Snow looks good for some more skiing.

So :- re-thawed left-over game stew with garden root veg (no turnips alas) went well with this '08 De Fieuzal.

I’m starting to break into my 08’s now as I think they’re ready and still fruity enough for my tastes. Needless to say this was crackin’ - the tannins have mellowed beautifully and now take a background supporting role.


Interesting. Still unopened but was thinking of starting next year but might hold off another year or so longer.


Wines of the weekend……after Saturdays rugby our last one if these, from 2017.

Delicious, rich and longish finish, a rewarding mouthful.
Fireside reds, Sunday lunch and more Rugby with delicious Herdwick Mutton , these…

The RDD was a 2017 Crianza , delicious rich fruit excellent with Sunday lunch, the Chianti added a hint of spice with leftovers fireside. The Volpaia probably had the edge on wine of the day.


Don’t get me wrong, it gave a lot of pleasure while it lasted (not very long, but slightly longer than the T-bone). However, this was after 4 hours in a decanter and then drunk the following day.

A large glass got sent up the road in the mystery wine bottle. Immediately identified as Syrah, but originating from South Africa rather than the Rhone. Comments of “a juicy little number, I like it” sum it up rather well.


I have a soft spot for this wine too!


There has been a sporadic one or two listed from time to time, tend not to last long. I bought a case or two direct from them a year or two ago, but I think sadly that they no longer deal direct with private customers in the UK - another Brexit ‘benefit’. @robertd may be able to confirm if that’s the case.

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Friday night was oven baked whole brill with herb and lemon butter. We finished a bottle of Lidl Gruner Veltliner started midweek.

It was perfectly decent, but not as good as either TWS own one or the Mantler one. However at about £6 a bottle it’s decent value. We also started another bottle of this (2021),

which was enjoyable as ever, tartish apple and pear to start, quite full bodied and then a lovely drying finish.

Sat night was more of it with smoked haddock and sweet potato gratin.

Opened and decanted my last bottle of this with roast lamb last night.

Vibrant rich crimson red, when decanted with no sign of browning. Lovely nose of blackcurrants and cedar. Balanced on the palate; sweet fruit, but not overdone, with good backbone to it, and tannins complementing but not dominating. Great with food but nice to sip too. Didn’t seem like 14%. It’s in a good spot, but I think it will keep going for a bit yet. Still available on the market at just under £30 I think…which for a very enjoyable maturing claret of this quality seems not bad…particularly after looking at Burgundy EP prices!


Friday usual food (plaice, new pots peas and mixed salad) but unusual (for us) wine

2021 Sokol Blosser Chardonnay Evolution ( Oregon, Willamette Valley)
They mention oak aging on the label so we feared the worse. We’d never have bought it, but Mrs M won it in the raffle at last weekend’s VWTC tasting.

But it was crisp and dry and very enjoyable, not oaky. And VWTC got it from TWS.

Saturday As we won’t be at home on Tuesday evening and our aperitif fizz lasts three days I opened the Champagne.

N.V. Domi Moreau Champagne Cuvée d’ Argent (France, Champagne)
Deep golden colour, and lots of long-lasting tiny bubbles.

I was cooking beans all day so we had chicken, new pots and spicy home-baked beans, and to drink I thought I’d give Mrs M a break from Pinotage so we had

2018 Vadio Bairrada (Portugal, Beiras, Bairrada)
Indigenous Baga variety, plenty of life ahead of it, but rewarding drinking now. Lots of body, lots of structure.

Sunday roast of course, pork this time with roast parsnip, potatoes, steamed carrots, sprouts and stuffing balls. And what to drink? How about

2018 Alchemy Carignan 100 year old vines (France, Vin de Pays d’Oc)
Old vine Carignan, yummy,

(Chardonnay and Baga from TWS, Champagne from Bordeaux and Beyond, Carignan from Hedley Wright)

Is the topping aubergine slices?

Thanks to the web one can check cellar-door prices against TWS and if they are comparable save yourself from carrying bottles home. Last time I was in the Cape TWS had Delheim Grand Reserve at the same price as the winery, so I ordered from TWS then and there, and saved my baggage space for wines I couldn’t get at home.



Toasted Poillane, icing on the cake!

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Something of a Pacific Northwest theme this past weekend, though not intentionally so.

Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Noir 2019, Willamette Valley

At an Indian restaurant with a few decent-looking wines on the list. Have had another vintage of this previously and it was good, ticking a lot of Pinot Noir boxes - red fruit, some forest floor, gentle oak influence. Some smokiness, and even some Nebbiolo-like rose notes. Complemented the food well, after a very forgettable initial glass of French Sauvignon Blanc.

Betz Family Winery Bésoleil 2013, Columbia Valley

A Rhône blend from Washington, and a very nice one too. Led by 49% Grenache, with a supporting cast of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Counoise. Very nicely balanced, obviously plenty of Grenache influence (strawberry and herbs), but the other grapes made their presence felt with some black fruit, pepper spice and even a hint of anise, and a nice acidity. Went down all too easily with a ribeye steak.


I’m a man of simple tastes: the best usually suffices



Ogier: La Rosine 2018. it’s no longer the weekend but I did open it last Friday !

(pic robbed from tinterweb)

No idea what I paid for it 'cos part of a mystery case - I guess £22 ish - I’m not convinced it would be a re-order in anyway.

Colour is inky crimson with no signs of age on the rim, sits heavy in the glass with viscous tears. Nose has real depth - some tar, garrigue, but mostly black figs and mulberry. On the palate again considerably weight - masses of sweet dark fruit - but not enough acidity to balance it out. Perhaps an over ripe vintage?


£11 at Ep …. Popular too

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Gosh - that’s not your run-of-the-mill curry house wine list. I think it should be given the honour of being named.


Perhaps would be good from a cool year ? £11++ seems far more reasonable. But that 2018 would make many Oz reds look thin & weak !

You could be right - the few '18 Rhones I’ve tried to date haven’t impressed. Fruity, unsubtle, one-dimensional.

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