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Weekend drinking thread [8th- 10th November 2019]

That’s a high end start to your encounters with the grape! Love the Boeckel GC Zotzenberg Sylvaner, and 2015 is a great, open year. The Dirler-Cadé Vielles Vignes in the Alsace offer is also really good.


Which of these two do you like best? Thought of reacquainting myself with Sylvaner, and in so doing buying my very first French wine of 2019!


Both those are in the line up at the Alsace walk around tasting next week :blush:

Travelled up from Queenstown to Havelock North vía Wellington today. Now in deepest Hawkes Bay country at the excellent Mangapapa Hotel. Wife feeling a little unwell (Chicken and Mushroom pie at lunchtime!) and so dining alone. Started with the house Chardonnay (from Squawking Magpie) with a lovely piece of pork belly

and then had an excellent half bottle of the Te Mata Awatea Cabernets/Merlot 2011 with an excellent steak.

My notes were:

Mangapapa Chardonnay 2016. Produced for the hotel by a local vineyard in Hawkes Bay called Squawking Magpie. Clear and bright. Light straw with hints of gold/green. Clean nose. Medium, full intensity. Rich, buttery, vanilla. Pineapple. Citrus. Clean palate. Dry. Medium acidity. Light. Pleasant ripe fruit but lacking the promise of the nose. Medium, short finish. Had with some pork belly - matched well.

Te Mata Awatea Cabernets//Merlot 2011 half bottle. Hawkes Bay. Clear and bright. Medium red centre, red rim but with signs of ageing. Clean nose. Mature. Black fruit, pencil shavings. Clean palate. Lovely mature claret like wine. Dry. Good acidity. Balanced. Intense black fruit flavours. Mature tannins. Pencil shavings. Hints of plum cooked in wine. Long finish. Delicious wine in a great setting.


Last night we had a half of this, with pasta and pesto, always a great drop:

Followed by a half of Lidl’s entry level Sauternes, not bad considering its £7.50.

Tonight we are having a southern Indian curry with this:

I see others are also fans of the Sylvanner from the same Grand Cru, if this is as good I’d be very happy.


This is a lovely Gewurtz, on the subtle side as you’d expect from a Bas-Rhin example. Just as good as the excellent Sylvaner, looking forward to more 2017 Alsace wines!


After a cold, wet week something special was in order last night.

The bouquet literally burst out of the bottle as soon as the cork was pulled. Incredible fragrance of red and black fruits plus spices.

After two hours in decanter it was silky smooth with perfect balance of fruit and tannin. So many flavours it was almost a meal in itself.

I don’t believe TWS have offered this wine EP since 2012 - I hope that changes in the 2018 offer.


(Hurriedly heads back to notebooks)

It’s hard to say which I prefer - they are just different wines, though both excellent expressions of the grape. The Dirler-Cadé is actually from grapes in the GC Kessler. My notes would suggest that the Boeckel is the lighter and more floral of the two, while the Dirler-Cadé is rather rounder. That’s the 2014 Boeckel. (Mrs Robertd said that she could have told me that without looking at the notes :wink: ) That’s now a massive hostage to fortune for those going to the growers’ tasting, who’ll get to try them side-by-side! Feel free to tell me how wrong I was.

To be honest, I think you’d be happy with either. We bought 6 of the 2017s at Dirler-Cadé in April, which shows our vote of confidence.


Many thanks, Robert!

Haven’t had an Alsace sylvaner for years, though I have had a couple from the Alto Adige/Sudtirol, which tends to be more my thing generally for the typical Alsace varieties (basically less of everything - I can even drink the gewurz!). I do remember really enjoying the Weinbach Clos des Capucins some years ago, though.

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Weekend away with friends.

No desire to spend hours in the kitchen so drank this alongside a shop bought beef bourguignon.

Great drop of claret drinking well. Good price for a relatively mature bottle. I think there is a separate thread for this somewhere but would add my recommendation, for what its worth!


Hard not to enjoy their wines :wink:

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A friend came over for dinner yesterday and we polished off these. In our defence, the two bottles from Alsace were already open from midweek…

…the 2017 Pinot from Ginglinger, one of the wines from Thursday’s on-line tasting, was every bit as good on day two. Succulent red fruits, silky texture, food friendly. It worked well slightly chilled. It had more substance that most Alsace PN I’ve tried previously too.

The 2014 Cairanne from Clos Romane, bought earlier this year, was a bargain at £11.25. Complex, fresh and deeply flavoured. Nothing remotely bretty. A very nice pairing with a cottage pie too, albeit one made with small cubes of veal. Provided prices remain so reasonable I would buy this and their CdR on sight.

The Riesling ‘Midelberg’ from Boeckel offered a lot flavour and typicity for an £11.50 wine. Orchard fruits, lemon citrus and minerals all encountered. A lovely young Riesling with more to give. Very good value too.

As for the Sylvaner’s mentioned, FWIW, I’ve only tried each once ( 2015 vintage ). I liked both sufficiently to buy again in 2017. The Dirler-Cade was excellent VFM.

Time now to burn off some calories. Looking forward to reading more later.


Opened the first of the Haisma 2017 bourgognes earlier in the week. Too soon - tannins too dominant yet but very pure cherry fruit flavours and archetypally Burgundian savoury notes in support. Long too but didn’t fare well in the eto beyond the first 24 hours. I reckon best 2021 - 23 but more established Haisma fans may be better informed. Definitely the most serious red burg I have drunk for under £25 on the table and better than a lot of village level wines I’ve had.


Weekend away in Exmouth at my brother’s flat. Last night we had a first - a sparkling Grillo from Trentino. A pleasant sparkler though nothing super special. We all agreed a good Friday wine. Then a Scilian negro d’avola - very nice with spaghetti and butternut squash sauce. No idea what this evening brings yet!


I’ll keep my bottles out of sight then for a few years.

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All this talk of Sylvaner prompted me to open the Dirler-Cade Vieilles Vignes 2017. Glorious, effortlessly delicious, rounder and mellower than the Wirsching wine I drank recently. Quick check shows TWS still has 270 bottles, would be tempted, but, alas, 12 bottle cases… (it does have a long drinking window…)


Kedgeree with 2008 Tattinger.
Wine in mid-maturity. Persistent bubbles, lemon to the fore, lightweight and delicate.


Are you going to try pouring the Scotch on your daughter’s head?


Last night, the Southwest Hampshire Wine and Food Appreciation Group had another event. I thought it was probably our best event to date, with superlative food and several interesting hits and misses in the paired wines. Tom’s @tfpywfpy menu and cooking were outstanding, showing great skill and flair, particularly in view of his preparing most of it off-site. For me, every course was memorably delicious!

As an aperitif,

was elegant and biscuity, matching many Champagne houses’ offerings and contrasting head-on with the sharper, leaner style of The Society’s Champagne. It reminded us just what good value cava is.

We had three wines with a deliciously lemony goat’s cheese, tricolour beetroot and walnut starter. Of two rosés a Mas de Cadenet Arbaude 2017, bought as part of a mixed rosé case and no longer available through TWS, was the more delicate while

had more depth and assertiveness. I thought both worked very well, in their own ways, with the combination of flavours in the starter. Most of us felt that the more acidic

matched the goat’s cheese itself best, but that it was changed in the glass most by the food flavours.

There were two utterly different wines to accompany the main of fabulous slow-roasted lamb, with haricot beans and grilled broccoli. The 2016 vintage of

was an excellent, if predictable match, while

showed how a high-quality Champagne-style sparkling wine can successfully match a wide range of foods. In this case, it had a pleasant palate-cleansing effect to offset the earthiness of the beans.

I hadn’t previously had Vacherin cheese, which was a late substitution. The ripe mushroomy cheese was unforgettably gorgeous but both of the offered wines missed the mark rather emphatically.

though a delicious wine in itself, was too sweet and floral for the cheese. Conversely, the strong citrus acidity of a Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2013 (no longer available through TWS), which had been very successful with different food at a previous Group event, was over-emphasised by the cheese. I would hazard a guess that a lightly-oaked Cote d’Or or New World chardonnay, or a rich but dry fortified wine, would be a better match.

A dessert of vanilla-roasted pineapple with whipped coconut cream was sublime and a
delicious Carême 1990 Vouvray moelleux “Les Sablons” (no longer offered by TWS) was the better of the two accompanying wines offered, with its typical balance of acidity and luscious sweetness. The 2014 Grand Tokaj Zrt. Tokaji, which I bought in Lidl about a year ago at a price which I can’t remember, was less well-balanced with insufficient acidity to match the strong apricot flavour. Nevertheless, it was a lovely sweet wine in its own right, and probably good value compared with the Royal Tokaji, offered by The Wine Society at £27.

Another very successful event! Thanks to all.


Not a good start with an oxidised 2015 dog point Chardonnay. So glad the 2016s are under screw cap. The evening was saved by an excellent white blend from BLANKbottle.

Will definitely be purchasing more from this producer


First bottle from a delivery of six different wines from my reserves which arrived yesterday. This is a nice light style it northern Rhône Syrah with spice and dark fruit notes and just a hint of the blood/iron thing. It’s no Cote Rotie but none the worse for that. Lots of other pleasures to come from the delivery including Clos de Papes and Vieux Telegraphe and Fourrier…