Posts Tagged ‘Intense’

Chilean Desert Wines

April 26, 2010

CYT Late Harvest Sauv Blanc & Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel

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Last night I gathered a bunch of friends to try a couple of Chilean desert wines with a homemade lemon tart (recipe courtesy of @SareySue). The tart in particular generated a lot of interest on Twitter from the likes of Mel D, FoodyPhil, BlueVanMan1, Marieiram, and TEDavis, and was a great success. It was a Rick Stein recipe, and was my first bash at pastry in recent memory. The base was nice and biscuity, and the filling was soft, creamy, rich, dense, full of flavour, zesty, tart and refreshing. The combination of the sharpness of the lemon and the richness of the cream and eggs in particular made it a bit of a challenge for me to work out what to pair with it, so I decided to try a couple of different styles of wine against it, both Late Harvest sweeties from Chile.

Six of us were tasting together: Me, Rob, Sonia, Paul, Steve, and Charlotte.

First up was Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (£5.99), a tart, crisp and refreshing desert wine that was surprisingly light and sharp in style – the citrus and gooseberries you expect in Sauvignon were definitely showing through, despite the sweeter and more intense nature of the wine. It was a zippy little number with bags of citrus flavour. Paul, Steve and Rob went for this wine with the tart as their preferred pairing. Rob in particular was keen on the match, but preferred the second of our wines on its own.

The rest of us opted for the Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel 2009 (£5.59) with our lemon tart. The wine was much richer and more honeyed, with flavours of caramel and apple sauce, but nicely balanced with refreshing acidity to keep it on the right side of syrupy. The finish was decent as well, with a touch of orange peel and toffee coming through (I would have tweeted more, but we sat down to watch 28 Days Later, and the glow of a phone/laptop was a bit of a drain on the atmosphere). I found I preferred the richness and luscious texture of the Moscatel with the tart, as it worked really well with the creamy and thick lemon filling in the tart. This is probably as much down to personal taste as it is to the quality of the pairing; as a group we were evenly split on preference, with the other half liking the fact that the zingy Sauvignon Blanc style with it’s startling acidity cut through the thickness and heavyness of the tart. My love of all things rich and sweet is doubtless responsible for my own choice.

It was a fun night’s wining and dining in the end, and the movie wasn’t bad either. If you’ve not seen 28 Days Later it’s an entertaining horror flick. I usually get very easily bored by horror films but it kept me interested, despite the second half being poorer than the first. The wines were fascinating to taste, and proved two things to all of us – Desert wines don’t need to be expensive to be good (both under £6), and they aren’t all gloopy, syrupy, rich things. the crisp acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc in particular was a suprise to most of us. Although Charlotte didn’t enjoy the sharper style, the rest of us all enjoyed both wines a lot.

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Thanks again to @SareySue for the Rick Stein recipe which I shall try and blog later in the week.

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Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2007 (Australia)

April 9, 2010

If you’ve not tried Australian Shiraz, I’m surprised you’re even reading a blog about wine to be honest! Incredibly popular in the last 10-15 years, it’s undoubtedly one of the best-selling styles of wine in the UK, and for good reason. Reliably good quality, good value, and great flavours are very typical when it comes to these big reds from Down Under. Almost always spicy or peppery to some extent as a result of a good whack of oak during the aging period, they are usually full of dark fruits and vanilla too, and almost always bring super-supple, silky smooth tannins to the table, softening the edges of what can otherwise be immense and intense wines.

The likes of Hardy’s, Yellow Tail and Jacob’s Creek may dominate at the supermarket (and to be fair, offer very good value for money given the rock-bottom prices they achieve these days), but spend a couple of extra quid, and you can get some storming wines for your money. Push the boat out to £10+ and you’re onto another planet entirely, reaching up towards some of the best wines in the world at the very top, and stumbling over some absolute corkers in between.

This weekend’s bottle brings all of the classic Aussie Shiraz qualities to the fore, at a very affordable price. The colour is a lovely deep red with a vibrant purple rim, and the aromas immediately grab your nostrils and suck you in. Deep and rich scents of blackberries, plums and cedar are quickly followed up by flavours of dark cherries and juicy plums in the mouth. Intense and full-bodied, spicy and warm, smooth and supple. The finish is persistent and thoroughly enjoyable. Great value for money at £7.49.

This was another wine I tweeted about live as I tasted (See here, here, and here). If you want to know more about this wine, the technical sheet is available here. We’ve opened a bottle for you to try this weekend, and while it’s open, you get 10% off 2 or more bottles, and 15% off 6 or more.

De Bortoli VAT 1 Petite Sirah 2006 (Australia)

April 3, 2010

Petite Sirah, also known as Durif in Australia, is a little-known red grape variety that’s starting to crop up in all sorts of interesting places (Mexico for example; L.A.Cetto produces a fascinating wine that we also stock). It’s probably originally best-known as one of the grapes sometimes used in Bordeaux as part of the world-famous red blends the region produces, but has been showing it’s potential as a single varietal in other climates for a while now.

This award-winning example from De Bortoli exudes powerful, intense dark fruit flavours and aromas. In the glass it is an inky purple colour, and on the nose shows some fabulous spicy cedary chocolatey aromas. After just one whiff of this beauty, my mouth was watering and I knew I was going to love it. Absolutely gorgeous stuff! I tweeted my thoughts live as I tasted (see here) and the flavours didn’t disappoint. “Warm brambly blackberry fruits, nice lick of spice and oak giving it great depth and character.” (Quoted from this Tweet of mine)

This is a really top-drawer full-bodied red, and offers a stunning QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) with bags of flavour and complexity. A new and very firm favourite for me, that falls wonderfully into my own budget for wine at £8.99 a bottle (special offers running this weekend whilst it’s open for you to try for free: 2/4/2010 – 5/4/2010).

Come and see us at the shop if you’d like to taste this wine for yourself, and bring your wallet because you’ll want to stock up if you do. The wine suggests an aging potential of up to 5 years, but as you might have guessed, it is already drinking very well indeed.

Billi Billi Shiraz 2005

December 28, 2009



Billi Billi Shiraz

Originally uploaded by The Wineyard

Super duper, big fat silky smooth Shiraz from Australia. Plenty of kick at 14.5%, but full of delicious violet flavour, mixed with spice and plums and plenty of dark berry fruits. A real treat for £8.79.