Posts Tagged ‘Rich’

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.

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.

American Beers: Beyond Budweiser

March 28, 2010

Well before this weekend I had never tried “proper” American

Brooklyn Lager (New York)

Brooklyn Lager (New York)

beer, other than the likes of Bud and Coors. Not that I dislike these lagers as such, but they lack any of the interesting flavours of an ale for example. When I was picking my drinks out on Friday evening before leaving the shop, purely by coincidence I went “All-American” and picked a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (which was fruity and delicious!), and a couple of interesting looking beers, one from San Francisco, and the other from Brooklyn.

Anchor Steam Beer (San Francisco)

Anchor Steam Beer (S.F.)

Both beers genuinely surprised me with how complex and rich they were with the flavours and structure. Similar in colour, a lovely golden orange, these were deep and delicious. The Anchor Steam was more honeyed and fragrant, whilst the Brooklyn Lager was malty, hoppy, and slightly lighter. All in all, a very enjoyable weekend’s drinking thanks to the Yanks across the pond. Cheers!

Cave de Turckheim Pinot Gris 2007

December 30, 2009



Cave de Turckheim Pinot Gris

Originally uploaded by The Wineyard

Alsace, France: One of my favourite white wine regions in the world. This Pinot Gris from the Cave de Turckheim co-operative is their entry level wine for this varietal. Pinot Gris is actually the same grape as Pinot Grigio (particularly popular from Italy at the moment), but is made in a richer and more interesting style. The flavours are still fairly subtle, but have more honeyed tropical notes as opposed to the crisper refreshing whites the Italians tend to produce.

This Pinot Gris is a lovely aromatic dry white, which pairs beautifully well with spicier foods such as Thai Green Curry (what I tried it with), and also white meats like chicken, turkey, and pork. If you enjoy this wine, we’ve also got some wonderful New World examples of Pinot Grigio made in the Alsace style.

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.