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Category Archives: Earth shattering wine

Wine that I will almost certainly not experience in KL unless I take out a loan

Les Arcs and back

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Just back over Easter in the Alps after a first-ever drive down to going skiing. It was torturous before even setting off on account of my knuckle-headedness in not getting my passport back from an embassy in time. We missed half the holiday because of my stupidity. Dad of the Year? I think not.

So, unhappy wife. Half as much skiing. Half as much wine drinking. Half as much saussison and beaufort eating. Do I not like that.

Thankfully, we were rewarded with lots of snow, some sun and I was lucky enough to enjoy my other great passion – skiing.

We took with us a bottle from my Wine Society stash; you never can trust a ski resort supermarche. It was Allegrini’s La Grola 2010 from Veronese which is 80% Corvina Veronese, 10% Oseleta and 10% Syrah and aged in neutral oak for 16 months.

My notes say:

Burnt rubber nose? Plums & sour cherry, figs. Country herbs and pepper, and something a bit smokey. Firm and grippy with nice mouth-drying tannin. Quite long

I must say, at 1800m and feeling the heady effects of altitude, this definitely tasted pretty sublime and it went perfectly with a spicy pasta dish my wife made. Suffice to say I’m not sure it’s a stonking wine, but good enough.


Overall remarks:Get to the chopper!‘ = Good = 3

Packaging: Classy but a little uninspiring

Eco-credentials: None

Price: actually can’t find a price because this was from the Wine Society bought in 2010.

When we got back I cracked open another Wine Society bottle, something I bought ages ago. Domaine Saint Prefert is a Chateauneuf du Pape producer of very good red and white. This was a 2010 white – actually my first CDP white and is a blend of 80% Clairette and 20% Rousanne. Holy-moly this was f*cking tasty. Robert Parker gave this 90 points in the year of the vintage, so high praise. Put it this way, the 2010 red version goes for about £160. The white’s not as much but still punchy for a Tuesday school night…

What is it? Baked apple, hint of vanilla, some stone fruit and honey and long long long. It’s so unctuous you just want to keep drinking and drinking and, oops, so we did…

Overall remarks:Do it. Come on. Do it now!‘ = Very good = 4

Packaging: Simple, classy and love the embossed bottle. Winner!

Eco-credentials: None

Price:  Very little on the tinterweb about the 2010 vintage, but I think this is somewhere around the £30 mark



Waa waa whine whine wine

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Hola. I’m looking forward to writing again about wine , but also London/Dad observations (now with two kids, one a bit of a whiner) as and when they come to me.

Over the last year wine has basically just been another thing on the shopping list, not really something to savour – especially with belt-tightening as life in London with kids takes its toll on the finances. I mindlessly add bottles to the Ocado shop, or grab and go – a depressingly sad state of affairs.

Wine has become a necessary staple since baby #2 came a long (*am I one of those middle class alchies?).  If any of you are familiar with Hurrah for Gin‘s hilarious take on parenting and the need for a drop of alcohol to stay sane, you’ll know what I mean. We probably get through half a bottle between us per night; the fuzz of wine before the dream-feed/night-feed stretch and my crunchingly painful 6.15am wake up call (not complete till Ashley is heard shouting ‘Daddy get out of bed and play with me‘) is welcomed after a day at the office….

Well fuck that. I love wine too much to let a WSET Advanced qualification go down the pisser just because I’m lazy and buy crap for a tenner from my local mini-market (which, to give it it’s dues now does a hipsterishly-good selection of London-brewed beers).

Primarily I’ll be reviewing wines from the following sources;

  • my own stash of laid down wines at Fine & Rare and The Wine Society
  • the monthly wine club box put together by the wonderful team at Highbury Vintners
  • the occasional supermarket stop off when I’m being lazy and/or if my Mother in Law comes round with tropical-fruit-mouth-bomb NZ sauvignon…

I’ll probably do a rating based on WSET’s systematic system, overall remarks will be Arnold Schwarzenegger-based, along the lines of:

Packaging; labels are art nowadays and since packaging has become an integral part of the experience, I’ll provide some commentary on label and story-telling.

Eco-credentials bonus; if there is any indication about eco-production method, sustainability/biodiversity credentials disclosed there will be a bonus point.

Retail price (if possible I’ll state the en-primeur price if relevant)- note that I pay 10% less with my vintner because they kindly knock that off for the monthly subs.







The Pope is still Catholic

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Really crap wine alert!!

With my parents visiting for a few days before they embarked on a 3-week trip to Cambodia and Laos we found our weekend plans scuppered somewhat by the Chinese New Year holidays.

Going about one’s business in KL when the roads are so empty is a joy but if you want to get a bite to eat out you need to think carefully as most places are shut. So it was that we acted on my mum’s suggestion to buy a cheap BBQ to put on the balcony, get some nice meats and have a pleasant meal at home.  Our original intention was to go to Skybar or Luna Bar, enjoy the night-time cityscape and then eat at Acme Bar & Coffee. As far as a DIY alternative, then, my mum’s idea was a pretty decent one – after all, the sky-line view from our balcony is better than anything you can get downtown.

Having picked up some mean-looking striploins and merguez sausages I was a little nervous about the integrity of the BBQ owing to the cheap metal. But it managed to stay alive and not melt everywhere, which was a victory of sorts.  My paranoia about smoke and neighbourliness led me to read all the condo’s rules & regulations about a gazillion times, but no-one complained and no jobsworth guards came up, so I assumed we were not contravening regulation 4.5 b) sub-section iii).

The wine we had available for everyday drinking was this pitiful Wolf Blass Eagle Hawk Merlot 2011 – a party donation. I have a certain fondness for Wolf Blass. A bit like my student fondness for Banrock Station Shiraz. Wolf Blass was a brand that my wife and I used to drink a lot of, way back in the day, before we could afford to be pickier. With my mother-in-law being a Waitrose wine-deal fiend and friends bringing it round for dinners, we’d sink gallons of  the Yellow Label cabernet-sauvignon, getting riotously drunk whilst playing board games.

So, Wolf Blass was the cause of many hangovers and plenty of happy memories (though I hated the American-oak vanilla explosion). But times change and palates get choosier, and what served a purpose then certainly does not now.

I was pleased with the steaks and our BBQ meal but the wine was a f*cking abomination – from its pallid, pathetic hue to the almost indistinguishable, limp flavours, it was like drinking a slightly fermented ribena with all the fun taken out. I know that Merlot is soft, fruity, jammy and used most often in Bordeaux blends to soften harsher more tannic grapes, but I would hesitate to even call this wine. I suppose I must remember that you are limited to what you can do with rubbish like this; chuck it in a stew (which brings up the stew/wine conundrum, see previous post) or decant it down the plug-hole.

Drinking it is not a good idea.


Just like the Pope’s being Catholic, this ‘everyday drinking’ wine was designed to be crap.

Having been pleasantly surprised by better-than-expected wines in the past, I should’ve trusted my gut instinct and prior knowledge of the producer to know this would be an as-bad-as-expected experience.

More fool me.

Selamat malam


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