An evening with Jacob’s Creek Winemaker Rebekah Richardson

jacobs creek logoWhat better way to spend a cold January evening than having dinner at the Happenstance restaurant London with Jacob’s Creek, hosted by their amiable winemaker Rebekah Richardson, courtesy of the Tesco Wine Community.

We Arrived a little early around 7.05pm (dinner for 7.30pm) after a stroll past St Paul’s Cathedral, the restaurant was very busy a lively and loud but fortunately we were shown to an impressive private function room downstairs where we were met by the guys from Jacob’s Creek.

Jacobs creek 13
Quick Photocall with Rebekah and a glass of Jacobs Creek Sparkling Shiraz

Jacobs creek 1My wife and I were one of the first to arrive and we were introduced to Rebekah over a glass of Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot noir. After a few minutes the other guests from the Tesco Wine Community started to arrive and after more introductions we eventually proceeded to sit at the table.

Before starting the food Rebekah introduced herself and gave us a quick explanation of the wines we were going to taste alongside the food. The Menu was three courses starting with Chicken Satay in which Rebekah chose two wines to pair with, the first was their Fiano 2013 and the other was Twin Pickings Sauvignon Blanc/Moscato 2013. I must admit out of the two I preferred the Fiano especially as the Chicken was a little on the fiery side and the crisp tangy freshness as well as the stony fruit of the Fiano quenched the spices.

 

 

 

 

Twin Pickings SauvignonBlanc/Moscato which was low in alcohol (8.5%) was a little on the sweet side for me but saying that it was the majority favourite around the table.

After a few refills of each of our favourite whites the main course of Steak & chips arrived along with fresh glasses filled with the next wine duel, which was Sangiovese 2013 v’s Reserve Shiraz 2012. For me this was harder to decide as I liked them both with a slight preference for the Shiraz. The Sangiovese was full of aromas of fresh sour red berries and raspberries, taste wise red berries again with a slightly herbally dry finish, very drinkable. The Shiraz had a bit more depth with a hit of vanillary oak and spices along with dark plums and dark Chocolate, this time the majority favourite around the table was the Shiraz.Jacobs creek 10 Both paired beautifully with the steak.

Jacobs creek 12Finishing off with chocolate brownie, Ice cream and raspberries Rebekah gave us a glass of Sparkling Shiraz to accompany, this was something different and most people seem to enjoy, not sure it was quite what the dessert needed but as I said it was different, pleasant enough and well worth trying.

Jacobs creek 4
Chicken Satay Starter
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Steak & Chips Main Course

Jacobs creek 8The evening was (as usual for these Tesco Community events) superb, big thanks to Jacob’s Creek and to Rebekah for being a fantastic and knowledgeable host.  Great meeting some of the new members of the community, my only regret was that we had to leave early to get the train back home at a reasonable time as we both had work the next day.

Jacobs creek 7

Happenstance logo

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Godello – The great white Spanish hope

Godelia 2012(450 x 600)I first discovered Godello when travelling in northern Spain a few years ago when we stopped at a bar in a sleepy town in the Bierzo region.

Sitting outside eating Octopus (Pulpo) with a plate of grilled peppers, olives and freshly baked bread. I asked what wines they recommend I was told to try a local white wine called Godello, having never heard of it I decided to take a chance and thank goodness I did as it is now probably my favourite wine white. The food was delicious and on an extremely hot day the chilled wine was the perfect pairing.

Since then I have sought out many Godello’s and found out that they do vary in style, the one I had at that bar was very Chardonnay like, intense , fleshy with peaches, pears and quiet oaky but I have had bottles that are non oaked, fresh, crisp, acidic, showing apples and slightly salty.

GodelloGrape
Godello Grape

The grapes shown here were apparantly nearly extinct back in the 70’s but they were brought back to life and rescued and now stand up there with the other popular fine whites of Spain.

This particular bottle I bought in Murcia in a small wine shop opposite the local food market. It was an Aladdin’s cave of wine with racks upon racks of bottles some covered in dust but I was searching for Godello and eventually came across a few bottles and took a chance with this Godelia which is predominately Godello 80% with 20% of a grape called Donna Blanca (used in making white Port).

Right what was this 2012 Godelia bottle like, well, this was very much like a Chardonnnay in style with a Pale golden colour with tropical aromas including ripe peaches and with  litttle flowery, perfumy notes.

The texture of this wine was rich and fleshy with a creamy like feel. very fruity with an intensness to go with it. Peaches were there but also crisp apples and pears in the background but what really comes through is a flowery taste making this an unusual but extremely enjoyable glass of wine.

As I said earlier Godello varies in style but if you haven’t tasted it or even heard of it, seek it out, whether it’s the Chardonnay almost Burgundian style or the non oaked fresher crispier style,  hopefully you won’t be dissapointed I know I’ve not been, not yet anyway.

8.5corks

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Bought in Spain, around £8 but there are lots of Godellos over here now

Primitivo Di Manduria – Paololeo 2012

PrimitivoWaitroseItaly 14.5%

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced Primitivo (Aka Zinfandel) and you enjoy the big hitting Zins from California look no further than this beauty from the very heel of boot in South east Italy’s Puglia region.

When I picked this up I was amazed at how heavy this bottle was and it just said quality to me and as you will read I wasn’t wrong. An impressive inky purple colour in the glass, with pronounced aromas of blackcurrants, ripe plums, sweet fruitcake, raisins and earthy spices.

After the first mouthful you begin to realise how impressive this wine is, sweet dark fruits, blackcurrants again this time with cherries. There was an earthiness about it and a fairly big hit of oak (6 months in French oak barriques), liquorice is also noticeable along with sweet candied fruit and a shot of expresso coffee.

For the price this is a fabulous Italian Stallion of a wine and although there was lots going on it still tasted smooth and easy to drink despite its hefty 14.5% which I didn’t really notice. I got this on offer for around £7.99 (great value) but I would be quite happy to pay the full price of £10.99

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Waitrose £10.99

Morrisons Riesling Auslese Mosel 2012

Morrisons riesling 2012Germany 8%

I’ll keep this review short, my son picked this up for me while shopping in Morrisons, not really knowing what he was buying only that he knows I like Riesling and more importantly it was on special offer. The bottle itself is fairly non-descript and the wine although fairly one dimensional and simple it was surprisingly enjoyable.

This was supposed to be semi sweet and it was, you really needed to drink this well chilled as it started to get a little sickly and cloying as it got warmer. Looked nice enough in the glass fairly bright straw like colour with a nose of honey and lemons but in the background if you took a big enough sniff there was a hint of puncture repair kit.

When really cold, first sip was very pleasant, a mouthful of sherbet lemons hits you first along with apricots and maybe some peach. It was fairly sweet but it didn’t feel to sickly especially really cold and it was nice and light on alcohol coming in at 8%.

Overall, nice enough, easy to drink, nothing complex, nothing to really dislike about it unless you don’t like wines on the sweet side. I don’t know how much my son paid for it but knowing him and the bargain hunter he is it must have been fairly cheap but it was an nice gesture and it was an ok simple wine.

6corksMy Rating 6/10 Corks

Legaris Roble Ribera Del Duero 2012

legaris2Spain 13.5%

Again, back to my beloved Spain for the next wine, this time it’s the Legaris Roble 2012 from the Ribera Del Duero region, home to the iconic Vega Sicilia. Doesn’t actually say on the bottle but I assume it’s made from 100% Tinto Fino otherwise known as Tempranillo.

This is a traditional old world style wine, pretty dark coloured with deep purple and violet tones. Strong aromas of dark ripe redcurrants, a little strawberry, hint of smokey Vanilla and what smelt like church incense and candle wax.

Opened this for a couple of hours before serving but took a sneaky sip straight after opening as you do and it would have been fine to drink straight away. Initially you get a big mouthful of dark red fruits along with a touch of spice, a little vanillary oak from the 3 months spent in American barrels but subtle and not overpowering. Toasty with noticeable tannins, rich, brooding, quite dry and very Spanish in flavour.

I enjoyed this (as did all the family) with a brilliant roasted leg of lamb lunch but I would quite happily drink this on its own and allow myself to be transported to a sleepy Spanish bar, church bells ringing with faint echoes of Flamenco music in the air.

Lovely stuff !

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Wine Rack £9.99

Pizarras de Otero Bierzo 2011

Bierzo Otero2011(450 x 600)Spain 14%

First discovered the Bierzo region of North West Spain a few years back when on holiday touring the north following the Camino route to Santiago de Compostela although I must stress this was done on a coach staying in government backed Parador hotels not on foot or bike travelling hundreds of miles.

This is where I discovered the Mencia grape and my favourite Spanish white Godello.

So finding a reasonably priced Bierzo wine here is a real treat and this particular bottle brought back memories of sitting in a sleepy Spanish town bar eating wonderful Tapas and drinking cheap but great tasting wine.

This 2011 Pizarras de Otero is one of the new wave of brilliant Spanish wines that are now widely available. Dark, brooding, aromatic and 14% alcohol this wine is not for the faint hearted. After an initial taste I decided to leave this to the air for a couple of hours before drinking and it seemed to soften slightly.

Looking at the wine in the glass it has a deep purple colour but it’s when you stick your nose in the glass this is where it comes alive, powerful aromas of dark ripe cherries, blackberries and a big hit of meaty savouriness with smells of bacon fat and liver all in a good way.

Taste wise, again Rich cherries, dark chocolate, liquorice and spices. A little on the tannic side and some spices in the background. This tastes like a big wine and the 14% is noticeable.

Although this wine is rich, it does taste remarkably fresh, and mouth wateringly juicy and I really liked it, made by the excellent Bodegas Martin Codax.

If you haven’t tried the Mencia grape treat yourself to this, hopefully you won’t be disappointed.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Majestic £9.99 (offer £7.49)

Sangiovese Vino Lascito 2013

Sangiovese tesco(450 x 600)Italy 12%

I was recently sent another bottle to review by Tesco as part of a Tesco taste panel, this is a 10 man/woman panel who are selected to review the same wine and leave comments on their wine by the case website.

The wine in question is a Sangiovese Vino Lascito 2013.

Firstly I must say that whenever I open a bottle of Italian wine I can’t help imagining a table full of wise guys sitting in a restaurant, spaghetti stained napkins tucked into their shirt collars eating pasta made with mama’s special sauce.

Back to the wine, the bottle shape was a bit strange and I’m not a big fan of it, being a bit short and stumpy it just looks a little awkward and doesn’t fit it the wine rack very well, actually reminded me of a bottle of port.

When poured although dark purple-ish in colour it still was a little translucent, with aromas of sour cherries, plums, raspberries and a slight whiff of herbs.
First sip prior to food, a little on the thin side, the tartness, slightly bitter taste (although I expected some ) was a little too noticeable, although it did lead to a mouth watering explosion of sour cherries, raspberries and a spicy finish. Tannins were soft though and the fruit did stand out but where this wine sort of impressed was after a mouthful of food (Spaghetti Bolognese in this case), with the tartness less intrusive and the spice and herbs making a subtle entrance.

I must admit I liked this wine much better with food as most Italian wines it just seems to complement food brilliantly, easy drinking , nothing complicated, a pleasant enough drink especially with a plate of pasta but nothing to get me too excited.

My fellow taste panelists seem to disagree with me looking at their reviews but hey ho everyone to their own it’s just wasn’t for me.

6corksMy Rating 6/10 Corks

Tesco £7.99