A tale of two tastings

CV wine weekend winesportugal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last week I have been to two very different but very enjoyable wine tastings, the first was the annual ‘Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting 2016’ and the second was a ‘Cuvée Reserve Tasting Weekend’

Cuvée Reserve is an online wine forum in which I and a group ex Tesco Wine Community members got together to continue the online friendships we had built up over the 3 years or so that TWC had been running.

The ‘Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting’ was a London trade and press show in which I was kindly given an invite to. Cuvée  Reserve was a weekend away in Stratford-upon-Avon with a group of 10 friends who all share a passion for wine.

Wines of Portugal logoThe Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting

Held at the Royal Horticultural halls in London where over a hundred producers were showcasing their wines. A big thank you to Brian Elliott of MidWeek Wines for inviting me on his behalf.

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Muros de Melgaco 2014 Alvarinho

Not knowing a great deal about Portuguese wine what struck me most walking around tasting was the fabulous array of good quality affordable wines a lot of them in the sub £10 bracket.

The whites in particular impressed me especially the delightfully fresh and zingy Alvarinhos and one that stood out was the Muros de Melgaco 2014  Alvarinho from the vineyards on the south-facing hillsides of the Vinho Verde region, high in acidity and aged for 6 months in French oak. Dry, tasting fresh and very elegant, full of tropical fruits and a hint of honey and in a lovely looking bottle. This was probably one of my favourite whites of the day.

Alvarinho trio
Top to bottom – Quinta da Calcada, Covela Edicao Nacional & Vale Do Homem

Other whites that impressed were the Quinta da Calcada Branco 2014 , Covela Edicao Nacional Avesso Vinho Verde DOC 2014 and the Vale Do Homem Loureiro 2015 all very good examples of fresh and bright wines from the Vinho Verde region.

Most of the reds were powerful beasts hailing from the Douro and Dao regions, a lot of these were dark and brooding high in alcohol and utterly delicious among the highlights was the excellent Quinta do Perdigao Touriga Nacional 2009, showing dark cherries and plums on the nose. Lovely structure. Dark ripe plums to taste and bitter dark chocolate with some spice on the long finish.

Others of note were the Valmonte Reserva Touriga Nacional 2010 and the Sao Matias Reserva Tinto 2011 

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Opta Range all retailing at around £8

Amongst the best value wines under £10 was the Opta Range (all around £8) all were fresh & bright tasting, I was quite impressed with their Opta Dao Rose 2015 (not being a big fan of Rose) but this had Raspberries and strawberries  in abundance with a nice floral hit perfect for a summer picnic. I gave their Opta Dao Branco 2015 the big thumbs up as well. Most of the range was 13% alcohol.

Special mention for the Fonte do Ouro 2014  made from Encruzado & Arinto  again around £8 this a pale green colour a lovely minerality and full of apples, pears and peaches.

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Terra de Lobos all around £8

Also very good value was the Terra de Lobos range.

Terra de Lobos 2015 (white) Perfumed floral and lots of tropical fruits made from Fernao Pires and Sauvignon Blanc.

Terra de Lobos 2015 (Rose) Crisp with strawberries and a Little toastiness, balanced acidity

 Terra de Lobos 2015 (Red)  Rich tasting, spicy

Big Shout for the Falcoaria 2014 white wine, this was seriously tropical, a little toasty and extremely nice, big 5 stars from me, again around £8.

Didn’t taste a lot of fizz but I must say the Almeida Garrett VEQPRD Beira Interior Brut Natural super Reserva 2010 seriously impressed, very biscuity and toasty and lots of fizzy bubbles, not cold enough but still tasted pretty good. Apparently rated 91 Points by Jamie Goode.

Finally one last white that I found just as I was leaving was the seriously impressive GURU 2014 made10 from the Rabigato, Viosinho, Codega de Larinho grapes an explosion of orchard fruits with a hebal twist, not particularly cheap at around £15- £20 but for me worth it.

So a brilliant days tasting that left me impressed by the quality and more importantly value for money of these great Portuguese wines.

Cuvée Reserve Wine Tasting Weekend at Stratford Upon Avon

Pick a place and a time, get ten people who love wine together in one place, get them each to bring a selection of wines and some food and you have got yourself a hell of a weekend and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

We are all ex members of the Tesco Wine Community (TWC) where for three years or so we spent time online talking wine with some of us having met at various activities and events. So when Clare Hearnden who runs ‘Cuvée Reserve forum’ suggested a ‘Wine Tasting Weekend’ in Stratford -Upon-Avon the ten of us jumped at the chance. Clare found us the perfect location and perfect house, within walking distance of Stratford town centre.

Stratford bottles
Just some of the first night tasting line up, whites and fizz were in the fridge

The weekend was a real hit with everyone, very informal and friendly with some fantastic wines to drink. For the first night everyone brought along a selection of buffet food and the wines began to flow. The second night Clare kindly cooked a meal and more wine flowed.

Stratford1
Cuvée Reserve Crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all a fantastic weekend with good food, good wine and best of all good company, hopefully to be repeated again and again.

White wine

Alongside a clutch of Sparklers including Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir from Chile, Prosecco, Cava and Champagne, our white wine selection included:

  • Denis Dubourdieu 2010 Clos Floridene, Grand Vin De Graves (blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Semillon, 3% Muscadelle), France, 13%. A nice chance to try a rare white example of Graves
  • Symbiose La Grande Olivette, Cuvee Florence, Piquepoul, Sauvignon Blanc blend, Cótes de Thau 2014, France, 12%. Piquepoul is something of a recent trend in the UK, so this was an interesting one to try
  • Karl Pfaffmann 2013 Weissburgunder, Trocken, Walsheim, Pfalz, Germany, 12.5%. The first of three wines sourced exclusively from Germany and rarely seen in the U.K.
  • Karl Pfaffmann 2014 Riesling, Trocken, Walsheim, Pfalz, Germany, 12.5%
  • Randersackerer Ewig Leben 2013er, Albalonga Auslese, Franken, Germany, 11%
  • Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva 2015 Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 14%
  • Alvi’s Drift 2015 Chenin Blanc, Worcester, South Africa, 13.5%
  • Calvet Reserve 2013 Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France, 12.5%
  • The Cup and Rings 2013 Godello Sobre Lias, Monterrai, Spain, 13%
  • Ara Single Vineyard 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 12.5%

Red wine

All the wines supplied were kept undisclosed to the other attendees prior to the day, and so it is interesting to notice the heavy red bias towards Spain.  Our full selection comprised:

  • Arjona (unoaked) 2014 Rioja (100% Tempranillo), Spain, 13.5%
  • Club Des Sommeliers, Morgon (100% Gamay) 2014 Beaujolais, France, 12.5%
  • J Opi 2014 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%. This wine was decanted to bring out the rich flavour
  • Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007 (Tempranillo), Rioja, Spain, 14%
  • Cháteau Hervé Laroque 2007 (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon), Fronsac, France, 13%
  • La Cantera Reserva 2007 (Tempranillo based blend), Carinena, Spain, 13%, (from magnum)
  • Ermita de San Lorenzo 2008 Garnacha based blend, Rioja, Spain, 14%. Another one for the decanter
  • Mayu Syrah Reserva 2011, Elqui Valley, Chile, 14.5%. This wine was again decanted to allow the rich flavours to mellow
  • Piccini Memoro 2010 (Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero D’avola, Sangiovese blend), Regional blend across Tuscany, Basilicata, Veneto and Sicily, Italy, 14%. Decanted, but perhaps needed more time to open fully.
  • Cháteau Valfontaine 2012 (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) Bordeaux, France, 12%
  • Stobi 2011 Petit Verdot Barrique, Tikves, Macedonia, 14%.  A rare opportunity to try this wine.
  • Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 2007 (Tempranillo), Rioja, Spain, 13.5%
  • Les Vaucorneilles Cuvee Nathan 2005, Touraine, Loire Valley, France, 13.5% (Blend of Gamay, Cabernet and Cot)
  • Vox Populi 2012 Bobal, Utiel-Requena, Spain, 14%
  • Laurent Miquel L’Artisan 2014 (Syrah, Grenache), Faugeres, France, 13.5%
Stratford empties
Selection of bottles, all empty, from the second night

 

 

 

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

Darting Estate Dürkheimer Michelsberg Riesling 2012

darting estate(450 x 600)Germany 12.5%

I’m really becoming a big fan of German wines from especially from M&S including their fabulous Palataia Pinot Noir and now this lively, spritzy and crisp  ‘Darting Estate Dürkheimer Michelsberg Riesling’. So it’s time to slip on the Lederhosen and Alpine hat for a quick taste of Germany in the shape of this pretty decent dry white wine.

Aromatically this has a brilliant nose of peaches, honeydew melon, orange peel and pineapple but still has that oily rubbery petrol smell (which actually smells a lot better than it sounds).

First taste this was dry, crisp, tangy and had a spritzy finish almost like having a mouthful of ‘Space Dust’ which at first was a little unusual. Ripe Honeydew melon, peaches and pineapple were all there with perhaps a touch of honey. Although this was fairly dry there was a hint of sweetness on the finish.

So for me, another great German find, one I would recommend with or without food even with the spritzy finish this is a very good ( Sehr Gut ) Riesling.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Marks & Spencer £9.49

The Society’s Saar Riesling 2012

If someone asked me to describe this wine, the first thoughts that come into my head would be refreshingly vibrant, slightly sweet , floral and pretty, (bit girly , I know) but that just about sums this wine up.

saar riesling(450 x 600)

Germany 9.5%

The bottle in question is the Wine Society’s entry level Saar Riesling 2012. Described as Medium /off dry which I would disagree with, for me it was more like medium sweet although the sweetness wasn’t cloying or syrupy but surprisingly fresh and cleansed the palate beautifully.

Initially not too much aroma wise but the bottle was very cold, as the wine warmed up in the glass there was a hint of honey, pears and something flowery (don’t ask me to pin down the flower).

Taste – as I said earlier this was quite sweet with a medium finish. There was a little bit of toffee apple about it, honey lockets but with tingly acidity.

Paired it with Roast Pork and it complemented the dinner perfectly.
Alcohol level of 9.5% meant the bottle could be finished without reaching for the parecetamol.

Entry level it may be but overall it was very enjoyable.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Wine Society £9.50

Peter & Peter Mosel Riesling Trocken 2013

peter&peter1(450 x 600)

Germany 12.0%

Staring to drink a lot more German wines these days and I have been pretty impressed with most if not all of them.  This Peter & Peter Mosel  Riesling Trocken (dry) made by a family owned company called ‘Zimmermann Graeff & Müller’ (ZGM) under the leadership of chief winemaker Peter Griebeler , (not sure which Peter he is ?) have made a very nice dry fruity and extremely drinkable Riesling.

I always seem to break out a bottle of Riesling when curry is on the menu and this time I’m very glad I did. The curry in question was a homemade Thai –ish chicken curry made by my son who told us it was mild, mild it wasn’t, tasty it was, paired with the wine it was a match made in heaven.

Firstly don’t serve this wine too cold, I did and it definitely tasted better as it warmed up. In the glass it was a lovely golden straw like colour with aromas of apples, lemons, limes, apricots and slightly peachy.  Tasting it on it’s own it hits you with zesty limes that give you that kick of mouth watering acidity, the peaches, apricots and ripe apples then come through a oily coating giving that traditional Riesling taste. It was fairly dry with just a hint of sweetness but it when sipped after a mouthful of aromatic  fiery curry that it really began to shine, complementing the heat and spices like no other drink could.

peter&peter2(450 x 600)This was a very good wine for the price and if paired with Asian or Oriental food especially anything spicy it was even better than very good.

One thing I found strange was the bottle cap had a & symbol printed on it, why not P&P (postage and packing, I hear you cry) still found it strange !

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco around £7.50

Palataia Pinot Noir 2012

palataia (450 x 600)Germany 13.5%

Sunday lunch with family, having Roast Pork, so what do you drink with it? I bet the first choice wouldn’t be a German Pinot Noir but I have to say it turned out to be an inspired choice. The Bottle in question is the Palataia Pinot Noir 2012 from the German Pfalz region, one of the most seductive and elegant  Pinot’s I’ve tasted for a while.

Decanted this for around an hour or so although tasting it straight off it still tasted pretty good.  In the glass, lovely colour bright, delicate and see through with wonderful aromas of strawberries, red cherries and the longer you hovered with your nose over the glass the more interesting it became with a meaty , gamey and herbal undertone.

Around the lunch table the first sips were greeted with sighs and a universal surprise at how nice this really was.  Beautifully balanced with fresh red berries and that meaty, herbal flavour,  slightly sweet and a little spicy kick to finish with. Paired  brilliantly with the Pork cutting through the fattiness and rich flavours.

A Pinot Noir to rival a more expensive Burgundy and a German one at that. German Precision is often talked about, German elegance not so much, drink this and it will change your perception.  At around £8.99 this is the best sub £9 bottle I’ve bought for a while.

8.5corks

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

M&S £8.99