Nebbiolo!

Well again I’ve failed myself. My blogs are far to far apart and not getting into a regular contribution is starting to annoy me…..well it’s not as if I’ve not been doing any drinking, sorry, tasting since my last post 😄.

So what have I been drinking I over the recent months that has stuck in mind long enough to warrant a post? Well firstly there was the discovery of Nebbiolo made by a grower called Fay. Nebbiolo is a powerhouse of a wine, and the best known examples come from Piedmont, Fays wines however are from Valtellina and Nebbiolo produced here tend to be much more graceful and approachable earlier.

Fay’s Nebbiolo 2006 in half bottle was utterly amazing, a lovely nose, more musk and earthy aromas showing it was at its peak and best drunk soon, in the mouth however it was amazing, expecting it to be faded I got as fresh and vibrant a wine as one could expect, several minutes in the glass and the wine blossoms into a perfect wine which can be drunk on its own or with food. Nebbiolo from Piedmont normally needs a hearty dish due to being so heavy, this example of the grape from another region needs no such attention.

I have no more of the 2006 left, which is a shame, but this means I will just have to move on to the next vintage.

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Mailbran Gorio

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Friday finally arrived, I say it every week but the days are just sailing past, middle of February already and I have not done anything of any significance yet in 2013……well I have started this blog, long may it continue as for some reason it’s making me smile, as I sit here @ 10pm tapping away into my iPhone I feel a sense of achievement, long may it continue.

So what delight have I enjoyed tonight, again a break from the norm. I’ve opted for a sparkling wine, a prosecco from a grower called Malibran.

They make a range of sparkling gems and the one reviewed here is their Gorio extra dry DOCG
It’s a typical 11.5% abv but feels remarkably light in the mouth, a lovely fine silky mousse coats my palette, the bubbles providing a gentle tingle, far to easy to drink as I find myself topping up my glass :-)

On the nose I get apple and pears, it’s a fine wine, slightly rich but not overly, making it ideal for food or on it’s own.

With anticipation I am excited to go and try the other wines in the range especially the Sottoriva, as this sounds intriguing.

In general prosecco is growing in popularity, but to find good prosecco can be a challenge, and the Malibran Gorio is a good prosecco.

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Bag in box Tempranillo Syrah Roble

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I skipped the blog last night, the reason for this lack of effort was 100% due to the fact that I decided to take the better half out with a friend to a local noodle bar. Now, anyone who knows me, which is not likely to be anyone reading this, would be able to confirm that I love my food, to a point where exercise now has to feature on a regular basis – the saying you are what you eat is a frightening prospect, imagining that I am a large piece of steak, which I must confirm to you would be beef and not horse is a scary thought!

I also love wine, but when going to a noodle bar I will never opt for wine, it’s likely to be a soft drink, or maybe a beer, but never wine. I think the reason behind this is that matching wines to this cuisine is always a challenge and personally a disappointment. So it got me thinking, this blog is going to detail my journey into wine, and all wine which will include it being packaged in different forms.

Tonight’s wine is therefore a Spanish wine, a tempranillo Syrah Roble packed in a 3ltr wine tube….aka Bag In Box :-)

On first appearance it’s hard not to think of it as striking, but not in a good way, for consumers who know very little of the wine inside the packaging it is the latter that will inspire them to pick it up and take it home. Us who know more though look beyond the snazzy labels and bottle design to experience something we wish to be perfect.

Once I managed to open the tap, and resisted the urge to drink direct from the tube I was surprised to see how dark and broody the wine looked, looked more like an Aussie Shiraz. For some reason I expected a light in colour wine, again the bag in box perception clouding my judgement and mind!

On the nose I got brambles & spice….in the mouth I got fruit and power but a harshness I couldn’t quite place, it might of been the extreme tannins, needs time clearly, but this method of packing does not lend itself to wines that need ageing. Could you imagine a row of burgundy in a cellar, sitting next to a selection of bag in box wines, I can’t, but is it me being a wine snob???? Would I be like this if it was a good Bordeaux in a wine tube ????

I’m confused….. Great nose, a taste that needs refining over time….but the packaging will only see this wine quaffed by party goers or those who don’t care…..at £19 per 3ltrs though its not that cheap

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Masseria Frattasi Bonea 2011

Tuesday night, the feeling that the working week is almost half way through always makes me smile. Tonight this fact has inspired me to try something not usually at the forefront of my wine choices, I also decided that the wine was not going to match the food as a given….a dangerous game to play in my household, the better half is a Scorpio and if she thought for one moment that I was chucking away the dinner as it didn’t match the wine their would be hell to pay – Fingers cross it matches as being a wine lover I could not justify ignoring wine for food :-)

The wine – A Falanghina from Masseria Frattasi, this wine called Bonea is one of several whites in the range produced, and is probably in the middle with regards to price and quality, the latter attribute being in the eye of the beholder and although important I’ve often enjoyed the cheaper wines in ranges over more expensive options.

Bonea is a CRU and it is made by a 50 year old vineyard located 400 metres a.s.l. on volcanic soil. The wine is then aged for a short period in oak barriques before completing its ageing in bottle. A rich and round medium bodied white, it has a bouquet of ripe pear, orange and Jasmine blossoms. I found it quite forward and it’s presence made itself known when tasted, clearly not overly floral, more fruit and green notes, not hugely vegetal, but I think the good acidity has stopped it from being dulled, probably will manage a few more years in bottle, but this does depend on how you like your whites, especially from the Falanghina grape.

Did it go well with dinner…….well dinner, luckily, was chicken, no sauce, and served seasoned, which probably helped lift the wine. The acidity of the wine would cope with light cream sauce, but I was perfectly happy without one.

In the UK this grape is gaining popularity, however duty and taxes results in having to pay £15 for this wine from an online specialist, and in a shop probably £25, and restaurants would likely to be charging upwards of £40………..dangerous place as this price bracket opens up a huge plethora of wines, including some decent Burgundy………

I could rant for ever about local duty and taxes, but that will be saved for another blog

Thanks for reading!

Happy drinking, or should I say tasting ;-)

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Lavico Rosso 2008 with Roast Lamb

Sunday is always a frantic day in the household, not only are we under the pressure of ensuring a perfectly cooked roast dinner, accompanied by as good a wine, but the need to prepare for the coming week also provides a certain level of stress. Working long hours and and at what are sometimes odd hours means preparing in your mind and fridge the coming weeknights meals! However enough of that, this blog sees me focus on a gem of a wine from the Umbria region of Italy. The winery – Cantina Altarocca, a fairly small winery producing an array of wines which for me stand out amongst the regions other offerings. Tonights wine is their Lavico Rosso 2008, a merlot and cab blend at 13.5%. On first appearances the wine is quite purple, vibrant and with no sign of fading around the edges. A swirl in the glass gives me lots of fresh fruit, cherry, raspberries – lots of them, like raspberry ripple ice cream. It’s a wonderful sweet and perfumed nose, a hint of well managed oak rides the aroma. My first mouthful gives me a complex, deep taste which makes me long for more, restrained and quite tannic, it clearly is a forward wine, but there is enough in reserve to warrant another couple of years in bottle to mellow out those tannins. Certainly one for the cellar, if I can keep it there for that long. It went well with the lamb, perfect balance of harmony, and personally I would keep it with lamb and not beef, however a good medium rare steak would also be a good match.

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Vino nobile di montepulciano & steak

Tonight’s choice of food & wine…. Rib eye steak served with a white wine, cream and mushroom sauce accompanied by a vino di montepulciano 2006 from Canneto. At 14.5% it’s a pretty heady red, but one that does not overwhelm the sauce, the steak bolsters the sauce and enables it to remain at a point where it is not flattened.

20130209-175230.jpg there is a good balance of tannin and acidity, coupled with ripe fruit, which has started to mellow now being 7 years old. Probably not as a complex as I like but it held up to the food and would be very enjoyable when drunk on it’s own.

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Why so long since the last time????

I have, I must admit neglected my blog for some time, in fact I am not sure if my last post was in 2012 or 2011…..note to self – must keep posting on the blog, even if just a few lines at a time!

So what has happened in such a long period, well for starters I changed job, visited Rome, went to Egypt, and drank and ate plenty in between :-)

So…..where to be begin, seeing as it has been so long makes it feel like as if this is the first ever blog I have submitted……

I think for now I will leave it short and sweet and just ensure that I blog at least once a week……..with the promise of trying a new wine, beer or spirit and also try to cook at least one new dish…….lets hope it lasts.

Dan

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