Category: Reviews

Rustenberg Straw Wine 2011

Rustenberg Straw Wine 2011The wine: Rustenberg Straw Wine 2011

The producer: Rustenberg www.rustenberg.co.za

They say: This wine has been made using a centuries-old process of drying grapes on straw in order to produce dessert-style wines. Grapes are harvested at the same ripeness required to make table wine and are then laid out on straw for a number of weeks. This allows the grapes to slowly dehydrate, concentrating their natural sugar, acid and flavour.

The straw also acts as a wick for any excess moisture, ensuring the grapes do not rot. After gently pressing the dehydrated grapes the concentrated juice is slowly fermented and aged in old oak barrels to create a balanced luscious dessert wine.

We say: A gorgeous golden wine with a luscious texture. Intense, alluring nose. There’s notes of ripe peach, orange rind, syrup, honey and maybe even a little fig. The incredible acidity balances the unctuous sweetness of the wine. Really nice stuff.

Try with: Apple tarte tatin

Price (RRP): From £8.99 for half-bottle.

Available from: Majestic

Chinese tasting notes and food match

品酒笔记: 丰盛美味的金黄色甜酒。闻起来激烈,诱人。有熟的桃子,橘子皮,糖浆,蜂蜜,甚至有点无花果的味道。酒甜与酸搭配很好。真不错。

中餐搭配: 糯米甜枣点心

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Good things to drink by Ryan Chetiyawardana

Cover, Good Things to Drink by Ryan ChetiyawardanaThe Book Good things to drink with Mr Lyan & friends

The Author Ryan Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr Lyan, is a bar tender who opened the award-winning White Lyan in 2013 and more recently, Dandelyan at Mondrian Sea Containers mrlyan.com

The Publisher Frances Lincoln Limited

The Release date 1st October 2015

Who’s it for? Cocktail enthusiasts and bar types keen to pick up some new skills or ideas – White Lyan was the first bar in the world to have no drinks on the menu that used perishable ingredients like lemons and herbs so you can expect some exciting ideas inside.

What you’ll find inside The book is very much aimed at those shaking up a round or two at home so there are easy recipes to follow as well as things to experiment with. Case in point, there are some classics like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Chetiyawardana’s twist on the Negroni. The beginning of the book tells you about the staple ingredients, the tools, the techniques and the type of serves. Each cocktail has an introduction, ingredients, method and a ‘magic’ top tip that will either improve the drink or make your life easier. It feels like every recipe has a purpose and a reason to be there.

What’s missing Drinks and friends! The book is incredibly well put together, almost like an instruction manual in that it’s concise and comprehensive. Every drink has a recommended glass and a final photo so you know exactly what you should be getting. There’s no history or background on the drinks but that’s perhaps for a different type of book altogether.

The best bit The book is divided according to the time of day and occasion for drinking, rather than by the type of drink. There’s a feeling of spontaneity – no more diving straight into the martini.

The Price (RRP) £20

Buy now from Amazon

Photographs by Kim Lightbody, c/o Frances Lincoln Limited

Natural Wine by Isabelle Legeron

Natural Wine by Isabelle LegeronThe Book Natural Wine: An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally

The Author Isabelle Legeron MW is a writer, presenter and organiser of RAW fair www.thatcrazyfrenchwoman.com

The Publisher CICO Books

The Release date10th July 2014

Who’s it for? If you’re new to the natural wine world and want to learn from one of the foremost advocates of natural wine then this is the perfect resource.

What you’ll find inside The book defines natural wine as wine made with nothing added and nothing taken away but the approach encompasses the whole natural wine lifestyle. From anecdotes about tapping for birch sap and making herbal tinctures to milling your own flour and making bread, you’ll gain an insight into this often misunderstood world.

What’s missing The book serves as an introduction to the topic so there’s no real depth. However, Legeron does list additional books and resources if you want to delve further.

The best bit The sizeable book is a surprisingly easy read and without being too aggressive, it inspires a desire in the reader to live more naturally.

The Price (RRP) £16.99

Buy now from Amazon

Tricolour: wines from Côteaux du Giennois

I mentioned briefly in the post about wine and technology that there would be a vlog coming up… Well, you didn’t have to wait too long for that because here it is:

Côteaux du Giennois

For this first vlog, I tasted a trio of wines from the French wine region of Côteaux du Giennois.

Coteaux du Giennoise wines

Côteaux du Giennois is right in the middle of France, quite close to Sancerre, and lies between the towns of Gien and Cosne sur Loire by the Loire River. As an appellation, it’s relatively new, AOC since 1998, but grape pips have been found in archaeological digs in Cosne sur Loire which suggests that wine has been made there since the 2nd century.

As in other parts of the Loire Valley, the soil in the area is a mix of flint and limestone which suggests good potential for the white wines. These are made from Sauvignon Blanc. They also make rosé and red wines from Pinot Noir, Gamay or a blend of the two.

Anyway, here are the tasting notes for the three wines:

Domaine de Villargeau Sauvignon Blanc Coteaux du Giennois 2012 Domaine de Villargeau Sauvignon Blanc Côteaux du Giennois 2012. A medium bodied wine with intense nose of lychee, pear, apple and citrus. Some stony minerality. A little floral note too. Don’t serve this too cold as acidity will prevail. To have with a creamy seafood dish. RRP£9.99 available from Marks & Spencer.
 Les Aupières Coteaux du Giennois Rose 2013 Les Aupières Rosé Côteaux du Giennois 2013. Light red berry nose with a little hawthorne, perhaps even rose. Slight bitterness at the end. A delicate red-style rosé wine. Enjoy with a chicken and pomegranate salad or something similarly light from the Middle East. RRP£10.99 available from Laithwaites.
 Clement et Florian Berthier Rouge Coteaux du Giennois 2012 Clement et Florian Berthier Rouge Côteaux du Giennois 2012. A little vanilla coming through followed by strawberries. Overpowering farm-yardy aromas. Not one for me. RRP£12.99 available from Laithwaites.

Mount Gay Black Barrel

Mount Gay Black BarrelThe spirit: Mount Gay Black Barrel

The producer: Mount Gay rum

They say: Mount Gay Black Barrel is a small batch handcrafted blend made of aged double pot still distillates and aged column distallates, finished in deeply roasted and charred Bourbon oak barrels. The unique technique releases aromas of spice balanced with oaky vanilla and almond overtones, the signature notes of Mount Gay’s smooth and refined Barbados rum.

We say: Lightly spiced with fruity intensity giving into a complex nose. Lots of vanilla, slightly woody on the finish with a little citrus. At 43%ABV, it’s on the potent side. One to get to grips with over ice or in cocktails.

Price (RRP): £29.99

Available from: The Whisky Exchange

Additional notes:

Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2012

Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2012The wine: Fairview La Beryl Blanc 2012

The producer: Fairview www.fairview.co.za

They say: Fairview La Beryl, a traditional handcrafted straw wine, personifies the quintessence of grape. The grapes were carefully handharvested into small baskets and transferred to an old barn where they were delicately laid out on beds of straw to desiccate. Eventually the bunches lost about 75% of their volume, intensifying flavour and sweetness. The grapes were gently pressed and the juice fermented in French oak barrels. La Beryl is an opulent and concentrated wine, with a rich balance of fruit and spice flavours.

We say: The intensity of this wine is immediate with a rush of complex sweetness coating the palate with its unctuousness. Sultana comes to mind first, lightly bolstered by a slight floral note from the Muscat in the blend. The well-structured back bone comes later with the refreshing acidity of the Chenin Blanc.

Try with: Pear crumble and clotted cream

Price (RRP): ~£14

Available from: The Drink Shop

Additional notes:

Chinese tasting notes and food match

品酒笔记: 这个高浓度的甜酒马上带来多层次的口感。最先是葡萄干的味道。之后有一些由Muscat葡萄带来的花香和Chenin Blanc葡萄的高酸度。整体平衡。

中餐搭配: 咸鸭蛋

Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2013

Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2013The wine: Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2013

The producer: Famille Bougrier

They say: Since 1885 and five generations, Family Bougrier selects the most beautiful raisins from our best terroirs, to offer you the nicest wines. We wish you great pleasure with our Loire Valley Wines. Made on old soils, nice white dry wine. Great freshness and roundness. To be served slightly chilled with seafood and fishes from the Atlantic Ocean.

We say: Good perfume with notes of bruised apple, citrus and pear. Lots of acidity with a refreshing finish. A youthful style but nice balance with alcohol at 12%. Light and easy-drinking.

Try with: Roast hog, sage stuffing and apple sauce

Price (RRP): £7.50

Available from: Oddbins

Additional notes: –

Chinese tasting notes and food match

品酒笔记: 香味浓,带有碰伤了的苹果,柑橘和梨的气味。酸度高,爽口。适合酒年轻的时候喝。酒精度与口味搭配很好。清淡,易于饮用。

中餐搭配: 白果炖鸡

Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou 2013

Famille Bourgrier Rosé d'Anjou 2013The wine: Famille Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou 2013

The producer: Famille Bougrier

They say: Since 1885 and five generations, Family Bougrier selects the most beautiful raisins from our best terroirs, to offer you the nicest wines. We wish you great pleasure with our Loire Valley Wines. Very nice, fresh rosé with a vivid colour. Red fruits aromas very persistent. To drink chilled just for fun during the summer but as well with any spicy or Asian food.

We say: Light salmon blush hue. Bags of strawberry notes with a touch of sweetness. Fruity, but reserved enough to be elegant. Light and delicate but a little hot on the palate at times.

Try with: Couscous salad with pomegranate and parsley

Price (RRP): £8

Available from: Oddbins

Additional notes: –

Chinese tasting notes and food match

品酒笔记: 浅三文鱼橘红色。草莓味为主。带一点甜味。果味较强但足够的优雅。酒精度有时感觉较高。

中餐搭配: 草莓拼盘

Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux Limited Edition 2010

Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux Limited Edition 2010The wine: Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux Limited Edition 2010

The producer: Château de Fesles

They say: 100% Chenin. Six separate hand picking. 15 months in oak barrels. Rare, intense and elegant wine. Serve at 6-8°C after decanting. This wine makes a sublime aperitif and a perfect match for foie gras, blue cheese and warm tart.

We say: Slightly oxidised nose with notes of bruised apple. Opening up with more Botrytis, pineapple, dried apricots, white flowers. Rich with minerality on the palate. A little hot. Great acidity. Intense wine.

Try with: Ripe pineapple cooked in caramel and vanilla ice cream

Price (RRP): –

Available from: 2010 vintage currently not available in the UK

Additional notes: The bottle arrived worryingly warm. Starting to weep at the cork. Certainly on the young side for sample if in good condition. See below for sample bottle image:

Chinese tasting notes and food match

品酒笔记: 刚开始带有稍微氧化和碰伤了的苹果的气味。放了一段时间后贵腐(带有中药的浓香味),菠萝,杏干以及花香开始散发。丰富口味,带有矿物质的复杂层次。酒精度口感较高。果酸度高。浓度高的甜酒。

中餐搭配: 拔丝菠萝

J.P. Chenet Ice Edition NV

JP Chenet Ice EditionThe wine: J.P. Chenet Demi-Sec ice edition

The producer: J.P. Chenet www.jpchenet.com

They say: Smooth, creamy and fresh, J.P Chenet Ice leaves a long aromatic taste in the mouth with a fine, supple yet rich texture. To be served very cold, the slightly increased sweetness highlights its delicate fruity aromas once it’s in contact with the ice. With an accessible price tag and an eye catching all white bottle, this new wine will offer a chic new way of enjoying sparkling wines appealing to a younger, dynamic consumer who usually chooses RTD or fruit-flavoured ciders.

We say: Very subtle nose. Pear dominates when served well chilled. Not immediately obvious as a demi-sec sparkling wine. Awkward juxtaposition of alcohol and flavour. After ice is added, quince and citrus shows through. Refreshing as an aperitif, with plenty of ice, but not a serious drinking wine.

Try with: Soy and maple syrup marinated salmon

Price (RRP): £9.95

Available from: ASDA

Additional notes: Launched at Cannes Film Festival in May 2014. Intended to be served over ice.

Chinese tasting notes and food match

品酒笔记: 初步反应气味较淡。冰镇时梨子味道为主。微甜。感觉比一般的demi-sec甜度的气泡葡萄酒更酸。酒精与酒味不太搭挡。加了冰块后(建议加冰饮用)有跟多的榲桲与柑橘类果酸。用大量的冰块来冰镇后变成清爽的开胃酒,但不算特别高雅。

中餐搭配: 北京烤鸭

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