Sunday, 17 February 2013

Just to say I don't drink only Italian wines...

Reading my posts you may be thinking that I am one of those `wine nationalist` that only drink wines coming from their own country. I can't hide that I like Italian wines and, of course, this is what has been filling my glass for most of my life. This is mainly because in Italy there is not that much market for foreign wines but since I moved to London my palate has eventually discovered (ad enjoyed) the rest of the world.

And to prove you this I'll tell you about few wines that I have tasted recently...

Let's start with bubbles. And, to shuffle cards, let's choose it English! And Blanc de Noir.
Furleigh Estate Blanc de Noirs 2009. No trace of Chardonnay in it. Only Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Fresh strawberries and some candy lemon peel. Biscuity notes and a hint of smokiness. In the mouth it's round and the strawberries come back with more red fruit and pronounced intensity. Vibrant acidity and a medium long finish. Good level of complexity and extremely enjoyable.

Let's follow with something that was missing from the first wine....
some Chardonnay, from Australia this time.
Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay 2010. This wine is extremely charming with elegant notes of ripe golden apple, stone fruit and perfectly integrated vanilla notes coming from 10 months in oak. High acidity in the mouth, good minerality and a long finish....Top-notch!

Third place (but only in chronological tasting order) is for an Austrian wine, the Heinrich St Laurent 2011. St Laurent is a grape variety that, for long time has been thought to be connected to Pinot Noir especially due to their similar behavior in the vineyard. It is mainly found in Austria but also present in Germany and Czech Republic. But let's come back to the specific shows intense dark berry fruit notes, dark cherries and blackberries, some smokiness and a hint of cloves. In the mouth is a bit young but already soft and velvety, deep and long.

Let's finish with something from Argentina. And from there it cannot be anything else than Malbec. I know that Argentina can produce other wines and Malbec is actually native from South of France, but no one can argue that Malbec expresses at its best in the South American country and it is certainly one of the most representative grape of the Argentinian wine production.

The wine I left at the bottom of my list is one of my favourite: Bodega Renacer Punto Final Malbec Reserva 2009. The fruit here is dark ad deeply ripe. There are dark cherries, blackberries and plums followed by a touch of spices, cloves and vanilla and some developing notes of liquorice and leather. High acidity, full body and mature tannins and a rich texture complete the experience in the mouth. A long almost chocolaty finish for this great wine. Great with food and on a winter, cold evening.


Friday, 8 February 2013

Few things that made my day

I am not the morning happy and energetic type. I’ve never been. I usually tend to be quite grumpy. First reason being that I‘d much rather waking up naturally than getting forced to wake up by the alarm. And after that, I’d prefer to have a slow relaxed breakfast in front of the novel I’m reading at the moment or browsing online for news. Then the natural consequence would be listening to a bit of music and eventually starting to work.
I am still planning to live this kind of life sometimes but in the meantime I have to follow the `common people human routine` of getting up too early (for my nature), having a quick coffee and rush out. That’s why normally I can’t be that happy and relaxed in the morning.
But sometimes, something randomly makes me feel slightly better and other things during the day just turn out in a good way. So finally my morning and then the rest of the day are saved.
Sometimes I just wake up with that little energy surplus that allows me to quickly prepare some pizza dough in the morning, meaning that during the day I will know that the dough is rising and that I will have lovely home-made pizza for supper.
Sometimes if the sky is clear, walking to the office is just much more enjoyable and maybe I just find on my mp3 reader that amazing tune that I love and makes me feel more optimistic (but also gives my face that happy and dopey expression…).

Sometimes when I get to the office I find the book I had ordered couple of days ago and that looks so interesting.
Sometimes at work I receive an email that some tasting has taken place and that there is plenty of open bottles to taste and maybe one to take home!!
Sometimes when I get back home I find the letter with the examination result that I have been waiting for months and I have spent so much energy to pass. 

Sometimes to celebrate the good mark I get a couple of glasses of that bottle of red, that I took home from the office, with my pizza. And sometimes it surprises me. It smells of Tuscany. It tastes of Tuscany. It's deep and round. It has strong tannins and full body, it's warm and characterful. It is 5 years old but still young in perfumes and flavours.
And even though it definitely overpowers my pizza, it is the best way to finish this day and this week.

These are few things that can save my day, sometimes. As they did today.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Where I have been (and what I have drunk) in the last 6 months

If any of you, in a desperate need of reading one of my posts, has been wondering why I was not writing anymore, finally, here is the answer.

The last 6 months of my life have been a big mix of various experiences that kept me away from this blog. Mainly I have been studying a lot for my WSET Diploma exams and working. But
I have also been traveling and I have been around London for tastings and events. 

I don't really want to bother you talking about my job and the study I have done, so I am going to tell you a bit about the good things of these last 6 months. I'll do my best to make it short...

I went to Indonesia, where I experienced a 3 weeks forced rehab from wine, being there definitely too expensive even in its cheapest entry level examples. But to cheer me up, I had amazing beaches, gorgeous corals, colourful fishes and always a bottle of Bintang in my hand!

In October I visited Istanbul for the first time in my life and it was an extraordinary experience. Istanbul is an amazing city full of ancient history and art.
But in my mind there's no better way to explain it than this old Monthy Python sketch....

I have also tried some Turkish wine. And I believe, if you are visiting the country, you should definitely give it a go. 
Probably it's going to be difficult to taste something that will blow your mind but there are interesting examples and, when possible, my hippie side suggests me that it's good to support the local industry.

After telling you this, I have to say that although I (deeply) love traveling, I still consider London the best place to `taste the world`.

The last 6 months have been intensely busy in terms of tastings: Wines of Argentina, Decanter Fine Wine Encounter, Three Wine Men, Wine Gang tasting, Burgundy Tasting, my company portfolio tasting....I mean, there was no way of getting bored...or thirsty

And on top of that I also had the chance to try a few good restaurants in London and not. 
The River Cafe' certainly has been the most memorable. Ace food. Perfect not only because it's perfect but also because it's absolutely not snobbish or pretentious.

I'd like to finish this long post with a note about the best Christmas present I've received: Vinomondo, a sort of wine trivial, perfect for the English cold winter evenings. Only a little advice for wine geeks: use it with moderation,it can be addictive.