Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

Bodegas Faustino 2007 Rioja Faustino VII

Saturday, 6 March, 2010

Bodegas Faustino 2007 Rioja Tempranillo/Mazuelo
Having tried most of the major international grape varieties by now, I thought it was time to try something a little more localised. Since we were planning to go out to a Spanish restaurant for tapas tonight, I decided it would be a good opportunity to try a Spanish wine.

This wine from the Rioja region in northern Spain is made from 90% tempranillo and 10% mazuelo (also known as carignan) grapes, aged for 10 months in American oak. Tempranillo is the signature grape of Spain, so I wanted to find something using it in our local wine shop. They had a 100% tempranillo rosé, but M. expressed a desire for a straight red, so we opted for this blend.

Having recently read up a little on Rioja style wines and tempranillo grapes, I was expecting a juicy, fruity style of wine, fairly light, with notes of strawberries. But immediately upon sniffing my first glass, I knew this was something different. It was pungent with spicy aromas, reminiscent of my experiences so far with shiraz. Despite this, the first taste on the tongue was indeed light and fruity, and that hint of strawberry came through. It wasn’t juicy though, being noticeably dry on the palate – that dryness I think is associated with the wine term “tannin”, but which I’m not yet confident enough to sling around as though I really know what I’m talking about. I’m guessing this came from the oak.

And then after about 5 seconds in the mouth, the flavour exploded in a burst of spices. It was quite something. That aroma of shiraz came back in the flavours which included just a hint of black pepper and other spicy flavours I can’t yet quite assign more specific descriptions to. It felt controlled though – balanced and not overpowering like some of those full-bodied shirazes can feel to me. It was a bit of a shock, but not unpleasant. After a few sips, I really got into it and enjoyed this wine a lot. It complemented my dinner nicely (tapas of fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce and fried whitebait, followed by veal in a peppery mushroom sauce). We normally barely manage half a bottle over dinner, but we almost finished this one.

At home now and in range of my wine book and Wikipedia, I see that the 10% mazuelo may be responsible for the stronger, spicier flavours in this blend. I’ll have to try to find a 100% tempranillo red somewhere for comparison. A very interesting and eye opening excursion to Spain!

Mystery Creek 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Friday, 19 February, 2010

Mystery Creek 2008 Sauvignon Blanc
I swear this isn’t a wine blog – I just happen to have tried another new wine tonight. I was excited about this one because so far I seem to have more of a taste for whites than reds, and I’d read a bit about New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Apparently they make a top class example of this grape style.

Being a Friday, we went out for dinner up the street at the local restaurant strip. We went to Garfish, which is a moderately upscale seafood place, with fish bought fresh at the market that day. M. had the grilled salmon with chips, while I opted for roasted barramundi with polenta. These seemed to complement the wine very nicely.

It was a pale straw colour, nothing too exciting there, and very fluid in the glass – as opposed to the thick streakiness I’ve seen in some wines. It took a while to identify the aroma, but once nailed down, it was quite definite. Tropical fruit – a hint of pineapple, and a stronger touch of banana. Yes, banana. In the mouth it was very different. It was acidic and citrusy, with a touch of lemon, developing into quite a powerful herby flavour. Nowhere near as strong as a herb-based liqueur like Jagermeister, but certainly heading in that direction.

I really liked it, but M. preferred the Chardonnay we’d had a couple of weeks ago at the same restaurant. That one was a touch oaky, which is still a flavour I’ve not yet grown to appreciate. It seems clear I prefer my whites in this clean, fruity, acidic style. Very nice.

Ketu Bay 2008 Pinot Noir

Wednesday, 17 February, 2010

Ketu Bay 2008 Pinot Noir
I really discovered wine only about 4 months ago. I’ve had a few glasses in the past, but never really got into it until I took a long weekend trip with my wife to the Hunter Valley for our wedding anniversary. We live only a couple of hours from one of the world’s great wine regions, and it was the first time I’d really been there. And being a wine region, I decided it might be time to actually sample some wines and attempt to see what all the fuss was about.

More about that trip later. Right now, and what really prompted me to start this blog, is the desire to record my impressions of the first time I ever tried pinot noir. Pinot noir, as I’ve recently learnt, is a cool climate grape, and makes a wide range of wine styles, but tending towards lighter and fruitier. Marlborough in New Zealand is a cool climate, and apparently produces some decent pinot noir.

My first ever pinot noir is this Ketu Bay 2008 vintage from that region. I was at first surprised by the colour, a lighter, more scarlet red than the merlots, cabernet sauvignons, and shirazes I’ve tried over the past few months. The light passes through this wine like through a raspberry jelly, clear and luminous red. The dominant taste is one of fruitiness, with definite notes of strawberry. It was light and pleasant, and it worked well chilled down a bit. (I’m also learning how to describe wines, so my vocabulary will be simplistic and restricted to begin with.)

From my reading about pinot noir, it seems I still have a lot of variety within this grape to look forward to. I’ll seek some more types out and be keen to compare them. And those, along with all the other things I learn about wine, I plan to record here. (But this blog is also going to cover far wider topics, lest anyone think this is going to be just a wine blog.)