jamie goode's wine blog: Comfort drinking

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Comfort drinking

Time to turn to something familiar - two wines that in previous vintages I've enjoyed a good deal.

Quinta do Noval's unfiltered LBV has been (for me) the best value Port for a few vintages now. For around 11 you get something that approximates a true Vintage Port (pretty closely). The 2000 is deeply impressive, but then the 1999 and 1998 were too: sealed with a driven cork it offers dense, reasonably complex, tannic, spicy fruit. Brilliant stuff. Around 12, in Oddbins in the UK. This is one to stock up on and my prediction is that it will improve with a year or two in bottle.

St Hallett's Gamekeeper's Reserve 2005 is a really interesting, affordable red. A blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Touriga from the Barossa, it reminds me of Marc Kent's Porcupine Ridge Syrah. It's slightly meaty and olivey, with perfumed pure dark sweet fruit. Perhaps even a little funky. No wine costing just 5.99 (Waitrose, Thresher, Sainsbury, Co-op) ever deserved to be this tasty. Buy, buy, buy.

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At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Shon said...

Isn't that strange? Had a bit of a poor run with wines recently, so I thought I'd return to the arms of an old friend, yes, the Gamekeeper's Reserve! Absolutely lovely it was, too, perfect with game. I love the fact that it is unoaked, so you can actually taste the composite parts of the blend. I could go on all day about this one!

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Bizarre coincidence. It's a brilliant bargain. I don't know why there aren't more Aussie wines like this.

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Cru Master said...

The Porcupine Ridge Syrah is, in my view, one of the best value wines in South Africa. Boekenhoutskloof hardly produces a bad bottle of wine, be it their namesake 2003 Syrah, the unbeatable value of the Wolftrap or the Choclate Box - all just brilliant.

Of the wines you have mentioned Jamie, I find it increasingly irritating that we in South Africa are not exposed a great deal to international wines. They are hard to come by, really expensive if you do find them and those that are readily available (and in saying this i mean a just a handful of bottles), you just dont know how good the quality is.

Makes it hard reading about all these great wines you are tasting!

At 9:27 AM, Blogger andyincayman said...

Tasted the gamekeepers reserve last night on your recomendation. Now I can see it is an interesting wine with a good degree of complexity (esp for a 5.99 wine)but for me this has far too much "new world" sweetness without the structure to support.

This could be a case of not correctly matching wine and mood (not taked about much as even less scientific than food matching). Or maybe I just have an old mans palate at the age of 31, as I found myself longing to open a bottle of BBR good ord claret I get in at this time of year for the long winters nights (and also v good value at 5.50 a bottle).

Having said this. Keep the recomendations coming. It is good to taste different styles and think about a wine and the GK is interesting even if not to my taste.

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

I find Porcupine Ridge is an interesting case. It always shows really well at tastings, but when I get it back home and have it with a meal, I find it highly confected/spoofulated. Must give it (and GK) another go sometime.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger andyincayman said...

confected/spoofulat are 2 terms as am amateur I am not familiar.

Having looked them up can definately see confected (google seach found this definition: a sweet aroma/flavour, but more manufactured (like candy) than honey) in the GK.

As for spoofulated (not defined but found the following: Spoofulation is a form of manipulation which takes wine away from nature and into the technological world) there is certainly an argument that alot of 5 wines are this. For example BBR Good Ord Claret is "manufacutured" (is "manipulated" too far?) to be a good example.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Alex and others - I'd say that both the porcupine ridge and gamekeepers are modestly spoofulated. They are new world in style, but veer towards the more interesting end of the new world spectrum. Their winemakers have done well to wrangle some old world complexity to complement the otherwise new world fruitiness. So I understand why many wine nuts, who have graduated onto more complex and challenging old world flavours, might find them a little objectionable. I like them, though - sometimes I'm in the mood for something riper and more forward, and more instantly gratifying.

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

I suppose the problem I have with these wines is that they give an initial impression of being somewhat better than they turn out to be when one spends more time with them.

Sorry to be a bit money-focused, but P.R. comes across to me initially as a 10 wine. Thus when I eventually decide that I was wrong and it's really only 5 class, the fact that I feel cheated means I would prefer having a 5 wine that tastes like a 5 all the way through!

Does that make any sense?

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

Just to let you know that I bought a bottle of Gamekeepers Reserve (only paid 4.49 for it) and am not quite sure what to think. It's very whacky. Quite reductive initially (screwcap?) and then quite sweet (Touriga influence) and porty. I was wondering how one might deploy it as it doesn't seem that food friendly - perhaps with duck? Not really my cup of tea, but I can see that some people might consider it a bargain. Maybe a bit of age would mellow it?

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Shon said...

I've had the Gamekeeper with duck and game. It stands up to and marries well with strong, fruit-based sauces. With regard to its aging, I'm going to give it a try, as I have with the St Hallets Touriga. I think there's enough structure in both wines for successful 2-5 years aging.

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