jamie goode's wine blog: Friday night thoughts

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday night thoughts

Had a day working from home today. A bit of a late start, but then some serious work on Brettanomyces, that most complex and interesting of wine 'faults'. Found out that the theme for my next Sunday Express column has been changed at short notice - this goes with the territory. Forgot to do some much-needed invoicing (I'm not the most financially motivated of writers). Walked the dog twice.

Then I took elder son to play golf at what turned out to be a really nice nine-hole course in Ascot called Lavender Park. Good greens, bunkers in good nick, thoughtful layout - ideal place to learn how to play. Finished off by watching a rather dud film, Charlie Wilson's War. There was just something deeply wrong with the idea of a comedy about such a serious subject as the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and its aftermath. And casting ultra-clean Tom Hanks as a playboy congressman was simply absurd. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a serious actor who was also incongruous in his role, although he pulled it off well. Then a chance to catch the latest episode of Peep Show, which is a fantastic comedy. One of the best.

So, wine? Yes. Bonterra Rose 2007 Mendocino, California is pretty good - savoury and bright, a fusion of cranberry juice and red cherries, with some grassiness, too. It's very hard for a rose to be serious or really exciting, but this is rather nice. But, at £9.99 from Waitrose, it isn't cheap: I wonder whether it's ever necessary to pay £10 for a rose. Shaw & Smith Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2006 is pretty impressive. It has a fantastic peppery, cool-climate Syrah character, with some meatiness and raspberry fruit. There's also a darker blackberry fruit character, and some spicy oak in the background. At the moment this is quite tight-wound and tannic, but I'm very impressed by the freshness and definition. This is pretty serious, and I'd rate it at 93/100. But perhaps this should have been labelled 'Syrah', to better reflect its old-world leanings, rather than 'Shiraz'?

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At 11:03 PM, Blogger Claude Vaillancourt said...

Hi Jaimie,

I'm interested to know what is your serious work on bretts.

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Claude, when I say 'serious work', I really mean serious background research on articles, coupled with some heavy-duty tasting over recent months. It's an important topic.

At 1:39 AM, Blogger Claude Vaillancourt said...


For sure it is an important topic. But in the wine community, it is still treated by most as a little dirty secret. Iím glad you are writing about it. Personally, as a more serious wine lover, this is my biggest ďdiscoveryĒ, especially concerning the so called, fine wines. Unfortunately, for me it was a bad discovery, and since, it has always been a bad thing. When I can sense it, the wine is ruined. Also, itís prevalence in higher end red wines came really to me as a shock. It pushed me to the conclusion that if you really want to be a universal wine lover, you need in some ways to like it, or at least be able to tolerate it at lower concentrations. This is a though thing to swallow.

As a regular reader of your blog, and of your website, I know that you like brett influence in many wines. I respect that, since, as you described it in one of your fine article, there is no universal palate. But on the other hand, every time I am reading a positive comment about the effect of this yeast on wine, it is discouraging me, because I dislike 4-ethyl phenol as much as TCA, which is unanimously recognised as a wine fault. So this message is to tell you that there is no brett police. There is only wine drinkers who are genuinely disliking 4-EP aromas in wine. My only hope is that wine writers will more and more educate themselves about it, to be able to name it, positively or not, I donít care, to allow drinkers like me to avoid the wines who are showing it. Finally, if I would be a winemaker, I would do everything needed to avoid it, because I would not want a part of the drinkers to dislike my wine just because of that. I know that this is a complicated topic, but for me, one thing is sure, this is divisive and unnecessary to achieve great wines

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Irish Wine Contemplations said...


That Shaw & Smith Shiraz sounds excellent. That winery are churning out some excellent wine at present, I'm a big fan of their 'M3' Chardonnay which I consider to be one of the best that Australia produce at the moment (at least ones that are available locally). I've been aprehensive about their other wines but given this thumbs up I may make the leap and try some more.


At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Ben Coffman said...

Interesting to hear that your S.Express column theme had been changed at short notice. Begs the question, why? What time-dependent issue or other linking theme would make any difference to timing?


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