jamie goode's wine blog

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A lovely weekend and some digestible reds

So, we were cheated out of a summer here in England. Not sure whether climate change or el nino or just bad luck was to blame. But we didn't have a proper summer. This weekend, though, we were handed a freebie - a glorious summer's weekend that was more mid-August than late September in character.

Also, older son was down for the weekend from boarding school, and it was nice to see him, even if it meant I had to spend 7 hours driving on Friday evening and 7 hours this evening to pick him up and drop him off.

On Saturday we got together with good friends and went for a walk at Horsley in Surrey (pictured). It was a lovely time, and compensated in some way for all those lovely English summer days we missed out on this year.
Today older son spent the morning with some of his friends, and then we lunched outside with some of the English fizz from yesterday's blog post as accompaniment. Then it was time for the long drive to Devon. We listened to the radio commentary of Man City vs. Portsmouth on Radio Solent (City won 6-0). On the way back I was able to listen to music loud: I find music always sounds better at a decent volume and I hate it when you have people round for dinner and the music is used as a sort of aural wallpaper, at a just-audible volume.

Now I'm drinking two wines as I watch Match of the Day. They're what I would describe as digestible reds, with modest concentration, some savouriness, and good balance. They don't stand out, particularly, but they are ideal if you just want something simple to accompany food.

The Magnificent Wine Company Steak House Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Columbia Valley, Washington State, USA
I've reported on the previous vintage of this wine here. It's an attractively packaged wine, with a roasted, savoury edge to the dark fruits on the nose. The palate shows sweet cherry and plum fruits backed up by earthy, spicy notes and with some grippy structure. Quite European in style, and a great food wine. Enjoyable. 86/100 (7.99 Co-op)

Clos Saint-Martin Madiran 2005 Southwest France
A co-op Madiran, unsurprisingly this doesn't have all that much of the character that makes Madiran such a distinctive wine. But it's an agreeable enough drinking wine, though, with juicy blackcurranty fruit kept savoury with some grippy tannins. There's fresh acidity, too. 84/100 (6.79 Nicolas)

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Plenitude Madiran

What was going through the minds of Les Producteurs Plaimont when they came up for the idea of one of their top cuvees, named 'Plenitude'. Now the Plaimont Coop are normally on top of their game. They are making some really nice wines from various southwestern appellations. But with Plenitude, which translates as fullness or abundance, they've whacked the volume knobs up to 11, and the result is kitsch wine in kitsch packaging.

Weighing in at 14% alcohol, this offers lots of everything. Yes, there's a bit of tannic Madiran bite (which I love), but this has been masked a bit by the abundant new oak that has been lavished on this wine. It's as if they've said, 'Australian wines are popular, so how can we make this wine taste Australian?' They don't need to do this.

Madiran is great, and so is the Tannat grape. There aren't many wines that taste like Madiran, so by trying to make your wine taste unlike Madiran, you are in danger of losing your USP. Be proud of the wines of the southwest France: in a world where wines are tasting worryingly similar, here's a wine that's a bit different. Tell the world about it. Don't apologise.

And then there is the packaging. What possessed them to go for the neo-viking plate metal look, topped off with some wax? It's absurd. Look, don't get me wrong: this isn't a bad wine. I don't mind it, although I find it hard to get past the oak. Perhaps in 3-5 years the oak will have been absorbed and it will enter a stage of mellow maturity. It's just that I reckon it could have been better. 14.99 from Bedales, Adnams and Grape Ideas.

Labels: , , ,