jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, September 28, 2009

Video: the Yeatman, a new luxury hotel in Porto

Here's a short film from last week's visit to the new Fladgate Partnership (Taylor, Fonseca, Croft) hotel project, the Yeatman. It's an ambitious and exciting venture, and it's due to be completed early summer 2010.

You can read my full write-up here.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

The last snowy pictures, and some Southern French supermarket reds

We're back from Norway. I can't speak highly enough of the SAS Radisson in Trysil (well, except for the somewhat limited wine options). When we checked out we were issued with a bill just shy of double what we expected (22 000 Kr as opposed to 12 000 Kr; 1 = almost exactly 10 Kr), caused by the hotel charging us rack rates rather than the internet prices we booked for. But, after showing them our booking, and watching ever-more-senior members of staff being summoned, they corrected it and then knocked a tiny bit more off. For a half-board package at such a beautiful hotel, we were very pleased with the final bill. I've added some pictures (dodgy quality, I'm afraid, from phone camera) just to taunt those who haven't made it to the slopes this season!

We then caught the Trysil Express bus to the airport (3 h journey time, 65 for the family), before catching our Norweigan flight (painless budget airline that actually allocates seats on check-in - useful when travelling with the family) to Stansted.
However good a holiday, there's something comforting about returning home. As I type, I've opened a couple of supermarket southern French reds.

Cave de Roquebrun Roches Noires 2006 Saint Chinian
Varietal breakdown: 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre. This has a nose of ripe red fruits with a pronounced roast coffee and cured meat character. The palate shows good concentration and a bit of spiciness, with some grippy tannic structure under the plum and cherry fruit. A solid effort. 85/100 (7.95 Tesco; 13% alcohol)

Asda Extra Special Vacqueyras 2006 Southern Rhone, France
Surprisingly muted nose doesn't give much away, except for some faint liqueur-like red fruits and a hint of spice. The palate is more expressive with an attractive peppery character under the pure, smooth cherry fruit. This isn't a totally obvious wine: you need to look under the surface, and there you find some attractive Grenache fruit. Finishes a little earthy with some grippy tannin, which makes me think this wine might evolve a little more. Not mind-blowing, but authentic - decant for an hour to get the best from this now? 86/100 (6.98 Asda; 14% alcohol)

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Monday, August 04, 2008

In Mallorca

Barely have I got off the plane from Oregon, and I'm getting on to another one. This time it's a last-minute family holiday to Mallorca. We've done this a bit differently, though - we swapped our elder son for our good friends' younger daughter, who is the same age (and gets on well with) our younger son. We think this will work better than taking our two boys together. Past experiences with family holidays have not been great.

But this means we have to brave travelling with a budget airline at the busiest time of year. We flew RyanAir from Stansted, and endured a 45 minute queue at check-in, then a queue for security, then a queue to get on the plane, then a queue at the other end for our hire car (45 minutes more). After all this hassle, we find ourselves dropped into that special corner of hell - a Mediterranean holiday resort. I'd forgotten how soul destroyingly ugly and naff they are. We'd booked the hotel we are staying in for a number of reasons, one of which was that it advertised WiFi internet access (for me) and Satellite TV (for the kids) in each room. This turned out to be a lie.

But, fortunately, we have a car, and have discovered a stunningly beautiful beach 15 minutes away, where we spent today. And I've found a 4 star hotel in town with a nice lobby and wireless internet for 1 Euro per hour. So things are looking up. Oh yes, this is supposed to be a wine blog. Last night Fiona and I shared a nice bottle of Masia Batle's Blanc de Blancs 2007, a fresh, full flavoured white.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Hotel du Vin, Cheltenham

Stayed last night in Cheltenham at the Hotel du Vin, where I'm blogging live from. Verdict? A little mixed. The hotel has only been open since July, and it is sort of part travelodge, part luxury hotel in feel - some bits of the decor really work, some bits (most notably the carpets and coridoors and public areas) feel low budget. All the rooms are named after wines (ours is Hush Heath, the makers of the UK's finest pink sparkling wines), but the maze of coridoors and lack of numbering system makes it impossible to navigate. We kept running into guests who were hopelessly lost, as we were.

We arrived quite late and decided to have food in our room with a DVD. The food, and service, is great - you get the impression from the buzzy bistro (and the 'metal' in the parking lot) that the restaurant is 'happening'. I had a brilliant done ribeye which I washed down with a bottle of Jim Barry's Coverdrive Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. I'd opted for this because of my current interest in the Clare Valley - turns out that it's a Coonawarra/Clare blend. Very nice, dark and intense, and doesn't show the 15% alcohol too much.

Now we're off to have a look round Cheltenham and find some breakfast.

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