jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, September 01, 2008

a (sort of) pink English fizz that's really good

Today has been quite a difficult one. I drove older son down to his new school (160 miles away), which he starts tomorrow. He's beginning as a boarder, at age 12, which must be incredibly difficult for him. Also, any parent reading can probably share a sense of how difficult it is to leave your child in someone else's care like this. But it's not a decision we came to lightly, and it's one that he participated in. He's an incredibly talented, able chap with a very bright future ahead of him, but had things carried on the way they were at home, then the future would have been much less bright. It seems a bit absurd and flippant to document this major change in a paragraph on a blog post, but I feel it needs to be mentioned, and it's either a paragraph or a whole book.

Back to the safe territory of wine, and more specifically a rather good sparkling rose from England that's the equal of a good rose Champagne.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Sparkling Rose NV, England
Made by Chapel Down, this is really delicious. A very pale salmon pink colour, it's only just a rose. The nose is super-sophisticated with tight herby, citrussy notes as well as a hint of strawberry. The palate is dry and complex, with a hint of fruity richness offsettin the high acidity really nicely. There's none of the overt herbiness that is the besetting sin of so many English wines, and all the flavours work in tandem to create a stylish whole. Pretty serious effort - shame about the rather naff packaging. 90/100 (£17.99 Sainsbury's)

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend wines: Portugal and pink Burgundy

Two wines to report on from the weekend. One a leading Portuguese red from the Alentejo; the other a delicious pink wine from Burgundy.

Malhadinha Nova Pequeno Joao 2005 Alentejo, Portugal
A small production run of Cabernet, Aragones and Syrah that's bottled in 50 cl format. Beautiful purity of sweet raspberryish fruit with foresty, blackberry notes in the mix too. The palate is pure and intense with lovely fruit intensity and nice spiciness. Ripe, rich, fruit-driven and delicious. 92/100

Simonnet-Febvre Bourgogne Rose 2006 France
Pink orange in colour, this has a sweet nose of strawberry and redcurrant fruit, with a herbal freshness. The palate is richly textured with a nice sappy finish along with the sweet fruit. Stylish and appealing. It's hard to make serious rose, but this is almost there. 87/100 (£9 Hayward Bros, Anne et Vin, Hennings, ND John)

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rose from Provence: tasting with the eyes

I was recently sent some rosé samples with a Riedel Sommelier Rosé glass. It’s a beautiful piece of ‘stemware’, if a little effete in appearance. In terms of its shape, it’s not an ideal wine tasting glass, but despite this it works pretty well for rosé.

Why? At its best rosé is a good-time wine. And nowhere does it better than Provence, which has unbeatable chic-ness, sunshine and good food, much of it served al fresco. In this sort of setting, rosé makes so much sense, and this is because it’s not just about the taste of what is in the glass.

You can see where I'm going. I guess one of the reasons the Riedel rosé glass is just so right is simply because of aesthetics: part of the key to understanding rosé is understanding its aesthetic appeal. We taste with our eyes, at least to a degree. What we see as we approach a glass of wine shapes our expectation, and our expectation can then, in turn, shape our perception.

Today I was sent a couple of rosé samples, so I pulled out my Riedel glass and gave them a go. These two rosés are both beautiful looking wines, and are nicely presented. They taste good, if not remarkable (it’s hard to find rosés that really stun), but combine this with the visual and emotional elements, and they’re both compelling. Of course, because they come from Provence, they’re probably at least a couple of quid more expensive than wines of equivalent quality from elsewhere, but then nowhere does rosé quite like they do in Provence.

Domaine de la Grande Pallière Rosé 2007 Côtes de Provence, France
This organic rosé is a beautiful pale salmon pink colour. The dominant theme here is fresh strawberry fruit with good acidity and a smooth, luxurious texture. There’s a bit of spicy, bite too. It’s the sort of wine you could quaff without too much though, but if you give it some contemplation, it rewards you with some complexity. 89/100 (£9.95 Nicolas)

Les Maîtres Vignerons de la Presqu’ile de Saint-Tropez Cuvée Carte Noir 2007 Côtes de Provence, France
In a very elegant round-shouldered, tall bottle, this is an attractive salmon pink colour. There’s gentle strawberry fruit here, along with a savoury mineral character and an attractively rounded texture. A stylish, grown-up sort of rosé that’s perfect for a summer’s day, and has the ability to recreate summer if you drink it in another season. 88/100 (£9.50 Nicolas)