Sunday, 1 August 2010

A long day in front of the computer screen, plus a lovely red and white pair of Portugese wines

Yesterday was, as usual, golf day, and I had a pretty topsy-turvy round in the monthly medal at my local club. A shaky start saw me drop three shots in the first two holes, after which I settled down a bit with a few pars and bogies. Some laser-like iron shots and a hot putter then saw me card no less than four birdies in the space of six holes around the turn, but these were somewhat negated by another couple of double bogeys. It all added-up to a round of 77 (net 67), which saw my handicap reduced to 9.5, so I am tantalisingly close to once again reaching single figures. After that, it was home to do a bit of work, followed by a nice home-made pizza for dinner and a couple of hours in front of the TV. I love Saturdays - definitely my favourite day of the week!

After a nice lie-in this morning, it has been a pretty long Sunday sat in front of the computer. Which rather typifies the lifestyle of a civil servant masquerading as a wine merchant, in that there aren't that many "days off" from work of one sort or another. There is always something to be done, be it the day job, the wine business or the various things to be done around the house. There's not a lot of the "DIY" sort of stuff that I won't turn my hand to, be it painting and decorating, building a kitchen or a fireplace, carpentry, electrics, even a bit of plumbing. Or, to be more precise, I'd rather do it myself than pay someone else to do it. Which is a bit of an irritation to TLD, as we have a bathroom that I started around 18 months ago that still isn't quite finished. I have to admit that fitting a new bath suite and electric shower is a bit beyond what I am prepared to do, so we had a professional in to do that - in late 2008(!) Since then, I have tiled the walls and added built-in mirrors over the sink and the opposite wall. And, though I say so myself, it looks fantastic. All I need now is a window of opportunity to tile the side panel for the bath and get the floor tiles laid. And the ceiling painted. And the recessed lights fitted and wired-up. And the extractor fan wired-up. And, erm..... that's it. I must admit that proceedings took a bit of a setback several months ago, when I was replacing a floorboard and managed to drill through a central heating pipe. Pity, because I was really on a roll at the time. Anyway, that's my excuse. TLD says that if I don't get it finished soon, she is going to get somebody in to finish it for her. So I'd better get my arse into gear pretty damn quick.

Hence the day spent in front of the computer, going through the numerous processes involved in adding around 8 new wines to the website, wine list, bookkeeping system and so on. I love tasting new wines, but I hate typing out tasting notes. It takes me long enough to write the notes in the first place (although of course the tasting bit is a pleasurable experience) but if anyone can suggest a better way than writing the notes with pen and paper and then typing them out, I'd be happy to hear it.

Anyway, I've broken the back of the day's work, so I am typing this post in the middle of frying a delicious duck breast for our Sunday evening dinner, whilst TLD prepares the veg. Wine-wise, we finished off those lovely bottles of La Combe Blanche La Galine 2001 and 2007 last night, and started on another bottle of von Hessen Riesling 2005. Tonight, I have opened a bottle of Lucien Boillot et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 2001, which I picked up for about 12 quid in a Berry Bros sale a few years back. To be honest, it is a bit uninspiring and lacking in fruit. Of course, it may be going through a closed phase, but frankly I'm not prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt. I'll let you know if it blossoms into something more interesting, but I don't expect it will.

Meanwhile, here are tasting notes on a couple of those new wines I've been dealing with today - a lovely pair of wines from Estremadura, on the west coast of Portugal;

Estremadura is the most westerly wine region in Europe, where the cool Atlantic breezes encourage a long growing season, resulting in very balanced wines. This is a bright, fairly deep yellow/gold, with green tinges. A complex nose of citrus fruits and peach, with herbaceous nettle and lemongrass notes. The palate begins with peach and orange, before a surge of zingy lemon and tart apple flavours coat the tongue. It is quite herby, too, with hints of rosemary and oregano and a steely, mineral depth. There is excellent concentration, with the fruit carrying all the way through to a tangy, even spicy finish, which lingers for an impressive length of time in the mouth. This is no simple quaffer - it is a complex, multi-layered wine, worthy of contemplation - and food. Given the prices commanded by most Alvarinho wines from Portugal, this really is a bit of a bargain at £10.75.

DJF Vinhos Grand'Arte Touriga Nacional 2008 Estremadura
This is a deep purple/blue colour with a very narrow rim. The nose offers a huge waft of bramble and blackcurrant fruit, combined with notes of leather and meat. Ageing in oak has also contributed some interesting vanilla and mint humbug nuances. I also detect just a hint of volatile acidity, which serves to give the aromas even more of a lift. After a while, the oak aromas integrate beautifully, to reveal a serious, structured wine, worthy of contemplation. The palate is full of dark cherry, bramble and chocolate flavours, with plenty of tannic grip. There is great concentration, but the tannins and the excellent underlying acidity keep it nicely tight and delineated. Although it has a modern, clean, even new worl quality, you get the feeling that it will evolve into something really complex and interesting. Indeed, it has plenty of interest already. Therefore, whilst you can drink it with pleasure already, you can also keep a few bottles by to enjoy over the next 5 or even 10 years. A lot of bang for your buck. £11.95.
Tomorrow, I'll post on some cracking wines tasted at a couple of wine evenings in Nottingham last week.


David Bennett- Optometrist and Contact Lens Practitioner said...

you smokers just dont "get" Burgundy..



Leon Stolarski said...

As you well know, Mr. B, I "get" Burgundy just as much as you do - probably better, actually. ;-)

But when it is average, it can be a huge disappointment. And this one didn't get any better - it just became even more rubbish!