Thursday, November 20, 2008
Pio Cesare Barolo 2004 is the 6th place wine and top placing Italian effort for Wine Spectator's annual Top 100 wines of the year awards. Pio Cesare Barolo 2004, remarkably, despite having drank it on 3 occasions this year has not made its way onto the blog. Only the 2004 Barbaresco has been mentioned so far but I have a back note to share with you. I must admit to being confused on what criteria these awards are given. Of all the Barolo releases from 2004 for Pio Cesare to be taking the top wine is a mystery. Looking down the full top 10 list, you can see these wines do seem to fall into a QPR and their availability to US consumers relationship that must be influencing the decisions on which wines win out.
Disappointingly only 1 Italian wine made the top 10 but the plethora of wines in the top 100 backs up my recent findings here in London that wine in the £15-£25 price range from Italy is some of the worlds best value.
Top 10 Wines of 2008:
1. Casa Lapostolle - Clos Apalta Colchagua Valley 2005
2. Chateau Rauzan-Segla - Margeaux 2005
3. Quinta do Crasto - Douro Reserva Old Vines 2005
4. Chateau Guiraud - Sauternes 2005
5. Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe - Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2005
6. Pio Cesare - Barolo 2004
7. Château Pontet - Canet Pauillac 2005
8. Château de Beaucastel - Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005
9. Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale - Carnival of Love 2007
10. Seghesio - Zinfandel Sonoma County 2007
Top placing Italian wines:
6. Pio Cesare - Barolo 2004
14. Aldo & Riccardo Seghesio - Barolo Vigneto La Villa 2004
15. Sette Ponti - Toscana Oreno 2006
22. Avignonesi - Vino Nobile di MontepulcianoGrandi Annate Riserva 2004
31. La Massa - Toscana 2006
45. Jermann - Venezia-Giulia Vintage Tunina 2006
50. Firriato - Nero d’Avola-Syrah Sicilia Santagostino Baglio Soria 2006
51. Fattoria di Felsina - Chianti Classico Berardenga 2006
59. Terredora - Falanghina Irpinia 2007
70. Attems - Pinot Grigio Collio 2007
75. Suavia - Soave Classico 2007
76. Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi - Chianti Rufina Castello di Nipozzano Riserva 2005
81. Querciabella - Chianti Classico 2006
84. Stefano Farina - Barolo 2004
96. Cabreo - Toscana Il Borgo 2006
However, I am pleased to see Pio Cesare in the top 10 I recommend going for this producers Barolo and Barberesco wines and as they are so well exposed over here and the USA they will likely be the only Barolo and Barbaresco wines you'll come across in the fine wine sections of your local supermarket. Or maybe that's just me.
So onto what I really want to talk about today and that is Decanter magazines "Fine Wine encounter" that I'll be attending this Sunday (so if you see me say hello!). Every year Decanter hire out a venue, this year the Landmark Hotel in central London and some of the worlds finest producers come along and show case their wines. This year there are around 100 producers from around the world and whilst I will give it my best shot to get around as many as possible and naturally all of the Italian producers I would like you guys to give me some inspiration about which of these producers I should make a bee line for and which wines I should be tasting.
Recognise any of these:
Baronne Philippine de Rothschild GFA
Château de Campuget
Château Larmande/ Soutard
Château La Nerthe
Château Marquis d'Alesme
Château Rauzan Segla / Canon
Château Saint-Jacques d'Albas
Château Vray Croix de Gay
Domaine de la Bégude
Domaine D'En Ségur
Domaine Paul Mas
Les Vins Skalli
Weingut Martin Wassmer
Baglio di Pianetto
Castello della Paneretta
Feudi di San Gregorio
Il Molino di Grace
Tenuta di Valgiano
Tenute Silvio Nardi
Craggy Range Vineyards
J Portugal Ramos
Quinta do Noval
Ken Forrester Wines
Bodegas Alto Moncayo
Marqués de Caceres
Pago de Cirsus
Pago de los Capellanes
Diamond Creek Vineyards
Heitz Wine Cellars
J Jacaman Wines
Peter Michael Winery
Stags Leap Wine Cellars
Yeah, I thought you might! If you have any favourites there then I will be your ambassador and take down some notes for you. I am nothing, if not a public servant.
So camera and note book at the ready for Sunday. Full report to follow on Monday (or Tuesday depending on the thickness of my head). Ciao for now.
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Um. Tell me which wines to taste!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
4 garlic cloves
1 oven-ready chicken, about 1.35kg
3 cinnamon sticks
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
450ml chicken stock or water
3 sweet potatoes
2 corn cobs
2 red onions
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Cut each orange into 8 wedges and tuck half of them and an unpeeled garlic clove into the cavity of the chicken.
Place the cinnamon sticks, rosemary, bay leaf and remaining garlic in a large roasting pan and set the chicken on top. Pour half the stock or water into the pan and add honey. Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour, basting the chicken with the pan juices after 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 3–4cm chunks. Cut each corn cob across into 4 pieces. Peel the onions and cut each into 4 wedges. Remove the pan from the oven and add the vegetables and remaining orange wedges, turning them in the pan juices to coat evenly.
Add the remaining stock or water to the pan and return to the oven to roast for a further 50–60 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Baste with the pan juices halfway through the roasting time.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a warmed serving dish. Lift out the vegetables with a draining spoon and arrange around the chicken. Discard the cinnamon, rosemary, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Skim any excess fat from the juices and heat until boiling, then serve with the chicken.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi, at around £10, is the threshold Zin crossing over from Pap Zin to Good Zin. It's the Audi TT of Zinfandel, not quite in the super car range, or the cool car range but it's saying, "hey, I have some cash, I'm appealing, I'm doing alright for myself". Ravenswood is possibly the worlds most famous Zinfandel producer and as such is available pretty much everywhere (except Italy of course) so the poor bashed Zin fans won't have to carry their brown paper bag too far home, their cheeks burning red with shame.
"No Wimpy Wines" is the tag line of the Ravenswood winery in Sonoma, California and it's an apt claim indeed. Having sampled around half of the Ravenswood range over the last year all the wines, all Zinfandel, have punched me square in the mush. These are big fruity wines, not about finesse and/or balance, the wines are fruit bombs that are guaranteed to please anyone who loves heaps of fruit and sugar. Think of a thick alcoholic Ribena and you're really close to a Ravenswood Zinfandel. Not a match for my Salmon dinner last night, not even close, but it is a wine you can drink very easily at a party and at 15% alcohol it's no wonder my head is a touch sore while I type this.
I liked it. Actually. I really did. There's a time and a place for classic wines and there is also room in my wine world for a jammy, one dimensional Zinfandel hit and this Ravenswood number is not going to disappoint anyone who likes it a bit sweet now and again.
Ravenswood Zinfandel Lodi 2005 - BUY - £9
Deep purple in the glass, good intensity. Fast and furious with the nose, heaps of vanilla, cherry and strawberry. Huge, mouth filling, jammy palate with acres of cherry flavours. Nothing delicate about this offering. Fruit bomb. 88 Points
Many people enjoy this international fruit bomb style, many do not. Personally I get a kick out of all wines. There is no bad varietal, just bad timing. So shushy.
Where can I buy this wine?
Don't be lazy! Everywhere.
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I'm pretty sure loads of you have tried one Zinfandel from the Ravenswood range. Are you down with the Ravenswood?