TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis



France

Posted by Torsten 01 Aug 2009

The year is 1976 and the French wine legions have conquered the world. The whole world? Wait, a small Californian valley still stands against the empire. But sadly, no one but the Californians themselves is aware of this. The movie Bottle Shock is about a wine tasting held in Paris in 1976, the Judgement of Paris, that changed all that. Despite all the drama, Bottle Shock is also, sometimes sadly, a comedy.

Rickman as Steven SpurrierRickman as Steven Spurrier

Once upon a time there was a slightly eccentric English lover of wine whose dream it was to run a quality wine shop. Luckily, Steven Spurrier was also the son of a well-to-do family and in the 1970s we find him running his own wine shop and wine school in Paris, shaking hands with the French wine elite and over time becoming accepted almost as one of their own. When Spurrier learned that California wine makers used a lot of new, innovative techniques to make good wine in French style, he decided to host a tasting of French and American wines. While Spurrier never expected the Californians to win, he wanted the tasting to be blind so that they would not get totally trashed by the wine judges who would be French.

Posted by Torsten 31 Jul 2009

Thursday evening we ventured to the Clapham Picturehouse to see a movie about wine. And to drink some, of course. The movie is Bottle Shock and it features the (in)famous 1976 Paris wine tasting during which the French wine elite was defeated by the products of the (then) newcomers from California. To re-enact the Judgement of Paris, the cinema offered eight wines, four each from France and California, and the movie ticket for £22. So off we went! [read the full post...]

Posted by Torsten 17 Jul 2009

So here I sit, listening to Billy Bragg and Wilco, waiting for a Riesling to reach drinking temperature, and I am really pleased with this French red. The winery, Domaine les Filles de Septembre, was named after the four daughters of wine makers Françoise and Roland Géraud. And Delphine is one of the four. If she is anything like this cuvée of Syrah and Carignan, she must be lovely indeed. [read the full post...]

Posted by Julian 11 Jul 2009

K&U is frothing at the mouth about this Mont Ventoux red made by a Norwegian from California - it's all very special, you understand...

At first, this tasted devastatingly like a cheap Cotes du Rhone - alcoholic, sweet, and fizzy. But oh, the wondrous change that comes over this wine, as it becomes drinkable after 10 minutes open, quite tasty after 30, and an iconic Southern Rhone wine after an hour: Thick raspberry jam, dried herbs, salty smoked bacon, and a mouthfeel that was pure and smooth, but at the same time viscous and fat. The high alcohol became unnoticeable, but hadn't gone away, as I found out this morning.

Still, a killer wine for those who like reds to chew on.

Posted by Julian 05 Jul 2009

From the Loire valley comes this nicely named Cabernet Franc ("Day of thirst").
Nice colour for a start: dense, purple-tinged red. Nice smell, too: Sour cherries, some cassis. Bone dry, fresh, pure fruit in the mouth, reminds me of a lighter Bordeaux, but with none of the unpleasant greenness you can get there. This is fresh and nicely rustic, but ripe and with harmonic tannin. Two things I particularly like about this wine: No oak at all, and a kind of vegetable earthiness, like tasting a spade you've used to dig up vegetables.

Original, yet very easy to drink, this is a rare thing: a terroir summer wine. To me, this says "grilled vegetables" all over. Nicely chilled, I would even give it a go with grilled fish.

Posted by Torsten 01 Jun 2009

I really appreciate how a good sommelier can make an excellent dinner even more memorable. At a previous (and dare I say excellent) dining experience at Tom Aikens the sommelier recommended Rémy Gresser's Brandhof Muscat with fish.

While searching for a UK source for this wine I learned that I am apparently gifted with a special understanding of this kind of wine (or perhaps wine in general), as the wine merchant wrote to me: "The Muscat is essentially a restaurant wine, very few people understand dry Muscat, like you." [read the full post...]