Sunday, 12 September 2010

Laithwaites Experts' Choice - final part

Welcome to the final part of the Laithwaites Experts' Choice review. If you're not familiar with the Blog then please see my other posts over to the right and down a bit in the Blog Archive, and read my welcome notice here: 

Ok, so we are down to the final four bottles from this case, all white. Again, these were again served up blind, without me seeing the bottles. First up...

Prospector's, Viognier, Clare Valley, 2009

From winemaker Neil Pike, the grapes for this are grown on the eastern side of the cool-climate Clare Valley of South Australia. 13.5%

The Look: Fairly pale-mid-yellow.

The Smell: Slightly muted, maybe it was served a bit too cold. Maybe apple and citrus hints.

The Taste: Nice acidity, almost giving a bubbly feeling on the tongue. Smooth. Apples, citrus and maybe apricots.

The Score: This is good. Easy drinking and a long refreshing finish. 7/10 Recommended

VFM: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets a good VFM = 0.78, At its regular price of £8.99 it is more or less identical value.


Il Papavero, Pinot Grigio, Sicily, 2009

By winemaker Scipione Giuliani. My experience with this label is a generic sweet red plonk that somehow manages to be Laithwaite's most re-ordered red wine! Let's see if this is better... 13%

The Look: A pale watery lemon yellow.

The Smell: Unmistakeable "fruit salad sweets" smell of Pinot Grigio. Tropical, pineapple.

The Taste: Suprisingly good. Tropical fruit but with that slight bitterness of grapefruit on the mid-palate. Pineapple to finish. Lovely. Good refreshing acidity.

The Score: Good, fruity, easy-drinking, refreshing acidity...well done 7/10 Recommended

VFM: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets a good VFM = 0.78, but at its regular price of £6.99 it still gets a very good VFM =  1.0. one to get on its own or in a cheaper mixed case.


Angove, Gewurztraminer, South Australia, 2009

Normally associated with the Alsace region of france, these folks (descendents of a Cornish doctor who emigrated to Oz in the 1880's and grew grapes as a hobby!) gave it a bash. 12.5 %

The Look: A lovely golden yellow with slightly green tinges.

The Smell: Big whiffs of Lychees, ginger, and lots of flowers and herbs. There's a lot going on in the glass!

The Taste: Not quite as powerful as the smell suggests, but lovely tastes of ginger, grapefruit, herbs, flowers and minerals. Complex falvours, just a bit restrained.

The Score: This was actually my first Gewurz! And I liked it! Will be on the lookout for more. Good stuff here, very enjoyable... 7.5/10 Highly Recommended for the experience!

VFM: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets an pretty good VFM = 0.84, BUT, this is avaialble for £7.49 in single bottle quantities so cheaper, and better value to go for one of those, giving excellent VFM =  1.0. So one to try on it's own or in your own mixed case.


Domaine Mercadier, Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc, 2008

A Chardonnay from the warm southern Languedoc-Roussillon  region. 12.5%

The Look: A plae lemonny yellow.

The Smell: Quite floral. Apricots and honey. Nutty-sweet like almonds maybe?

The Taste: Definite honey. Nectarines, peach, slight minerality and some floral hits. Smooth. Almost like a good white Burgundy. Very slightly "too noticable" on the alcohol front, slight burn. spicy finish.

The Score: This is good. A much better alternative to expensive white Burgundy for those, like ourselves, who are budget conscious. 7/10 Recommended

VFM: Again, this is another one cheaper on its own: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets a VFM = 0.78, but you can get this on its own for £6.99 it still gets an excellent VFM =  1.0


So, a strong finish for the laithwaites case. All four scoring 7 or more and recommended. Good going. That brings the average score of the case  to 7.79/10 and therefore the overall VFM to 0.87. Not bad at all. I'd advise you all to look into Laithwaites, they're a great bunch with great customer service. This case wasn't too shabby at all so I think we'll be returning here in the not too distant future to seek out even more quality and value.



Semi-blind tasting continues...

So as I've said in  previous posts, I'm trying to develop my blind tasting skills. D serves them up at random, with bottles hidden from view and I have to guess at the 

  • Grape type
  • Country or Region
  • Year
  • Alcohol level

So, here are my notes, transcribed directly from my note book:

Wine #1:

Mid to pale yellow. Quite muted nose, maybe apple and citrus. Nice acidity, almost bubbly feeling. Apply, citrus, apricot? Smooth like Viognier but can't taste any mellon or peach. 13.5%. Young, 08 or 09. Pinot Grigio?

The guess: Pinot Grigio (wild guess), Er, Italy I guess... 2009, 13.5%

The reveal: Australian Viognier, 2009, 13.5%! Oh well, way-off here! I should have listened to myself with the smoothness comment! Silly boy again!. NOTE TO SELF: Remember the smoothness! And Pinot Grigio does not tend to tast like Viognier!


Wine #2:

Palewatery mid yellow. Quite sticky, 13.5% or high residual sugar? Smells like "Fruit salad sweets" and I've smelled this before in wine! Pinot Grigio! Dry, grapefruit, slight bitterness on mid-palate. Pineapple and tropical fruit. Lovely. 2008.

The guess: Italian Pinot Grigio, 2008,  13.5%.

The reveal: Italian Pinot Grigio, 2009, 13%. Oooooh, so close!  NOTE TO SELF: Not too bad!


Wine #3:

Lovely golden yellow. Is that a green tinge? High alcohol? 13.5% Lovely smell of lychees, gingery, herbs and floral notes. Same on the taste, but with a slight bitterness. Minerally. Not as tasty as the smell suggests. Still very good!

The guess: I might be cheating a bit here, but I remembered the case had a Gewurz, and although I've not had one before, I know it's associated with the smell of lychees! Gewurztraminer. Er, anywhere? 2008. 13.5%

The reveal: Australian Gewurztraminer, 2009, 12.5%. Ok so I was off on the alcohol, didn't know where it came from or what year, but I got the grape. NOTE TO SELF: You cheated. 


Wine #4:

Medium yellow with pale lemon hue. Chablis? Smells a bit like Chablis. Apricot, honey, slightly floral, maybe almonds or something nutty-sweet? Taste is honey, melon, nectarine, delicate, floral, subtle minerals, peach. Smooth like Viognier. Spicy finish. White Burgundy maybe? No, no apples or citrus. Chardonnay blend? Old world, I think, but where?

The guess: Ok, wild guess: French Chardonnay blend, 2007, 13%.

The reveal: French pure Chardonnay but from the Languedoc, 2008, 12.5%! Ah damnit, recognised the chardonnay but the warmer region led to more honey/spice and threw me off track. NOTE TO SELF: Almost there, you knew it wasn't chablis and it was Chardonnay but dismissed the other characteristics as a blended grape.

So, there we have it. Next time around, the final part of the Tesco case and then on to some new wines. Woop woop.

Speak to you soon!



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