Sunday, 6 February 2011

Birthday Celebrations 1

Hello all!

So last week was D's birthday and I whisked her away to the Hilton at Puckrup Hall near Tewkesbury which was superb. We had some great food; D had a Salmon & Rocket starter and I had Leek soup, both very good. For mains D had Pork and spring onion mash with bok choi and I had the tastiest Beef in Guinness stew ever, served in a Yorkshire pudding with mustard mash. D had a dark chocolate and orange creme brulee and I had a forest fruit cheesecake. Amazing dinner. Wine-wise, to start we had a glass of Piper Heidsieck Brut NV at £8.05 a glass! Expensive but superb - great fruit, lively bubbles and perfect refreshing acidity (8/10). D then liked the sound of a Zinfandel so we ordered the bottle of Ravenswood Vinters  Blend Zinfandel 2007 (nearly £26!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) - which is on sale at Majestic for £4.99. After nearly choking on the price, we enjoyed its soft fruit and some spice (6.5/10). Decent for a Fiver but not £26 - ridiculous markup.

We'd recommend it to any looking for a luxury getaway, if only for the buffet breakfast! Eat as much as you like...and I did!

Anyway, the night before we set off we also treated ourselves to some lovely wines from Slurp. Another thing I like about Slurp is that some of the bottles have a few years bottle age in them already, its not all about shifting the most recent vintage to make room for the next.

Esk Valley, Riesling, Hawkes Bay, 2007

From winemaker Gordon Russell, this Riesling is very "German" in style; low alcohol (10%) and some residual sugar to make it just off-dry. Produced from two vineyards in Clive and Takapau, Hawkes Bay, NZ. The black label Sauvignon Blanc was immense for the price and we're hoping this will be too.

The Look: Brightly coloured; a mix of gold and deeper green hints.
The Smell: Quite a complex mix of lime, some soapy/floral hints and some savoury/herby elements.
The Taste: Very bright, zingy acidity. Limes, passion fruit, buttery and herby. The acidity then fades to an almost imperceptible sweetness but enough to counterbalance the acidity. Really good. This will age well and according to the back of the bottle, should keep for "many years"; developing toasty elements.
The Score: Again, brilliant stuff from Gordon Russell. 8/10. Highly Recommended.
VFM: At £10.80 a bottle, this is not bargain-basement, but in my opinion, neither is it exclusive or out of reach. The VFM is a very respectable 0.74. A nice treat with your spicy Asian dishes or as a lunch wine or just for indulgent quaffing.

Vina Tabali, Reserva Syrah, Limari Valley, 2007

From the cool climate Limari Valley 29km from Chile's coastline. This winery is part of the same group as Vina Leyda (who also produce some stunning cool-climate wines in the Leyda Valley) but run independently. Big one at 14.5%.

The Look: Dark, intense, opaque purple with a slight rim of violet.
The Smell: A lovely, complex mix of strawberry, plum, white pepper, blackberry, dark chocolate, sweetness and florality (if that's a word?). Slightly hot on a deep sniff.
The Taste: Unsurprisingly; much the same as the above; blackberry, violets, bitter dark chocolate, brighter red fruit (maybe redcurrant) giving a brisk acidity. A slightly overt bitterness did detract from the enjoyment slightly but did fade after a glass or two. Slightly hot but a lovely long finish.
The Score: Very enjoyable. Hotness and slight bitterness did nag slightly, but I may be being too harsh. 8/10. Highly Recommended.
VFM: At £14.95 a bottle, this is a bit of an indulgence, but what the hell; it's celebrating-time! VFM = 0.54 but we don't care!

Some more celebrations to come as we approach my birthday so we'll keep you posted on what we're glugging. The wines from The Wine Society have arrived so we'll be tucking into them very shortly.

As always,

Speak to you soon...



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