Friday, January 27, 2017

Wine for Chinese new year

Happy Chinese New Year! What shall we drink with our Chinese takeaway to celebrate?



It is Chinese New Year on Saturday 28 January, and I imagine many Brits will eat Chinese food for dinner, but which wine should you pair with Chinese food? The answer depends on what you're eating, what wine you like, and how spicy you like your food.

If you like white wine, Gewurtztraminer and Riesling are always a good choice because they have low acidity, and if you're having spicy food you should find something off-dry so your mouth doesn't feel like its on fire. If you're having Chicken Cashew then a Viognier would partner well. Again, a Viognier tends to have low acidity, but the flavour profile (aromatic, stone fruits) will match well with the nuttiness. If you're eating dim sum then go for a Champagne to truly celebrate! For Sweet & Sour dishes go for an off-dry rose, like the Petticoat White Zinfandel (available from Laithwaites £7.99).

I personally love to partner red wine with Chinese food because it increases the intensity of the spiciness, and something like a Merlot, which has lower acidity than many other reds, will feel well-balanced with spicy dishes. If you choose crispy duck then you should go for a Pinot Noir. For Beef in Black Bean you can go bod with a deeper red, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, perhaps a Bordeaux, or if you want to try a Chinese wine go for Moser XV Cab Sav (available at Wine Rack for £10.99).

If you'd like to read my review of Moser XV then CLICK HERE.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Chinese wine? Chateau Changyu Moser XV Cabernet Sauvignon

Chinese wine is going to be a big deal in a few years. Lots of vines being planted, and by some highly regarded names, like Rothschild. When I saw this bottle in my local Wine Rack I just had to try it... is Chinese wine any good?


Smells like petrol, but in a good way. Like you're going on a road trip,  pulling into the petrol station and wondering what overpriced snacks you'll purchase for the journey. It's actually quite good! Black cherry jam, and clove. Lingers on the sides of the mouth. Unusually for a Cabernet Sauvignon it finishes with red cherry, a light fruity tone. The road trip was better than expected, with some ups and downs, through unfamiliar territory, and got lost, but found our way home.

Would go great with peppered steak or roast duck with plum sauce.

Worth a go for £10.99 from Wine Rack.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#wineshowxmas Wine Advent Calendar

Here is my review of all the wines featured in the Wine Show Christmas advent calendar:

1st Dec advent wine: Balbium, Terre di Balbia 2011 Calabria Italy. Soma notes: sitting in a warm pub in a leather chair at an oak table that has that slight tackiness from the days pint and wine glasses. It's raining outside, enjoying the quiet before friends arrive. Interpretation: almost purple in colour with a heady aroma of dried prunes. Spicy and warming from the alcohol, definitely a wine to be enjoyed in front of a fire, a great start to the advent. Tannins are teeth-coating but velvety. Enjoy with a cheese platter accompanied with the trimmings of celery, walnuts, and fig chutney.

2nd Dec #advent wine from The Wine Show Benufet, Herencia Altes 2011 #wineshowxmasSoma notes: Hot summer, sitting on a bench in a busy city square with heat reflecting off the pavement and sun reflecting off a fountain, as passers by chatter. Interpretation: An aromatic fruit-driven Garnacha with floral and melon notes with a long finish. It has had early harvesting which has preserved the acidity (some Spanish wines can get too flabby from over-sun exposure), and has had 2 months on its lees (sediment) to add texture and complexity. A very lovely wine (I want to find out where I can buy it) and would go well with roast pork or chicken casserole.


Estate Carmenere, De Martino Estate, Maipo Chile 2015: 3rd Dec #adventThe Wine Show #wineshowxmasIt tastes of cardboard, well, red-wine soaked cardboard, but still... I'd have said mines corked except it's from a bottle which has no cork! Lovely purple colour though. Sorry no appropriate tasting notes for this bad boy 






4th Dec #advent wine: Rioja Reserva Bodegas Ondarre 2010 The Wine Show #wineshowxmasSoma notes: Sitting in a sauna on a white fluffy towel after a long swim in an indoor pool. Feeling relaxed, invigorated, slightly achy, warm, with a tingle in the nose. Interpretation: beautiful oak on the nose, soft and fruity with lovely caramel. On the palate there are black cherries and spiced plum. Don't serve it chilled, it needs to be room temp so it tastes mellow.

5th Dec: Bacchus, Kenton vineyards, Devon 2014 #wineshowxmas#advent #wine The Wine Show. I'm not a fan of Bacchus generally. It's naturally a low acidity wine meaning the flavour flees from your palate leaving you wondering if it was ever really there. It's a German varietal that a lot of UK vineyards grow because it's hardy, doesn't mind what soil it grows in, and our crappy climate allows the grapes to retain their acidity. It has been dubbed "UK's Sauvignon Blanc". Bacchus can have deep and complex flavours, but only when it's allowed to fully ripen. So is this wine unripe with high acidity, or complex but fleeting? Let's find out... Aromatic with citrus and elderflower. Tastes almost like a sorbet. Good acidity, not very complex. Will go well with oysters or scallops. Worth a try, see if you like it.

6th Dec wine #advent: Paper Road Pinot Noir, Wairarapa New Zealand 2014 #wineshowxmas The Wine Show. Soma notes: you're actually in the vineyard, you can smell the solid earth and the green canopy of the vines. Nibbling at wild strawberries that grow with the roses at the ends of the rows of vines. Interpretation: an honest, delicate, fruity wine that is a true joy to drink. A pale Ruby colour, with fresh earthy tones on the nose, and luscious strawberries on the palate with a spicy finish. It doesn't need food, but if you must, serve it with a mushroom risotto or chicken chasseur, something that's equally grounded and honest. Available for £14.99 from The Dorset Wine Company

7th & 8th Dec #advent from The Wine Show #wineshowxmas
Soave Classico Pieropan Venetian Italy 2015. Gorgeous. Like you're walking through a field of wild flowers. Soave can often come across as watery, but this is full of flavour from the combination of Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave grapes which develops the complexity of the wine. It is wonderfully fragrant, with flavours of grapefruit and honey. 
Cedre Heritage Cahors 2014. This tastes like you're at a farm that uses old fashioned farming practices, a horse and cart ploughing a field. It's a wine that is packed full of blackcurrants and clove. If you like Argentinian Malbec you should try this, or another French Malbec (or Cot) to see how they differ. The French version tends to be a bit more rustic.

9th Dec #advent #wineshowxmas Limoux Toques et Clochers Languedoc Chardonnay 2012 The Wine Show. Wowsers! This is a pretty full on Chardonnay. If you're an ABC (anything but Chardonnay) this is not the wine for you. Having been matured in new oak I got cheese and pineapple on the nose! Very oaky and needs to be drunk with food, a cheese soufflé or smoked fish, or something with full flavour that can battle it out with this powerhouse.

10th & 11th Dec #advent #wineshowxmas The Wine Show
Chardonnay Bogle Vineyards California 2013: Lovely honey, lemon and vanilla to start with mango and coconut. Sitting on a beach in the Caribbean drinking a mango smoothie, wearing oversized sunglasses having just applied Malibu coconut sun cream.
Hochar Pere et Fils, Chateau Musar, Beckaa Valley, Lebanon, Cinsault Grenache 2011: Black cherry, black pepper, chocolate, not much tannin, very fruity, and has a sweetness to it. It's quite high alcohol but you don't notice it. I'm sitting at a bus stop... I'm waiting for something...

12th & 13th Dec #advent #wineshowxmas The Wine Show
Selezione Greco, La Guardiense, Sanrio, Italy 2015: Peach and almond on the nose, complex and intense. Full bodied, with lime and green olive on the palate. Walking along a brick road in Ohio on a hot late-summers day at corn harvest.
Ad-Hoc Avant Gardening Cabernet Malbec, Larry Cherubino, Western Australia 2014: Deep black cherry, eucalyptus, charcoal and chocolate. Hiking through a forest with an increasingly heavy backpack making shoulders ache, but feeling a sense of achievement. Looking forward to putting my feet up!


14th & 15th & 16th Dec #advent #wineshowxmas The Wine Show
Pinotage Groot Constantia South Africa 2014: Very juicy black currants and plums, surprisingly easy drinking. Earthy, brave, strong and friendly. I am Groot.
The Apple Doesn't Fall Far, Matias Riccitelli, Mendoza Argentina, Bonarda 2014: Deep purple, spicy on the nose with Black Forest fruits and chocolate, a bit rough around the edges. I'm standing outside a chocolate factory made of red brick. Would be a good wine to accompany a cheeseburger.
Torrentes Coloma Salta Argentina 2015: Pale lemon yellow, powerful Peach and melon on the nose. Almond, Apple and cinnamon on the palate. Visiting a rural countryside cottage, inside has a cool breeze, contemplating the energy for a bike ride. Homely, fresh, exploration.

Waitrose has named wines in their house range with one word, so I'm going to try the same...
Vina Almate Alfredo Maesto Valladolid Tempranillo Spain 2014: FRUITY
Albente, Feudi di San Gregorio, Campania, Falanghina, 2015 Italy: AROMATIC
Bourgogne Aligote, Domaine du Corps de Garde, Burgundy, France 2014: CRISP
Teroldego Rotaliano, Foradori, Trentino Alto-Adige, Teroldego, Italy 2013: DEEP
Good enough descriptions? Do you actually need any more??

Valle Hermoso, Carmenere, Valle Central, Chile 2014. Sorry but this wine only gets one word too: MEH. I think maybe I'm tasting too many special wines in the run up to Xmas I'm being spoiled 



Dry Tokaji, Chateau Dereszla, Hungary 2014, Furmint Muscat Kabar: Licking a gooseberry fool in a cafe next to a glass window... zingy, balanced with body and low acidity so good with spicy food like a Thai green curry.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, Carpineto Tuscany Italy 2011, Sangiovese: Elegant and soft, light but with layers of flavour. A very Xmas wine, packs a punch to counteract cola-glazed ham, pigs in blankets with cranberry sauce and turkey with stuffing and gravy.
Gruner Veltliner Terrassen, Huber, Traisental, Austria, 2015: In a scented garden, touching herbs and smelling wafts of fresh aromas as you brush past bushes. Green on the tongue, slight spritz.

25th Dec #advent thank you The Wine Show for such a wonderful #wineshowxmas🎄
Chianti Classico, Sangiovese, Nittardi, Tuscany, Italy 2012: Sitting on the sofa under a rug, fireside with logs burning in a brick hearth, a copper coal bucket containing paper kindling. Lights down low. Lovely blackcurrants and raspberries, an unusual combination, with soft tannins. Smoky aftertaste, complex, well-balanced, fruity yet dry. Spot on. Cheers!




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