Tinpot Hut – Hawkes Bay Syrah (2013)

I first tried this wine at a local tasting event and it completely stole the show. Needless to say, I picked up a bottle and have finally got around to giving this wine the attention it deserves.

This is a fantastic Rhone style Syrah from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. A vibrant solid ruby to the eye, this wine presents the depth expected with the Syrah grape.

The nose greets you with structured dark fruits, blackberry jam and smoked meats. This is a wonderfully fragrant, complex and exciting example of the variety.

Initial taste is prominent in big blackberry fruit flavours, leading into more savoury, earthy notes with a green peppercorn spice. There is a great balance of fruit and acidity with good body and length, with a decadently candied finish thrown in for good measure.

Overall this is a great Rhone style Syrah with bright new world fruits. Although traditional in style, this is a wonderfully complex wine that refuses to be pigeon-holed!

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Chapter 2 – What next…

December in wine…

The end to 2018 proved to be very busy, yet highly educational. The Christmas period provided many, many wine orientated event’s, with great opportunities to connect with local enthusiasts, not to mention a great excuse to crack open a bottle or two.

A number of local wine tasting events has introduced me to some fantastic new grape varieties and geographical combinations. To list but a handful of favourites…

Chilean Carménère – This was a completely new grape to me, and definitely one I will be revisiting again in the future.

New Zealand Syrah – Made in a northern Rhone style with new world grapes, simply sublime.

Crémant d’Alsace Sparkling – A fantastic alternative to Champagne, with the same depth of savoury flavours you would expect.

All of the above, plus many more, will be given the dedicated reviews they deserve on my tasting board over the coming months.

Coming up in 2019…

With my WSET 2 Award in Wines and Spirits just around the corner, it’s been all hands to pumps in preparation. A combination of reading, discussing, and of course, sampling different varieties has been a great eye-opener to the more academic side of my wine appreciation.

This course runs over a three week period over January, so watch this space as-well as my social media accounts for regular updates and pearls of wisdom as they come in!

My eyes are peeled for new tasting events and opportunities in the new year. These really are the best places to discover great wine and a chance to discuss the techie stuff with real professionals.

As with the end of 2018, my tasting board will continue to be filled with reviews of my favourite discoveries. With a combination of originality, value for money and that special something, there will be a bottle for every occasion!

Wishing you all a happy new year! … Cheers!

Festive Reds – Part 4

In the lead up to Christmas, I will be adding a new festive favourite each week. Check these reviews of must try, great value wines for the holidays!

Block 18 – Cabernet Sauvignon (2016)

When I sat down to write this penultimate instalment of my festive reds I had the perfect candidate in mind. A highly recommended full bodied Argentinian blend from the well renowned Mendoza region. I made my initial notes with the full intention of writing this up as festive red number four.

As the night went on, a second (different) bottle was opened. Step forward Block 18! Unfortunately for the previous Mendoza blend, the Block 18 was found to be far superior in almost all metrics and an easy favourite with myself and my dinner guests.

This is a great example of the quality of wines coming out of Chile. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo Valley region. One of the oldest, and most prestigious wine growing region the country has to offer.

You get dragged in immediately with this wines prominent red fruit nose. Full on raspberries and strawberries greet you when approaching the glass, inviting you in for a taste.

The initial hit to the palate is that of big blackberry flavours, leading into a great complexity of spice and pepper. A long finish opens strong yet well-balanced tannins, leaving a hint of dark chocolate on the tongue.

At around £10 from Tesco, this is a fantastic value red straight from the supermarket shelf. As with most supermarket wines, I left this to rest for a few weeks before indulging and was certainly not disappointed with the results!

Festive Reds – Part 3

In the lead up to Christmas I will be adding a new festive favourite each week. Check these reviews of must try, great value wines for the holidays!

DeLoach – Heritage Reserve Zinfandel (2015)

In this instalment of my festive reds were heading across the pond for a Californian Zinfandel. I picked up a few of these earlier in the year, and with this being the last bottle from my cellar it has been a firm favourite.

On sight, this wine presents a relatively light ruby colour, almost garnet when held to the light. The nose gives out prominent raspberry fruit accompanied by pepper and vanilla.

The initial flavours on the tongue give great aromatic red and black fruit flavours with a hint of sweetness. As the fruit fades you get a hit of pepper leading into fuller leathery qualities.

With relatively light-medium tannins this wine still gives a brilliant depth of flavour, with a long finish of vanilla and subtle chocolate. There is a bright freshness from the ripe fruits, leading to a satisfying full-bodied finale.

DeLoach vineyards have brought their Burgundian heritage to California’s Russian River Valley to produce some wines of real quality. This Zinfandel is without a doubt no exception to this. With wonderful complexity and great balance, this wine makes a great accompaniment to any meat and poultry dishes.

Winery: DeLoach

Grape variety: Zinfandel

Region: California, USA

Food pairing: Lamb, Beef, Poultry

Festive Reds – Part 2

In the lead up to Christmas I will be adding a new festive favourite each week. Check these reviews of must try, great value wines for the holidays!

San Gregorio – Las Martas Garnacha (2014)

For part two of my festive reds were off to sun-drenched Calatayud, Spain. With high altitudes and hot dry summers this region produces some fantastic big bold reds with juicy ripe fruits.

Upon pouring you are greeted with a deep intense dark purple colour, followed by a strong black cherry nose with light herbaceous tones.

The initial palate gives a good level of acidity balancing out some great raspberry and cherry flavours. As the well received tannins coat the mouth there are subtle liquorish tones leading into a long finish with a twist of pepper.

Made from 100% Garnacha, this wine is typical of the region with it’s full on ripe fruit flavours and high alcohol content – 15%. Using grapes from a single vineyard, or ‘Vinedos Singulares’, this wine is genuinely unique and a great accompaniment to any wintery dish.

Winery: San Gregorio

Grape varieties: Garnacha

Region: Calatayud, Spain

Food pairing: Beef, lamb, game, poultry

Festive Reds – Part 1

In the lead up to Christmas I will be adding a new festive favourite each week. Check these reviews of must try, great value wines for the holidays!

Nero Grande – Appassimento (2016)

The first installation of my festive reds showcases this fantastic winter warmer from sunny southern Italy.

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A blend of Negroamaro and Primitovo present a deep ruby red shine, with the nose giving big ripe blackberries. The flavours do not disappoint, with bold dark fruit flavours complimenting creamy vanilla notes.

The Apassimento style gives a classic dried fruit finish, balanced out with subtle oak undertones. At 14.5% this wine provides plenty of body without being overbearing. Big black tannins coat the mouth leaving you thirsty for more!

I bought this 2016 edition online last Christmas for £8.99, a fantastic value red for any time of year but perfect for a long winter evening. With the 2017 also showing great promise, why not pick a few up?

Winery: Nero Grande

Grape varieties: Primitivo & Negroamaro

Region: Puglia

Food pairing: Beef, Meatballs, Stews, Pasta

Chapter 1 – Searching for inspiration…

The search for Inspiration can be a personal discovery, derived from the deliberate or accidental pursuit of fulfilment. For me, I have decided to begin this pursuit in the world of wine.

For those who stumble across this blog, I hope to provide you with an insight of my journey throughout wine induced meditation, as well as regular reviews and thought provoking posts.

The Way Things Are…

As an already self-proclaimed enthusiast of the boozier selection of produce available in life’s buffet, I have always enjoyed a good bottle of wine. Until recently my selections have been relatively safe, sticking to varieties I know and trust. It has only been within the last year or so I have come to really appreciate the vast levels of creativity on display around the globe. From French and Italian classics to pioneering new world trendsetters, I am excited to continue to sample the best varieties of juice that the grape has to offer.

The Journey…

In order to kick start my journey of inspiration I have decided to dive in at the medium to shallow end, by attempting to obtain an intermediate wine qualification. Since my interest has only increased over recent years, I now plan to continue to fuel my curiosity with this slightly more structured approach. Throughout three weekdays in January, I shall be regaling tails from The Wellington pub on Bennets Hill, until the point I achieve the prestigious award of WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits!

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The Future…

I have no clear direction or intention of where my upcoming wine journey will take me. An ideal end goal would be to provide me with inspiration, perhaps a vague direction in which to travel next. Perhaps the same charge of inspiration that drives the flavours of the world’s finest wines will find its way into my bloodstream. I suppose it’s bound to sooner or later…