Monday, December 17, 2007

Domaine Tempier 2004 Bandol, South of France

This is a big bad red that’s bold, spicy, fruity and absolutely delicious! If I had a fire place that functioned, this would be my fireside companion – warming and seductively dark, it will make any old cold Tuesday evening memorable. If you don’t have a fire place, a few glasses are sure to make you warm and fussy, alternatively it can be enjoyed with the heartiest of food; roasts, casseroles and stews. £14.95, The Wine Society

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

For the love of port…

Although a bit heavy (anyone else felt slightly tired after the tasting??), I hope you enjoyed the port tasting last Friday. Below are the wines we tasted, in the order that we did so (except for the white one, which I forgot to serve and mostly sat around on the kitchen table..).

If you found any of these ports particularly good, remember the ‘style’ you liked e.g. tawny, vintage, late bottled vintage and so on and experiment with different port houses (Taylor’s, Dow’s etc.). All of the ports below are widely available, prices are approximate. Oh, and not to forget; port does NOT keep for ever and ever when opened…so no more ‘one glass this Christmas and we’ll save the rest for Christmas 08’ – finish the bottle and get a new one for next year, your taste buds will love you for it (and so will the wine trade)!

Taylor's Chip Dry White Port £11

Serve chilled as an aperitif, perhaps with some salted nuts or similar.

Warre's Otima 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, 50cl £11

Serve chilled.

Taylor's 20-Year-Old Tawny Port £27

Serve chilled.

Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2001 £12

Fonseca Guimaraens 1988 Vintage Port £20

If you liked this one I would also recommend trying Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas.

Warre's 1980 Vintage Port £47

Had a tiny bit left of this one and on Saturday night we savoured it after dinner with a Cuban robusto each – a seriously delicious experience and highly recommended!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

SWIG Tasting

Thanks to Catherine and Martin I got to go to SWIG’s South Africa tasting last week. It was a great evening with an impressive line up of SA reds and whites plus some seriously delicious biltong to, eh, cleanse the palate… Below are my favourite picks and to the right is a link to SWIG's website if I manage to make you thirsty…

Takara Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2006
An absolutely delicious white with crisp, fresh grassy and limey flavours with a round almost creamy texture – very good! £14.75 at SWIG

Ken Forrester Gypsy 2004
My scribbles from the evening went like this ‘Yum, rich, dark and smooth. Very nice, good long, smoky finish –warming’. This Grenache/Syrah blend costs £17 at SWIG

Rustenberg Peter Barlow 2004
Although a bit young (even the winemaker said he wouldn't touch it for at least 10 years), it is a truly sumptuous wine. A big, blackcurranty Cabernet Sauvignon with amazing depth and great intensity of flavours. Buy it now and wait as long as you can, and if that is a lot less than 10 years make sure you decant it a an hour or two before drinking so it opens up. £17 Stockists: SWIG, Waitrose

Steenberg Semillon 2006/07
Second time I try this excellent white and I still love it! It’s big yet fresh with a waxy texture and peachy stone fruit flavours and a slightly nutty finish. Think this one would go well with creamy chicken dishes. £11 Stockists: SWIG, Waitrose

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Herzog, The Spirit of Marlborough 1998 New Zealand

This is a delicious Bordeaux style red that's drinking beautifully at the moment. Made me think of very ripe dark cherries that have fallen to the ground in the late summer – in a good way, may I add! It has good acidity to balance the fruit and an earthy, smoky complexity from oak ageing and bottle age. Picked up this beauty in Stockbridge, Hampshire at an excellent wine shop called Caviste, to which I would highly recommend a visit if you you’re ever in that beautiful part of the country. Alternatively, check out their website (see links). This wine was on offer for about £15 and well worth a go if there’s any left…

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ulrika’s champagne and sparkling wine tasting

Below are the champagnes and sparkling wines that we tasted on Ulrika’s hen night – in the order that she tasted them. The prices are approximate and most wines should be widely available (with the exception of Waitrose Vintage Champagne). For those of you in Sweden, Systembolaget stocks Louis Roederer Brut NV Champagne and if you liked the taste of sparkling red wine try the Deakin Estate (96 sek). Prices are approximate.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV Champagne, France £32.99
Roederer Estate Quartet Brut NV Anderson Valley, California, USA £17.99
These two wines are made by the same producer and as noticed during the tasting, it’s quite difficult to differentiate between the champagne and the sparkling wine from California. If you liked these two and feel like really splurging on a bottle, then try Louis Roederer’s vintage champagne – I had the 99 vintage recently and its delicious!

Waitrose Brut 1999 Vintage Champagne, France £23.99
Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Bloomsbury 2004 W Sussex, England £18.99
It was good to get such a great response on the English sparkling and if you liked the Ridgeview, I highly recommend trying Nytimber’s vintage sparkling wine, it’s widely available but stocks are low and demand high. It’s about £23.99 for a bottle and well worth a try!

Banrock Station Sparkling Shiraz, SE Australia £8.99
Sparkling red wine is quite a different tasting experience, especially since they can be slightly sweet. Try this one with spicy barbecued meats and serve well-chilled.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Discounted wine - a nasty business…

Just wanted to highlight the very common (and unfortunately growing) practice of price manipulation in the wine industry. It’s a nasty practice and makes it really hard for consumers to know what is a bargain and what is not. Basically, the price of a wine is ‘upped’ from its suggested retail price for a period of time only to be discounted back to, or slightly below, the original retail price. This means that a wine can be sold as being on a ‘great’ discount while in actuality the price hasn't changed much at all, the only difference being that the consumer felt they got a bargain...

Not all retailers use this practice, and far from all discounted wine is manipulated in this way, but its worth considering when buying heavily discounted wine. My advice is to shop around a bit before buying to know the actual value of the wine. An example of this was Krug Champagne that was discounted by a large UK retailer by about £35, which sounds like a great saving but the actual price was really just the ‘normal’ (£90-95) retail price. I think it smells, but then again that’s my opinion…

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wine tasting 15 June 2007

Thanks everyone for coming, I had a brilliant time and I hope you enjoyed the wines! Below are the wines we tasted – in the order that we tried them. Let me know if you have any questions.

Pinot Gris ‘Le Fromenteau’ 2005 Josmeyer, Alsace, France (white)
Stockist: Waitrose, £13.49

Wiltingen Kupp Riesling 2003, von Othegraven, Saar, Germany (white)
Stockist: The Winery (see links to visit their website) £17.99

Savennières La Jalousie 2005 Château des Vaults, Loire France (white)
This was the chenin blanc that we tried – bone dry and quite big! Stockist: Waitrose £9.99

Savigny-les-Beaune 2004 Bouchard Père et Fils, Burgundy, France (red)
Made from pinot noir grapes – delicate fruit notes with a bit of ‘earthiness’. Stockist:,, Waitrose £13.99

Les Rouilleres St Nicholas de Bourgeuil 2005 Frederic Mabileau, Loire, France (red)
Made from 100% cabernet franc grapes – quite rustic red and definitely needs a bit of food to show its best! Stockist:, Waitrose £9.05

Château d’Aiguilhe 2002 Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France (red)
Classic Bordeaux made from cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot grapes. Stockist: Berry Bros & Rudd, Laithwaites, Waitrose £19.99

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Winery

This great little wine shop is located in Maida Vale/Warwick Avenue but they do deliver all over the UK. A specialist store, it’s the kind of place where you ask for recommendations or, like we did this evening, join one of their tastings. This evening it was all German, and it was delicious! The below wines are, with the exception of the last one, all dry. They are food-friendly (think seafood, fish, salads), fruity and seriously elegant!

Wiltingen Kupp Riesling 2003, von Othegraven (Saar)
A brilliant riesling showing some petrolly notes on the nose indicating a bit of age. Delicate, elegant and well worth its £17.99 price tag.

Gäns Riesling trocken 2005 Lubentiushof (Mosel)
This Riesling boasts quite a bit of body and has ripe fruit notes and a big yummy palate! £16.99

Ockfen Bockstein 2005, von Othegraven (Saar)
Delicate, juicy and very aromatic – the nose on this one is really seductive! £19.99

Spätburgunder “Classic” 2005, Nelles (Ahr)
A very enticing nose precedes an extremely delicate palate with juicy fruit notes and some earthiness in this red wine made from Pinot Noir. £15.50

Kanzem Altenberg Riesling Spätlese 2005, von Othegraven (Saar)
A super palate with lovely sweetness and a clean and refreshing finish, making you yearn for the next sip – this one will have a very special place in my wine rack (although given how much Mathias liked it I doubt it will stay there for long…) £17.99

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Château Maris Vieilles Vignes 2005 Minervois Cru La Livinière, South of France

Not surprisingly, I have a new favorite red… This time it’s an absolutely gorgeous southern French red. To quote my own tasting note, ‘beautifully dark and seductive, great palate – yum, refreshing, peppery, superb’. I've enjoyed it with steak and it would probably be a good match with most barbecued meats and veggies. £8.99, Waitrose

Sunday’s wine

A quick note to let Anna and Julia know that the wine we had on Sunday was the d'Arenberg The Galvo Garage – check out the tasting note in February’s section under Aussie round up and thanks again for a fabulous dinner!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cork & Bottle Wine Bar

Slowly falling in love with this wine bar – it’s unpretentious, has a really good wine list and serves a variety of decent priced, well-tasting food. It’s not really what you expect from a wine bar located in one of London’s most notorious tourist places. I don’t know if it’s because you have to order everything in the bar or the fact that it’s located right next to a sex shop in a basement, but somehow you can get a table at this place on a Saturday evening without too much hassle.

The wine is good and they have a good selection on glass that actually changes fairly often (don't ask how I happen to know this...). Further, the staff is knowledgeable and they will let you taste before deciding on what to drink (only the wines on glass though). So many, many Linda points for the Cork & Bottle at Leicester Square!

Cork & Bottle Wine Bar
44-46 Cranbourn Street
Leicester Square
London, WC2H 7AN
Telephone: 0871 3328201

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pink pleasures

I am a big believer in enjoying whatever wine you like whenever you like so when people argue that pinks are to be enjoyed only in summer, I don’t really agree. However, I must confess that I had my first glass of rosé (in 2007 that is) this past week and it was really good!
There are many different styles of rosé wines made from a wide variety of grapes varieties. I like bone dry and very delicate rosé wines and the one below was just gorgeous!

Les Champs Clos 2005 Sancerre rosé, Loire, France
A pale pink coloured wine showing fragrant red berry aromas. Bone dry on the palate with delicate strawberry notes and a soft finish. We enjoyed it with freshly cooked crab and it worked really well.

This wine is made in the village of Sancerre in the Loire Valley. Sancerre is mostly famous for their whites made from sauvignon blanc, however there is a small production of rosé and red wines here and they are always made from pinot noir – hence the price. (wines carrying the name Sancerre on the label have to be made from either sauvignon blanc or pinot noir grapes – it’s the law!) This wine is available from Nicholas (plenty of locations in London), £11.99

Austria tasting

Just a quick update to give all of you who came to Anna’s birthday party and the tasting of Austrian wines the names and prices of the wines we tried. They appear below in the order we tasted them. It was great to get so much feedback on the wines and hear everyone’s opinions about them! For those of you who liked Austrian wines, I’ll be tasting a lot more from this country and will keep you updated on fun and yummy wines! As always keep me updated on what you are drinking and any questions about wine or wine and food matching just post a comment or email me!

Felsner Grüner Veltliner Moosburgerin 2005 Kremstal, Austria (about £8 at Waitrose)

Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Berg-Vogelsang 2005, Kamptal, Austria (about £12.50 at Waitrose)

Feiler-Artinger Umriss Blaufränkisch Rust, Burgenland 2003/04 (about £14 at Handford wines – see link to their website, they have two shops in central London and are well worth a visit!)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chateau Musar 1999 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

This beauty was my ‘Friday night’ tipple and I must admit it’s an interesting wine. I was about to go for my normal ‘claret with steak’ choice but then spotted this Lebanese treasure. It’s a cabernet sauvignon blend with the fruit grown in a baking hot climate and this really comes through on the palate – baked fruit that with bottle age have started to develop secondary, dried fruit characteristics.

It has some pretty chewy tannins so the first sip or two we had while preparing the food were quite rough. Then the amazing thing happened – which is why food and wine matching is so much fun – the wine when taken with the food (steak, roast potatoes, a green salad) became soft and smooth. The baked fruit flavours and slightly rustic palate worked in great harmony with the not too heavily seasoned food. I really recommend giving this red a try but do remember that it is currently about eight years old and definitely needs decanting before serving as there is a quite heavy sediment in the bottle. Stockist: Waitrose, Majestic, Systembolaget £14

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Australian roundup

Below are a few Aussie wines I had at recent tasting that I thought worthy of a mention. Australian wine is often associated with discounts and bargains. However, while the cheapies can be a decent glass of wine, if there is a price range that really represents good value it's Aussie wines between the £8 to £15 mark. Here you find some really characterful and individual wines, which is a lot harder to find in say Bordeaux or Burgundy in the same price range.

d'Arenberg The Galvo Garage 2003
A fabulous red with a ripe and intense nose, and a spicy and an earthy palate – really should be drinking this one more often… Stockist: Oddbins, Waitrose £11.99

The Fergus 2004, Tim Adams
This intense red has been a favourite since I first tasted it about two years ago. It’s minty and plummy with a good grip and is quite a mouthful! Stockist: Tesco, Systembolaget £10.99

Climbing Merlot, Orange, New South Wales
Great clean and fresh Merlot boasting some excellent refreshing berry fruit flavours! Stockist: Majestic £8.99

Philip Shaw No.11 Chardonnay 2005
Ok, it’s a bit pricy I admit that but it has some really lovely, clean Chardonnay fruit with subtle and well integrated oak – it’s a big wine yet very elegant and offers some real finesse! Stockist: Tesco £15.99

Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling 2006, Clare Valley
This is an excellent dry and fruity Riesling – pear, citrus and a bit of apple with a seriously mouth watering finish. Keep it for a year and it will show some complexity or enjoy it now while young and fresh! Stockist: Oddbins, Virgin Wines £9.99

Rose of Virginia 2006, Charles Melton, Barossa Valley
Australia is famous for putting bubbles into red wine and it’s a bit of a strange sensation the first time you try a sparkling red. I really liked this one because it was not as heavy, sweet and monstrous as some of them are – this was more feminine with nice bubbles and a delicate and soft palate of cherry and berry fruit. Enjoy it chilled! Stockist: £12.30

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Pian delle Vigne, Antinori 2000, Italy

When drinking this wine with a big juicy steak last Friday it made me think of a Spanish proverb ‘good wine ruins the purse; bad wine ruins the stomach’. Now, thanks to Neil and Laure this one didn’t put too much strain on my purse, which may have made it taste even better. However, I doubt that the seductive nose or the dark cherry palate with big, yet soft tannins, and refreshing acidity could get much better, besides perhaps a few more years of bottle age – the fruit, tannins and acidity will definitely survive another five years (in wine lingo this means good quality!). This brilliant beverage that will get many Linda points can be found at BWC Berkmann Wine Cellars, London N7 (020 7609 4711), around £25.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Danie de Wet Earth & Sky 2006 Chardonnay, Robertson, South Africa

Crisp, fresh with a modest price tag (£6.99) and just a bit too easy to drink – a very promising candidate for becoming this year’s picnic wine! While we wait for warmer weather though, let this South African gem made from pure chardonnay and no oak whatsoever wake up your tastebuds.

With this wine and its citrus and apple fruit I am thinking more in line with Chablis than ripe New World chardonnay, and although I don’t particularly like comparing regions, it really does have that crisp and slightly minerally style. I had it on its own before dinner, which was great but I could see it being a great match to shellfish. Stockist:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


During Christmas I had a discussion about Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the ins and outs of how to buy this sometimes delicious and sometimes very disappointing red wine. There are a lot of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines out there and they are usually quite expensive, even the less good ones.

Decanter Magazine ( has a really good article in their February issue (in shops now) and I recommend getting a copy for some good advice on which Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines to go for. The review is of the 2004 vintage, which in most cases is a bit too young for drinking now (you still can just make sure you decant the wine for an hour or so before serving). However, the Decanter review is a good guide to which producers to go for to minimize disappointment. As always – let me know what you are drinking!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Beautiful Burgundy

Went to a Burgundy tasting yesterday and here is the deal. When we go to a restaurant we easily spend £25-£30 on an average bottle of wine, right? Nice food, half-ass wine. Now, I propose that the next time you make a really nice dinner at home (and I know a lot of you enjoy cooking) spend on wine in a shop what you would have spent in a restaurant, and if you like to taste real, sensual, mouth-watering and deceivingly delicious Pinot Noir try one of the two below (about £30 each). A male friend once described a really nice white Burgundy as a ‘Burgundy wet dream’, as I am a woman I can’t really use that expression but if I could I’d say these two reds are damn close. Enjoy!

Beaune Premier Cru, Clos des Mouches 2003 Joseph Drouhin (red): Fabulous aromatic, warm and sexy pinot nose! Brilliant – good acidity, bit of tannin and nice berry and sour cherry flavours. Good length – the pinot fruit lingers and lingers. Stockists:, Justerini & Brooks –,

Pommard, Les Petits Noizons 2005 Domaine de la Vougeraie (red): Enticing, lovely nose. Quite a big pinot yet gentle on the palate – sexy and silky! It has good fruit and a just a tad of farmyardy notes on the finish, kind of giving a hint about how it will develop with a few years of bottle age. Stockists: Berry Bros & Rudd –,

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Château de Seguin 2004, Bordeaux, France

This great little wine (thanks Inge) was enjoyed with a lovely green peppercorn stew at a recent dinner back in Sweden. Mom and dad (who really enjoyed it), you can find it at systembolaget for 89 Swedish crowns (nr 3958). For those of you in the UK looking for a good drop of Bordeaux at a decent price this one is stocked by Another favourite inexpensive Bordeaux is Château Segonzac 2004 Premières Côtes de Blaye stocked by It’s a lovely, full-bodied red with a nice plummy palate and a good grip. Both are good food wines matching red meat dishes or, for my vegetarian friends, perhaps try it with a hearty bean stew.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Hello and welcome to my blog!

This page is dedicated to the enjoyment of wine – the beautiful beverage that tends to be on my mind quite often. Occasionally you may find me reviewing a few spirits – an area I am becoming increasingly more interested in. However, the focus is wine and, more often than not, what food it goes with.

This is obviously a subjective site – it’s all about my taste and how I experienced a wine, which may be very different from other people’s experiences. Please comment on the wines I write about, let me know what you thought of them and what food you had with them! Also, there’s a big world out there and I will do my best to list all of the retailers that stock the particular wine I review. Hope you will find my blog enjoyable!