This gorgeous cocktail shaker from Alessi is the epitomy of 1920's style. It was initially attributed to Marianne Brandt (Bruckmanns Silber Lexicon, Munich 1982, and H. Wikmann, Die Neue Sammlung, Munich, 1995) but subsequent studies by Peter Hahn, the director of the Bauhaus Archive, have since seen it attributed to the Swedish designer Sylvia Stave. The design is a contrast of forms - it has a large spherical body and slender handle and it was originally manufactured between 1920 and 1930 by the C. G. Hallbergs company of Stockholm. Now manufactured by Alessi it's a true classic in every sense. It's made from polished stainless steel and forms part of the 'Alessi Officina' collection which includes their most sophisticated, experimental and innovative products, as well as small-scale and limited productions."
Available from Tesco for £7.99
Not bad this, not bad at all. Trying it blind it just hollas to you that this comes from Spain. Which is exactly what you want in a wine - regional typicality; even more of a requirement when made from Shiraz. OK, so there is also Grenacha and Mazuelo, in the blend too that imparts that needed Spanishness but Shiraz can be so 'international' that you find wines, although a decent enough drink, that could really come from anywhere. Not so in this example.
A superb mouth-feel and nice structure and, as I often say, is really made for food, but not, as can be the case, because of any excessive tannins or acidity. In this case the combination of balanced tannins and fruit just sing when partnered with food - roast lamb perhaps?
Overall nicely flavoured with plenty of scrummy dark black fruits, savoury hints, raspberry freshness and a dusty Spanish tang. Alcohol 13.5%
Scribblings Rating - 92/100 [4 out of 5]
Grown and then vinified at the Cellers Unió state-of-the-art winery in Poboleda under the quality-focused care of Pere Escudé, this wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks at 25°C, followed by a process of malolactic fermentation. It is then transferred to 300 litre American and French oak casks and spends one year in oak barrels before bottling.
At Besós we pride ourselves on the quality of all our wines. In our view, this is without doubt the best value Priorat wine in the UK market, a fantastic example of this beautiful and expressive region."
Can you see where this is heading?
Before I go further I should just say that I have no idea if this will work. I've not tried it myself. It could all end in tears... but can you sum up that wonderful glass of grape juice you are cradling in your hand using just seven words?
The theme for Wine Blogging Wednesday #42 is Just Seven Words. The wine should be an Italian Red. It matters little really for this exercise what type; but try and find something new, interesting and thought provoking. And get that thesaurus out!
JUST SEVEN WORDS. The finished tasting note must make sense, be grammatically correct(ish), punctuation will help of course. The wine name, type, producer, vintage do not have to be included in the 7. But a reference to aroma, flavour, length, food matching etc etc should be considered. Inventiveness is the key.
I have a feeling this could be trickier than it first appears but it is supposed to be a fun, light-hearted approach to wine.
You should post your tasting notes on Wednesday 13th February either on your own blog or on the Wine Blogging Wednesday site.
PS Don't forget to post your wine picture to the WBW flickr group.
Wine Tasting Note: Scarbolo Le Fredis Pinot Grigio, 2005, Venezia Giulia, Italy.
Available from Oddbins for £8.49.
An interesting twist of minerality to the full-on lemon flavours. A slight edge of vegetal (peapod or is that lees ageing?) complexity adds a lot to the flavour while unripened pears and quinces linger in the background. Crisp acidity, medium-bodied with a reasonable length. It's light and refreshing and a step up frm the usual Pinot Grigio dross but at the end of the day it is still a Pinot Grigio. Alcohol 13%.
Scribblings Rating - 84/100 [3 out of 5]
Valter Scarbolo acts as grower, cellar-man, restaurateur and acclaimed pork butcher with a proper 'hands-on' attitude to the vineyard. A majority of his production is white but it is the reds that gain the high ratings in the various competitions and yearly wine guides.
Love it when retailers or producers take the trouble to comment on a scribble. It would seem that sadly the importer of their wines in the UK abruptly closed-shop recently (hence perhaps the marvellous offer from Cooden Cellars on the two wines - they 'normally' retail at £17.99 a bottle) so the wines are not currently available.
The thrust of the email though was in answer to my throw-away comment on the understated packaging. I'm sure Rosemary will not object to repeating it here as its a lovely little insight into the thought processes behind the packaging.
I was alerted about your review by a gentleman in Sydney, who would like to try some of these wines. Let me thank you sincerely for such a wonderful review. Frank and I are humbled by your kind words. We knew we had a good wine, just didn't realise how good. It is a pity that our agent in London is no longer in business. I am in discussions at present with someone looking to import our wines, but progress is slow and I need to be patient.
As for the comment on our packaging we appreciate the feed back. Perhaps a little explanation will help you understand the philosophy behind the label. A lot of time and effort was invested in the design. We started by studying what was on the shelves and when one stands back and looks closely, not many labels stood out and most were difficult to read.
So, we set about keeping it simple and making it easy to read and hopefully easy to remember. Protero is the name, Gumeracha is the Aboriginal name for the little township our vineyard is in, the name of the variety of grape comes next and then the region our vineyard is in. All our labels are the same for all our wines, to keep consistency, so, again it helps the label to become recognizable. Whether we are achieving this or not remains to be seen, in the meantime we know that this label will not appeal to everybody, that's life, but we know what has gone into its design.
Pick up the bottle and feel the texture on the paper and the gentle embossing of the name, study its simplicity, place it in a row with other labels, stand back and observe."
The photograph is not one of mine but taken from the Protero Website.
I brought six different wines from Cooden Cellars a few weeks before Christmas, these two join the stunning Durif under a 'must buy' heading!
Can't say a lot of effort has gone into the packaging though.
Wine Tasting Note: Protero Gumeracha Viognier, 2005, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
£9.99 Very Limited Stocks from Cooden Cellars [more]
Incredible. Real power on the palate - full of flavour but balanced by great acidity, long, long lasting flavour. Intense flavours combining nuts, apricot kernals, pear, a quality oak influence, a lemon twist. A wonderful hazelnut finish. Weight, texture, length and balance - what more do you need?
Scribblings Rating - 96/100 [4.5 out of 5]
Wine Tasting Note: Protero Gumeracha Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
£9.99 Very Limited Stocks from Cooden Cellars [more]
Limey nose, complex with hints of melon. A full-on lime edge to the palate with sherbet, stone fruits and a smidgeon of herbaceousness. Pears too. Good concentration on the palate with a buttery finish. Unoaked. reat length. Alcohol 14.5%
Scribblings Rating - 90/100 [3.75 out of 5]
Protero vineyard lies on a stony ridge to the east of the road between the historic towns of Gumeracha and Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills.
We say historic with some wry irony: while the Silesian refugees settled these towns some time ago, they were a mere one or two billion years after the PROTEROZOIC geological epoch, during which the oldest basement stones of our ridge were formed. From the greatly-weathered remnants of these stones, comes some of our soil.
Proterozoic literally means "former life" or "the life which came first", referring to the fact that during this tumultuous age, which stretched from 570 million years back to 2.6 billion years, the first types of multi-cellular life began to form. In contrast, the famous Kimmeridgean chalks below, say, Chablis, are 60 million years old."
The 'challenge' is to read a selected book over a couple of months (which also gives plenty of time to order from the library or from your local bookshop) and then, well, comment on it.
There will be a dedicated website shortly - winebookclub.org - to coordinate it all (nothing there yet though). Even if you do not have a blog you can contribute via that site or by leaving a comment on a post by your favourite wine blogger. As is the nature of these events the host will alter each round. First up is David McDuff who writes on McDuff's Food and Wine Trail.
And the book? Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy, by Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch. This is available for just £7.79 from Amazon.co.uk. Hardly anything at all.
Basically a chat between some of the top wine bloggers - Dr. Debs, the Catavino duo (Gabriella & Ryan), Alder... it has been on my 'must listen too' list since its posting on the 19th of December. A little America-focused, understandably, but a recommended listen.
I was on one of Tim's audiocasts once. I haven't been invited back... not a voice for radio perhaps! :-)
Overseaing it all is administrator Ian Buxton of The Whisky Channel. The inital content is derived from the book Whisky: A Book of Words and the subsequent paperback edition The A - Z of Whisky of which a fully revised edition will be published sometime in 2008.
However comprehensive this initial coverage it can never be totally complete and some entries require revision. THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN! The site is arranged in classic 'wiki' format, which means you can add new articles and edit existing entries. Please feel free to do so, bearing in mind some commonsense rules for behaviour:
1. Please log in and identify yourself. Attributed entries carry greater authority. If you want to post it you should be prepared to put your real name to it!
2. Please respect the opinions and views of other users and do onto others as you would be done by. It's a community - be nice.
3. Distillers/Brand Owners: By all means post an entry on your brand/distillery/key personnel, but confine yourself to matters of fact and historical record. 'Flogs' and blatant puffs will be removed and, if you keep doing it, you'll be blocked! Kindly don't pretend to be a consumer - we've seen that trick before.
4. The site administrator's decisions are final. They may also be arbitary, inconsistent, capricious and downright wilful. Get over it.
In the words of Austin Powers "Oh, behave." Enjoy the site. Have fun.
A Melbourne brewery executive was on the verge of tears when he had to smash two bottles of Australia's best-known wine at Melbourne Airport.
Neil Grant, southern region general manager with Foster's Australia, ran foul of the tough air security rules as he was about to board an Emirates flight to Britain.
"I was going to conferences in Scotland and Ireland, and grabbed a 1980 and an '82 Grange from my personal cellar," Mr Grant said.
He estimated the two bottles were probably worth about $3000.
However Mr Grant had forgotten about the 100ml of liquids rule applying to carry-on luggage."
"I said, 'This is like a work of art, it's irreplaceable, do you know what you're doing here?'
He even offered to open the wine so everyone around could try some... he wasn't allowed.