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What Kind of Wine Are You? (5)
Douglas wrote: Oh, gosh, I'm allegedly Chardonnay. I'm glad I don't ha... [read more]

La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica, 2006, Marche, Italy (2)
Sonadora wrote: The risotto looks and sounds delicious! I'm all about s... [read more]

Explaining the Scribblings Wine Rating (8)
Cru Master wrote: thanks andrew, appreciate it. yes i see where memorabi... [read more]

Fattoira le Sorgenti Scirus, 2003, Tuscany, Italy. (2)
Andrew wrote: Scrummy? Means very tasty.... [read more]

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What Kind of Wine Are You?

It would seem I'm a Merlot - according to one of those 'fun for a few seconds' internet blog-things. We can blame 1WineDude for setting this one off. He turns out to be a Sauvignon Blanc, while Rob over at The Wine Conversation is a Pinot Gris. Bit miffed at being a Merlot, if truth be told, if only because of the 'greasy pizza' reference. I'm sure I can do better than that!

Mind you everything else is pretty accurate! :-)

You Are Merlot

Smooth, confident, and popular - you're the type most likely to order wine for the whole group.

You seem to breeze through life on your intuition and wit. And no one seems to mind!

You're comfortable in any social situation you find yourself in, and you never feel outclassed.

And while you live a charmed life, you never let it go to your head. You are truly down to earth and a great friend.

Deep down you are: Balanced and mature

Your partying style: Surprisingly wild... when you let loose, you really let loose

Your company is enjoyed best with: Some greasy pizza

Unwins - news update

Unwins Wine Merchants Logo
It has been awhile since anything was heard of the Unwins debacle - the collapse of the 400 store, 150 year old, wine chain was a major story back in 2006 and covered here as things developed.

It has now been reported that an un-named former director of Unwins has received a court order to answer questions regarding the 'alleged transfer of takings to Devereux Montague'. This was the private equity firm that brought Unwins nine months before it collapsed. KPMG, the companies administrator, is considering legal action against Devereux Montague director Philip Cook and will allow creditors to decide on the situation.

Creditors include HM Revenue & Customs (owed £16.1 million in unpaid taxes), Diageo (owed £2 million), and Inbev (owed £2.6 million) with the unsecured creditors (owed £16 million) unlikely to see any money at all.

Belgars Still Perry

Belgars Still Perry
The potie handed over a small but heavy parcel the other day. A sample but not a wine. A still perry (pear cider) from the Norfolk based Broadland Wineries. The company has long produced a range of fruit wines - damson, sloe, elderflower, apple and the like and while this is not their first perry it is their first packaged in a 'bag-in-box'; possibly the very first perry seen in the bag-in-box format.

Two versions are available (a medium dry and a medium sweet) with an ABV of 7.5%. Developed specifically for the BBQ and summer market it is made on-site in Norfolk using natural yeasts and flavours and consumers are encourage to enjoy it over ice.

A good deal of customer research helped with the branding and packaging. As for our launch product: Who wouldn't want a nicely chilled three-litre box of medium dry Belgars Perry waiting for them in the fridge when they got home from work?"

"But what's it like?" I hear you cry. The medium-sweet version, for that is what I have in my glass, is very pale in colour, light, refreshing and tastes of apples. And pears. While not dry there is an edge of dryness, exactly like a pear or apple skin can dry out the mouth and a citric-lick on the finish to keep things all grown-up. Certainly better highly chilled or with plenty of ice and great on such a stifflinglying hot day as today. Just watch that (barely noticeable till it's too late) 7.5% alcohol.

Culinary options shouldn't be ignored. How about using in a cream and pear sauce for pork or chicken or make a sweet reduction as an ice-cream sauce.

Broadlands Belgars' Still Perry 3 litre box has a recommended retail price of £5.

La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica, 2006, Marche, Italy

La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2006 Marche Italy
A wine for a damn-decent-if-I-may-say-so seafood risotto. Waitrose have this new(ish) deli range; one item of which is a tub of mixed seafood in a herbed olive oil. Rather tasty I must say. Mixed in with a decently flavoured risotto it makes for a superb meal. An Italian wine to accompany, obviously, and you can't go wrong with this bottle also available from Waitrose.

White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica, 2006, Marche, Italy.
Stockist: Waitrose Price: £7.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]
Wonderful deep golden colour, none of your wishy-washy, thin, bland Italian whites here thank you very much. Not much to the floral aroma but a weighty palate that matches wonderfully with the food. Flavours are laced with a touch of honey, a minerally texture, and plenty of stony fruit that power right through to the herby finish. Refreshingly crisp acidity on the finish. Elegant.
Alcohol 13.5%.

Scribblings Rating - 92/100 [4 out of 5]

100% hand-picked Verdicchio grapes from a great estate in the upper Esino Valley. The difference between Verdicchio grown just a stones roll from Umbria and that grown down near the coast (Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi) is substantial. In the highlands the climate is cooler, the growing season longer and slower. Down by the coast the Adriatic plays a part with harvesting often 10 days earlier than those nearer the Apennines.

Explaining the Scribblings Wine Rating

rose wine abstract photo
Wine Ratings - 100 point scale, 20 points, plus or minus, half points, 5 points, stars or barrels. There are many ways to rate or grade a wine. And equally as many comments and blog posts on the advantages and negative thoughts on each.

A scale is the only way to impart a snapshot of a wine (for specifics you read the text) and enable comparisons between wines (whether that is a good thing or otherwise, it is up to the user). It's easy, it's visual and as a numeric, simplicity for all those comparison websites (Adegga, Snooth etc) to manage and compare.

There have been several suggestions to 'impose' a universal rating for bloggers - my friend Rob (Wine Conversation) talked about a +2/+1/0/-1/-2 rating, which I rather liked but this is, in essence, just a five point scale as advocated by Tim at WineCast (and subsequently added to the ratings on Spittoon).

Nancy took the time to scribble a comment the other day basically asking why the 100 point scale has such prominence on Spittoon. The answer is historical. A now defunct wine site used the 100 point scale to grade the wines, as all my notes were stored on this database the 100 point scale was 'imposed' on me. You were not able to record a wine without a score.

But if you roll over any of the green 'Scribblings Ratings the breakdown of each score is displayed. Four ratings - Drinkability, Interest, Value and Enjoyment are each assigned 1-5 points with 1 being poor or bad, 5 being excellent or superlative. Totalling these supplies a rating out of 20, the method Nancy's friend, in her comment, advocates. To convert this to a 100 point rating the scores are totalled, doubled and added to a base 60.

The ratings themselves are self-explanatory I believe.

The fact I don't list the 20 point score is for simplicity and clarity; it is enough work to include the five point score! But of course a 1-20 rating is easily calculated - the 90 point Willunga Creek Black Duck Cab-Merlot is 15 points (5+3+3+4). On the five point scale it is 3.75, an average of the four criteria.

Overly complicated? Maybe, but I know of no better way to encapsulate those four criteria. No one else I'm aware of uses this idea. No one else though has such a transparent method of displaying cost value, pure drinkability, how interesting the story or grapes behind the wine is, or how enjoyable the drinking experience is.

Willunga Creek Black Duck Cabernet-Merlot, 2005, McLaren Vale, Australia

Willunga Creek Black Duck
No great wine and food match today - although if you must know it was some locally made fried sausages with mash potato laced with creme fraiche, basil and garlic - all that was required from the wine was a full and rich little number to relax in front of the telly with...

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Willunga Creek Black Duck Cabernet-Merlot, 2005, McLaren Vale, Australia.
Stockist: Henley Fine Wines [More on UKWOL] Price: £12 [More on Adegga / Snooth]

The tasting note: vibrant blackberries on the nose with slithers mirrored on the palate but coupled with spice and something plummy. Here and here a hint of dark chocolate too. It is not your lightly sweet, easy-drinking Aussie blend - it has much needed complexity and a more sophisticated mouth-feel. Good length too. Alcohol 14.5%.

Scribblings Rating - 90/100 [3.75 out of 5]

The Cabernet/Merlot is a great quaffer with barbecued meat excellent with confit (twice cooked) duck, Asian style (star anise orange peel and sake in the brew). We actually had the duck recipe in our restaurant which was called Black Satin Duck, we matched it to the Merlot and Cab/Merlot. Duck and Merlot or Cab/Merlot is an excellent duo.

The Willunga Creek Winemaker.

Online Socialising 2008 Style

Artificial Flowers taken in Berlin
So many social sites; so little time. Never having bothered with the likes of facebook these six, more specific on-line social networking applications and note storing sites hold more appeal.

Where you can find me:

  1. Adegga - wine cellar management/tasting note site
  2. Culination - early days for wine & food site but has potential
  3. Flikr - the photography site
  4. Foodari - recipe storage/recommendations. Not such a frequent visitor here.
  5. Snooth - wine cellar management/tasting note/where to buy site
  6. Twitter - the highly active micro-blogging site; although it is more than that
  7. Open Wine Consortium - for all in the wine trade - bloggers, retailers, wineries etc

Feel free to add me as a friend on any of these!

Fattoira le Sorgenti Scirus, 2003, Tuscany, Italy.

Sorgenti Scirus.jpg
This has to be the best hunk of roast lamb to come out of my oven. Juicy. The perfect level of pinkness in the centre. A most delicious taste. To accompany, a little salad and some chunky chips. For the wine though something classy, something a little special...

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Fattoira le Sorgenti Scirus, 2003, Tuscany, Italy
Stockist: Cadman Fine Wines [More on UKWOL] Price: £24.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]

Textured and smooth, wonderful richness but balanced. A flow of savoury edged fruit - hints of tomatoes laced with chocolate, raspberries, cherries and other fleshy fruits. Very 'Bordeaux' on the nose - hailing from the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (mixed in a 60%/40% blend) thrown in a little oak.

All rather scrummy, full and rich. Perhaps a tad young and missing a little development and complexity and also a tad short on the finish but highly drinkable. Accompanied that delicious lamb dish beautifully. Alcohol 14.5%.

Scribblings Rating - 92/100 [4 out of 5]

Normally only 8000 bottles are produced annually, however the hot summer of 2003 reduced this to a meagre 6000 bottles, where deft handling, skilled winemaking and the benefit of vineyards at 400 metres have ensured that another outstanding wine has been crafted by Paolo Caciorgna and Le Sorgenti.

This months Wine Blogging Wednesday has, as its theme, 'The Letter S'. Sorgenti Scirus I guess qualifies!

La Chamiza Extra Brut, NV, Mendoza, Argentina

La Chamiza Sparkling White Wine Argentina
A Twtitter shout-out from KRacen asked for 'something to drink by the side of the pool'. My response? "Something sparkling and frivolous'. Hot weather, an inviting pool of crystal clear cooling water and, by the side, a bottle of sparkling wine. Not that I have a pool full of cooling water, mind you, but I did receive a bottle of an Argentine bubbly as a birthday present from those terribly nice people at World Wine Agencies of Bath.

My birthday actually fell on the day of a rather posh Polo Match, which I had been invited too by the agency. Sadly I was in Berlin, so couldn't go. Polo and Argentina have a bit of a thing together; the Chamiza winery with its wines bedecked with mallet wielding horseman is a sponsor, I believe, of the sport. Knowing next to absolutely zilch of polo I was more than a little miffed that I couldn't attend. Still, the bottle was a superb present.

Champagne/Sparkling Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: La Chamiza Extra Brut Sparkling, NV, Mendoza, Argentina.
[More: Adegga / Snooth]
A blend of Chardonnay (70%) and Chenin Blanc (30%) from the Tupungato and Maipu areas of Mendoza; it 'could' be described as frivolous. It is certainly fun; anything with bubbles can be described so but this, with a great depth of yeasty, developed, peachy, citrus flavours could also be seen as something a little more serious. Alcohol 13%.
Scribblings Rating - 88/100 [3.5 out of 5]

Tagus Creek Shiraz Touriga Nacional Rosé, 2007, Ribatejo, Portugal

Tagus Creek Rose Shiraz Touriga Nacional
Rosé Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Falua Tagus Creek Shiraz Touriga Nacional Rosé, 2007, Ribatejo, Portugal Stockist: Waitrose, Booths, Tesco Price: £4.99 [More: Adegga / Snooth]

Deep in colour - almost a light red - and a light cherry aroma. Dry, clean, soft with a long spicey finish. A gentle bitter edge to the berry fruit flavours gives interest and 'lift'. Alcohol 13.5%.

Not an 'in your face wine' - no sweetness, subtle aroma, juicy flavours - but serve with a plate of garlic prawns or a barbecued sausage and this sings!

Scribblings Rating - 88/100 [3.5 out of 5]

The Falua society is a progressive and forward thinking wine making company owned by Joao Portugal Ramos. The company now has over 100 hectares of vines under their own control, from planting, through to pruning, picking, fermenting and bottling. The Ribatejo has massive potential for producing good, honest, easy drinking wine, with character and flavour, as well as finer wines in smaller parcels. Falua has taken grip of the situation and stands virtually alone in the Ribatejo in developing the massive potential of the region in a dynamic, market driven way. These are wines of terrific value, ideally suited to British Market tastes. A brand new winery, recently constructed, stands testament to their commitment in the region."