Recent wines tasted on CellarTracker

Sunday, July 1, 2012

From Grapefan: Oaked or unoaked chardonnay?

I really enjoyed this blog article by Colin Smith, aka Grapefan, about the exciting new brace of chardonnays from 7 Springs Vineyard in South Africa:

"Chardonnay can be made in many styles. There's the austerity and minerality of Chablis or the richness of an aged Burgundy. Then there's the green fruit of many Old World Chardonnays or the ripe tropical fruit of New World ones. But perhaps the biggest difference - and the one that polarises many people and created the ABC or Anything But Chardonnay movement - is whether the wine is fermented and/or matured in oak barrels or doesn't see any oak at all."

To read the full article by Colin, follow this link to his site:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Underwood Wines Blog: The social grapevine

I really enjoyed reading this post from Underwood Wines, which sums up very well how the wine trade (and other industries) are making good use of social media, without it really being a particularly quantifiable medium in terms of measuring its business benefits. Social media definitely has a benefit, but just try measuring it!

Underwood Wines Blog: The social grapevine: "The Social Grapevine Way back in March 2010 Underwood Wines were still cultivating a new website and the word social media was an unknown..."

Have a read - it's a great article, and while you're about it you can sponsor Todd and the team at Underwoods in raising funds for their local Air Ambulance service.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

7 Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2010 - what a cracker!

I must confess to having been quite lazy about keeping up on the wine front lately. I first tasted the inaugural vintage (2010) SB from 7 Springs Winery some weeks ago, scribbled a few notes of appreciation and put them to one side, promising to myself that I would write them up later on this blog. I now have one bottle left (from 13!) and I've just come across my notes from the first sampling!

Seven Springs Sauvignon Blanc (all rights Seven Springs)
Seven Springs Sauvignon Blanc, 2010

All I can do is to offer my sincere apologies to Tim and Vaughan Pearson for my tardiness, and hope to make amends by writing up my tasting notes now! In my defence, I've been enjoying your wine far too much to sit at the computer writing about it!!! That said, I have really enjoyed reading all of the other great reviews this wine has been getting from some very well known experts in the trade and the wine blogosphere (Jamie Goode, Joanna Simon, Tom Cannavan, Sue Sterling (of the Naked Wine Show - see below), Denise Medrano to name but a few)

The wine is a very pale straw colour and shows excellent clarity. Actually the theme of clarity suits this wine on all fronts, not just the appearance! The aroma is delicate, with notes of lemons and limes, fleeting tropical fruits, and very clean.

In the mouth this beautiful wine is gently warming, with well-rounded pear and peach notes, as well as some lively citrus flavours. The acidity is balanced, the flavour is fruity, and it's a tremendous pleasure to drink. At 13.5% abv it is fairly typical in strength for this varietal, and you would never know it.

To summarise, it's a lovely wine, easy to drink - I've already enjoyed a case of it (purchased from Underwoods in Warwick), and you can buy from a number of other boutique wine retailers in the UK (around £10-12 a bottle), South Africa, and will soon be on sale in the US. You can see a list of UK/SA stockists here:

Look out for 7 Springs' Chardonnay coming soon (in both unwooded and lightly oaked versions), as well as a Syrah and a Pinot Noir in future vintages. Future vintages of the Sauvignon Blanc will be sought after I am certain!

Tim and his very talented young winemaker Riana van der Merwe will be at the London International Wine Fair next week, and this cracking wine will be available to taste on the Wines of South Africa "Super Sauvignon" pod.

I'll be there too - I look forward to meeting lots of great wine people, and enjoying what the world has to offer this year - see you there?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Calling all NZ wineries and UK wine drinkers!

UK Online retailer, Naked Wines, are asking for assistance with their Christchurch Earthquake Appeal fundraising initiative. 

New Zealand Wines
They are asking NZ wineries and importers to donate NZ wines to sell as ‘mystery cases’.

All profits will be given to the official government appeal fund. 

For more info:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

LIWF 2011

I'm already looking forward to the London International Wine Fair. A chance to meet old acquaintances, make new ones, and of course to taste what's new and exciting in the world of wine - I can't wait!

Last year proved to be quite innovative, with the Access Zone encouraging visitors to embrace new media. There were a good number of live online events, and I hope for more of the same this year.

If you are interested in attending, you can find out more details here. The fair takes place (as usual) at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London's Docklands, from Tuesday 17th May until Thursday 19th May.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Wines

Well, that time of year is approaching (fast!), so I have been putting a lot of thought into what would be nice to have on the table to accompany Christmas dinner. Last year we enjoyed a wonderful bottle of Veritas Petit Verdot Monticello 2007 from Virginia, a really classy wine, just perfect for the occasion.

Veritas Petit Verdot Monticello 2007
Various stickies were available to go with the pudding and the cheese and biscuits. I think I plumped for a glass of Madeira (Malmsey), and this year will be no exception!

So what to enjoy for 2010? I've given it a lot of thought, and chosen what I hope is a nice selection - something for everyone to enjoy, whatever their preference.

For an aperitif I think most people appreciate a glass of fizz before lunch, if you haven't already enjoyed a glass or two (with or without added OJ) during the morning! This year I would love to have some English sparkling wine, and will plump for a bottle or two of Chapel Down NV Reserve, available from a range of good wine retailers (e.g. Waitrose, £16.99).

If you opt for white wine this year, either to go with a starter or just to drink with the bird I would thoroughly recommend a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or South Africa. I've got a few bottles of Small and Small 2010 Marlborough SB from NZ (Naked Wines, £10.99 (£7.33 for cashback customers)) - it's a wonderfully complex and fruity example of this varietal, not too sharp and grassy like SBs can be, it's well-balanced, crisp and shouldn't overpower the meat. This is Bill and Claudia Small's first vintage bottling their own wine, and I think it's a triumph!

For red I think I'll choose a lighter wine this year, and as I'm a big fan of this grape in general I am going with Pinot Noir, again from New Zealand. I love to try as many PNs as possible from different parts of the world, and I'm always impressed by the delicate character that the New Zealand climate and terroir elucidates from the grape. I'm going to try Grasshopper Rock, 2008 from the Earnsclough Estate, Alexandra, Central Otago. This is a gold medal winning wine, recommended by Tim Atkin. Unfortunately it's sold out now at Naked Wines, but was selling for £17.49 a bottle - not cheap, but it's Christmas, so it's worth spending a little more isn't it?

Anyway - since it's out of stock, a delicious alternative (and a bargain too!) would be a Chilean PN, from Constanza Schwaderer and Felipe Garcia. Their Kimbao (named after their pet labrador) 2010 Pinot Noir is delicious, well-rounded and perfect for Christmas dinner. It's just £10.99 (£7.33 for cashback customers) from Naked Wines.

To accompany your Christmas pud, or whatever you choose to have after the main event, you need something special to wash it all down, and this year I've put aside a couple of bottles (375ml) of Seifried "Sweet Agnes" Riesling (2009) from Nelson, New Zealand. It's absolutely gorgeous, just like the wonderful woman it is named after. Agnes Seifried is the co-founder of the Seifried estate and I was privileged enough to meet her at the London International Wine Fair back in May, in fact she poured me a glass of this golden nectar. This wine is widely available in the UK (Waitrose, Naked Wines, and the various Direct Wines brands all sell it) and you can pick it up from £13.29 a bottle (case purchase from Waitrose Wine Direct).

Finally, if you fancy something a little stronger, and warming as you conk out in a comfortable armchair (certainly part of my plan!), why not try a glass or two of Madeira? I'm planning to savour a bottle of Henriques & Henriques 10 Year Old Malmsey (widely available, from around £16.99). You can find 15 or 20 year old versions of the same, but be prepared to pay quite a bit more.

I hope you've enjoyed this little selection of wines to enjoy over the festive season. Last year was all about Virginia for me, this year I suppose it's mostly about New Zealand. Whatever you decide to drink this year, please enjoy responsibly (i.e. lose the car keys!) and above all have a wonderful time with friends and/or family. Compliments of the season, and many thanks for reading.

Happy Holidays!