Monday 18 January 2016

Pot Pourri

Happy Slotovino reader
Every so often we assemble some of the bottles which have given us pleasure over the last few weeks or months so here following such posts as 'Valderi Valdera,' 'What we drank last Summer' etc. is our Pot Pourri from the beginning of November last year.


Image result for la cartuja marbella

From our friend Julio at 'La Cartuja' in Marbella:

A white, 100% 'Diego' - a new one on us until we looked it up and discovered that Diego = Vijariego. No matter, we were please to have a Vijareigo and would have bought it even if we had been armed with Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz's 'Wine Grapes'. Let's face it, we are going to have these misunderstandings unless we arm ourselves but it's not easily portable.

Indeed it happened again on the same occasion in the same shop with the evocatively named Baboso Negro. That is Alfrocheiro.

Again something we were happy to have. Only slightly more familiar than 'Baboso Negro' - words we had never heard previously.

We are confirmed Negramoll lovers so a bottle of that just had to be added to the above, at which Julio was so overcome he threw a bottle of Vino de Madrid (Tempranillo and others) made by friends of his for free.

This is not the first free bottle Julio has pressed on us. Indeed, his joy in wine is such that it is difficult to leave his shop with actual purchases. Not really but you get the picture.

Another enthusiast is our more recent friend at the Gallego butcher in Nueva Andalucia next door to Marbella. Here we were pressed to sample all kinds of wine, olive oil and nibbles.

Josep Foraster's wines are old favourites so we bought the refreshing white from Macabeu and Garnatxa Blanca and his Rosat from Trepat.

We are big fans of Foraster's red Trepat.

Image result for Aldi Marbella

At the Aldi branch between Marbella and Nueva Andalucia is a marvel called 'Formo' at E.0.89. That's 89 Cents (Eightyninecentimes only)! It would seem worthwhile buying these wines retail and importing them (red and white) to the UK without bothering to source them from the producer. How much would you save by cutting out the middle man? 30 Cents a bottle?

The wine is perfectly drinkable; the white (Airen) perhaps even more so than the red (Tempranillo of course).

Our love for Pineau d'Aunis will not be news for Slotovino readers but the question arises whether it can be bought at a reasonable price for everyday drinking. Thanks to Leon Stolarski Wines of Nottingham, the answer is 'Yes' with a lovely wine from a producer called Gigou - a famous name in Pineau d'Aunis circles.

As well as this 100% version, Stolarski have a cuvee of 80% Pineau d'Aunis and 10% each of Gamay and Cabernet Franc from Domaine Gauletteries which is just lovely.

Gaillac is a hot spot for rare grape varieties and one of those French appellations with a real USP unlike Corbieres for example. Finding ourselves next to a Multiplex Cinema in an industrial Park, we were very happy indeed to encounter this Duras/Syrah/Braucol Gaillac blend. Original and tasty.

What fresh hell is this? we hear you say. A Bulgarian crossing of Nebbiolo and Syrah called Rubin. Well, it's really rather good although 'Wine Grapes' refers to it being characteristically low in alcohol and this one was 14.5%. It really tasted 50/50 Nebbiolo and Syrah which is rare in a crossing in our experience.

We've come across an English sparkling Red before. It was dry. You might think this 'Cuvee Noir;' from Bolney would be similar and made from Pinot Noir. Perhaps that is what the label suggests but in fact it is made from Dornfelder and is halfway to being an Aussie Sparkling Shiraz, so fruity is it.

A kind of English Lambrusco perhaps? Though more expensive unfortunately.


Not long ago Slotovino ran a competition for the most original blend. Failing to attract any entrants we made our own proposal and guess what, we won!

Our own proposal? That's not actually true but we make the rules and we were still the winners. No, what we did was to take a blend encountered in a nice Moroccan wine of our acquaintance:

Petit Verdot

This choice of varieties seemed to us to be harmonious and idiosyncratic so finding ourselves with some left-over Marselan we sourced a bottle each of Petit Verdot and Carmenere and set to work.

This was fun. We heartily recommend it. It's a cross between a parlour game and cookery. Perhaps it's not so amusing to do it professionally (what is?) and we simply can't imagine how professional blenders manage to produce a non-vintage blend of wine year after year. Sitting down with three bottles such as these was a gas.

In the end we decided the best proportions were 66% Carmenere, 25% Petit Verdot and the rest, Marselan. The great thing is that everyone will have a different recipe. Try it at home!

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Our 2015 (non) vintage

2015 was not a good year: too hot and dry in the first part, too wet and cool in the second.

As usual efforts were made to keep things orderly in the optimistic case something might come of it but in the event nothing went right. Masses of spraying against powdery and downy mildew would have been necessary and we were just not there at the critical moments.

As usual, the red grapes, Triomphe d'Alsace (or just 'Triomphe' as it is now called) delivered but without ripening properly despite leaving them for a week longer than usual.

Some of our new generation vines looked promising but we missed the boat with harvesting these.

As usual, the birds went for our Rondo grapes first. Eventually this is what all our vines looked like - white and red.

Nil desperandum, we covered all surfaces with polythene bought specially this year in preparation for what became a rather pathetic crop of about 35 liters.

We had even bought a new 20 liter French Oak barrel as an experiment, never having put our juice in wood before.

this is what the juice looked like: maybe a bit lighter than usual?

We debated whether to save the barrel for another year because it would no longer provide new oak if we used it this time. The decision went in favour of using it on our rather unripe 2015 juice in the hope that the wine would taste of something other than our poor grapes. We'll report in about 18 months.