Mae West once said that “too much of a good thing can be wonderful!” and I think she was absolutely right, if slightly blasé about the amount of paperwork it can generate. Take this for example – it is indubitably a good thing that I have eight wines on tasting this weekend. I believe it is a good thing to write about them. Julian however, only partially agrees – my cavorting with a keyboard in a corner leaves him free to get busy with a blackboard at present, informing the world about our Vinebar Opening Night, muttering dark thoughts about people who sit and write blogs while others do the work. It’s a good thing, I tell you!
Right, anyway, getting past the fractious issues of task delegation, we have been really busy. After a glorious staff tasting of Meerlust we have got that up and running – if you didn’t see the offer email earlier in the week don’t miss these incredible wines. Why? Well - a serious polished clone of Grand Cru St Emilion for £11.66 a bottle? Belting value, belting!
So – this weekend is a big one for us here at East Molsey. Friday night sees the launch of the Vinebar, to the great surprise of all who have been enjoying its bounty over the last few months. Over the last few weeks we’ve been busy organising the charcuterie and cheese angle; fine tuning our service and playing about with the wines on tasting. So come on down, 6.00pm onwards, say hullo, have a glass or two, and see what there is to offer.
Saturday is our Game Tasting with PJ Dales, the excellent butchers opposite us on Bridge Street. The boys there are going to be panfrying Pheasant, mallard, grouse and pigeon right outside the shop. To complement this we’ve selected four wines we know you will love – come along for a free lunchtime slice of deliciousness. This is also your first chance to taste some of the Meerlust wines I just mentioned – Pinot and Chardonnay on tasting over here!
Secondly, we are just sitting down to plan events for next year. So far I am mucking about with ideas of a Barolo tasting, Krug & Shepherds Pie, talking about some delicious US estates to enjoy and a couple of more relaxed evenings. If you have something you like the idea of or want to nail your colours to one of the above please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
it’s not just us who have been busy. So have Jo, Schotty and Patrick– well deserved glasses of wine to them! Two delicious combinations of wine and nosh from across the entire range. Patrick matched a delicious, concentrated Felino Malbec with a full-on winter-suppressing pie. Jo & Schotty were throwing a dinner party so pulled out the big guns- envy-envoking Beef Wellington with a sublime, majestic bottle of Pio Cesare Barolo. I’m definitely feeling peckish now, and somewhat culinarily outclassed by both efforts.
Anyway – on tasting/on the Vinebar:
2015 Iona Sauvignon £5/glass, usually £14.99, £60/6 while stocks last;
– Elgin fruit, cool climate Sauvignon bursting with grassy gooseberry and grapefruit. Deliciously tropical on the palette, this is a thirty-drinkers-friend and slides down too easily.
2015 Rock Angel £7/glass, £27.99 on the shelf, 2/£50.00
Sacha Lichine at the top of his game, the Rock Angel sits just above the Whispering Angel in his stable of beauties. A pale, barely-there pink, with a pure, youthful nose that is both fresh yet intense on the palate. Oodles of that crushed fruit so familiar, and a barely perceptible richness: this stunning rosé is dangerously lovely!
2012 Hoopes Vineyard Napa Cabernet - £9.50 a glass, £46.99 on the shelf, 2/£80 while stocks last
New winemaker on the block, Anne Varner is an internationalist in a sea of cabernet vineyards. Definitely not looking at making massive, weighty Californian Cabs her wines instead emphasise the red-blue fruit aromas and are not heavily oaked. This is a very fine first vintage from a winemaker who will definitely be watched for the future.
2013 Reyneke Syrah – £5/glass, £19.99 on the shelf, £90/6 while stocks last;
Johan Reyneke is a winemaker who doesn’t fit the mold. In fact, it’s difficult to say how seriously he takes winemaking at all – as first thing most mornings he is found at the beach, surfing. He’s admitted in the past that it was partially his dreadlocks which kept him out of a “serious career”. But…..there is no doubting that this totally organic Syrah is absolutely stunning. A lively number with blue fruit and spice on the nose and palette, medium weight and a deliciously structured ending. Stunning.
2011 Pintor, Barossa Tempranillo £6/glass, £110/6 while stocks last;
Big, plush oaky tempranillo from Barossa, this doesn’t so much sing from Rioja’s hymn-sheet as nick it, threaten it with a warm Foster’s in a back alley and run off with its ceremonial robe.
A complex nose of dark cherry and savoury charcoal aromas, followed by a lingering, even palate of sweet cherry, carab and all spice. In other words, rich, fruity, delicious!
And on tasting at PJ Dales….
2013 Les Coteaux Cotes du Rhone - £25/3x75cl
Getting into Autumn and it’s time to pull out some of the old favourites. Les Coteaux has been drunk by us since the company started, and it’s still rocking. Mainly Grenache-syrah, a big juicy style, loads of fruit and a farmhouse-kitchen styling leaves you full of cheer. A real favourite – perfect with duck, this is a glorious wine to open and pour for people.
2015 Meerlust Estate Chardonnay £112.50/6x75cl
This wine is a precise balancing act between new world and old world – the control and lean strength of the best white Burgundy combined with opulent new world fruit. Clean acidity is balanced by firstly pear, citrus and floral notes, then seamlessly develop into endnotes of lemon cream, oatmeal and marzipan. Platters Guide to South African Wine, gave this 5* rating last year and this year is possibly even better. Considering Platter gave less than twenty such accolades that year you can understand why this to be boasted about!
2015 Meerlust Estate Pinot Noir £120.00/6x75cl
With fruit pulled from three vineyards on the estate, the 2015 Estate Pinot is a solidly Burgundian style of Pinot with flashes of new world charisma. Fine, distinct red berry fruit, wild mushrooms and hints of savoury richness and spice lying over a clean vibrant minerality. Very fine lacy, almost powdery tannins on the finish. Midweight, glorious Pinot which had me believing I was drinking 1er Cru Gevrey-Chambertin. A perfect Christmas table wine and a stunner with pheasant.
2011 Pintor, Barossa Tempranillo £6/glass, £110/6x75cl while stocks last;
Big, plush oaky Tempranillo from Barossa, this doesn’t so much sing from Rioja’s hymn-sheet as nick it, threaten it with a warm Foster’s in a back alley and run off with its ceremonial robe.
A complex nose of dark cherry and savoury charcoal aromas, followed by a lingering, even palate of sweet cherry, carab and all spice. In other words, rich, fruity, delicious! Spicy, rich enough to cope with game, but without the weight which would kill it – this delicious wine will set off a slightly uptodate meal perfectly.