Bodegas Muriel Reserva, Rioja

November 30, 2009

2001 Bodegas Muriel Reserva, Rioja

I do not buy a lot of wine from Spain, main reason being that I do not know enough about Spanish wines. But the other day I made an exception and bout a bottle of ‘2001 Muriel Reserva’ from Rioja, Spain. Made of Tempranillo grapes, this wines is just wonderful, rich and full, lot’s of red forest fruit, silky and smooth the tannins.

As you can see from the picture below, the colour of the wine is already like a brick. Reserva wines by Muriel are aged for a minimum of two years in oak barrels and three years in the bottle. It was a great pleasure to drink this wine. I need to learn more about the wine region of Rioja and its wines. We had the wine with dinner, of course.

The colour of the Rioja

Muriel is located in the heart of the Rioja region in the small town of Elciego, next to the river Mayor, east of the E-804 from Zaragoza to Bilbao. When in 1973 on our final study tour before concluding “Gymnasium” (high school), I passed the area on my way from Burgos to San Sebastian not knowing anything about the famous wine region (not that I would know much more today).

Muriel also makes a white wine, from Viura grapes, the website said. Honestly, I have never heard of the Viura grape, what an ignoramus I am. There is so much to learn out there. Life is just beautiful.


Tree of life

November 29, 2009

The “tree of life” is a concept found in many cultures with various interpretations. The picture above was taken at the outskirts of Bangkok, a Bodhi tree under which Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment.

Today is the 29 November, a very special day. It is the 15 anniversary of my children, the twins Lucy and Charlotte.

Happy birthday girls.

Below are the flowers for you, a special orchid which just bloomed on our terrace.

Since it is seven o’clock here in Manila, I have no bottle of champagne for a toast. That we will do later today when reunited in Bangkok.
Cheers folks


Dreams of Two Hills Vineyard

November 28, 2009

Brownies Landing at Two Hills Vineyard in Glenburn

While the north American continent celebrates Thanksgiving and the Muslim world Eid ul Adha, I am homesick for Australia and our small farm-cum-vineyard in Glenburn, Victoria.

There, we had lots of rain, the vines are doing well, the grass is lush and green and our two dams are full of sweet water.


Brunello di Montalcino and pasta

November 27, 2009

2004 Pietroso Brunello di Montalcino

Just a simple dinner with a pasta and a salad. I grabbed a bottle of red from the wine fridge and woh, where did I buy this wine? It was a ripper of a red, ‘2004 Brunello di Montalcino’ by Pietroso (about 100 km south of Florence in Tuscany).

Aged for 36 months in oak barrels, this 100% Sangiovese wine is just a wonderful drop. Intense forest fruit flavours, great structure, good mid-palate weight and a long finish, round and silky. It took us by surprise.

A delicious pasta

We had just a simple pasta for an ordinary dinner during the week. When I went back to the supermarket the next day to look for this wine, I could not find it any more. I know why: it’s marvelous. Look out for this Brunello di Montalcino. It’s worth it. Azienda Agricola Pietroso produced 2004 about 13,000 bottles of this Brunello. I think it was one of the best wines we had had recently.


How to open a bottle of wine

November 26, 2009

This is another technique to open a bottle of wine (and not breaking off the neck) if you are not in possession of a proper bottle opener.

Please do not mind the French.
The clip is self-explanatory, in fact amazing. It shows “where there is a will…….”.

Cheers


The best 10 German dry Riesling wines

November 25, 2009

It was a bit disappointing for a native from the Mosel River to read through the list of best dry Riesling wines of Gault Millau’s newly released wine guide 2010.

Among the best German dry Riesling wines of 2007 and 2008 there was not a single one from the Mosel, Saar or Ruwer.

I know that my home region is more famous for its semi-dry and sweet Rieslings but…

The good news it that a wine from the Nahe where my materal grandfather had introduced me to dry wines many decades ago was ranked the second highest.

Moreover, the vintner of the year is also from the Nahe. Tim Fröhlich (35) was awarded this prestigious title. The family estate Schäfer-Fröhlich is one of the best wineries in the Nahe Region and produces outstanding dry and sweet wines.

The winner for best dry Riesling (with 96 points) was a wine from the Pfalz, a ‘Forster Kirchenstück GC’ by Dr. Bürklin-Wolf (70 €). Emrich-Schoenleber received 95 point for a ‘Halenberg Grosses Gewächs’ (29 €). Among the top ten five Riesling wines came from Pfalz, two from Rheingau and Rheinhessen each and one wine from the Nahe.

That the Franconian wines were missing from the list was a further disappointment. Also in Franconia the 2007 and 2008 vintages were outstanding (as is the 2009).

Two other wines received 95 points, a ‘Abtserde Grosses Gewächs by Keller Estate, Rheinhessen and a ‘Forster Pechstein GC’ also by Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, Pfalz (35 €). 94 points were awarded to three wines: a ‘Deidesheimer Hohenmorgen GC’ by Dr. Bürklin-Wolf (35 €), a Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg by Georg Breuer, Rheingau (40 €) and a ‘G-Max’, also by Keller Estate, Rheinhessen (I found a price of 160 € from an internet sales website). From some chat on the internet I got the impression that you won’t see a bottle on any shelf. This wine is “rationed” and reserved for special customers. Keller estate was “the producer of the year 2006” of Gault Millau.

Two wines were given 93 points: ‘Kastanienbusch Grosses Gewächs’ by Rebholz Estate, Pfalz (32 €), and ‘Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Alte Reben Goldkapsel’ by Josef Leitz, Rheingau (65 €). Wine number 10 received 92 points and it was a ‘Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Schiefer’ by Siener Estate, Pfalz (16.50 €). This is the only wine in my price-range.

Needless to say that all the wine gurus of the world have written about these wines and these producers, John Gilman, Jancis Robinson, Eric Assimov to name only a few. Some of the wine reviews you can find on the internet, some of them are linked by the specific estate named above. It seems there is lots of research to be done.

Go wine enthusiast. You can, of course, also buy the wine guide, Gault Millau.


Tio Pepe – Fine sherry

November 22, 2009

Palomino Fino

We had a sherry, but not any sherry: I bought a bottle of Tio Pepe, in my local supermarket, one of the best and most popular sherries. I was a true find. The Palomino Fino is made from the Palomino grape variety, one of the most important for the production of sherry. Fino is the driest of the traditional sherries and also the palest in colour, as you can see from the photo below.

Tio Pepe

Sherry is one of the underrated wines of today. When we visited Madrid two summers ago, we ended up in the sherry bar of town, “La Venencia”, an icon and heaven for the sherry lover. This somehow has triggered our re-discovery of sherry and ever since sitting on the rustic table in this bar, I just love this type of fortified wine. Tio Pepe’s Palomino Fino is wonderful with food. We had it with antipasti, olives and bruschette. What a joy. It’s not cheap in Thailand (we paid about Thai Bath 1,600 which is 32 EURO!) but I could not resist.