with special guest star
Richard Mark James' blog: wine, travel, food, BYO restaurants, craft beer, stuff like that...

22 July 2006

World Wine Challenge™ quiz for wine geeks

Created by American wine educator Barry Wiss, as part of his Vine To Dine culinary and wine education programme designed for the Trinchero Family Estates winery, an Advanced Level of the game has just been launched in the UK on CD Rom. Complete with sound effects, it takes the form of a virtual wine wheel on screen which spins when you click the mouse.  An arrow lands  on a wine region and points to a question - such as ‘Sangiovese Grosso is also known as?’ or ‘The Walla Walla AVA is located in?’ - giving a choice of answers. World Wine Challenge™ is available from at £12.95. I'd recommend playing with a glass or two of something appropriate to make it even more fun...

06 July 2006

Languedoc: Château de Sérame, Corbières/Minervois

Château de Sérame

"...Delving deeper into the Corbières, this huge region has been witnessing an impressive transformation with several very serious investors on the scene. Château de Sérame is an extensive property straddling both Corbières and Minervois, who went into partnership with Bordeaux magnate Dourthe four years ago. With 120 hectares in production and 10 being replanted every year, “our aim is benchmark wines” commented winemaker Vincent Bernard..." Read the rest of this article for more info (scroll down to OLN 2006).

Tasted July 2006:
2003 Minervois (Syrah Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre) - warm blackberry and liquorice fruit with light toasty oak, slightly 'reductive' tang and complexity; nice soft-ish texture v depth of fruit, weight (13.5%) and chocolate coating; quite big yet the fruit wins the day. 87-89
2004 Minervois (Syrah Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre) - touch more vanilla but also lively floral spice notes; attractive juicy v fresh and tight mouthfeel, enough black cherry fruit to absorb the choco oak; more elegant and perfumed than the 2003. 89+
2004 Corbières (variation of same grapes) - tighter more blackcurranty fruit, again very light oak and reductive notes; nice concentration v firm tannins, elegant and long; needs a little time to express itself. 87-89
2003 L’Icone Corbières - powerful barrel-fermented, limited series red: pretty rich, spicy and toasty nose leads to very concentrated choco palate, sweet fruit v solid rounded mouthfeel, actually 15% but not so obvious. Quite wow Parker-esque style (sorry Robert for that sweeping comment), not sure I'd want to drink more than a glass. 90 (purely as a 'show' wine)

Domaine de Sérame
2005 Merlot Réserve, Vin de pays d'Oc - appealing plum and cherry aromas with very background oak, good varietal character; aromatic v chunky, attractive style. 87-89
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Réserve, Vin de pays d'Oc - quite tangy and tight, perhaps bottle-shocked needing a few months; it does say Cab with less charm than the Merlot, maybe an awkward adolescence...
2005 Viognier Réserve, Vin de pays d'Oc - delicious floral apricot notes, gummy and fresh v fatter 'sweet' fruit, clean long finish. 87-89
2005 Muscat sec Réserve, Vin de pays d'Oc - sexy pure piercing orange peel and grape aromas build to a very zesty palate, 13.5% adds weight yet it's long and fine. 90

Latest vintages tasted here (Corbières report May 2011).

North of Lé