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09 September 2010

Fizz of the moment: Royal Seyssel Brut

Obscure fizz of the moment perhaps: I had to do a google search to get the low-down on this bottle, lonely and neglected as it was on my local supermarket's dusty bottom shelf. Made by Varichon & Clerc from the Altesse variety in the not very well-known (!) Seyssel wine appellation nestling on the Rhone on the way up to the Alps in the Savoy region, this 2004 vintage has 12% alc. and was about €7.50 (latest vintages are dearer). What a find: vintage Champers, eat your heart out. This stuff was tasty and complex with lovely balance of toasty oat-cakey richness, maturing oily texture and refreshingly clean lively and elegant finish. Another quick search on the net also revealed plenty of stockists in the UK and US. Some useful info on this fizz brand can be found on Wink Lorch's blog here, a semi-resident Savoy wine (and Jura actually) knowledgeable person, and @ lambert-de-seyssel.com (the brand owner) where I pinched the picture from.

26 August 2010

Pink of the moment: M&S Cape rosé

2009 Cape rosé from Breedekloof region, South Africa, made by Nicolaas Rust (14%) - quite full-on style with rounded oily mouth-feel and underlying "sweet" red berry and cherry fruit; smooth and fairly easy (with food anyway, a bit punchy on its own perhaps) with attractive and off-dry finish. £4.29 Marks & Spencer.

20 August 2010

Beer of the moment: Fischer, France


Summer weather usually dictates less red and more white and rosé hues, around Mediterranean parts anyway, and occasionally a smidgeon of refreshingly chilled beer. Many of my favourite French beers come from the Alsace region - and I don't mean that well-known monster brand I won't bother naming - and one in particular, Fischer, always hits the spot. Even if it's now owned and brewed by Heineken, it's much better than most Brit-type lager or US-style 'lite' stuff, although isn't perhaps as characterful as certain Belgian beers or quite as incisively Pilsner-like in that German or Czech way. But their classic Blonde Tradition is consistently tasty and palate-cleansing while being fairly full-bodied too (6% alcohol by volume); and there's a good Ambré beer as well (darker). It also comes in one of those cute bottles with a stopper on a wire type closure.
Costs about €1.75 for a big (two-thirds of a litre) bottle in most French supermarkets (such as Carrefour -- the image was taken from their site), and is widely exported too.

18 August 2010

Argentina: Malbec & Cabernet Sauvignon

Malbec and Cabernet at a glance: my notes and ratings, for your pure pleasure, of twenty diverse reds made from arguably Argentina's forte on the variety front - varietals or blends of the two (or sometimes with a third grape such as Merlot)... Highlights: 90-pointers from Septima, Piedras Pura Vid, Calle, Vistalba/Fabre. Tango tango! Picture from winesofargentina.org (a bit of a cliché, I know). Click here to find out more.

Fizz of the moment: Bach Cava

Bach Extrísimo Cava Brut Nature (varieties: Macabeu, Xarel.lo, Parellada. 11.5% alc.) - not the greatest "Brut Natural" style Cava (very dry, no added dosage) but one of the most consistently brilliant value: I've tried it several times before and recently bought a bottle in Spain on offer for under €3! Attractive combo of floral bready and light oat-biscuit notes, with hints of honeyed almond flavours too; followed by refreshingly appley, crisp and dry finish. Good with light summer food or very easy quaffing as an "apero." Bach also makes a delicious dry still rosé ("rosat" or "rosado") and is part of codorniu.com. Lots more Cavas in my WineWriting.com Cava guide here. Photo from bach.es.

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