Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sileni 'The Plateau' Pinot Noir 2005

Sileni 'The Plateau' Pinot Noir
New Zealand
Lotte Dept Store, Myeongdong
W27,000(I think, it was reduced quite a lot)

Pinot Noir is never cheap. It is a difficult grape to grow but some argue it produces the worlds great wines. New Zealand, after its great success with Sauvignon Blanc is now carving out a solid reputation for growing Pinot. Martinborough and Central Ottago have probably the best reputation for Pinot in NZ.

I would love to be able to make this posting a comparison with great Red Burgundy. Unfortunately the prices are so prohibitive I can't. So, it will be a review solely based on its own merits.

Sileni do a great Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for 21,000 and this is another good wine. It is a light ruby colour, it looks fruity and it smells fruity. Cherries and strawberries are really coming through and they smell juicy. Lovely, young, succulent fruit. Typical of a young Pinot.
This really follows through on the palate. It is a fruit burst with good acidity and very light and soft tannins. It is a short lived pleasure though, no lingering on the palate here. With the red fruit and refreshing acidity you have a wine of real balance that makes a lovely summery red. Slightly chilled, certainly cooler than room temperature, it is actually quite refreshing.

I think this is a great wine and a good example of how New Zealand is becoming a really great country to get fantastic varietal wines(a lot of superlatives in that sentence!). I was reading just yesterday about the exceptional Chardonnays that are coming out of NZ and will definitely be hunting some of these down.


Old World Vs New World later today with Bordeaux fighting it out with Australia for the Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc crown.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sileni Pinot Noir.


Drinking the Sileni Pinot Noir. I like it. Thought I would do a Google to see what else was out there about it. Found this Korean blog.

Google translate offers up a well exotic account of his review. I guess that is why it is in beta.

To the point, can one of the 5 people who read in Korea offer any translation? EDIT! heh. It has just been pointed out that the previous comment looks like I am suggesting Koreans are illiterate. This is not the case. I was merely making a comment on the number of people reading this blog in Korea.
The above link looks like it could be an interesting, and proper Korean, wine blog.

Actual review of the Pinot this weekend. First impressions, refreshing, fruity and summery. Unexpected for a red.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yalumba "Y Series" Riesling 2005

Yalumba "Y Series" Riesling
Barossa Valley

That picture isn't very good! Apologies. I normally take photographs of the bottles I buy but unfortunately this one got recycled before I photographed so I am borrowing from the internet.

I am becoming a bit of a Riesling fan. They seem to offer wines that can have all the interest and pleasure of a white Burgundy but at a fraction of the price. The difference, in my opinion, is the white Burgundy can often be very much a story of the wine makers skill whereas a Rieslings quality is much more an expression of the grapes origin and climate. Of course, Chardonnay and Riesling are two very different grapes and in fact Chardonnay more than any other grape reflects the terroir(as the French like to call it) so maybe I am talking rubbish.

This was bought in the Shinsegae department store next to the Express Bus Terminal. We were on a mission to buy sausages and growlers(pork pies) from Gavins sausages that the excellent zenkimchi has posted about. We looked. And looked. I was exhausted and had a cold. We looked. I had auditory hallucinations and the sweats. We looked. We didn't find any sausage.

I bought two Australian wines, the Riesling of this post and a Barossa Shiraz. The two bottles cost 40,000Won. This represents pretty good value, Barossa is one of the really noted areas for Shiraz and often they come at a pretty high price.
As it happens the Riesling is also from Barossa. It is pale in colour as you would expect for a young Riesling, a clear and bright yellow.

The nose is pretty much all about the citrus with a really fresh limey kick to it. Perhaps as close as you will get to limes in Korea?? It also has a hint of the petrol so associated with Riesling. Just a hint though.
On the palate it is again a lovely, light bodied, citrus affair that would be well suited to some grilled oily fish on the barbecue. Yalumba talk about generous length and tropical fruit in their official tasting note. I disagree with both. Length was almost non-existent, it was a fleeting pleasure and I got none of the tropical fruit flavours, only the citrus.

Still, it was a W17,000 bottle and was a real quaffer. Definitely recommended for the summer.

Oh and we emailed Gavins and they do indeed operate out of Shinsegae, the Meyong-dong one.
Pork Pies this weekend? If only I could get some Piccalilli.

Tonight is all about a New Zealand Pinot Noir and Sushi, a pairing I have been led to believe works well. We will see.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Kukje Gallery Wine Bar

It was a weekend of tourist activities. We stayed in the excellent Metro hotel in Myong-dong and did visits to the palaces and temples that we have so abjectly failed to visit in the past.

I bought a couple of bottles in the wine shop in Lotte department store, a Cava and a New Zealand Pinot Noir. If there is any doubt that the Korean wine market is set to grow then the evidence was there, it was hammered with people the majority of whom seemed to be showing a real interest in the product as well as buying. Good to see.

After visiting Gyeongbokgung we had a stroll past the galleries that line the main street. It felt a lot like Notting Hill, so I pretty much hated it, but I had heard of Kukje and knew they had a wine bar. After a full day of schlepping around the city with barely a drink to break things up we felt justified in an early evening drink.

Inside is very smart, low lighting, leather seats, and a view of the mountains and the large palace wall. We were given a fairly hefty wine list which disappointingly offers no wine by the glass. There was no way that was going to deter us with the state of our feet and thirst and so we took to ordering a bottle of fizz. With Veuve at 58,000 a half bottle it was never going to be Champagne though and so I tried Cremant de Bourgogne for the first time. I had heard that it was a good low cost alternative to its more illustrious sibling.

Given the surroundings I wasn't comfortable doing a tasting note but my memory will be sufficient I am sure. It was extremely pale and had a good mousse, though the bubbles were not as fine as you would hope to get in a good quality Champagne. It was a lively, fruity wine, lots of apple. Loads of it. Like an unsweetened Appletize maybe. It was crisp with good acidity and the bubbles felt nice and smooth. I suspect that it was produced using the 'methode traditionelle', that is it goes through its second fermentation and thus acquires its fizz in the bottle we were drinking it from.

It wasn't as cheap as I would like and the snack provided was rubbish. We were presented with an attractive plate of seemingly stale bread sticks. Which looked a lot like sticks.

There were plenty of other wine bars in the area where I am sure the well to do art lovers of the world like to conspicuously consume. I may have to join them as the weather improves.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Stump Jump 2004

The Stump Jump 2004
McLaren Vale, Australia
Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne
16,000 won from Gourmet Food Emporium, Galleria, Apkujong.

Illness(a little) and laziness(a lot) have kept me from blogging.

So to a wine I had a few weeks ago now. Picked this up in Galleria, in the food hall rather than the wine shop and it was a decent price at 16,000. I thought it sounded like an interesting blend(for interesting, read potentially revolting) and figured it would be a good way to test my palate at picking up the various constituents.
It is an attractive, clear and bright lemon green colour with a fairly watery appeal to it.

On the nose I was fairly surprised to get some of the developing qualities of the Riesling, that is, a very faint petrol odour. This is a classic aroma to get from Riesling but is not something I would necessarily expect from an Australian cheapy of this age and price. Shows what I know. Primarily coming through is citrus though backed up by green apples and a pleasant wet stone effect. None of the characteristic Sauvignon Blanc herbaceousness was apparent.

On to the palate and we have a nice light summery drink here. There is a hit of lime followed by a really pleasant grapefruit freshness. The Marsanne makes itself known here with soft stone fruits, more apricot than peach, leaving a rounded feeling in the mouth. Unfortunately it was all backed up with an ever so slightly harsh green apple back bone. Overall this would be a lovely, light summer drink though.

I am drinking the Lawsons Hills Pinot Noir as I write this. A delicious New Zealand Pinot. 29,000 from E Mart. Obviously is not a cheap bottle, Pinot rarely is, but it is well worth the stretch. Soft and well balanced it is bursting with red fruits, cherries, raspberries and a little blueberry. Good stuff and their Sauvignon Blanc, 24,000, again from E Mart, is also the business.

We are getting to that time of year when light wines are what we are after so that will be the focus in the future. Saying that, I am still in the market for a good Barolo. I keep seeing them and it is as though the time has come for me to pop my Barolo cherry. Which would be an excellent pun if cherry was a major characteristic of Barolo. But it isn't.