Sunday, July 01, 2007

Nowt as queer as oak.

Nederburg Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa, 2003
10,000w from Lotte Dept Store Jamsil(Big sale on at the moment)

Laroche Viognier, Vins de Pays D'Oc, France, 2005
12,000w from Les Vins, Kyobo building Jamsil(Big sale on at the moment!)

We have two very different wines here. One of which I would say is the best deal I have found in Korea so far.

First to the New World and a South African Chardonnay. The SO had a desire for an over the top Chardonnay, ripe and oaky like they all were a few years ago. This certainly matched up to her desires. I should say first that 10,000w for a New World wine is pretty impressive here, you very rarely see wines at that price.

The appearance of this wine tells you quite a lot. It is a pretty intense lemon green, when I say intense I mean dark. It's like the water you might pass after a very heavy night on the beers. I know, it is an unpleasant truth...... What does this colour tell us? It can mean one of two things usually on a dry wine, the first is age, something we can rule out here, the second is a significant exposure to oak, something that becomes very apparent on the nose.

The nose is pretty intense. An analogy might be an oak tree falls on your head and the monkeys that were living in the tree take offence and pummel your face with butter, popcorn, coconuts and eventually take pity on you and give you some melons. Yeah, it is a pretty stupid wine. The fruit is on the back burner here, it is creamy, vanilla oak that is hitting you. It is not unpleasant by any means, just incredibly rich.

The palate is actually not quite as unbalanced as I was expecting. I was expecting the creaminess to follow through with no fruit and no acidity. This is not the case, it is certainly very creamy with butter and vanilla notes at the fore but we have some nice citrus flavours with a good level of acidity. Unfortunately, for my tastes, there is just too much oak. Is it a bad wine? No. If you are in the mood for something over the top I reckon you would probably quite enjoy it, it is incredibly rich but not as one dimensional as the nose suggests. Would I recommend it? Kind of. At 10,000w it is cheap enough to be a throw away purchase that at least gives some very definite flavour. I won't be buying it again though. The SO might.....

To the second wine....

Laroche Viognier, once again a Viognier once again a Vins de Pays d'Oc. You can see where my tastes are at the moment? Interesting, good value whites is where I am at. This is exactly that and I will reiterate that this is the best value wine I have found to date in Korea.

It is a much lighter lemon in the glass, an indication of limited, if any, exposure to oak.
The nose is just lovely. A fresh lemon beginning quickly backed up by the most delicious peach you have ever smelled. Like walking through a French market in summer. There are other soft stone fruits there as well, notably apricot. It wasn't quite as aromatic as the last viognier, not really having many of the floral elements but what it did have was pineapple. Not just any old pineapple though. Pineapple cubes, from your local sweet shop. I liked that!

The palate is fairly straightforward, decent acidity, peach and lemon with an apricot kernel finish. Length was decent, and it is a refreshing drink, not a massive full-bodied viognier. A really good, clean, simple, soft wine at 12,000w then. We have already been back to buy more. I suggest you get over to the Kyobo store at Jamsil now and get a bottle. I would be amazed if you didn't like it.
Also, I want people to try Les Vins for buying wine, the staff are great, the selection is good. It is still clearly my favourite wine shop in Seoul.

When picking up the second bottle of Laroche I also got a 2001 Haut-Bages from Pauillac. Eagle eyed readers will know I have already had the 2004 and it was far from ready for drinking. Let's hope 3 years bottle age is sufficient!


Big Bliss said...

Heh, I reckon monkeys hitting me with popcorn would make for a well good Monday.

BTW, its "nowt *so* queer as oak" welsh boy........Can't trust a Celt to do a Yorkshireman's job


squirrelandgman said...

Hold on.....Wasn't that Channel 4 program you loved called Queer as Folk? Blame that not me. I suppose that was a play on another phrase though. Oh well, I don't mind upsetting a few Yorkshire sensibilitys.

SkinnySteve said...

Where is the Kyobo Store at Jamshil? By the Kyobo bookstore? Also, where is Le Vins? I'd like to check both places out off of your recommendation. Maybe even today after work.

squirrelandgman said...

Hi Steve. Le Vins is the wine shop in the Kyobo Building. It is the opposite side of the road to Lotte Departments store and World. The Kyobo book store is in the basement, go up the escalators next to the book shop and it is in the far right corner on the ground level floor. It is a little dark but is pretty big so you shouldn't miss it. It is the opposite side of the floor to the Angel in us Coffeee shop and the Quiznos. Like I say, they have a sale on so it is a good time to have a look.

Rodrigo said...

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