Monday, November 26, 2007

Valdespino Inocente Fino Sherry

Valdespino Inocente Fino Sherry, Spain, Les Vins Maeils, Jamsil. 20,000won(ish)

The time has come. The moment we have all been waiting for. The Sherry post. I get my hands on the drink forever associated with old women, tramps and Father Christmas. With the Sherry Institute, many notable restaurateurs, importers and the wine trade all banging away at how fashionable and food friendly Sherry really is I have been beaten. I am convinced that this is the perfect, complex, aged wine at a reasonable price that I have been looking for.

As far as I am aware the only place to get hold of sherry in Korea is from Les Vins Maeils. With the coming of Tapas bars here perhaps we can look forward to seeing more, though I have yet to visit a Tapas place in Seoul and so cannot vouch for their authenticity. Getting hold of something that I previously couldn't is a real bonus though and gives me hope for better variety across the board as the Wine industry here grows.

Sherry is an interesting wine, the process of vinification is fairly complex with a solera system that guarantees consistency within the product year after year. It means that although there is no vintage date on the wine, due to blending across the vintage, you are getting a wine that has been aged for at least three years. Usually at a very reasonable price.

The Inocente Fino, pictured above, is produced by Valdespino, the oldest Jerez bodega has around 700 years history of making the stuff. You would hope they have mastered the art. Thankfully I think they have. Unfortunately I am not sure I like it so much.

It is a pale straw colour in the glass with legs giving an indication of the 15% alcohol. I really liked the nose on this. It is very, very nutty. It has pistachio, almost like Pistachio ice cream, walnut, a little leather, yeast and an appealing fresh wet wood thing going on. Lots to think about and really nice then.

In the mouth it is quite delicate, light bodied with really well integrated alcohol. You get a bitter, green olive burst which is quickly chased away by a long Willy Wonkaesque finish. It is like Christmas days nut mix with almonds, walnuts, pistachio and the freshly polished leather of the seat you are sitting in. It keeps on giving with some vanilla tones which adds to the ice cream hints on the nose and has a slightly herbal quality to it.

When I describe this wine I love it. In fact when I was doing the tasting note I loved it. It was only when I was sitting in front of the TV just having a drink that I decided I didn't like it. It is just a bit much maybe. I suspect it will definitely benefit from pairing with food, see the link above, but I can't imagine too many situations where this is the drink I would want to crack open. The aromas and flavours are fantastic, complex and well balanced but there is something just so.......Sherry about it.

I would recommend trying a bottle. It is an interesting and really well made bottle of wine. Just have an occasion to open it. It is not a wine to drink whilst watching the footy.

The New Look.

Having updated the look of the blog I could do with some feedback. If you had an epilectic fit reading the above then let me know and I will change the black. I am conflicted. I quite like the black but suspect it is not so easy on the eye.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beaujolais Nouveau

Thorin Beaujolais Nouveau 2007
Burgundy, France.
16,000won GS Mart

Ahem. One, two. One two. Is this thing on?

November came and November has pretty much gone with Wine Korea neglecting his duties terribly. I apologise unreservedly.

November, the third Thursday in November to be exact, sees the release of Beaujolais Nouveau(BN from now on), a wine made from Burgundy's third grape, Gamay. Japan and Germany are the two biggest markets but Korea is a real growth area and the posters are up in all the convenience stores and wine bars are doing their promotions.

I had never tried BN before. I have tasted Grand Cru Beaujolais and found them OK in a 'I am not really bothered if I try this again' sort of way. They lack a bit of depth but perhaps I have never tried a great one. However, when your local Family Mart owner excitedly tells you about his new wine you have to ask yourself two questions, do I drink too much and should I be trying this exciting new(NOUVEAU!) drink. Yes to both questions and so I bought from GS Mart in order to hide any alcoholic tendencies from Mr Kim. I baulked at the 16,000 won price tag but figured it was the equivalent of three pitchers of Prime Max and can you put a price on new experiences?

It comes in a very exciting bottle, it seems very festive and has explosions of fireworks or flowers or something. It felt like an occasion! In the glass it is very pale, as you would expect. Beaujolais is produced using a process called carbonic maceration(I won't go into the details here) which essentially means there is little colour and tannin extraction going on. It looks like pop.

It has a bubblegum nose with bananas that are just about to be inedible. It is fruity as well with typical red fruit smells, confected strawberry and cherry. Also smelling like old skool alcopops (before they had worked out how to make alcohol taste good for kids) and swimming pools, it is not the most appealing bouquet.

Drinking is not much better I am afraid. Thin and sharp with no body to speak of you get cranberry juice and a follow through of strawberries and cherries but I couldn't get past the vomit like quality. I don't like my wines to taste of sick. Apparently 2007 was a reasonable vintage and I know it is a simple wine that is meant to be short of body and length but I just can't help thinking you could spend your money in so many better ways. I saw a bottle of Chilean Pinot Noir for 20,000won in Jamsil and though I haven't tasted it I am almost certain it will be another light, fruity red but with bags more character than BN.

I picked up a sherry! 20,000 won(ish) for a half bottle of Fino. I thought it was quite over priced until I checked the internet and saw that this is actually a very fair price. I have my almonds ready and will do a tasting this weekend. I know you are all very excited.

Oh! Also check out SeoulSteves for a Pieroth wine deal. They have put together a monthly wine club at Kabinett and a half case offer. It reminds me I must check out the bar and put together my own Christmas wine list.