Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Buying Smart At EMart

Junes Herald article is out today and can be found, for a limited time only, here.

I will post my submitted article below because for the first time I am a bit peeved with the editing. Some of the changes actually altered the point I was making, but hey, I am not the professional so I will bow to their decisions. Of course.

In addition to what I said in the article I really do think the Stump Jump pictured above is a cracking bottle, really juicy fruit and a bit of a steal at 16,000won. It seems I am not alone because Parker has rated it as well. Definitely worth checking out.

The Tierra del Sol is not a great wine and I don't think I got that across well enough due to word limitations. However at 5,000wonish it is not as bad as you might expect. It has fruit and at a party would work. It is not a bottle I would sit and really relish though.

I have plenty more bottles to report on and will be stocking up again this weekend so laziness notwithstanding the blog should be getting a few more bottle reviews in the near future.

Buying Smart at E-mart

Living outside of Seoul seriously limits your choices when it comes to wine buying. Dedicated wine shops tend to charge prices that even I baulk at and whilst the selection at the local convenience stores does show signs of improvement it is still very much a selection that scrapes the bottom of the barrel, be that barrel French or more likely American Oak. Living in one of Seoul’s satellite towns I have faced my struggles in the past, the arduous schlep into the capital or the over priced specialist shops with limited choice. Well, apparently fortune favours the brave and everything comes to those who wait and whilst I may not be the bravest, I have waited and this weekend saw the opening of E-Mart in my backyard.

There is no room to go into the pros and cons of supermarket wine selections here but it is fair to say that E-Mart has improved the choice in my city markedly. Selflessly I have braved the opening weekend hordes and taken home and tasted four wines that range from the poor to the excellent.

Let’s start with the poor. Little Penguin South Eastern Australian Chardonnay is a wine appealing to the masses. At 15,000 won with a modern label adorned with penguins it is quite an appealing bottle to pick up and SE Australian Chardonnay can be an over the top, ripe fruit and vanilla treat every now and then. This wine does indeed have a ripe nose of melon and citrus with an oak influence that has a lot of off notes. To drink it is fairly smooth due in most to the amount of residual sugar which is present no doubt to hide all the faults present in the wine. There is some tropical fruit and if your mission was to get drunk it might do the job but it is very difficult to recommend.

Far superior is the Laroche Viognier 2006 from France, a Vins de Pay D’OC wine at 12,000won which represents superb value. Viognier is a grape which presents problems in terms of getting the ripeness of fruit in balance with the alcohol. No problems here with an extremely fragrant wine with a touch of minerality. There is a real soft fruit quality with apricot to the fore with some flower notes. The palate is juicy but not over the top opulent and has a delicious liquorice finish. Fantastic value.

On to the reds and probably the cheapest wine I have ever bought here. The Tierra del Sol 2006 from Spain is a wine made from Tempranillo, the grape of Rioja and at 4,900 won it had to be tried. It is pretty pale in the glass and has a fairly unripe nose of cranberry and red cherry with vanilla coming through as a bar of fudge. This is a very light bodied red and could definitely be chilled. With red fruit and vanilla it is simple and drinkable. Certainly it is nothing to get excited about but for the price and slightly chilled it is worth a punt.

Finally we have The Stump Jump 2006, a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre from the McLaren Vale region. At just under 16,000 won this is a cracking buy with a fantastic warm, fruity nose with a touch of spice. It is one of those welcoming wines that you just want to glug down. It has a really rounded mouth feel with soft tannins and good length. There is a touch of tobacco, but this is a fruit story with juicy blueberry and black cherry and is a fantastic glass of wine. Recommended.


Steve said...

Would you mind sharing which store, in your opinion, carries the best Italian wine in Seoul? Also, have you ever seen Aperol in this country? Thanks!

squirrelandgman said...

I am ashamed to say I just had to go and Google Aperol having never heard of it. I haven't seen it anywhere here but to be fair I haven't been looking. You might have better luck finding Campari but I am not sure I have seen that either. You can buy Jageirmeister but other than both being bitters they are pretty different I think.
Italian wine here follows a pretty straightforward rule, if it is Tuscan they like it. There are lots of big, expensive reds and insipid cheapy Chiantis. Most of the wine shops have a decent selection, Les Vins Maeils in Jamsil is probably the best. There is a wine shop in Agpujeong in the podo plaza which seems to have a little more variety in terms of selection. though it doesn't sem to be working now.

Steve said...

Aperol is a more drinkable campari. It basically tastes the same. It's really delicious with tonic and is the main ingredient in the classic venetian "spritz."

Thanks for the tips. I was happy to find pio cesere nebbiolo at emart. At about 50000 won a bottle that equals more or less 30 euro which is what you'd pay in Italy.