Monthly Archives: January 2015

  • Tom's Tasting Suggestions

    Tom's Tasting SuggestionsThe latest update of Tom's Tasting Suggestions - All available to try in the Great Western Wine shop in Bath this week.

    Pop your head in and try out some of our delicious wines whilst you look around at the selection available.


    2002 Chambolle Musigny, Robert Arnoux

    £49.50          per 75cl bottle

    £1.70            per 25ml sample


    2010 Pinot Noir, Carrick Excelsior   

    £49.50          per 75cl bottle

    £1.70            per 25ml sample


    2011 Château Picque Caillou, Pessac Léognan     

    £19.95          per 75cl bottle

    £0.70            per 25ml sample


    2012 Anaperenna Shiraz Cabernet, Glaetzer       

    £29.50          per 75cl bottle

    £1.00            per 25ml sample


    2010 Abercrombie Cab Sauv, Howard Park 

    £29.50          per 75cl bottle

    £1.00            per 25ml sample


    2013 Estate White, Morgenster    

    £21.50          per 75cl bottle

    £0.70            per 25ml sample


    2013 Pinot Grigio IGT, Vinnaioli Jermann 

    £20.50          per 75cl bottle

    £0.70            per 25ml sample


    Beurrot Pinot Gris 13 Kooyong 6/75

    £19.95          per 75cl bottle

    £0.70            per 25ml sample

  • Alan's Wine of the Week: Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz

    Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz, 2011

    Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz, 2011

    Deep ruby with purple hues, the nose bursts with white pepper and spice with an all elegant red-berry scented fruit with mocha notes and soft, lingering tannins.

    £11.95  £9.95

    +10% off 12+ bottles

  • Tried & Tested: Meatballs in a rich tomato sauce with a juicy Sangiovese

    It's coming to the end of the month, and winter is by no means easing off so I thought it was time to bring out an old classic to help warm up the chill of an evening.  I tried out a recipe that my mother used in my younger years as she taught me the basics of cooking, which over time I've adapted and added my own methods to, keeping the ingredients as they always were.

    I accompanied this rich tomatoey dish with the juicy Elki Sangiovese, Elqui Valley 2012 from Viña Falernia, combining subtle oaky flavours of the wine with the beef meatballs drenched in ragu style sauce.  Tasting the wine before and during dinner highlighted different elements to its flavour, with the vibrant juiciness being the front-runner until the wine blended with the full flavours of the dish - definitely one to try again, and something that will work with plenty of other tomato based recipes.

    The reason I bake this recipe instead of cooking the whole dish on the hob is that I find it retains all the juiciness of the meat and infuses it into tomatoes - creating a deliciously rich sauce, whilst stopping the meat drying out.

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  • Hot off the press – Italian Special

    Great Western Wine - Wines in the press

    Decanter magazine’s Italy Supplement this month features five producers from Great Western Wine. This is a lovely affirmation of the high quality, diverse range of Italian wines that we have waiting for you in store and online.

    A sparkling result

    In his opening gambit, “Why Italian wine has never been better”, Ian D'Agata writes about the diversity, modernity, reinvention and future of winemaking in today’s Italy. D'Agata’s recent book Native Wine Grapes of Italy was 13 years in the making, so you could say he knows a thing or two about Italian wine.

    D'Agata particularly focuses on the subject of sparkling wines, highlighting the wines of Trento:

    Ferrari Perlé Blanc Brut

    “Trento DOC wines made in Trentino are blessed with higher natural acidity and a tighter, more austere mouthfeel. Therefore, they appeal more to those consumers looking for a fresher, livelier sparkler.”

    He goes on to pick Ferrari’s Perlé 2007 as one of his favourites: “Bright and light in style, with floral and peachy aromas and flavours that just go on and on. 90/100

    A few pages later, Richard Baudains article on Prosecco Superiore, explains that the DOCG version of Prosecco, from the historic production area in the hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (as opposed to the larger area of DOC), now “offers a genuine step up and is worth seeking out.”

    Prosecco, Ruggeri, Vecchie Viti DOCG

    Baudains takes Ruggeri’s Vecchie Viti Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2013 as an example: “Biscuit crust and mineral nose, delicate herby nuances and a slightly spicy, aromatic note.  Very fine, elegant perlage.  The palate has rapier intensity, length, depth and purity. Uncompromising and bone dry. 93/100

    Crus Control

    Monty Waldin urges Brunello fans to seek out “single-vineyard expressions” in his article ‘The many crus of Montalcino’; there’s more than just one style of Brunello, he writes.

    Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino RiservaIl Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2007 is sourced from a 15 hectare single vineyard in Sant’Angelo, Colle, with vines grown on rocky clay at an altitude of 250m. Waldin likes its “effortlessly drinkable” style and its “sour cherry fruit nicely arranged around tannins with a savoury balsam feel.”

    Smoldering good looks

    In his regional profile on Etna, Sicily, Simon Woolf says that “the vinous potential of Etna’s unique volcanic terroir is finally being fully realised.”

    Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante

    According to Woolf, local grape Carricante has a “Riesling-like ability to age, mutating from nervy saltiness to honeyed, smoky maturity, without any assistance from oak.”            

    Eruzione Bianco 1614 Carricante Planeta 2013    “The addition of a small amount of Riesling seems to lift the aromatics in this superbly focused, pin-sharp Carricante from a large but quality-focused producer.  The fruit is generous, the finish long and mineral.”

    Unique and Iconic

    Ian D’Agata concludes the supplement with a piece called ‘The white icons of our times’ which includes the “unique” Jermann Vintage Tunina 2012:

    Jermann, Vintage Tunina IGT“A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay with a small percentage of Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit (Pinot Blanco was originally planned but a nursery error led to Chardonnay being planted instead).  The grapes are slightly late-harvested together from a 16ha site at Ronco del Fortino, and the wine sees no oak.   It takes its name from that of Antonia (Tunina, in dialect),  past owner of the vineyards from which the wine is made , and is dedicated to another Antonia, one of Casanova’s favourite lovers.  Although best drunk within 5 years, it can improve for up to 15.”

  • Hibernating Wines for January

    If you’ve been hiding away this January, here are some wines to lay down for when you feel like celebrating again.

    After all the Christmas and New Year festivities, you may well be struggling to contemplate buying more wine:  But now is the best time to put away a few bottles for later in the year, or even to lay down a case or two to forget about for a decade or so.   For those on a ‘dry January’, your clear head will enable you to  pick out some gems from the January sale; but for those still struggling to think straight, here are some ideas of great wines to hide away.

    Most wine collectors only think of cellaring traditional French wines, like those of Bordeaux. But here we’ve hand-picked a selection of Australia’s very best wines, some perfect for drinking now, some for drinking in the mid-term and some to pop in the cellar for a few years, perhaps left for a celebratory birthday or wedding.  These wines have the same power, grace and finesse as some of those from the unreachable upper echelons of Bordeaux, but without the need to re-mortgage your house in order to invest.

    Heartland Directors' Cut Cabernet Sauvignon, Langhorne Creek Limestone CoastHeartland Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon, Langhorne Creek Limestone Coast 2012

    The sheer force of the blackcurrant and ripe red cherry fruit is as much a testament to the vineyards as winemaker Ben Glaetzer’s skill. The mouth-coating texture and supple tannin structure create an experience of perfect equilibrium, but the true character is most easily appreciated in the complex layers of liquorice, nutmeg and star anise spice. Drink 2015-2025

    £23.50  £19.50

    The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, d'ArenbergThe Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, d'Arenberg 2005

    Already 10 years old, this is a great opportunity to try a maturing Australian wine. However, d’Arenberg’s care and attention in the vineyard and winery mean its style is designed to keep on evolving. The fruit is sourced from their best Cabernet vineyard, using a near-extinct clone which yields tiny quantities of intensely fragrant grapes. Lush blackcurrant gives way to violet, developing hints of cedar and fennel with time. Drink 2015 -2025

    £39.50  £26.50

    Kooyong Haven Pinot Noir Mornington PeninsulaKooyong Haven Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula 2011

    An emphasis on single vineyards and individual terroir is Kooyong’s mission statement - Burgundian style combined with a can-do Aussie attitude, all tied together by an Italian winemaker. This cool climate Pinot could quite easily be a Premier Cru Volnay with its classic Burgundian nose of frosted rosehips, mushrooms and leather. On the palate, gently perfumed fruit and complex truffle, tobacco and black tea flavours are just beginning to emerge. Crisp acidity and just a nip of tannin mean that this will benefit from decanting if drunk now, while further bottle age will start to reveal layers of complexity over the next five years or so. Drink 2015 - 2020

    £39.50  £29.50

    Henschke 'Abbotts Prayer' Merlot / Cabernet SauvignonHenschke 'Abbotts Prayer' Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

    The Henschke family pioneered the use of single vineyard and single variety bottlings at a time when Australia was just making fortified wines. Fifth generation winemaker-viticulturists Stephen and Prue continue their pursuit of excellence with the world-famous Hill of Grace as well as developing new viticultural areas like Adelaide Hills, with their 'Abbotts Prayer' Merlot/Cabernet. The ripe aromas of violets, mulberry and cedar are so inviting that it is hard to leave alone in the cellar. Drink 2015-2025

    £39.50  £29.50

    Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet SauvignonHoward Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

    Abercrombie is Howard Park’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, named after owner-winemaker Jeff Burch’s great-grandfather Walter Abercrombie. Produced only in the very best vintage years, consisting of the top 1% of Cabernet grapes grown in their oldest vineyards, it is now one of Australia’s most collectable red wines.  Crammed full of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, and backed by earthy truffle nuances, the firm acidity and fine oak tannins guarantee a graceful old age. Drink 2016-2025

    £45  £29.50

    Glaetzer Anaperenna Barossa ValleyGlaetzer Anaperenna Barossa Valley 2012

    Glaetzer’s old bush vines are up to 110 years old, yielding miniscule quantities of elegant, intensely aromatic grapes. Ironically, the newest generation of the winemaking family, Ben Glaetzer, has become a legend in very short time – he was the youngest ever winemaker to be named ‘Baron of the Barossa’ in recognition of his prodigious talent. This is benchmark Glaetzer, a wine full of cassis and blueberry compote flavours, tamed by peppery spice. Drink 2015-2028

    £44  £29.50

    Langi Shiraz - Mount Langi GhiranMount Langi Ghiran Shiraz 2012

    One of the most distinguished single-vineyard wines from Australia, this 100% Shiraz is sourced from a site nestled between two dramatically beautiful mountain ranges on the southern edge of Western Victoria’s Great Dividing Range. The 2012 vintage was exceptional, creating an intensely fragrant wine full of blackcurrant, woodsmoke and pine forest aromas. The tannins are smooth and velvety, structuring the hints of black pepper, cedar and the merest hint of Aussie eucalyptus. Drink 2018-2030

    £45  £36

     By Chris Penwarden

    Prices stated above valid until midnight 01.02.15

  • Curry & Wine: Perfect Partners

    Don’t know what to drink with your Dhansak? Bored with Biryani and beer? Angela Mount offers some advice on what wine to sup with your Chicken Tikka or Rogan Josh.

    With thousands of Indian restaurants throughout the UK, it’s clear we all love a curry. Indian beer or lager is the traditional drink of choice, but an increasing number of restaurants are now focusing on a top quality wine list, with a carefully selected range to suit the style of the dishes on offer.

    One such establishment is The Mint Room, a multi-award winning fine dining Indian restaurant in Bath, and one of the leading Indian restaurants in the South West. They specialise in traditional Indian flavours, with a modern twist; focusing on the wide variety of styles from different regions.

    Wine goes superbly with Indian cuisine; it’s all about finding the right wine to match the differing styles and spices in the cornucopia of dishes that we are on offer.  It’s definitely not a case of ‘one style fits all’ - It’s all about matching the intensity of the dish with the richness of the wine and getting the right balance – easier said than done!

    As a general rule, aromatic, fruity whites, and soft, lighter styles of red work best. Avoid delicate whites, which will be overwhelmed and tannic reds, which become bitter. I also think fruity rosés, with an edge of sweetness, are a guaranteed great match.

    There is an incredible variety of cuisines throughout the Indian sub-continent: Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to enjoy a feast, prepared by the Mint Room, showcasing different regional styles. My job was to find the wines to match – a tough one, but someone had to do it.

    With a new menu launching in late February, there are some exciting new takes on traditional Indian flavours, so here's a little taster of one of the dishes to come.

    Lal Hiran, courtesy of The Mint Room, Bath:

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  • 5 Wines for Burns Night

    ileach-single-islay-malt-whiskyThe traditional match for haggis would be a smoky Scottish whisky – often used in a sauce, or poured over the meat before serving. The traditional toast to the haggis, accompanied by a reading of Burns’ ‘Ode to a Haggis’, means that whisky has great significance during the feast.

    But not all of us are whisky lovers, and such a delicious national dish does call for a glass or two of wine to celebrate the night.

    To match this dish with wine, it is essential to concentrate on the key flavours and textures in the meat and the accompanying side dishes.  Haggis has a robust, gamey-meaty flavour, with a kick of peppery spice on the finish, while the texture is soft, with a pleasing chew from the addition of oatmeal. Alongside this rich concoction is the comforting blandness of mashed potato and swede, sometimes enlivened with some buttered leeks or cracked black pepper.

    We asked a couple of our Scottish wine expert friends to recommend 5 wines that would be the perfect match for this celebratory dish. Here’s what they came up with...

    Trimbach, Gewurztraminer Spicy whites from Alsace – the people of Alsace like to pair their aromatic whites with salty hams and rich, buttery sauerkrauts. With haggis, a Gewurztraminer like Trimbach’s Gewurztraminer 2012 performs a similar function – the floral aromas of lychee, rose and five spice are fantastic with the peppery heat and salty richness of the meat.  ‘Gewurz’ even means ‘spicy’.

    Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante


    Smoky whites from Mount Etna – from high on the slopes of Etna, Planeta’s Eruzione 1614 Carricante 2013 is made from a local grape that delivers flavours of lemon, peach and apple – it’s a bit like serving seared fruit with black pudding to cut through the richness.


    Cantina Cleto Chiarli, Pruno Nero

    Subtle fizz with hints of sweetness – the ripe, sweet fruit of top quality Lambrusco like Cleto Chiarli Pignoletto Brut is a great match for haggis. The light sweetness is brilliant with the earthy tones of the oatmeal and the pâté notes from the liver in the dish.


    Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel CaliforniaJuicy reds with a twist of black pepper – Bogle’s Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 is just right with any hearty meat dishes, especially this one. The lush raspberry and ripe boysenberry fruit flavours, with a hint of spiced chocolate, are ideal paired the rich pepperiness of the meat.


    Heartland Spice Trader, Langhorne Creek Limestone Coast

    Rich and spicy Aussie Shiraz – Shiraz like Heartland’s Spice Trader 2012 has voluptuous dark fruits but also a lovely lift of juicy acidity and a peppery warmth. An additional drop or two of Cabernet lends structure and enough 'oomph' to take on the gutsy flavours of the Haggis.

    ‘Cheers’ - or ‘Slangevar!’ as they say in Scotland.


    Many thanks to John Chalmers and Les Somerville from Enotria for their fine food and wine matches. 

    By Chris Penwarden

  • Alan's Wine of the Week: Ixsir Altitudes White


    Ixsir Altitudes White, 2013

    Elegant starbright gold in the glass with an exquisite bouquet of floral aromas, hints of Muscat and notes of grapefruit on the nose. On the palate, this floral and fruity blend has soft, balanced acidity and spicy undertones.

    £16.95  £12.95

  • Tried & Tested: Seared Tuna & Pinot Noir

    Method: Seared Tuna & Pinot Noir

    Ingredients (per person):

    1 clove garlic (finely sliced)
    1-2 spring onions (finely sliced lengthways)
    handful fresh coriander
    1 small red chilli (finely sliced lengthways)
    150g rice noodles (see pack for instructions)
    1 tuna steak
    2 tbsp sesame oil
    2 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp black pepper



    Tried & Tested - Seared Tuna with Pinot Noir


    Mix together 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp fish sauce and the soy sauce in a small bowl.  Dip the tuna steak and cover all sides.  Sprinkle your black pepper over the steak, again covering all sides and lightly push the seasoning in without altering the shape of the fish.

    On a low heat, slowly fry off the garlic, spring onion and chilli with the remaining fish sauce and sesame oil.  Keep this on the heat, without burning whilst you finish with the remaining ingredients.

    Prepare  your noodles as per the pack instructions - usually these take a couple of minutes so put them on before the tuna.  If they take longer, prepare them before the veg.

    Carrick, Unravelled Pinot Noir, Central Otago

    Place a clean pan on a medium heat.  Once hot, place your seasoned tuna in the middle of the pan.  The cooking time depends on the size of your tuna steak - 2 minutes on each side should be ok, leaving larger steaks a little pink in the middle.
    To serve, slice the tuna and place on a bed of noodles, and sprinkle the edges with the chilli and garlic mix.  If you prefer a little more sauce, you can return the pan to the hob, and throw in a splash more soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil and cook for a further minute, ready to drizzle over the plate.  Garnish with coriander to finish.

    I chose this dish as a classic recommendation for matching Pinot Noir and seared tuna.   The lightly spiced Carrick Unravelled Pinot Noir was chosen to compliment the peppery flavours of the tuna, and the aromas of fragrant chilli and nutty, caramelised garlic.

  • Hot Off The Press

    Great Western Wine - Wines in the press

    Victoria Moore followed up last week’s Telegraph article on Lebanon’s booming wine trade with a hand-picked selection of her favourite wines, including mentions of two from Great Western Wine’s Ixsir.

    Ixsir Altitudes WhiteIxsir Altitudes Blanc 2014, Lebanon

    “Ixsir also makes a good red syrah-cabernet blend, more international in style than the Tourelles – the 2010 Reserve is in GWW’s sale – but I really liked this white. A blend of muscat (40 per cent), viognier, sauvignon and semillon, it’s floral but not OTT. Char-grilled swordfish and salty fried fish are its friend.” Victoria Moore, The Telegraph, 19th January 2015

    While we wait for the 2014, the 2013 is reduced to £12.95, so it’s a great time to buy some of this delicious white.  Victoria also mentioned the magnificent Ixsir Grande Reserve Red 2010 – reduced by over a fiver to £17.50 - a red to savour with next Sunday’s roast.

    The Observer’s David Williams recommended this bright, fun, red Italian fizz  - ideal with a wintery stew or bolognaise

    Cantina Cleto Chiarli, Pruno NeroCantina Cleto Chiarli, Pruno Nero NV, Italy

    “How to approach wine post Christmas excess? Some of us give up for a month, but there are better times for abstinence than the dark days of January. I prefer the frisson of transgressive pleasure that that comes with drinking styles that feel slightly inappropriate amid the austerity. Sparkling wines, for example, whether a decent, budget-friendly white fizz … or, to go with the season’s meaty stews, Chiarli’s vivid, ripe black cherry-filled sparkling Italian red, with its soft mousse and gentle tannic grip.”  David Williams, The Observer, 4th January 2015

    Lastly, Decanter magazine featured this fresh and fruity white from the one of the country’s best producers  – a nice change to Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, and a lovely match for spicy Thai dishes.

    Yealands Estate Pinot GrisYealands Estate Pinot Gris 2013, New Zealand

    “Made by winemaker Tamra Kelly-Washington who has previously worked in Australia, Italy and California, this is a pungent style of Pinot Gris with notes of apricot and quince on the nose. The palate is elegant and fresh, with flavours of watermelon and a pinch of ginger spice.” 89/100, Decanter Weekday Wines, February edition 2015.

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