Simi 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon and a Goodman Burger

Amongst my foodie friends there is a subset of them who are obsessed with finding the perfect burger. Like one that, let’s be honest, you can only really get in the States. A good, old-fashioned, tasty and cheap burger. Cheap being the operative word. So far, I haven’t found one that compares to what you can get back home but I did have a very tasty (and pricy) burger the other night with a group of food bloggers at Goodman Steakhouse in Mayfair. This being Mayfair, we were treated to a starter of wagyu carpaccio with shaved parmesan. Definitely not something you’d find on the menu at In-n-Out. After that we settled in to wait for our burgers. And what a burger, only the top cuts going into this sucker. It certainly was very good but it should be at £12 a pop. The Chef came out to talk us through the burger and he disclosed that the secret to such flavourful burgers was chopped onions. I knew it! That’s just what my mom puts in her minced beef when she’s making burgers for the grill. Perusing the wine menu looking for a wine match (well, we were dining in Mayfair), I spied a bottle of ’02 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon from the Alexander Valley for only £40. I was suspicious as to why it was so reasonable but ordered it anyway, thinking if it was bad, I could always tell the foodies they just didn’t know what California wine tastes like! What a lovely wine it was. Very aromatic, berries, leather and many savoury aromas floating around, mingled with spicy, saddle shop notes and even a few whispers of licorice. Swilling it around, it was soft and velvety, full of red and blackberries, again the leather and spice integrated in there with a dark chocolate finish. I really enjoyed this wine, very well balanced and a real steal! I spoke to the manager later and he told me that the wine had fallen into their hands as...

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[yellowtail] & Domino’s – the Anti-Valentine’s Day menu

” www.yellowtailwine.com: [yellow tail] is now regarded as a global phenomenon.  Exports are a little over 11 million cases per annum and over 2 million glasses of [yellow tail] are enjoyed around the world each day ” ….stats from the press kit I received the other day. Those are some statistics. I have to admit, I haven’t had [yellow tail] since I don’t know when. Some of you may recall my run in with Jacob’s Creek this past November so you know Australia is not really my go to place for wine but when I was approached to try [yellow tail] in a promotion linked with Domino’s, I thought, why not? I mean, I have reviewed Australian wine in a box ( not really what I’m looking for but I can see it’s appeal) and I try to keep an open mind and remember that the average wine drinker does get most of their wine from the supermarket shelves and isn’t usually invited to vertical tastings of vintage champagne every week. Ok, maybe every other week Domino’s and [yellow tail] are running a tongue-in-check Valentine’s Day take-away promotion. A kind of anti-Valentine’s day promo. Why go out and spend loads of dosh on overpriced, lovey-dovey menus when you can stay at home and avoid the queues, crowds and sickeningly in love couples who can’t seem to keep their tongues out of each others mouths. What they’ve done is matched 4 pizzas with 4 of [yellowtail]’s wines. At first I was a bit hesistant about the whole idea but as James (the same one who supplied a Grand Puy La Coste 1986 magnum for Christmas dinner and helped me with this little experiment) pointed out, it showed that Domino’s and [yellow tail] had actually taken the time to help the consumer with a bit of food and wine matching. It’s the ‘Play by your rules’ menu and it’s 4 matches of pizza and [yellow tail], Texas BBQ with merlot, Veg-o-roma with pinot grigio, Hawaiian with chardonnay and Pepperoni Passion with Cabernet Sauvignon. Being...

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All I want for Christmas is a magnum of Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste 1986 (done!)

This has been a week of good wine drinking. First a visit to The Sampler with Sarah and now Christmas Day and a magnum of Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste 1986. My friend James had been dying to open this one up ever since he bought it and what better time than Christmas Day! Bordeaux is one of my favourites but I don’t get many chances to drink aged Bordeaux. One of the better estates in Paulliac, Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste was classified as a fifth growth back in 1855 but it’s such a consistent and well made wine, that many consider it to be as good as if not better than many a second growth in Bordeaux. 1986 was a hot summer producing thick skinned grapes yielding wines with plenty of firm tannic structure. On the 23rd of September there was a thunderstorm in the Medoc which missed the northern part.  The result being that Paulliac and St. Julien were spared, enabling them to produce dry and compact wines. Wines with great minerality and aromatics. A blend of 75% Cab, 25% merlot and aged in  30% new oak, it’s best served at 19 degrees, the perfect temperature for such a wine with quite a tannic structure. We could smell the cassis even before pouring the wine into the glass. Notes of cedar, graphite, coffee cream (James said. I got more of a fresh coffee bean aroma) and sweet licorice. On the palate an intense fruit core, rich, ripe blackcurrant predominately, excellent tannic backbone  to hang the fruit on along with plenty of acidity to balance it out. Drinking perfectly at the moment and the quintessential food wine for the holidays, marrying fabulously with the turkey and all the trimmings, except for the braised red cabbage, but what goes with that, anyway? Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Hardy’s Nottage Hill Freshcase – new packaging concept

From the press release: “Ever opened a bottle of delicious, premium wine one evening and gone back for a second glass a week later, only to find that the wine is past its best?” No, that’s never happened to me (wine doesn’t have a fighting chance in my house) but I do know people who don’t finish off a bottle in one sitting, they may even save it for (gasp!) a week ( Hi, Mom!).  Hardy’s, the Australian producer, has come up with a nifty new bag in a box  (Freshcase) which I received the other day to help those poor souls out. The big brands seem to lead the way in innovation, always willing to try something new, so here is the next big thing… Hardy’s is calling  their new brand the Hardy’s Nottage Hill Freshcase and it’s big innovation is not only the volume, it holds 2.25 litres (equivalent of 3 bottles) but is 70% lighter then 3 conventional wine bottles, takes up much less space in the fridge and they say it will keep the wine for up to 6 weeks! That’s gotta be some willpower on the consumers part for it to last 3 weeks. But I digress. The new packaging is pretty slick and sturdy looking but surprisingly light. They’ve thought of everything, the white wine box even has a little stand which lets the bottle sit at a downward angle in the fridge so you’ll be sure to get every last drop. The best part is that it’s 100% recyclable and made from sustainable stocks. The case box comes apart very easily for you to recycle. There is even a video on youtube to show you how easy it is to pull apart, which is a good thing because I was debating whether or not to just finish off the wine and rip open the box! At the moment, there are two wines being produced, a chardonnay and a cabernet/shiraz blend. I opened the cabernet/shiraz a week ago and have been periodically having a glass in the...

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Elvis is in the building (or at least his wines are)

I always forget how much I love Elvis Presley’s music until I hear it, then it instantly transports me back to my childhood. My parents weren’t huge Elvis fans but my dad did like to pop in a cassette tape every now and then on road trips. Well, Elvis is back and here in the UK! Well, not entirely true, Elvis wines are trying to break into the UK wine market. Yup, an entrepreneurial Swede by the name of Dan Samson has already brought “The King”  to Sweden and the Netherlands. Dan has teamed up with Signature Wines  and their Graceland Cellars range to help bring Elvis to the masses again. Actually, it’s like the Marilyn Merlot brand of wine. Neither Marilyn nor Elvis have anything to do with the wine but their visages peer out at you and if it makes your nearest and dearest Elvis fan happy, what’s the harm? The Winesleuth (me)  had the chance to speak with Dan at the recent California Wine Trade Show here in London, watch the video to see what he had to say about Elvis in the building… I have to admit, I was rather dubious when I saw the wines but on tasting them all my doubts vanished. These were not just gimmick wines but also well made wines. I sampled the Jailhouse Rock Merlot and the Blue Suede Shoes Chardonnay. Both were approachable, easy drinking wines. The  merlot was soft and fruity but had a bit of structure to it and the chardonnay, while it did have oak on it, was not too oaky and had some nice ripe tropical fruit on the nose and palate. The wines have won numerous awards in the States at various competitions so the quality is certainly there. They’re not yet available in the UK but Dan believes that they’ll retail for around £8 – £10, reasonable for a Califoria wine in Europe. The grapes are sourced from the Santa Rosa Valley, in Northern California, near Sonoma Valley and all...

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