What is it about Wednesdays and fine wine?

Not that I'm complaining, mind. This time it was Pelorus and Rijckaert Saint Veran.

Pelorus, the fizz from Cloudy Bay (02002, cork), seems not to command the same sort of premium that the sauvignon blanc gets. Which fact is utterly confusing to me, since while I do think that calling it 'the Krug of the Southern Hemisphere' is possibly slightly over the top, charging only sixteen pounds a bottle is an act of daylight charity.

So what is it then? Hah! It is the taste of your very own fresh made bread straight from the oven, smeared with honey and cunningly wrapped up in a light mousse to dance across your tongue leaving a memory of lemon and a huge grin on your face, that's what it is. It is a cunning balancing act of finesse and power. It is... 16/20.

The Rijckaert (02002, cork) is, by his standards, very restrained. Classy, balanced, complex, with none of the wilder funky things to be found in his Arbois. The nose is not particularly strong, (it gets stronger over the course of the evening). It's all green privet and oakiness. The palate is full and dry, slightly savoury and also slightly honeyed. I did briefly get struck flint, such as seems to turn up in Pouilly-Fuisse. This is big, for a St Veran, big, and powerful, and excellent value for money. Not one to keep tho, I would suggest, since the acidity is only middling. But, hey, there are at least thirty more Wednesdays before the year is out, so this probably isn't going to be problematic. Good lord, the bottle's empty already...

(aoop!, the score, the score: 16++/20)


Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage

Buying wine in Asda is generally a rather dispiriting experience, so I was chuffed to discover Ken Forrester petit pinotage (02004 vintage, synthetic closure). I've enjoyed his petit chenin on several occasions, and since the label design of this pinotage suggests it is the red counterpart to the chenin, I'm guessing this will be a bright, fresh wine for drinking right now.

It is a very dark wine, black cored with a purple rim. The nose is wonderful, very strong and fresh, fruity and smoky. So smoky, in fact, that it reminds me of Islay whisky - Laphroaig to be precise - before evolving into the smell of a smoked ham hough in lentil soup as my Mum used to make it. After I poured the first taste I let it stand while I and I went outside to play swingball in the dark. I mention this because on pouring the second taste both B and I noticed quite a pong about the wine - I thought sulphur, B said fertiliser. I suspect a lack of oxygen in the bottle. Not to worry, for the whiff soon cleared.

The palate is clean, slightly sweet and very fruity, but rather flabby. The label says the wine is soft, but that is too kind. More honestly, the lack of acid is a let down. There is a tasty savoury finish, with a wee core of peppery warmth, then a slightly metallic aftertaste. On balance, then, a fourteen pointer, but all for the nose. One to drink very soon, with spicy food. 14/20.


Excuses! Excuses?

Who needs an excuse to drink Observatory carignan / syrah? (02002, under cork) It was a Wednesday, OK? I would have been all right if I hadn't mentioned it in passing during the last wineblogging Wednesday.

However it happened, we found ourselves confronted by a bright purple, fresh-looking glassful - remember folks, this wine is three years old now, and didn't start out with the highest allocation of tannins in the first place - and still with that startling, powerful, zingy fresh herbs and dung nose. It doesn't sound appealing when I put it like that, but believe me, it is unutterably lovely.

On the palate it is just off-dry, but this is countered by that powerful fresh acidity, and the concentrated flavour of currants (maybe blaeberries?). We managed to save some til the next night, so that the acidity has calmed down enough to reveal that there is a reasonable streak of medium tannin in there. I hope I have the willpower to keep some of this til it's ten or twenty years old, but that is going to be hard, since it scores 18/20 right now.