Sunday, 30 September 2012

Red wines with curry

A local friend who hails from India by way of Kenya and Ealing has his ageing mother living with him now. She wanted to cook an authentic curry for his friends so last night we all piled round to enjoy something rather more subtle than the curries I make at home (or get from the local take-away). I asked what the curry was called to learn that it translated simply as "chicken curry" - no fancy names then.

I had been asked to provide some wines and, whilst there were a couple of whites on the table, I stuck with the reds, of course. A Domaine de la Charite Cotes du Rhone had good fruit and a sufficiently soft structure not to be bothered by the spice. However, I was more surprised that the Domaine de Mourchon Seguret from 2007 drank so well alongside the (admittedly fairly mildly) spicy food. Perhaps more understandably, the maturing 2009 Cotes du Rhone from Domaine Bressy-Masson with its softened tannins provided secondary fruit characters that blended well with the spice without any great conflict. The real star, though. was Xavier Vignon's Debut which has a wonderful maturity which shrugs off spice and, I suspect, anything else as if to say "I've been round the block enough times to know how to deal with you".

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Piedmont - at last I have narrowed it down

At last, after much deliberation (make that "tasting"), I have narrowed down the selection of wines from Nada Giuseppe (Barbaresco), Fabrizio Battaglino (Roero), Filippo Gallino (Roero), Grasso Fratelli (Barbaresco) and Crissante Alessandria (Barolo) to just three or four wines from each.

The range of wines is quite something: some unusual but beguiling whites, a gutsy Dolcetto, Barbera ranging from easy, everyday drinking to serious, dinner party wine, super ripe Nebbiolo to classic Barolo (not forgetting the Barbaresco and Roero incarnations, of course) and two low-alcohol, sweet wines, one red, one white. Not bad for fewer than 20 wines!

I really do think all these wines are stunningly good - normally I am no fan of Dolcetto but Enrico Nada turns out a beefy version that really works for me. However, the highlight of the range (for me) this year is the 2009 Barbaresco "Casot" which is so forward, I have already worked my way through several bottles. The 2007 Riserva is excellent too but, for my money, needs a little more time to compete with the 2009. Anyone who enjoyed the 2006 Riserva (and there were many such people) should look seriously at the 2009.

I must also mention Fabrizio Battaglino who had his birthday just yesterday and found out that he has Due Bicchieri in the 2013 Gambero Rosso guidebook - well done to him. His 2010s are surely the best wines he has yet produced: super ripe Nebbiolo from Colla and a classic, restrained Roero Sergentin heading the pack.

One of the things I really like about this selection - apart from the quality of the wines, of course - is how comparatively affordable these wines are. OK, there is one wine for £350 per magnum but, apart from that, the most expensive wine is only £28.50 (for a Barolo) with most of the Barbaresco and Roero wines well under £20 and several coming in around the £10 mark. For quality this high, those are low prices.

Please enjoy browsing the list which is in pdf form - here - or let me know if you would like me to send it to you another way.