Friday, 30 May 2008

Wine in a (peli)can

Last week was the London International Wine Fair and what a fair! I love going to this event. Checking out all the new products, finding new wines, revisting old favorites, talking to producers  or just admiring the sleek bottles, artfully arranged, sparkling under the Excel Center lights. Walking into that place, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Remember that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when the kids are let loose in the candy garden? I know exactly how those kids felt.  I didn't know where to turn or which stand to go to first. It really can be a bit heart-stopping.

First stop was a Friui tasting seminar that I'd signed up for earlier in the week. Lately I've been really interested in  Italian wines so I thought this would be an interesting seminar. It would have been if the speaker didn't insist on speaking in a heavily accented dry monotone. The Friulis, from Northern Italy were mostly light and fruity with a striking tone of  minerality that I really enjoyed running thru all the samples we tasted. 

The most interesting thing that I came across from the show was the new brand Wild Pelican, wine in a can. According to their website, 

..."Our aim was to differentiate from the wine in cans already on the taking a consumer perspective...creating a brand that allows (them) to explore some of the best wines..." in the world. 

So far, so good. What's differentiates this brand from others, is that the wines are still, not sparkling. Caroline, the rep, gave me a couple of cans to take home and try. I have to admit, it's a bit unsettling to pop open a can of wine but once it's poured into the glass, you'd never know the difference. These are very well made wines. The first was a chenin blanc from S. Africa. Now, you know I'm not a big fan of S. African wines but this one was clean and clear, a lemon/hay color with a citrusy nose, crisp and fruity. If I didn't know it came from a can....

The next day I tried the rosé. This one was a vin de pays from the Languedoc. A grenache/syrah blend. I really liked this one. A lovely pale pink, light, refreshingly dry with a strawberries and cream nose and hints of redcurrant with a clean finish. I was afraid that it was going to be some sickly sweet strawberry juice but it was fab. I would definitely buy it if I saw it in the supermarket. 

The last one was  a tempranillo from Spain and here I was disappointed. This one lived up (or down) to what my expectations of what a wine in a can would taste like. It was slightly sweet, soft, a bit like alcoholic fruit juice. I struggled to finish the wine, even with food it's still got a long way to go. 

Overall, if you see Wild Pelican try it. I think these folks have got it, at least on the white and rose front. One word of advice though. If you do buy it, don't drink it directly from the can, there's something about aluminum against your lips while sipping wine that just doesn't feel right. But that could just be me. 


Friday, 16 May 2008

Ch. du L'engarran Rosé

One of my colleagues, Tom from Fulham, decided to organize a day out in Hyde Park for all off us slogging away in the London shops. Somebody brought a football and an American football but really I was just there for the wine. 

Even though the sun is still playing hide and seek with us, Wed. was a brilliantly sunny day and the Ch. du L'Engarran rosé that I brought was perfect for  a day out in the park. I really like these guys, or rather ladies. The Chateau is run by a feisty Frenchwoman, Francine and her two daughters. The Chateau has been seriously producing wine under Francine since the 60's  but since it is an AOC Coteaux du Languedoc, it's not as well known as it could be. 

So on to the rosé. I  used to be one of those wine snobs who wouldn't touch rosé but now that I've discovered dry rosé, I'm all for it, esp. the ones from Southern France. This particular one is a blend of granache and cinsault,  a pale, peachy salmon color which looks so inviting in the bottle and even more so in the glass. It's a dry, fruity glugger. I got raspberry, cherry and strawberry on the nose, following thru  with more of the same on the palate. This was a nicely balanced rose, refreshing and tasty and at the same time finishing off with a bit of a citrusy zing. We all agreed that it was a perfect summer wine, with or without food. I think if I'd had a tuna nicoise to go along with it, the day would have been perfect. 

Next week is the International London Wine Fair. I can't wait!