Saturday, March 24, 2012

Groce-Out Mendoza Pinot (?)!

Maula Pinot Noir, Mendoza Argentina 2010: 

Limpid and bright red color, of medium strength with cherry color hues. Aromatic. To red fruits, strawberries, cassis, pepper, chocolate, tobacco and some vanilla. It reminds of nuts. In mouth is smooth and velvety, sweet Strawberry marmalade in its highest expression. Elegrant acididy. Round with soft tannins.

Maybe I should trust my palate less than usual this time as we drank this wine one evening when we were making orange marmalade and all I seemed to be able to smell and taste was citrus! Still... I was surprised by this wine - although to be honest I wasn't quite sure what to expect from an Argentinian Pinot Noir. Reading the description I got the impression that there would be more sweetness from the red fruits and strawberries, but I tasted many delicious savoury flavours. Maybe not nuts - but tobacco I think for sure. It is smooth and it does have a very elegant acidity and do believe I might try another south American pinot again after this.

I have a complicated relationship with Pinot Noir. I love the French style, light and smooth with taste of... Autumn? The American ones I like, but they tend to be too perfumed for me, too rose-flavoured (or I can't really describe what it is) and I rarely want more than a small glass. The good ones also tend to be expensive! That does not count for this bargain from Groce-Out costing only about a fiver.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thank you California for your sweet sweet oranges...

Groce-out Côtes du Rhône!

Ted the Mule (Tête de Mule) Syrah-Grenache, France 2009:

Ted the Mule stubbornly upholds French tradition, blending the noble Syrah with the playful Grenache sourced from the sun-drenched Rhone Valley, Ventoux vineyards. Though spunky and energic, Ted has a serious side and sports a bit of a kick. Opening notes of fresh berry fruit aromas and flavours segue to smoky-spicy elements typical of the terroir of southern France. Comfortable at a formal table with top cuts of grilled meat, Ted also enjoys hangin' on the couch with a slice of pizza or a bowl of pasta.

I like Ted the Mule, but he is really difficult to explain. Some nice acidity... Dry, but also a little sweet (is this what they call well-balanced?). It's the third day since we opened and the savory flavours are becoming more pronounced. I am becoming aware of the fact that I do like Grenache - and this one is definitely worth a whole lot more than the $5.99 we paid for it.  

It's alive!!

Things are starting to happen! The tomatoes have sprouted and soon the peppers will follow their example (I hope!).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Groce-Out Torrontes!

Santa Ana Eco Torrontes, Argentina 2009:

What to say... We got this wine for $3.99 + tax (YES - £2.71 or even better: NOK 24.7!!). Was it worth it? Yes, I'd say I would also have been pleased at $15. 

The description on the bottle says:

The wine showcases a pale yellow colour (English English!) with green hues. Very typical and elegant aromas of white flowers and roses on the nose layered with citric notes. Crispy and smooth, the wine pairs well with seafood and mild to spicy cuisine. 

I'd agree with most of that. The wine is very aromatic and almost reminds me of a drier and more restrained Gewurtzraminer. We drank it with some chicken biryani that I threw together at our last Pandemic get-together and it complemented the food nicely.  I am always looking for good wines to go with spicy Asian cuisine so I am glad I came across this one. Not knowing how long it would be available for, Iain and I biked out yesterday and got ourselves another bottle to save :-) On the way I slid and fell (bike and all) into a muddy puddle. But that is an entirely different story.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Groce-Out/Gross-Out Wine!!

Our plan to taste mystery wines and review them online never really turned into anything. So - next project (suggested by Iain) is to start a Groce-Out Wine Review section of my otherwise not so interesting blog. Ok - the story: There's a grocery shop in Davis (part of a chain) which is called Grocery Outlet. It sells discounted groceries and various household items that for various reasons have not sold well other places (for example the product was over stocked or there simply wasn't a market for it in the town or country where it was shipped to in the first place). Grocery Outlet, like other supermarkets, has a wine section and now we are getting to the point. The wine in Grocery Outlet is very often heavily reduced and presumably there are a million reasons why they end up in Grocery Outlet (and many of these reasons are not good reasons).  Often, however, the wine is just about to reach its peak age and so has to be sold quickly. Some of these wines are excellent wines - it's all about identifying them and getting hold of them before they've been bought up by other people who share this wonderful secret with Iain and I... 

So far we've tried a lot of more or less interesting stuff from Groce-Out. In the start we were so puzzled to see that they were selling, amongst other things, over 10 years old Chardonnays. Ok - we may not be wine experts, but even I know that Chardonnay tend not to last that long... So we though: let's get one and see what actually happens to wine when it has been aged beyond its potential. Verdict? Looked and smelt like wee. It was absolutely terrible.

The last six months we've decided to stay away from the wine that we know is going to be bad (enough with the experimenting!) and we've put a lot of effort into finding out what wines are in fact good value. We have come across a lot of delicious stuff, some by recommendation by other bloggers who have specialized in Groce-Out wine too (e.g. These blogs have turned out quite popular, and the wines that receive favourable reviews are likely to be sold out in a matter of days. At the moment our fridge is full of Argentinian Torrontes, French Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley Barbera, Spanish Temperanillo... We have a lot of testing to do!!

Yes I did... Again.

The great thing about forgetting our anniversary was that I got a wonderful surprise upon arrival at home: flowers in a vase and Iain all dressed up in shirt and trousers ready to take me out to Osteria Fasulo. On top of all this I had only just submitted a paper and been out for ice cream with Bobell AND a whole box of books had arrived from When we got back from dinner the sky was clear and we went for a late night bath in the jacuzzi. Thank you, Iain (and California!) for an awesome day.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We're gardening!

This sunny Sunday we have spent making our patio pretty for the summer. Iain has brushed every square inch of the floor and stamped (or burnt) over a hundred black widows! We have planted dozens of tomato seedlings (for the interest of the knowledgeable: gardener's delight, roma, supersweet 100, grape and early girl). Most of these will be transported to our newly acquired garden allotment on campus once they're ready and the rest we will try to grow on our patio or give away to friends. We have also planted marigold seeds, hot peppers, chives, sage, chocolate mint, oregano, parsley, spring onions, cilantro (aka coriander) and lavender. Basil is to come and we already have a grape vine, rosemary and a few flowers. This evening we harvested our sugarsnap peas and magetout which we had in a salad for dinner. Yum.

We have grand plans for our allotment that we're sharing with friends Alyssa and Mariam. So far we have planted peas and potatoes (although it may already be too late for them!), aspargus, lettuce, rocket salad and some other salady bits. Later we will grow peppers, strawberries, melons (if Iain can be convinced) and whatever else we can think of! The garden that our allotment is located in has a number of communal fruit trees, grape wines and lots of blackberries. We've done well and pictures will follow! For now, enjoy Iain's predictions regarding the future looks of mr garden plot!

PS Caroline: it's true - Iain now says tomaytoes! It is really strange...