Drinking Outside The Box

With Simon Woods – wine for people who have a life

Day Four – a great way to finish the weekend… March 16, 2008 at 8:15 pm

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…would have been to share the delicious Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico Torre a Destra 2002 that Jill was smiling along with during dinner. She said it was perfect with my shepherd’s pie, in which a lot of the meat is replaced with chopped-up mushrooms – don’t tell the kids, as they think they don’t like them (Does this still make it a shepherd’s pie? Both lamb and beef mince appeared in the ingredients, so already we’re straying into cottage pie territory. What is the correct terminology for a mashed potato-topped beef mince, lamb mince, mushroom, onion, carrot and garlic-y dish? Reminds me of something Justin Howard-Sneyd of Waitrose told me several years ago about how he could never understand why the non-meat version of Chilli Con Carne at his college canteen was called Veggie Con Carne). Anyway, Jill was on top-notch Chianti, while my tipples were…

Blossom Hill Crisp & Fruity White NV
The last of the Blossom Hill quartet, and not a great way to bow out. With its muddy citrus and elderflower flavours, it reminded me of a slightly podgier Liebfraumilch, complete with the sulphur lurking in the background. ‘Perfect for drinking anytime,’ according to the back label – a missing coda should have said ‘except on days with a “d” in.’

Gallo White Grenache 2006
Yesterday’s White Zin was OK, what about this? It’s paler and not as fleshy, with plums rather than brambles/berries being the dominant flavour. Yet once again, while it’s not my style, it’s still not bad for what I call Kiss-Me Kwik wine. And like the Zin, just 9.5% alcohol.

The four days I’ve spent with California’s most visible representatives in the UK has been pretty much as I’d have predicted. Blossom Hill has never frapped my boutons; Gallo on occasion has. What I hadn’t expected was that it would be the two Gallo pinkies (priced before discount at around a fiver) rather than the more expensive Sycamore Canyon duo (~£8) that would be my faves.

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