Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Flat Peaches

Has anyone seen these flat peaches?  They're all the rage apparently!  I'm lucky enough to live 100 yards from Green Lanes in North London, which has a swath of Turkish food markets staying open all hours and supplying lots of lovely and ripe fruit.  Supermarkets 'perfectly ripe fruit' aren't at all and their fruit 'for ripening at home' often never does.  Peaches are wonderful and sexy things but they are often hard or a bit lacking in flavour and can be very disappointing.  These ones I bought yesterday though are terrific; perfectly ripe with a slightly firm yet very juicy flesh and bursting with flavour.  Apparently they originally hail from China, but relatively recently made it into Europe's orchards and are now swarming all over France.  They are known as the flat peach, the Paraguayos, the Saturn Peach or the Donut Peach.  Go find one!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Weather for Riesling Kabinett

What lovely weather we're having!  So what to drink as an aperitif on a balmy evening whilst waiting for supper?  Perhaps a nice crisp Chablis or maybe a glass of Fino, but if you want a light drink without much alcohol that's very refreshing, you'd be hard pushed to beat a glass of Kabinett Riesling.  

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Cune Rioja Reserva 2004

Finally last night, after the Riesling and prawns followed by the Claret and chops, we had a bottle of Cune Rioja Reserva 2004.  This had so many things going for it; I think the standard bottling (as opposed to a prestige cuve) Reserva is the benchmark for Rioja Producers and Cune are a straight-ahead classic producer and 2004 was a terrific vintage.  Coming up to six years old it's just about old enough if decanted for a bit and it didn't disappoint.  What a lovely thing a decent bottle of reserva is!  It had just what you would expect; the sweet cedar smell from the American oak, lashings of Tempranillo fruit, some decent developing complexity, good length and a refreshing finish.  I find a good quality but not over-the-top Rioja makes a great partner for hard cheese and as such, I often use it as the second red of the evening.  This one is drinking well now but will probably improve for another year or so and stay at its best for several years after that.  I'm glad I have a case.

Puygueraud Côtes de Francs 2003

After the Albert Mann Riesling with spicy prawns (see previous post) last night, we had a bottle of Puygueraud Côtes de Francs 2003, which came from the Wine Society.  Heat wave or not, what a lovely year for early-drinking sound quality claret.  All the recent 2003s I've had have been delicious and I would recommend getting hold of the lesser Bordeaux appellations of that year for immediate drinking.  Last night's Puygueraud was coming along nicely, with the classic blackcurrant and cassis smells and flavours you would expect, but overlaid with some developing complexity and a lick of well-handled oak.  Plenty of stuffing and quite yummy with our BBQ'd lamb chops.  Mmm.

Albert Mann 1997 Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg

Last night I had my last bottle of the above, which was a great advert for the longevity of Riesling.  Not a particularly good vintage and not a super-heavyweight producer (though very decent), but at over 12 years old the wine was still delicious.  OK, it could have been drunk a couple of years ago, but it still had the classic aged-Riesling smell of petrol and honey, with the palette being crisp, classy, somewhat complex and the perfect foil for my BBQ'd prawns marinaded in ginger, garlic, lime and chilli.  Yum.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Monte Aribaldo Dolcetto d’Alba 2007

Tonight I’m home alone guarding the kids and a pizza delivery seemed in order.  But what to drink?  The only bottle open is a Cairanne 2006 that a friend brought round. A good year in the Southern Rhone and the wine isn't bad at all, but not a pizza wine to be sure.  It would be more at home with a stew.   So I nipped down the cellar and grabbed a bottle of Dolcetto d’Alba 2007 from Monte Aribaldo, via Waitrose.  Fresh, fruity, sappy, very juicy and extremely food friendly, it’s simple but lovely.  A perfect and honest match for the spot-on ham and mushroom pizza from Firezza, who have a wood-fired oven.  Yum.