Monday, 23 July 2012

Chase Vodka

I had meant to complete this review a while ago but what with a (rather wet) holiday in Wales it rather passed me by.

This is certainly an immaculately presented vodka, as I think they need to be to stand any chance of being recognised amongst the many out there. Even though this is just a miniature it comes in its own box with a magnet seal, and a little union flag tag for opening.

Unsurprisingly it's clear, water-white and bright. On the nose there's an initial crème fraîche aroma and once water is added more of the sweet baked goods; brioche and patisserie cakes come to the fore. On the palate it is dry, with the alcohol being very soft, with surprisingly little burn for the abv (40%). It''s just more than light-bodied with delicate flavours of custard and light sponge-cake, along with a touch of fruit, like it's had a brief flirtation with a white table grape. However, I think it's the texture of the vodka that really indicates its quality; there's no harshness, and it has a silky-smooth creamy feel in the mouth. Highly recommended.

£30.49 (70cl) from The Whisky Exchange.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Viva Portugal

I saw a bit of a worrying article this morning (via André Peres) suggesting that the way forward for Portuguese wine was via international varieties. I genuinely hope not. I'm always recommending Portuguese wines like this excellent Tuella from the Symington Estate to friends and family I think that generally Portugal offers some great wines at some very keen price points. However, in a country where most people buy their wines as another commodity, something chucked in the supermarket trolley along with the toilet roll and the dog food, Portuguese wines are not a great seller. Why? Well people buy the familiar, often through positive association; having enjoyed a Sauvignon Blanc they'll try another, and that's an awful lot more difficult when the varieties are a speciality of a region and you're not going to see very much (if anything) of them elsewhere.

I think it would be a shame if Portugal's unique identity was lost in favour of producing more homogenised wines the likes of which we see from every other wine producing country. Yes, there might be a short term gain in planting international varieties, but in the long term the investment would be better off going into establishing names like Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca in the wine drinking public's consciousness. I'm hoping that Portuguese wines, like those of Italy, retain their identity for a long time yet - go on, give them a try!

Tuella Tinto Douro 2009, lots of body and autumnal fruit, and very indicative of what Portugal's native grapes can offer - who needs Cabernet Sauvignon? A bargain at £7.99 from Majestic.