The Red, the White and the Rose

A few wine reviews today from three bottles we tried earlier this month.

Kicking us off is the 2015 Recchia Red Bardolino from Waitrose that comes in at 12.5%.  The label is minimalist yet stylish and the aromas from the wine are light berries, particularly sharp blackberries.  Tasting without food it is a very nice and drinkable wine, almost refreshing and very summery.  We then had the wine with some Greek salad and Lamb and it was just as good.  Overall it is a lovely wine to drink on its own or with food and also very reasonably priced at £7.99.

recchia-bardolino-veneto-italy-10532016

Next up is Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference White Gavi from 2016 and at 12.5%.  It has a classy label and lovely aromas of elderflower and peach.  The taste without food was dry but also refereeing with low acidity and overall very easy to drink.  We then had the wine with roast chicken and the flavours really burst forth and improved the wine immeasurably.  Overall it is a good wine to have with the appropriate food and not badly priced at £8.

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Last and unfortunately least is another Sainsbury’s wine, the Marques de Montino Rioja from 2015 at 13%.  It has a nice traditional label and a light aroma of strawberries.  The taste without food was slightly sharp but quite well rounded.  We then had the wine alongside the pasta and it softened the taste a bit but there was no measurable improvement.  Overall the wine is fine and reasonably priced at £5.50 but I did expect better and I won’t be buying again.

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Memories of Pitlochry

Pitlochry is a special place for me, having been there numerous times during my childhood and when I lived in Scotland a couple of year ago.  Although special to me for nostalgic reasons, it is also an excellent place to visit in its own right.  If you do decide to go to Pitlochry it is worth going for a long weekend, or if you are exploring the wider area it might be worth using it as a base for a week.

Pitlochry
Pitlochry from afar

 

Location

Pitlochry is in the heart of Scotland, just before you reach the Highlands.  It is in North Perthsire, approximately a 1hr 40min drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow.  You can also reach it by train from Edinburgh.

Part of what makes Pitlochry such a good place to visit is what it is nearby:

  • The Cairngorms are just to the North
  • Perth is only 45 mins away
  • Blair Atholl is 15 mins away with attractions including a castle, working mill and the excellent House of Bruar
  • The lovely town of Aberfeldy is 25 mins away
  • Loch Tummel is just to the West with some excellent views and walks

 

The Town

Pitlochry isn’t a huge town but it has enough to keep anyone entertained and well-fed for a while.  The high street has numerous shops and restaurants as well as more mundane (but essential) facilities such as good car parking, a post office and a petrol station.

Shopping highlights on my last trip there (early 2016) included:

  • MacDonalds Butchers – where we got some excellent homemade sausages
  • Drinkmonger – where I got a nice special bottle of whisky I’m still working my way through

For eating there are some excellent choices and the ones we can recommend from across all our trips there are:

 

As for accomodation, the one place I can recommend is where we stayed on our last overnight trip – Craigatin House B&B.  It is easily one of the best B&Bs I’ve every stayed in, with excellent rooms and fantastic breakfasts.  The owners and staff were also very helpful and friendly.  Highly recommended

Craigatin
Craigatin

 

What to Do

As noted above there are lots of places near Pitlochry to do things but there are also plenty of places you can walk to in and very near the Town.  My favourites are

  • Black Spout Wood and Waterfall – we had a lovely walk round here in the autumn and the waterfall was amazing.
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The Edradour Black Spout Waterfall
  • Blair Athol Distillery – the home of Bells Whisky.  We had a great guided tour round here with an excellent guide.  Worth checking out the single malt of Blair Athol whilst you are here.
blair-athol-distillery
Blair Athol Distillery

Also recommended are:

  • Pitlochry Festival Theatre
  • Edradour Distillery
  • Faskally Wood
  • Pitlochry Dam
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View from the top of the dam

 

Beer – Oxford Gold Review

Brakspear beers are always a solid bet and you can easily pick them in most supermarkets.  The most recent one I’ve been drinking is Oxford Gold a golden ale that in the bottle comes in at 4.6%.

 

Oxford Gold

 

The label isn’t the most exciting in the world but it is distinctly Brakspear.  Unsurprisingly the look of the beer is golden and the aroma is lightly fragrant and citrusy.

 

The taste is very nicely balanced, refreshing and easy to drink, as well as a distinct note of honey.  Overall it is a very solid beer and I have a few of these stored away for any occasion.

Top 5 Kickstarter Games this Week

1. Pathfinder: Kingmaker by Owlcat Games

Pathfinder: Kingmaker is an isometric single-player RPG based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Kingmaker Adventure Path.

Funding Goal – $500,000 by Wednesday 12th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

2. Ancient Cities by Uncasual Games

Ancient Cities is a strategy survival city builder PC game through the ages, strongly focused on history and realism.

Funding Goal – €100,000 by Wednesday 28th June

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

3. Ealdorlight by Revelation Games

3D RPG with roguelike step-based combat, a realistic damage model & procedural storytelling for PC, Mac and Linux.

Funding Goal – £40,000 by Thursday 6th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

4. The Underground King by Alexandru Nechita

The Underground King is a strategy racing manager RPG; build junk cars, recruit lowlifes & compete in street races for profit & infamy!

Funding Goal – €15,000 by Thursday 6th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

5. The Infinite Black 2 by Spellbook

Command your fleet in this online tactical role-playing space adventure based on the original cult classic!

Funding Goal – $20,000 by Thursday 13th July

Kickstarter Link

Game Website

Spring Reds

 

My Wife and I took to drinking a lot of Red Wine in a rainy spring until the English Summer finally got round to appearing.  During that time we had three excellent and highly recommended red wines.

 

The first was the excellent 2015 Cabalie from France at 13%.  It has a stylish label and has a lovely aroma of fruits, particularly blackcurrants.  The taste both with and without food was fruity and peppery and just a very pleasant drink.  It is one of the few red wines I would buy simply to drink on its own.

 

cabalie

 

Next up is The Holdings 2015 Syrah Malbec; a lovely 13% red from Argentina.  The label is a bit of an odd one but I think it works in its own way.  The aroma is of strong red fruits and the taste was dry, lightly fruity but also slightly sharp.  We had the wine with a steak and it went really well with it.  I would buy again to have alongside red meat.

 

The Holdings

 

Last but by no means least, the 2014 El Bombero; a 15% red from Spain.  The label screams Spanish at you and the aroma is juicy berries and vanilla.  Both with and without food it is smooth, rich and a little bit spicy.  It is though very easy to drink and I would buy again to drink for any meal appropriate to have red wine alongside.

 

El Bombero

Wine Review – Henri D’Autignac Grenache

Every now and again my wife and I decide to try some wines from Aldi or Lidl and unfortunately we usually end up being disappointed.  We tried against last month with the  2015; a rose at 12.5%.

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The label is no frills and basic and the smell is lightly floral and red berries.  So far so good but it all falls apart with the taste.  I expect to be able to drink a rose on its own quite happily but unfortunately the acidity of the wine overpowered all other tastes.  On a second taste it was slightly better but no a drink I would choose optionally.

 

We then had the wine alongside some pesto chicken and Mediterranean roasted vegetables; unfortunately the wine now tastes like cheap perfume.  In conclusion I have to say this is a no recommendation!

Pro Cycling – May Review & Stats

May is another very busy month in pro cycling, particularly as it has the first of the grand tours – the Giro d’Italia.

 

Men – May

  • Races
    • World Tour – 2 stage races, 1 one-day race
    • One-day – 29
    • Stage Races – 26
    • Stages – 133
  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – three riders with 2 wins
    • Stage wins – Boassan Hagen – 5
    • Combined wins – Boassan Hagen – 5
    • Distance won – Boassan Hagen – 828
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Dumoulin – 9
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – Multiple teams with two wins each
    • Stage wins – Multiple teams with 6 wins each
    • Combined wins – Multiple teams with 6 wins each
    • Distance won – Quick-step floors with 1069.5km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple riders with 9 days each
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Denmark – 5
    • Stage wins – Italy – 16
    • Combined wins – Italy 16
    • Distance won – Italy – 2783.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Netherlands – 15
  • Rider of the month – Dumoulin with his Giro victory and two stage wins

Women – May

  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – Vos – 3
    • Stage wins – Multiple riders with 2
    • Combined wins – Multiple riders with 3
    • Distance won – Vos – 320km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple riders with 2
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – WM3 Energie – 4
    • Stage wins – Multiple teams with 3
    • Combined wins – Orica-Scott – 5
    • Distance won – Orica-Scott – 458.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Orica-Scott – 3
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Netherlands – 5
    • Stage wins – USA – 3
    • Combined wins – Netherlands – 7
    • Distance won – Netherlands – 752.2km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple nations with 3
  • Rider of the month – Vos with her 3 wins

Men – Season to date

  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – Van Avermaet – 4
    • Stage wins – Gaviria – 8
    • Combined wins – Valverde and Gaviria with 8
    • Distance won – Valverde – 1449.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Dumoulin – 9
    • Points jerseys – Kristoff – 3
    • Climber jerseys – Multiple riders with 2
    • Young rider jerseys – Bernal – 3
    • Time trial wins – Multiple riders with 2
    • Stage race wins – Valverde and Calmejane with 3
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – BMC Racing – 6
    • Stage wins – Quick-Step Floors – 23
    • Combined wins – Quick-Step Floors – 28
    • Distance won – Quick-Step Floors – 4547.8km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Quick-Step Floors – 23
    • Points jerseys – Dimension Data – 4
    • Climber jerseys -Manzana Postobon – 5
    • Young rider jerseys – Quick-Step Floors – 4
    • Team time trial wins – BMC Racing – 3
    • Stage race wins – Movistar – 6
    • Team classification wins – Movistar – 6
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Italy – 16
    • Stage wins – France – 48
    • Combined wins – France – 63
    • Distance won – France – 9969.64km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – France – 40
    • Points jerseys – Spain – 8
    • Climber jerseys – Colombia – 7
    • Young rider jerseys – Colombia – 8
    • Stage race wins – France – 10
  • Rider of the season to date – Still Valverde after his epic Spring

Women – Season to date

  • Individuals
    • One-day wins – Multiple riders with 3
    • Stage wins – Multiple riders with 3
    • Combined wins – Moolman – 5
    • Distance won – D’Hoore – 488.8km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple riders with 5
    • Points jerseys – Multiple riders with 1
    • Climber jerseys – Hall – 2
    • Young rider jerseys – Klein – 2
    • Time trial wins – Moolman – 2
    • Stage race wins – Multiple riders with 1
  • Teams
    • One-day wins – Multiple teams with 5
    • Stage wins – United Healthcare – 6
    • Combined wins – Boels-Dolmans – 10
    • Distance won – Boels-Dolmans – 1089.4km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – United Healthcare – 9
    • Points jerseys – Multiple teams with 1
    • Climber jerseys – United Healthcare – 2
    • Young rider jerseys – Cervelo-Bigla – 3
    • Team time trial wins – Multiple teams with 1
    • Stage race wins – Multiple teams with 2
    • Team classification wins – Multiple teams with 2
  • Nations
    • One-day wins – Netherlands – 11
    • Stage wins – USA – 11
    • Combined wins – Netherlands – 19
    • Distance won – Netherlands – 1948.1km
    • Days in the lead of a stage race – Multiple nations with 10
    • Points jerseys – Multiple nations with 2
    • Climber jerseys – USA – 2
    • Young rider jerseys – USA – 3
    • Stage race wins – Netherlands – 3
  • Rider of the season to date – No real stand out rider yet but probably Anna Van Der Breggan