07 October 2014

Smoke and Substance; Pietradolce, Archineri, Etna Rosso 2008



As the dust settled and the smoke cleared, it was confirmed. The other half had sped off into the distance and popped over to the Emerald Isle. I, the abnormally big child, was home alone for the weekend. That meant wine. I reasoned, what better way to spend time than being bowled over by a big fire breathing red. So, knocking off work nice and early on Saturday I had only one burning question; what wine was going to get my weekend alone flowing?

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@Rob_Gilmour has been writing for Empty for too long to mention, he is currently working in wine in Edinburgh where he runs @Wine_Edinburgh and somehow has found time to be Vice-President of the @IWSScotland. Being a balanced, multifaceted individual Rob's only interest in not wine, he is also interested in wine education as well having passed with distinction his WSET L3. If you'd like to contact him email: emptyglassie@gmail.com 


To be totally honest, I had chatted to a customer earlier in the day about how I just wasn't feeling the, sudden, typical Edinburgh change in season on my palate. All I could think about was whites; aromatic and razor sharp. Oh, how things can change in a moment. I'd started in search of Jacky Blot's Montlouis Sur Loire, but local stockist, Woodwinter's, were, unfortunately, out of stock. This led to a prolonged session of what I term 'Bottlefumble'. Bottlefumble is an experience unique to those in the trade where long hours are spent fumbling the shelves of your establishment looking for 'the wine'. What makes bottlefumble unique to trade members is that the fumbling process is conducted in a manner so unconventional that one must be employed to even contemplate fumbling in such form.

However, the results of bottlefumble are not so unique. Like any subject with which too much time is spent thinking, you find yourself hopelessly lost. And, to add clarity; I did indeed induce a state of decision-making comparable to total paralysis. I conjured thoughts of visiting Raeburn Fine Wine to see if they had sold any of their gardening tools, fancied a prance down to Provenance Wines to hook up with something delectable and French, I'd even cajoled loose the strings of my wallet and gandered a look at Valvona & Crolla's website.

What a bollox-load of good all this did me, not an inch closer to my goal.  

Then, it began to click. Everyone knows the feeling, your palate takes pity and starts the dialogue. Peter Sisseck's third wine, PSI. There it was, staring me in the face. With a background spiel that just wrapped me up and rolled me out like a hypersexualised, gender mismatched, Christmas present being opened at Halloween, was I bottlefumbling 'the wine'? No, I'd already had it earlier in the week at a tasting and it just wasn't going to cut it. Yet, I don't know if it was the weight of the bottle, maybe the burgundy shape? Possibly it was just the austere, no, astute aesthetics of the presentation. Whatever it was, smoke seeped from the gun, 'the wine' had made itself known. Pietradolce's Archineri, Etna Rosso, the bottle that had been sat contently in the corner of Vino Broughton St since I'd first started working in Edinburgh. I'd fumbled the bloody bottle so often when I had been based there. Maybe it was the same state of bottlefumble I was reliving in this moment that I'd experienced before which sparked the notion. Who knows, but the fire of curiosity was lit and I surged onward to Broughton St.

(It was at this point, on the bus, I found myself beset by the recriminations of self loathing all Hibs fans endure, we'd just conceded a goal and were now tied. The relevance? This wine, had it in its powers to raise my sullen soul to the heights of the very grapevines it hails from. Despite Hibs most usual parade of uselessness.)

I digress, and three hours of decanting later, there was a King in Leith again. Steak, roast veg, a plate of roast tomato (Just because I could) and a humble tulip with a clear, almost pale, browning wine, that cried with vigour.

Alas, the wandering mind couldn't have it's thirst quenched with just a glimpse, and so a sniff. Mount Etna bellowed. A juxtaposition of youth encroached on by smoke and flame, only to let a bright freshness rise from the charred earthiness. Flashes of bright, fresh strawberry erupted and in its shadow black cherry settled, subtle glimpses of the flower that would soon grow from this meat strewn fold; roses, delicate and whispering on the final breezes of the nose. The mountain, simmering away, puffing on fresh tobacco, surveying the seeming chaos with glee at the domino effect of it's carefully woven plans. 

To look, to smell, nothing without touch; a taste. The flow rushed onward, deceptively rich, leaving the palate drying with the grains of the gums firming where it strode. Every inch that caved in, touched by the bold sumptuous and silken river. Sweet aniseed coaxed and coerced the mind to listen as the promises of the nose made good. Black cherry, Strawberries, but with a wildness and a rich tobacco leaving almost tar in its path. Never a thought spared to it's weight, owed all to a perfectly sown freshness; mouth watering and uplifting at once.

The devastation lingered timelessly. The captivating smoke stirring, silently bidding it rest a while.  

So, what I am saying is; it's great. Brilliant aromatics and a nifty well-balanced palate that has bucket loads of fruit and secondary flavours to focus on. A startling length on the palate carried by great acidity. Top notch full throttle stuff this, it is weighty but never overbearing. Nab a bottle for the wine rack if you can, pull the cork in five years and that hint of earthiness that's peaking through the fruit will be joining the fray. If this doesn't spark your curiosity about Sicily, nothing will.
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Like what you've read? Have a wee gander at another post: Empty & Full; The Stop, Start nature of Empty

29 September 2014

Empty and Full; The Stop, Start Nature of Empty


[Hey there folks, we are having some issues with Empty on Wordpress, so just temporarily I will get this up here - Rob]


It’s been a long time since I’ve written in a way reminiscent of my old prolific empty self. There are a million excuses I could make as to why, but, very simply it boils down to one factor; passion. I have been working in ‘wine’ retail for quite a while now and if there is one thing I am certain of it is that there is a negative correlation between the amount of £6 wine one sells and your passion for wine. Thankfully, I am finding, there is a two step remedy; acceptance and focusing on the good wine in life. This leads me to writing this post; I have been really complacent with this passion of mine and I think it’s about time I start writing about it again.

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@Rob_Gilmour has been writing for Empty for too long to mention, he is currently working in wine in Edinburgh where he runs @Wine_Edinburgh and somehow has found time to be Vice-President of the @IWSScotland. Being a balanced multifaceted individual Rob's only interest in not wine, he is also interested in wine education as well having passed with distinction his WSET L3. If you'd like to contact him email: emptyglassie@gmail.com 

16 May 2013

All Roads Lead to Rioja


Being lucky enough to give a wine tasting in a delicious tapas bar in Naas recently (@lasrada) I decided to go with Spanish wines. Seems kind of a no brainer or dare I say it predictable. The day that the writing and/or logic as to how and what we write on this blog becomes predictable I will personally send the Empty Glass to the proverbial farm. 

26 April 2013

Flogging a Dead Horse

It is just one of those wines, Beaujolais, you love it or hate it. It's a gut feeling. To those of us who have loathed it, the attachment to Gamay shown by titans such as Jancis Robinson, Hugh Johnson and Micheal Broadbent, to name but a few, seems farcical and baffling. Something of a fondness conjured by subjectivity, playing a sentimental chord for their friends of the Beaujolais.

30 March 2013

Food and Wine Pairing - Cheeky Cooks



Matching food and wine can be a daunting process, but there are a few simple rules to keep in mind when trying to figure out what exactly goes well with whatever it is you are going to cook. We have teamed up with the delectable food site Cheeky Cooks. Like Empty these Cheeky Cooks have a passion for all things tasty, so here we have it, a few simple rules and some cheeky suggestions;

05 March 2013

New Comers Series [Part ii]: Urlar



The healthy buzz, which tends to accompany all trade fairs, seems to have little effect on the laid back composure of Urlar owner and Scotsman, Angus Thompson. Although this air of relaxation Thompson exhales around him is no doubt much easier maintained given the astounding quality of the offerings of his rather startlingly young vines brought with him to Wine New Zealand's annual trade fair in Dublin this February.