3 November 2008

lime green envelope. at toast to moi!

Penasol: Tempranillo-Garnacha, Spain (no year)
Approx 5000RwF, Nakumat
[notes taken by those left behind]

Cheap wine lady is currently out of Kigali and was honoured to receive the following correspondence from a fellow cheap-wine(drinker)-in-Kigali:

Ms. X said we must take notes for you, so I grabbed the only piece of paper that was near me at the time (a lime green envelope containing a birthday card) and dutifully took notes…

Has a nose…a bit like dirty tennis shoes…reminds me of my son when he was 17.

It’s got a nose – it’s not great, could do with some work.

Lovely ruby colour…vin rouge.

Prickly on the nostrils.

Sharp, off, Vitamin B….healthy!

Acetic acid

Bitter chemicals

Ooh…I’m not sure about this.

I’ve had enough of the Aussie wine not to notice it is foul.

Light tannins, do I taste oak? If you can taste oak you’ve got a better imagination than I have. No, I don’t taste oak. Citrus, Peppers.

I need to take a wine course.

It’s got good length, not good depth.

I like to say things that are intelligent: it really opens up.

It’s like a shy Englishman; it opens up after a while.

I don’t actually reckon it’s too bad.

It gets better as time goes on.

There you go…reportage direct from Kigali.

Cheap wine lady: direct reportage indeed. And finely executed. I love big noses (more to suck on), have played tennis at least once, imbibed chemicals in my youth, and regularly take vitamin B (thanks Berocca) but shy Englishmen are such an incredible bore. I won't be losing sleep over this one.

20 October 2008

that's why the lady is a tramp

Cheapwinelady knew she needed a break when all the cheap wine in Kigali developed a distinct primate aroma, i.e. "this wine smells like monkey, it tastes like monkey too!"

So she hopped off to Rome and indulged in some I-sense-a-pattern-here lovely white wine, enjoyed at Il Moro, a laid-back seafood restaurant on the coast, just outside Rome. But alas, her indulgence left her with little-to-no memory of the name of a deliciously clean and dry white wine. It was along the lines of "Veragnolo" but she cannot be sure. With pickled sarde, seppiette con fagioloni, pasta alla pescatore, and griglia mista, this wine was a dedicated champion of all things that make life worth living for. The Asti (yes, she forgot its name too) was sweet but not cloying and went very well with a (liquor soaked) cake.

Cheapwinelady is concerned that cheap wine in kigali may be too cheap.

She is also concerned that this post is thinly veiled bragging and/or longing for a life that involves more Rome-time. Peccato.

1 October 2008

Elegant label

Cantine Astroni, Aglianico
Italia 2007
7000RwF Simba
[Mid-week dinner with mates. Last minute dash for wine]

Vinegar. I think it is so tsscchheetch it is actually burning all the way down my throat.

Yes, my first sip, I thought vinegary too, then I thought Jasmine.

As I swallow it feels like it scours my throat.

I am trying to find a positive thing to say. No plum. No berry. No spice. No chocolate. No jasmine. No cabbage. No love.

I have had a lot worse and drunk it.

Elegant Label. The label is good.

29 September 2008

we could hold each other tight tonight

Cape White from South Africa.
7000 RwF Nakumat
[Ooops! Label long trashed, but worth reporting nonetheless]

A light fruity nose. Peachy, I can heartouchsmelltaste the peach.

This peach, he has a friend who is learning English.
Does he know how to say "I Love You"? "Get your kit off baby"? Of course, this is a fuzzy clingstone peach. Ti chiero, peaches.

Distinct smell of summer fruit, and a Rwandan-thunderstorm-perfect fresh and light taste. It is not syrupy, not sugary, it is refreshing. The moist clean smell of the heavy Kigali rains complement the clean rush of summer across my tongue. And because this is Rwanda, there is speck of a very polite pineapple. The wine surprisingly fills the whole mouth, but it doesn't stick around too long, because it knows you want to run naked in the rain and get another taste of summer.

This is white wine number #2 that I will buy again. Hello cheap wine in Kigali, we are diversifying! I think this means business!

Look for an update where I provide that useful winery information.

26 September 2008

She wanted to know if I thought I was qualified

Hardys Reserve Chardonnay
Australia 7000RwF Nakumat
[Chopping purple cabbage]

I catch a whiff of the metallic, like drinking water from a saucepan, and I think to myself "wait, just wait, it will ease up, have patience cheap wine lady." My advice to myself is well taken, "you were right" I reply, "patience has its virtues."

I taste melon.
But you hate melon.
I know. I never eat melon, except that rosy watery kind, which does not count. But I like this made up Hardys Chardonnay melon. It is the melon you have when you are not really having melon. It is the thinking persons melon. A melon for a melon-hater with an imagination. A hypothetical melon that is worth sucking on.
Stop the nonsense.

A well integrated, complex, apple tart.
Why not apple pie?
Tart sounds more refined.
When you say "tart" I do not think "refined" I think "raw, zesty, piquant, sarcastic."
Wrong. The apple is not tart and it is not sarcastic. Think baked granny smith with a squeeze of lemon and speck of honey, but no spices. Think camping at Woodend in grade three, listening to scary stories of the headless horseman, eating damper and apples wrapped in foil roasting in the coals, and feeling too scared to play Murder in the Dark.

My thoughts and I pat each other on the back. "Your advice is infrequent, but quite useful," I quip, "we should do this more often."

Not usually that impressed by the whites here, I recommend this one, apples, melon and not oaky but not sweet. 1/2 a cup added a palette cleansing edge to the risotto rustled up for a departing Canuckster.

10 September 2008


Sunrise Shiraz (Chile)
5490RwF Nakumat
[Permit me a little verbal self-indulgence? Scene: 5.45pm, balcony, birthday, sun setting behind Kigali hills]

The wine has a beautiful rich deep purple colour, rimmed in the lilac reflection of the dense clouds that fill the sky. Its syrupy legs coquettishly invite a swig. Do I deny myself? Sounds of the valley - a hum of voices, distant rhythmic construction, a horn, then another, a truck goes by. I indulge.

Closer to the Shiraz now I smell herbs, earth, mushrooms and a tiny floral overtone.

Slightly tart to begin with, a little clingy in the middle, then dense and deep and dark and long but then it diminishes, so you take another sip, and you are in over your head all over again. This wine is a love serenade (thanks Mr. White). An adult wine, not adult as in zebra-print negligee, but adult as in not served at the kids table at christmas, or likes stinky cheese. It is not necessarily complex or integrated, but it lives comfortably with a few contradictions.

The sun goes down.

4 September 2008

Oh god!

O dio! Mon dieu! Did not finish that Castillo de Liria bottle last night. Worry not! I am neither weak, nor off my game. No, I believe this to be the work of divine intervention. This stuff is even better on night two (drunk while on an "important phone call").

So good that this bottle will not survive long enough to serve as evidence for night three or four.

Bacchus! Dionysis! Liber! (whatever your name) Promoter of civilization, lawgiver, and lover of peace! Thanks for shining your (cheap) love on me, soul brother.

3 September 2008

Both parties

Castillo De Liria
Bobal and Shiraz
5000RwF Nakumat
[Watching McCain shake the hand of Palin's pregnant daughter's boyfriend. Who bloody-well cares?]

Carmen Miranda, meet Pinocchio. The nose is a little woody but notice the fruity head ensemble please. First mouthful is a tad thin, but the second, oh the second! It fills out to flirtily squeeze the middle then the back of the throat, a long yet light squeeze smothered in honey. Not uncle sam honey either, a smoky chestnut honey with a hint of rose and berry. I could do without the berry, the tartness grates at the smoothness making it a little szit szit szit, but the honey (honey!) lapping over the back of the throat is worth it. Down the hatch!

A euro-style wine. Not bold and meaty like most new-world stuff; good if you are comfortable dancing at both parties.

1 September 2008

Necessary interpretation

Austral Cabernet Merlot
Chile 2005
8000RwF from the store next to Indoli's
[The Happy Hour(s) that did not end, I cannot account for unreadable notes and possible misunderstandings]

Citrus nose.
I have a very weak palette.

Oh shut up.

I wish I was one of those people who had a really strong palette, like, I wish I could say "it's (unreadable) (unreadable), this barrel."

A little bitter?
Tea! without milk and sugar.

There is something pregnant about it. I like the word pungent, that is not a negative statement.

Like the time when I was four and my mum picked me up from summer camp. I was changing into my bathing suit. We were going to have a water fight. And I said "Nooo! Mummmmmy!" because she left, and I ran though the school naked.

Like cozying up in a hacienda in Manchester.

I am thinking of a cauliflower. I am thinking of cauliflower when I drink this wine. I am thinking of the cauliflower story. The cauliflower-sized (unreadable) on that man's bum in the hospital. I cannot drink this wine.

Don't ask questions you don't want to know the answers to.

Pinotage shoul be choc flavord, good pinotage should reek choc. See, I don really drink pinotage at home, but it should be choc.

Stooges. You reckon it's big? I'll show you big! That's not big enough. Capatutial buildings. Quitenicebutandits a big but.

28 August 2008

Happy hour-ish

Somenlor Ventisquero
Pinot Noir 2006
9USD from somewhere in Burundi
[Friday night Happy Hour(s) in my apartment. Most wine drunk after some of that white wine sangria I love to share]

Nice nose. Fruity, it smelled fruity when I opened it.
It smells like melon. Oaky melon.
Light and easy drinking.
You said that last time. You say that every time. It is always easy drinking

Very smooth. Good length a bit dry but I like that that. I like it dry. A hint of vanilla. A little spicey, a little peppery.
Laid back, you could even have it chilled.

Like being at a piano bar as a new divorcee. (Wearing that dress with the long long long thigh split to here!?)

Better than "getting your colors done" by Kerry!

It's peppery like a night in Kiyovu.

Legs....garlic...no, that's my fingers.
Peppery. Need more. Need a cigarette.

All gone.

21 August 2008

A new wine store does wonders for a small African city

Roberto Rock, Pinot Noir/Pinotage
South Africa RwF 10,000
[Swiss party. "New world" wines found in the new wine store. At a good price. Not good for those Euro-I-don't-drink-new-world-wines-never-even-heard-of-Napa types, but everyone else seems happy]

I smell vanilla. I must have a very sophisticated nose. Ohhh lots of vanilla. How tasty this smell is. After one sip, I find an aftertaste of tea, though I cannot be sure that it is not green tea.

Quite alright. Smooth.

Tastes a little sweet. It looks like we missed out on the chocolate. We should have mentioned the chocolate smell. It is worth a tenner in Kigali. I would buy it again.

It'd go very nice with a cheese souffle. Sunday dinner wine. I think it has an oaky finish, this one actually has an oaky finish!

Smooth like those Sth African guys' moves. Right.

Roast dinner with mum and dad.

One of the better wines that I have had in a while. I can identify with this wine. It has a nice earthy, full figure, a taste that lingers. It has depth. None of the sincere astringency or youthful plumminess that gets boring after a while in this god-damn town; depth and breadth in a good way. But there is playful side. A side that tickles your mouth on the inside, a warm slow tickle that then develops into a sensuous massage in your mouth. Sophia Lorenesque.

Quaffability and arid minds

Donatello Vino Rosso da tavola
RwF 8500 La Galette supermarket
[Dinner with The Australians]

No depth, no length. All front of the teeth.

Fruity undertones with an oaky finish. My comments about wine are always the same. Fruity undertones with an oaky finish.

No nose. No, no nose. No. Now swish it around your mouth, what do you taste?
I like the empty finish. The empty finish, like it is not there. It is empty!

Thin an inoffensive. Not much smell. I need to stick my nose right in the glass and there is nothing there. No stinking.

Very fruity, but that is at the back of the throat, quite dry but then fruit at the back. No middle.

Easy, lazy drinking.

That’ll be a staple wine. It is for quaffing. A quaffing wine.

A lunch time wine!
Steven Irwin, he was too over the top for Australians.

I could throw it down. I like it rock hard.

Somewhere in that arid desert you call a mind there must have been an inkling that what you just said was fucking stupid.

Do you spell quaff this way?

29 July 2008

una donaccia con un vino vinoso

Cicarello Rosso
Merlot del Veneto (2005) Italia
BCK 19200RwF 1.5litre (big mother of a bottle, yah!)
[Sometimes I drink alone]

First day first glass:
Finally a red wine in Kigali that does not smell like fermented plums. A pleasant warmth fills the mouth pretty quickly, and while not as good as a nice bite of the forest floor, it is, dare I say it, earthy to begin with. The earth mother in me, probably suffering from an empty-nest, lamented the speed with which the warmth departed and left me with a tart apple. Why didn't my little warm birds stay?

Day two third glass:
I will read the label, how novel! Described as "viney." Do they mean tastes like gnawing on a old grape vine? The Italian description actually uses the term "vinoso" which is probably more accurately defined as "full wine flavor" (you have to love the Italian use of suffices - my personal favorite is -ccia, as in donaccia). I think I disagree with both translations.

Day three:
The fermented plum strikes again. Drain it.

17 July 2008

Are you fancy?

“Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?” from the American Association of Wine Economists published in the Journal of Wine Economics, Vol. 3, No. 1. Their conclusion: fancy people with lots of training can tell cheap wine from expensive wine, but regular people cannot. http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/16/cheap-wine/?em&ex=1216440000&en=43675e07e52c0513&ei=5070)

9 July 2008

Wine in Seattle

Santa Barbara Salento Rosso
2003 Italia (BR)
Price unknown (could be cheap?)
[Continued from below]

K: WoW! This is like a chilly pepper. It smells like oak. Like me! Like my vagina!

H: It smells like I am a couple of sheets to the wind already and someone has handed me some tequila.

L: Smells chocolatey.

K: Salty. Dirty. There is something in it that I can't put my finger one.

L: I can put my finger on it.

K: I can't label it. I just can't put my finger on it.

H: You need to be more flexible.

H: Smells better than it tastes. Definitely a smelling wine.

E: Smells like ham.

L: Smells like a tootsie roll.

K: Smells like neroli and orange blossom.

Tart. Thin. Too tart. Too thin. Tinny.

K: Oh! (reading label). It has Montepulciano! That grape... that grape is crazy!

Home vintage

Greenish/brown long neck bottle.
About $7 per bottle (when all is said and done).
[After 53 hours travel/transit, in overgrown sanctuary/backyard, with buddies].

Sitcky. Syrupy, sticks to the edges.
WHen I first drink it it was like a little symphony. Now with (Crotonese) cheese and (Breton) crackers, a new edge is added.

Nice arch.
Smells earthy, musty. Mushroomy. A bitter fruity edge. It gets better the longer it sits in your mouth. Let it sit in your mouth!

Woof woof.

[Additional guests]
Chalky. It'll stay down.
Springy. Like I just jumped off a diving board.

As I drink it, it is, it is not, it is just too thin for me. I like my wine to have back.

At the end, when there is only a drop of wine in the glass, it smells like toast, burnt toast. Like life really.

29 June 2008

Love come quick

House wine sold by the glass (glass x 3)
Papyrus, price unknown.
[Waiting for very late friend and my phone has no juice. No food.]

Rhubarb; a fruity tart. Tart? Who called me a tart?
Not vinegar, but a little astringent with a touch of swizz and a speck of guggle.
The fruit is lukewarm, a little grey, it balances on the rickety fence and doesn't choose a side. Sometimes it lingers, other times it hits the middle of the tongue and the roof of the mouth then vanishes. By the third glass it sets up camp on the teeth.

Everyone else dining alone drinks soda water.

Not half bad. Could be nice with a stolen cigarette, I wonder if I can pay that guy for one. Might even pay him to use his phone.

Pervasive vII

Domaine Bergon
Merlot 2006
Vin de Pays, France
18000RwF, Papyrus
[Dinner with colleague]

Well, cherries and currant, but I don't know what a currant is.
I think a plum works.

Strawberry jam. It tastes like everything that you cannot find in Kigali. Not including vegemite.

It's not gone, it gently lingers.

It fills the back of the mouth right above the tonsils and moves slightly up the nasal passage.

Becomes deeper after first glass.

2nd glass:
Lemon; the feeling in the feeling in the side of the cheeks when you eat citrus.

With tagliatelle primavera:
Turns merlot to cabernet

With macaroni with broccoli and sausage:
Smoother now. Lingers longer.

15 June 2008

Haitian Lionel Ritchie: Stuck on you

Cheateau Terre de Fontenot
France. Vin de pays.
Price unknown. Source unknown.
[As below. Provided by host. Chilled.]

1st glass: Smell roses, taste apples.
2nd glass: Smell generic floral, taste plum pud.
It is deep and dark, a little spicy. Plum sticks to the top of your mouth, spice to the back of your throat. Others might say blackcurrant, I don't.

Final decision pending (next time to be drunk as first rather than second bottle).


Domaine Bergon, France
Cabernet Sauvignon,
BCK (but everywhere really) 8800RwF
[Lunch with Senegalese + friends; comments from me alone]

No food:
At first you are skipping through the forest, smelling earth and wood and moss. You are skipping so intently that you don't see the cliff and fall off the side, flat on your face. Foresty with a steep and immediate fall. No finish.

With food:
There is no cliff, you stumble upon patch of wild berries, even, strange for a forest, a pear tree. What the hell is it doing in the forest? And now that we have introduced pear, why not a little pepper finish? This is muddled, but it stays with you when you have some food (food here: fish in red/coconut sauce, lemon roasted chicken and onions and rice). The pepper lounges for a while but does not stay for coffee.

This brand is the only one that is found in every grocery store in Kigali, and it is the second cheapest cheap wine that I have located.

With strangers

Rene Barbier
Reserva 2001
La Gallette, 16800RwF
Espana Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon
[personal thoughts at a slightly boring dinner party]

Pepper, pepper, pepper, pepper, cherry, gone.
Pepper, pepper, pepper, cherry, gone.
Pepper, cherry, benadryl, gone.
Pepper, benadryl, gone.

Insipid. No follow through. Spare.
Thinner than a whore's gauzey panties.

12 June 2008


Tall Horse. South Africa. 2005 Shiraz.
Heaven, 22,000RwF
[No note book. Three people for dinner]

I like this better than the last one.

I would give everything I own, just to have you back again.

Sole e Luna, 13000RwF per pichet.
[4 people, direct quotes.]

Quite nice.
Cheap italian.
Cannot see John through the wine.
Scent of lemon zest.
Nothing jumps out, inoffensive.
Really old, old plums. Fermenting.
Ribena-like rolling effect on the molars - black currant.
Not outstanding, lemon zest again, toilet effect, but very happy to drink it.

With pizza:
More alcohol, stronger kick in the teeth.
Can meet arugala in the middle.
Same as before though the kick is gone now.
Italian shit but fruitier.
The less you think about it, the more enjoyable it is.

It is raining blackcurrants.

Short legs in papyrus.

Antica Vigna
Vino da Tavola Rosso, Melito (RI)
Papyrus, 10,000RwF
[Three people, beers first, wine later]

Forest berries, dark winter berries on the nose.
Thin, fruity.
An inoffensive, casual, floral, drinkable red.
Sour cherry.

Short legs.

4 June 2008