Hawksburn Terrace – Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010

How to get a £20 bottle of wine for £6.75, easy…………

1. Find a local Tesco store, look in their Fine Wine section.
2. Talk to wine guy, he tells you that he has case of discontinued stock to sell off.
3. Wait for the £8.99 discount label to be put on
4. Fill your basket with 6 botttles
5. Take to checkout
6. Claim your 25% discount for buying 6 bottles
7. Pay £40.50
8. Head out of store happy having just paid £6.75 a bottle.

hawksburn1(450 x 600)Now is it any good ? The bottle in question is a Pinot Noir from Central Otago in New Zealand, The Hawksburn Terrace single vineyard 2010.

When poured very light and translucent but with a lovely although quite gamey, earthy nose along with rich blackberries & cherries, slightly smokey.
Taste was on the sweetish side, good acidity with rich fruits but with a subtle touch of oak and soft tannins, little bit of black pepper spice thrown in as well.

Back to is it any good ? for me a resounding yes, elegant, rich, complex flavours, very fruit forward but perfectly balanced, a wine to be savoured and enjoyed, a wine worthy of its original price tag.

Still can’t believe I got it for £6.75 though,  still grinning !

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Various outlets around £20


il cacciatore del tartufo 2008

il Cacciatore(450 x 600)Italy 13%

Does Italian food need Italian wine? not always but it somehow just seems right, think of those Mafia wise guys sitting in a restaurant napkins tuck in to their shirts sucking up Spaghetti with mamas special sauce and of course drinking red local wine. Or, maybe just sitting around the dinner table in a three bedroom semi eating pasta with the family, Italian red wine is a must.

After searching the wine rack I found a wine from Umbria Italy, the il Cacciatore del tartufo 2008 (the truffle hunter) a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon & Canaiolo.

So what was it like ? well, very dark in colour with quite pronounced heady aromas of ripe dark cherries, burnt rubber, liqourice and rich spices.

First taste fairly much imitated the smell, oaky, tannic, with flavours of liquorice, mocha and rich dark fruit which all hit you at once but with a slightly tart finish.
Did I like it? very much so, especially with food but I would quite happily drink it on its own. Left in the glass the tartness subsides a little making this a very enjoyable wine.

It’s a 13% ABV wine that tastes like a 14% but very easy to drink.

This was kindly given as a present and very nice is was too.

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Avery’s wine merchant around £9

Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007

finca torrea(450 x 600)Spain 14%

Roast lamb with all the trimmings, family round the table, empty glasses at the ready, what’s missing? Rioja of course. The bottle in question is the ‘Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007’ a blend of Tempranillo & Graciano.

Forward planning is needed with this wine so letting it breathe for a few hours is probably a good idea. Initially straight out of bottle it was very aromatic, full of ripe cherries, strawberries, plums, slight earthy smell, vanilla everything you would expect from a Rioja. Taking a crafty sip after pulling the cork it tasted very spicy with intense fruit and quite a bit of oak.

After around three hours sitting in a decanter (the wine, not me) it had calmed down making this a very balanced drink with nothing dominating, the fruit was still there but the vanilla and spices had mellowed. Still retaining a slight dustiness. Not overly sweet, silky tannins, earthy, smokey but as i said all perfectly balanced to make this one hell of a Rioja.

Luckily for me I managed to find four bottles of this a little while back at the bargain price of £10.99 at our local Tesco Fine wine section, if there were more than four on the shelf I would snapped them up as this retails at around £20+. Even got a staff member to check in the store room for me but alas no more available.

As someone on TV says ‘Rioja doesn’t get better than this !’ well, maybe not quite right but it sounds better.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco online £21.99

Nederburg Winemasters Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

nederburg CS(450 x 600)South Africa 14.5%

Not drank a lot of South African wines lately so I decided to rummage around my bottles to see what I could come up with to pair with my Steak and Chips dinner.

I actually found more than I thought I had and this bottle of Nederburg, made in the Western Cape Region was the first one to hand and being a Cabernet Sauvignon I thought I’d give it a go.
Grabbed my corkscrew before realising it was in fact a screw cap, not a good start !

When poured it was much lighter in colour than I thought it would be with very heady aromas of mainly smokey wood and roasted coffee beans with perhaps a whiff of blackcurrants, this gave me an idea of what this was going to taste like and it pretty much tasted as it smelt.

There was oak and a big hit of black pepper spice, the fruit was predominately blackcurrants with perhaps a little dark cherries. It was however pretty smooth and velvety but the fruit did come a big second to the woodiness, there was also a sweetness which for me was a little too sweet.

Overall though, it did go very well with the Steak and I did enjoy it, I also think a lot of people will like it especially with that sweetness.

Think I bought this whilst on special offer for around £6 usually £8.99. At the lesser price not a bad bottle and it does tempt me to try the others in the Nederburg range.

It is a very drinkable wine but watch out that 14.5% ABV, soon catches up with you


My rating 7/10 Corks

£8.99 Tesco

Oenophiles at Oxford

Wolfson LogoHome of the oldest University in the English speaking world, a town ethnically diverse, bustling with tourists, home to the TV detectives Morse and Lewis and a town where a group of us spent a brilliant weekend at Wolfson, the largest graduate college in Oxford.

Why were we there? Was it for some seminar on humanities, social or natural sciences or something more close to our hearts? Yes, you guessed it, wine !

wolfson collegeMy wife Agnes and I, along with some of our wine buddies who are members of the Tesco Wine Community Ed (PV), Clive (CliveC ) & Julie, Steve (Saunderss) & Steph were kindly invited to a weekend of wine tasting organised by Clare (Aimetu) a fellow blogger and Community member along with her husband Nick- http://aimetus.blogspot.co.uk/ and finally our host and co-organiser Jackie (jackieang), another Community member who is involved with the college Wine Society.

We arrived Saturday morning. Although some of us have met before, it was great to finally meet the others that we’ve only talked to virtually online. We were all put up in comfortable guest rooms on campus overlooking the river Cherwell.

oxford images (600 x 496)Once settled we were taken to the conference/meeting rooms reserved for us which was to be our tasting headquarters, where glasses, decanters etc were all laid out. As well as wine, all of us brought a selection of food which included Pates, meats, biscuits etc and this was all set up ready for the afternoon. Before the wine started to flow our host Jackie escorted us into town for a quick mini tour and lunch.

After a whistle stop tour and a bite to eat we all assembled back at the tasting room.

Once back and to get proceedings underway a magnum of ‘Lanson White Label NV Champagne’ -35% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier, courtesy of Helen McGinn aka Knackered Mother who kindly donated the bottle to the cause and brought along by Steve & Steph to toast our get together. This was a great start, the Champagne was a pale straw like colour, fruity nose with a stream of fine bubbles, slightly on the sweet side tasting of fresh pears and a noticeable minerality.

Before we had finished our glasses of bubbly a special guest arrived, again arranged by Clare, Ben Smith, the head of Communications for Concha Y Toro Uk (CyT UK) brought along 6 bottles from South American and California to talk about and more importantly taste. The wines were….

trivento tasting1Casillero del Diablo – 2012 Devil’s Collection white 13%, Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Gerwurz. £8.99
Cono Sur – 2013 20 Barrels Sauv Blanc 12.8% £13.99
Bonterra Chardonnay Organic 13.5% £11.50
Cono Sur Bicicleta 2013 Pinot Noir 13.8% £6.99
Trivento Reserve Malbec 2012 14% £8.99
Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 14.5% £15.99

Around the table all of us seem to enjoy most if not all these, especially the Cono Sur 20 Barrels but by far the most impressive was the Trivento Golden Reserve which brought a collective approval.

After a very good and informative talk and tasting by the amiable Ben, who very kindly left the bottles behind for us to finish, we proceeded to the next part of the tasting, which involved us tasting a white and red selected from our own collections that we brought along.

Oxfordgroup1 (600 x 450)We all presented our wines individually including a little information on each bottle. Whilst we sat around sipping and discussing, the noise level and atmosphere in the room increased as everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.

oxfordtable (600 x 450)oxfordbottles1 (600 x 450)oxfordbottles2(450 x 600)

moselrisling (450 x 600)We tasted a fantastic and varied selection of very good wines including French Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay, German Mosel Riesling, Spanish Godello, Australian Semillon, New Zealand Pinot, French Margaux, French Cabernet Franc, Italian Barbaresco, Australian Yalumba Shiraz and a Spanish blend including the lesser known Mando grape.


As the early evening approached we decided it was time for dinner and we all went to a local Chinese and had a fantastic meal booked and recommended by our host Jackie.
After we returned to the tasting room full and weary we sat around chatting again and drinking some more wine, many of which had improved after been left opened for a while. As bed time approached we tidied the room, grabbed some leftover bottles and retired to our guest rooms to finish them off.

Next Morning after a brilliant day and evening we headed off to do different things, some of the guys went to an nearby brewery for a tour, some went home, Agnes and I stayed in Oxford for lunch and a stroll around the centre.

Would we do it again? a resounding yes from all of us echoed around the spires of Oxford

NB : As an extra surprise Tesco supplied us with a Finest mixed party case including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Malbec and Shiraz, this was a very kind gesture by the guys behind the Tesco Wine Community and was much appreciated, big thanks to Charlotte Stebbings (Digital Marketing Executive.)

Murcia & Monastrell

On a recent visit to Spain where my daughter is currently on her year abroad studying for her degree in Spanish/Italian at the University of Murcia my aim was to try some alternatives to Rioja and try local wines made with grapes of the area, oh yes, also managed to fit in seeing our daughter as well.
Monastrell (Mataro in Spain) also known as Mourvedre is from the Jumilla region which is situated just north of Murcia, it features heavily around the bars and restaurants, often used blended but it can be found in its 100% form widely around Murcia. This thick skinned grape makes wines that are high in tannins, plenty of dark fruit flavours with spice and sometimes slightly herbal. The Monastrells I tasted were bright and juicy, vanillary, full of dark cherries, slightly tart and quite meaty in flavour and very tannic.
Serrella(450 x 600)Browsing the shelves of local wine shops and supermarkets (while my wife and daughter were off browsing the local clothes shops) there were lots of reasonably priced local wines on show and I took a chance with a couple and as it turned out, both were pretty decent.
The first was a ‘2007 Serrella’ a blend of Monastrell, Pinot Noir and Petit Verdot, priced on offer at just over 7 euros. When poured it was very dark in colour with a rusty tinge to the rim, it had heady aromas of Morello cherries, plums and dark chocolate. If I’m honest the taste was not what I expected after the lovely smells coming from the glass. On first sip it was initially bright fresh and very fruity but did have a sharp sour finish, it also had a rustic harshness about it, although strangely I still thought it was still a pretty good tasting wine. I kept a little back for the next day and it became a totally different drink it was smoother, slightly sweeter, dark fruits were still there and a little tobacco was coming through.In hindsight I think I should have let this breathe for at least a couple of hours and it would have made for a better first experience. Overall though for the price a big thumbs up.
Senorio bullas(450 x 600)The second bottle was the ‘Senorio de Bullas Reserva 2009’, around 9 Euros again reduced on offer.

Now this was a different beast altogether, a blend of Monastrell and Syrah. When poured it was very dark almost inky in colour but after sticking my nose in the glass and giving a good sniff not much was coming out, there was a little plum and woodiness but not much else.

I drank this straight after opening and was instantly impressed with its intense and powerful flavour, oaky, dark ripe plums, liquorice, figs and spices. Still a little tart on the finish and quite tannic but the taste was much better than the nose suggested, very much the opposite of the Serrella. The similarity to the previous wine was again on the second day, much smoother, less tannic altogether nicer to drink especially as a stand alone drink without food.
Drank quite a few different Monastrells and Monastrell blends in the local bars during my week in Murcia not paying much more than 1 to 2 Euros a glass and most of them very nice with a few exceptions. Great to taste these local wines and great to see our daughter, shame her time in Murcia is coming to an end, it really is a brilliant place, good food, friendly people and good wine.SE


Serrella 7.5/10 Corks



Senorio de Bullas 8/10 Corks