Finest Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010

finest stellenboschCS(450 x 600)South Africa 14%

Opened a bottle of this South African Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010, which is one of the fairly new offerings in the latest Tesco Finest limited edition range at £14.99, ok it’s not cheap ( I did manage to get a couple for £9.99 on offer) but it does exude a little bit of class.

After ten or so days of feeling rough over Christmas with a virus drinking nothing but water I was really looking forward to getting back on the wine trail even though my taste buds were still all over the place. We decided to have a second go a Christmas dinner, although this time it was with roast beef not turkey but still with crackers, party hats and the dreaded sprouts.

This was a Bordeaux style red and a pretty serious bottle it looked too, all black and brooding with a understated touch of elegance. When poured this was seriously dark in colour almost inky black, with aromas you could smell at fifty paces. Ripe blackcurrants were dominant but there was a big whiff of meaty almost composty smells as well as burnt rubber, for me a pretty intense and enjoyable experience and I was really looking forward to my first taste.

On first sip there was a big explosion of blackcurrant and liquorice, there was some vanilla, faint mint and dark chocolate. This was fairly tight at first and needed time in the glass to really open up but after a while it turned into a very decent drink and one that will probably improve with age.

Even with my taste buds all over the place I still managed to really enjoy this, I will look forward even more now to the second bottle and hopefully really get the full experience of what is a very good Cabernet Sauvignon .

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco £14.99

Raising a glass to all

felizanonuevoJust a short thank you to everyone who is currently reading or has already read my humble attempts at describing this wonderful liquid we all enjoy.

A new year is fast approaching and that means another year of drinking, tasting and writing about wine.

I know perfectly well that I’m no expert and I know there are thousands of wine bloggers/writers out there far more interesting and knowledgeable than me but the most important thing for me is I enjoy drinking wine and I love to share my thoughts with you as honestly as I can whether the wine is good, bad or indifferent.

To winos everywhere, thank you again and have a happy, healthy New year and lastly get out there and drink more (responsibly of course), think about what you’re drinking or more importantly buying, there’s so much good stuff to enjoy.

Salud !

Tesco Finest South African Chenin Blanc 2014

SwartlandChenin(450 x 600)South Africa 14%

I must admit I have a little soft spot for South African wines, ever since my neighbour, who was born in South Africa introduced me to the wonders of his homeland wines. This was a few years ago now but I still remember that first sip.

The wine in question was a Boschendal 1685 Shiraz, nothing spectacular or special but there was something about it which intrigued me. I can’t remember the vintage but this was the bottle started me on my quest to discover more of what South Africa has to offer.

A few more years down the line and I’m still enjoying South African wines, so this brings me finally (I hear you all cry) to give you my thoughts on this latest bottle, Tesco Finest Swartland Chenin Blanc 2014, which I picked up at Tesco a few months back and I think it was on some kind of offer, didn’t pay a lot for it anyway.

Hailing from the Swartland region winemaker Adi Badenhorst has brought us a wine with intense fruit which bursts into life with its slightly creamy yet citrusy zing. Bright golden colour with aromas of honey, melon and nectarines.

Tasted this really chilled and the fruit flavours were really intense but still with a creamy feel. There was a kind of Sweet and sour element to it as well, starting off tasting fairly sweet but finishing with a tartness which became tarter as the wine warmed. Slightly smokey with a rich texture of over ripe tropical fruit.

I would say that this tasted better really cold, as I said earlier the sourness was more noticeable as the glass warmed up. Could probably handle spicy food but perfectly acceptable as a standalone drink and for the price of around £6.99 this is a very good wine.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Tesco around £6.99

Corbieres the ‘Unsung Hero’

winesocietycorbieres(450 x 600)France 14%

Rummaging around in my rack, pulling bottles out putting them back searching for a everyday red to accompany my dinner I eventually settled for the  Wine Society’s own brand Corbieres , ingeniously labelled ‘The Society’s Corbieres’.

Now I know Corbieres usually gets a raw deal, having been known in the past for cheap rough, rustic wine but having tasted a few now I’ve come to the conclusion that I like Corbieres a lot, especially that wild, rural flavour, so you may well ask, what does that say about  me ?

A blend of mainly Carignan with Grenache and a touch of Syrah, this was an impressively dark ruby red in colour and had a lovely sweet blackcurrant almost Kirsch like smell as well as a touch of smokiness mixed with a handful of earth.

Swishing around my mouth, there was initially some heat (maybe a little too much) and Spice, very juicy with blackcurrants, fleshy plums and Strawberries giving it a punchiness and bite. There was also a meaty, gamey and sweetness about it that enjoyed. Don’t like using an over used phrase ‘this was very drinkable’ but this  certainly was with or without food (not the U2 song) and I urge everyone if you’ve not tried it, to give Corbieres a go, you may well be surprised.

I still find myself continually being impressed with a lot of the Wine Society’s offerings , especially at the sub £10 range and this Corbieres from the Languedoc-Rousillon region is a very nice drink that won’t break the bank .

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks especially for the price

Wine Society £7.50

Ebony Bird in a Bottle, Nevermore !

EAPravenCalifornia 14.5%

Haunting words of Edgar Allan Poe’s Poem ‘The Raven’, the film of the same name starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and the American late 60’s rock band Creedance Clearwater Revivals hit called ‘Lodi’ all have nothing to do with wine but whenever I see this bottle with its name and label these thoughts spring to mind.

Ravenswoodlodi(450 x 600)The great looking , if slightly gothic bottle is a Californian ‘Ravenswood Lodi Old Vines Zinfandel 2011’ and if you’re looking for a big wine with lots of flavour this might fit the bill.

The dark brooding bottle held a surprisingly lighter coloured wine than I expected, with aromas of candied fruit, including cherries, plums and raspberries. Slightly smokey, slightly earthy with a sugary undertone.

On first sip I found it bursting with Juicy fruit including strawberries, blueberries although sweet there was a little tangy tartness about it. Lots of peppery spice , sweet buttery vanilla with a little heat at the back of the throat from the big 14.5% ABV.

This was a big wine with big flavours, pretty much what I expected from a Californian Zin. Nice looking bottle, pretty good for the price especially when on offer. Great with hearty food but could be easily drunk on its own.

Overall, a touch too tannic perhaps and a touch too sweet for my taste but I’m sure a lot of people will love it.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Various around £7.99 – £9.99

Pernod Ricard UK – Winter Wonderland

Always nice to have a bite to eat and a few drinks over a Christmas period even better when the Co-leader in the Wines & Spirits sector worldwide Pernod Ricard asked me if I would like to attend their annual ‘Christmas Media Lunch’, not something I would normally be expected to get an invite for but a couple of weeks ago to my surprise, there it was sitting in my inbox.

At 12.15pm on the 4th December I apprehensively but excitedly made my way out of Gunnersbury station and made the short journey across the road to Chiswick Park Building 12, wondering why a humble amateur wine blogger would be invited to this prestigious event at the new swanky offices of Pernod Ricard UK. -Pernod room(600 x 450)










pernod guests(600 x 450)pernodtasting room(600 x 450)Warmly greeted at the door I was escorted to the floor that had been transformed into a brilliantly white (should have brought my snow goggles) Winter Wonderland. A small crowd had already gathered mostly around the bar, where the bartenders were furiously making all kinds of exotic cocktails made with Pernod Ricard’s vast array of spirits.











Jacob Riesling 1(600 x 450)
Three Reserve Rieslings including the brilliant 2003 on the right

I was given a Rum cocktail drink which on first sip very nice but having realised that my first passion is wine I was quickly whisked off to the Wine tasting room for a pre lunch private tasting ( well, I was the only one in the tasting room at that time as everybody else was still hitting the cocktails) of Jacob’s Creek Rieslings and Cabernet Sauvignons where Anthony Gordon their Knowledgeable and friendly Wine Development Executive took me through some impressive back vintages of both Riesling and Cabernets, the absolute stars for me was the 2003 Reserve Riesling and the 2002 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a lovely start to the afternoon.

Jacobs cab sauv(600 x 450)
Three Cabernet Sauvignon Reserves including my favourite 2002

Lunch was served around 1.30pm and keeping in theme the tables were set with another winter backdrop which was like sitting in the Artic (only a lot warmer) kept looking under the tables expecting penguins to suddenly appear. For starters we were served Sea Bass, main dish of Smoked Venison and a chocolate and Honeycomb dessert. The wines to accompany the superb food was Brancott Estate Sauvignon Gris 2014, Jacob’s Creek Shiraz and a GH Mumm Rose Champagne.  pernod lunchtable(600 x 450)pernodmenu(450 x 600)











During coffee we were treated to a glass of the new Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old cognac (I was told it would probably retail at £100 +), lovely end to the meal.

All in all this was a very nice way to spend a cold afternoon in December, a big thanks to the guys at Pernod Ricard for the  invite, the warm welcome and the brilliant food and of course wine, capped off by a generous gift of a bottle of Club Havana Rum., to see through the winter nights.

dinnertable pernod(204 x 317)


My Rating 8.5/10 Corks