Your wine friendly local Co op

Linda Mora MalbecThe local Co op, great if you need a quick loaf of bread, some milk or butter but what about a nice red, a chilled white or a celebratory fizz. It may not be everyone’s first stop when looking for a bottle of wine although judging on what I have bought recently maybe it should be.

I regularly use my local Co op for those forgotten essentials and I regularly find myself heading down their wine aisle. It’s not a big shop by any means but it does have a brilliant selection of wines, anything from a cheap midweek quaffer’s to premium fine wines.

The other day I popped in for a French stick and came out with an Argentinian Malbec. It was the strangely named ‘Linda Mora’ which sounds more like a singer songwriter. The multiple award stickers plastered over the bottom of the bottle may have swayed my choice but as it turned out it was inspired and at a reasonably priced £6.99 a bottle.

Vibrant cherry red colour in the glass with heady aromas of ripe, rich dark plums, raspberries vanilla and smoke. On first sip it was quite sweet bordering on being jammy with the dark plummy fruits dominant, there was a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. There were tannins but fairly mild and a lovely smokiness about it.

Maybe be a bit of a fruit bomb to some but I really enjoyed it with my burger and chips and for £6.99 I would say good value, they also had a Linda Mora Shiraz which I will be going back for at some time.

Coop wines1Check back to one of my previous posts about another couple of delicious Co op reds which I thoroughly enjoyed on the recommendation of Wine Writer Jamie Goode…Co op Double

So next time you need some butter or a loaf of bread and you have a Co op near you grab a bottle as well you may be pleasantly surprised.



My rating 7.5/10 corks


Majestic Winter Tasting (Nov 2015)

MajesticwintertitleThought I’d missed the boat this year for the ‘Majestic Winter Tasting’ until I received an email a few days before with an invitation to attend. I’ve always enjoyed Majestic evenings in the past and this one was no different if a little busier than usual.

I went along with my daughter Laura (her first time at one of these events) and John a friend of mine who has regularly come along to previous tastings.

The event was supposed to start at 6.30pm and when we arrived at around 6.15pm the shop was already heaving with people. We were greeted with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne, when I say glass, it was a fairly small sample which was a shame because it was a pretty decent drop. At previous evenings we were always given around half to three-quarters of a glass as a welcome drink but maybe the fact that there was more people there than usual limited what they could pour out.

The wines on show for tasting were three whites and 6 reds which included a Port. We started with the whites and a Spanish Godello the Montenovo 2014 from the Galicia region of northern Spain which I have tasted previously and bought a few bottles of. I love Godello, I love the texture and the freshness of it, this one was unoaked and fairly dry with a hint of pineapples and tropical fruits, it pairs beautifully with any fish dish.  Next up was the Sancerre ‘Clos des Bouffants 2014’ which was Laura’s favourite white being a big lover of Sauvignon Blanc or as she calls it (Sovvy Bee). I thought it was Ok, minerally and steely with bright acidity as you would expect from a Sancerre but it just lacked something. Lastly, my favourite white the excellent ‘Domaine Saint Ferreol Viognier 2013’ This had a fantastic aroma of peaches and apricots and tastes of rich tropical fruits, complex layers and a lovely creaminess to the finish, this really was very nice indeed.

My daughter Laura & me

Whites done we fought our way through the crowded warehouse which was starting to fill up rapidly and made our way to the reds table. On show this time were some pretty heavy hitting bottles and all pretty pricey. Chateau Musar (£21), Masi Amarone (£27), Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz (£13.32), CNDP Capouliers (£13.32), Pomerol La Pointe (£19.99) and a Fonsecca in 27 Port (£10).

I particularly enjoyed the Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz, with ripe rich red fruits, liquorice and mocha, the Pomerol La Pointe which was the second wine from Chateau La Pointe, was also excellent with classic blackcurrants, wood, smoke and mocha. The Chateau Musar was impressive as always but the Chateaunuef -du-Pape and the Amarone were for me a little disappointing, didn’t get around to trying the Port. John and Laura were less enthusiastic about the reds although Laura quite liked the Pomerol.


Dave&John Majestic2015

All wines in the winter tasting complete we decided to investigate the free tasting counter in which we found a few gems, notably the Wakefield Shiraz which for me and John was the star of the night and only £8.99 on Multi buy. This was aromatic with stewed dark fruits, slightly floral, spicy and chocolatey, a real treat. Another very good red was the strangely named La La Land Malbec from Australia.

This was another brilliant night at Majestic even if it was a little more hectic than normal but judging by the amount of people with full baskets of wine walking around the shop a successful one for the staff although I suspect that was a fair bit of clearing up to do after but I’m sure it was worth it.

La La Land Malbec
La La Land Malbec
Wakefield Shiraz
Wakefield Shiraz




We all ended up buying our favourites and going home happy with a few boxes of vino. majestic2015winter

Taste the Difference Albarino 2014

WP_20151023_007Just back from a holiday in Majorca where my wife and I tasted a few glasses of wine sitting amongst the locals at the food markets in the Capital Palma, where we were served beautifully fresh seafood along with a glass of chilled, refreshingly dry Albarino.

Chilled Albarino with Sepia a La Plancha smothered in Garlic, a bowl of mixed fish with potatoes and fresh bread.

Scattered around the markets there were a lot of bars serving fresh food straight from the fish, meat and veg stalls. You did have to fight for a place as they were very popular but if you were patient you were well rewarded.

The food was fantastic, plentiful and the wine, well, I don’t think we paid more than 2 Euros a glass and none of it measured out, the wine was poured and the bottle left on the counter for when you wanted another glass, when you finished they asked you how many glasses you had and that was that. Brilliant !

AlbarinoTTDSainsbury’s Taste the Difference Rias Baixas Albarino 2014

Been back a few weeks now and last night for dinner we had pasta with squid and prawns. Deciding what to drink with it we settled for a bottle of Albarino, from Rias Baixas in the Galician region of Northern Spain, recently bought during Sainsbury’s 25% off six bottles promotion.

It turned out to be an inspired choice if I may say so, conjuring up memories of eating in the markets in Palma albeit sitting in the kitchen on a rainy November night.

It says crisp and refreshing on the bottle and that’s exactly what it is. The nose is grapefruit dominant with limes, nectarines and maybe a hint of peach.

Taste wise it’s crisp, zippy and very dry but with a bright acidity. Very citrusy, again with grapefruit lemons and limes.

Where this wine shines is when you pair it along side fish or any kind of seafood it just compliments wonderfully.

If you’ve not tried Albarino before you may be pleasantly surprised, it’s also a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc.



My Rating 8/10 Corks

Sainsbury’s £8


Tesco Wine Fair 2015

Tescofair2015That time of year again when the Tesco Wine Fair hits town, this time we visited the London show which was held at Kensington Olympia.

Slightly different this year as I went not being a member of the Tesco Wine Community (TWC) which I had been a part of for the last three and a half years or so and although all good things eventually come to an end, it still felt strange.kensington olympia

My wife and I attended this year with family and friends and ended up being a group ten, we also met up with a couple of other ex TWC members and their partners.

Fidel Fernandez
Fidel Faustino Fernandez

Arriving just before 12.00pm we were greeted by an enormous queue which stretched down the Hammersmith road, luckily we were only 5 minutes from doors opening and we were only waiting for a short period. Once inside we all headed to the booking area for the numerous free workshops that were on offer throughout the afternoon.  Restricted to one ticket per person we all picked our favourites, I chose the history of Faustino Gran Reserva Rioja presented by a member of the Faustino family Fidel Faustino Fernandez, I actually had a very interesting chat with him at his stand before the workshop, nice guy and brilliant wines.

One really nice surprise was the size of the hall, everything was well spaced out with lots of room to walk around, lots of seating areas to take a break and grab some food and although it was a sell out it never seemed crowded.

A big disappointment to us was Tesco decided to drop their ‘Wine Walks’ which was always a big favourite with us. A wine expert would walk around the stands with a group and introduce their best 10 or so wines at the show. Last year we chose a walk with Wine expert and TV personality Joe Wadsack in which a 20 minute walk turned into almost an hour, great fun, real shame it was dropped.

Right, lets get to the wines and with over 300 wines on show it was hard to know where to start. With five hours of tasting ahead we started out with a plan fizz and whites first before moving up to the heavier reds as the afternoon passes, this sounded like a good plan but trust me it quickly deteriorates into a free for all, It was also impossible for our group to stick together so we all split up and did our own thing. We tasted a lot of wines over the afternoon good and not so good, far to many to mention so I will give you a brief overview of the better ones.

Villa Maria Arneis
Villa Maria Taylors Pass

The first stand we visited was Villa Maria where we sampled a variety of whites including Villa Maria’s Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Taylors pass Sauvignon blanc 2014 (excellent) and a new one on me the Cellar selection Arneis 2014 which was a real revelation.

Brancott Terroir Sauvignon Blanc
Brancott Sauvignon Gris
Brancott Sauvignon Gris

Brancott Estate – Always enjoy Brancott wines although I had not yet tried their Terroir series and I was pleasantly surprised. The Sauvignon Blanc was lovely as was their Sauvignon Gris which was a hit with my daughter.

Couple of Champagnes to mention which were very good were the Chanoine Freres 2007 Vintage and the Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top.

Chanoine freres
Chanoine Freres 2007
Heidsieck Monopole

Other whites which made an impression were the Spanish Breckin Valley Sauvignon Blanc and the very drinkable Finca Juana Albarino DO Rias Baixas

There were many other whites that were generally very good but the ones I’ve highlighted were amongst my favourites.

Beronia Dos Maderas 2008
Faustino I 2001

Reds were next and their were some pretty good ones, a couple of stand out Riojas were the Beronia Dos Maderas Reserva 2008 and the Faustino I Gran Reserva 2001 & 2004

Finca Las Moras Three Valleys Gran Syrah 2011
Finca Las Moras Three Valleys Gran Syrah 2011
Marques CasaConcha Syrah
Marques Casa Concha Syrah

Two Syrah’s which were also very good were the Marques de Casa Chonha Syrah 2012 and probably my favourite wine in the show the stunning Finca Las Moras Three Valleys Gran Syrah 2011.

Les Dauphinsreserve
Cotes du Rhone Reserve

One of the friendliest stands at the show was the Les Dauphins and the very amiable Jo (sorry don’t know her surname). I was introduced to her by our friends Clare & Nick as they tried to convert me to try one of their favourite wines. Jo waslesdauphinslogo very patient as I tried four of their reds in which I found two very nice indeed, the Cotes du Rhone Reserve Rouge 2014 and the Cote du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu 2014. We were asked if we would like a photocall and of course we all obliged.

Les Dauphins photocall
Les Dauphins Photo Call


So another Wine Fair has come and gone and very enjoyable it was too, my family who all came for the first time really enjoyed it as did all our friends. I could have gone on writing about some of the brilliant wines we tasted but my note taking suffered toward the end and became slightly illegible.

Thanks to Tesco who really do this kind of thing well and I look forward to next year.