Les Hauts Castelmaure Corbieres 2009

Rummaging through my wines I came across this Corbieres which I must have bought a few years ago and forgot about so, I thought it’s about time I opened it.

Corbieres, not a wine I drink a lot of but when I do I always enjoy it and this bottle was no different. I think I bought it at Majestic maybe six or seven years ago, can’t remember how much it cost, maybe around £8-£9.

For those that don’t know Corbieres is a fairly rustic wine which most times tends to get a raw deal. Usually a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah and you can just imagine drinking this with a hunk of bread and some cheese, which I can say from experience pairs very well.

When I first poured in the glass it showed a slightly rusty colour from a little ageing with very pronounced aromas of ripe dark fruits, smoke and peat. Taste wise again ripe dark fruits namely black plums, vanilla and very earthy with a smokiness about it. A little on the sweet side but not overly but still retaining a brightness of fruit.

Really do like Corbieres,  I must make a mental note to drink more of it, a good honest enjoyable bottle.

My Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Various around £9

Home of Cricket & wine from a plastic cup

Sorry for the late post, been on holiday but just before we went away our daughter kindly treated us to tickets to watch the one day Cricket international England v Ireland on 7th May at Lords (the home of cricket).

Lords being the only ground that allows you to bring in food and drink, we went armed with a picnic and of course a couple of bottles of wine. Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast,  so a coat and warm  top was the order of the day but that didn’t spoil what turned out to be a brilliant day.

Nestled in the cooler bag amongst the Chicken Pasta and nibbles were the wines in question, a Brancott Estate 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Selected by my wife whose a big Brancott Estate fan) and a French Syrah Les Vieilles Vignes Maris 2015  which I bought from Waitrose on offer for around £8.

Now Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc is a wine we always have a stock of and generally everyone in our family really enjoy it. I personally think it’s an excellent everyday Sovee especially for the price and has wonderful aromas of freshly cut grass and fruit salad with the bright flavours of kiwi fruit and crisp green apples perfect for a nice warm sunny day. Unfortunately, at times our side of the ground was in shade and most of us were in jumpers and coats but in contrast the  other side was in bright sunshine and the crowd were all in t-shirts and sunglasses but that’s the British weather for you. It still didn’t spoil our enjoyment  of the game or the wine, even if it was out of a plastic cup.

Now the French Syrah was a bit of a beast but hugely enjoyable none the less and one I would have no hesitation in buying again. Full of rich dark plums, touch of acidity and powerful tannins, there was also a fair lashing of earthiness and spice, this really was a rustic wine with a touch of class.

Oh yeah, the cricket game was pretty good as well with Ireland making a game of it for a while but England’s class showed through in the end and won fairly comfortably  but not without a fight and the odd scare. All in all a fabulous day out good entertainment, good food and good wine.

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015

My rating 7/10 Corks

Widely available around £7-£8

Les Vieilles Vignes Maris  Syrah 2015

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Normally £10.99 on offer at time for £8

 

Majestic Stratford Upon Avon Fine Wine Tasting April 2017

As regular readers will know that I belong to a wine Forum called ‘Cuvée Reserve’ and once a year our group meet up for a weekend of basically, drinking lots of wine. This year we met at Stratford Upon Avon and we thought we would signed up for a ‘Fine Wine Tasting’ at the local Majestic store. An initial fee of £20 per person was paid but that is redeemable on any wine purchases after the event.

Big thanks to our head girl Clare who runs the forum and for organising everything so superbly !

We arrived at 1.30pm on Saturday the 8th April, an early start for drinking I know but we have to make sacrifices sometime. There was a slight confusion with the time as they had us down for 2.00pm which we found out was their mistake but it wasn’t a problem as we spent the time browsing around the store with a glass of Moet & Chandon 2008 Champagne (is there a better way to shop).

A table was laid out in the corner of the store for us as we finally settled down for the tasting first up was the Moet & Chandon again. This was a beautifully balanced single vintage Champagne full of intense apple and lemon fruit, lively mousse with a pronounced bready, nutty and a creamy aftertaste producing a very long, extremely enjoyable finish and loved by everyone. (Top ups were not refused).

Second wine was a Rosé the Miraval 2015 Cotes de Provence bought by Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie in 2009 and made by the Perrin family. Pale pink almost Salmon like colour with a very strange almost peaty aroma although there was a hint of strawberry, it just smelt a bit weird. Taste wise again it was not what we expected there were elements of soft fruit including strawberry, peach and pear. Slightly flowery but with a slightly overpowering herby, earthy flavour which most of us found a bit strange, think my wife and I liked it more than the others, so overall a little bit of a miss.

Third was the impressive Greywackey 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand and made by Cloudy Bay former wine maker Kevin Judd.  From the first sip this was universally applauded by all of us. Superb aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit, flowers and damp freshly mowed grass. On first sip it was greeted by a lot of M’mms and everyone thought it was stunning. Crisp and vibrant, soft acidity with intense flavours of  lemongrass, white flowers, gooseberry and herbs with just a hint of subtle oak rounding it off.  Refills all around and the bottle didn’t last long, superb stuff.

The Last white was an unusual oaked Chardonnay from Italy, the Planeta 2015 with heady aromas of butterscotch, banana and vanilla. On first taste I was initially hit by what tasted like barley sugar along with caramelised banana, there was a creaminess about it and the oak definitely stood out, again this split us although nobody disliked it and I thought it was very good.

With the whites finished next up were the reds starting with a Pinot Noir from Martinborough New Zealand the impressive Escarpment 2014 generally liked by all. Pronounced aromas of soft dark fruits, smokey and earthy. Cherry and plums to the fore with a kick of spice on the palate, earthiness coming through but not intrusive. Nicely balanced wine.

Next up was a big favourite, the Chateau Haut Balailley 2011  but it comes at a price for a whopping £40 per single bottle. Cherries, Cassis and classic pencil shavings on the nose. Love the taste, complex yet harmonious, blackcurrants, cedarwoood, herbs, notable tannins and really really drinkable on its own.  As you can see from the picture we emptied the bottle.

A Gran Reserva Rioja next the Marques de Riscal 2007 this is everything a Rioja should be full of red cherries a little strawberry, leather, incense, oak, candlewax and tobacco. Ten year old wine that went down well with everybody including my wife who doesn’t generally like oakey Riojas, fabulous example of what Spain does well.

This was suppose to be the end of the tasting, but the guys at Majestic (who were very good, amiable and knowledgeable) decided we were enjoying ourselves so much that they opened up another couple of bottle for us to try.

First was another French red the Caronne Ste-Gemme 2011 Haut Medoc and again enjoyed by all, dark ripe blackberries, menthol, tannic, rich and chocolately but this time, I’d have to say, more of a food wine but none the less enjoyable.

Last but not least a black Muscat dessert wine called Elysium 2015 even if you’re not a fan of dessert wines you cannot fail to be impressed with this. smells like Turkish Delight and that rose like flavour carries on in the taste, not overly sweet and a big thumbs up from all around the table.

Thanks to the guys at Majestic for a superb tasting, (one of the better ones I’ve attended) they were very generous letting us drink as much as we wanted and we all went away pretty happy if a little unsteady.

My rating 9/10 Corks (for the whole tasting)

Chardonnay & Greco ??

With the weather this week taking a turn for the better many of us raid the fridge for a nicely chilled bottle of white.

This week I opened two that were very different, one very familiar and the other not so. The first was a French Chardonnay from Morrisons  reduced from £10 to £7 including a very fancy wooden box, the other from Sainsbury’s at £8 an unfamiliar Italian grape called Greco.

Starting with the Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France which at £7 (reduced at time of buying) seemed like a bit of a bargain as most Burgundy comes with a hefty price tag. In the glass it was a darkish golden colour with aromas of lemon, pear melon and apricots. On first sip it seemed maybe a touch too sweet but had a nice rich texture with the apricots and pears to the fore and a nice creamy finish. Sampled this over a couple of days and I must say it was definitely better on day two.

Next the Greco which is a grape from the Campania region of southern Italy and if you haven’t tried it before and you like Sauvignon Blanc this may well be for you. From Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range it was a bright light straw colour, fairly muted aromas but there was some crisp red apples and lemon zest. Taste-wise, bright mouth-watering acidity and very refreshing with a touch of pear and a slight nutty almond aftertaste.

Both were nice and reasonably priced with a slight preference for the classy and bright tasting Greco Di Tufo.

Macon Aze Chardonnay, Morrisons £10 (on offer £7)

My Rating 7/10 Corks

 

Greco Di Tufo, Sainsbury’s £8

My Rating 8/10 Corks 

 

Another winner from the Co-op Saint Chinian 2015

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I belong to a small wine group called ‘Cuvée Reserve’ and every month one member chooses a wine up to a value £10 which is easily available from any high street merchant for us all to review.

It was my turn again this month and I selected a bottle from the Co-op currently one of my favourite high street stores for good quality and reasonably priced wines. The wine is the ‘Hauts de Saint Martin – St Chinian’ a blend of Syrah, Black Grenach, Carignan and Mourvedre.

Firstly, let me say that this probably isn’t for everyone, it’s very dry and tannic but in my opinion it has an elegance that you don’t usually find in a £7 bottle, it’s certainly full of mouth-watering sour dark fruits but with underlying tar, liquorice and spice with a little touch of herbs and not to heavy with an abv of 12.5%

I would suggest decanting this first for at least a couple of hours, I didn’t but found it got even better the more it hung around in the glass, I even kept a little drop back to taste the next day and the tannins had softened and even my wife who doesn’t like tannic wines finished hers and enjoyed it.

Probably more a food wine, although I enjoyed it on its own as well and definitely worth checking out. I will certainly be buying more.

**NB: There was a slight problem with sourcing this bottle as not every Co op store had it in stock ( there does seem to be quite an inconsistent availability across all Co op stores, especially wine), so some of our group couldn’t get it which was a real shame because it’s a wine worth trying.

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Co op £6.99

 

Kuhlmann-Plate Riesling 2015

Having a Chinese takeaway? not sure what wine to drink with it, why not try a Riesling and this Kuhlmann- Plate from the Alsace region of France may well fit the bill.

Now I’m not a great lover of Chinese food although my wife is, so I do give in now and then and I do like to have a nice bottle of something with it normally Riesling so I always have a bottle in the fridge on stand by.

This particular bottle I first tasted at my local Majestic store and seemed to be going down well with most who were trying it, so I bought a couple to try at home.

First let me say that this bottle is not going to blow anyone away its just a nice French Alsace which is perfect for the multitude of flavours associated with any Asian dish, in my opinion it’s not worth spending too much on an expensive Riesling for a Friday night take away but this bottle just seemed to do the job well.

Well chilled , this was a pale golden colour in the glass with aromas of nectarines, lemons and peaches. On first sip it was bright and acidic but with a slightly sweet finish, green apples, lemons and peaches to the fore with a honeyed edge.

This is a very enjoyable Riesling on its own, or in this case with a Chinese take way and it did cope with all the different sweet, spicy and sour flavours thrown at it admirably.

Why don’t I like Chinese food? well, in most cases it gives me a bit of a headache or head rush and no it’s not the wine. So maybe its a bit unfair to say I don’t like it maybe it just doesn’t like me.

The wine I would recommend as a no fuss reasonably priced Riesling and I enjoyed it.

My Rating 7.5 / 10 Corks

Majestic around £8.99

More bargain Fizz !

louis-chaurey-champagneThere’s nothing better than a glass of top class fizz, unfortunately all reasonable Champagne weighs in with a hefty price tag, what comes a close second is finding fizz at a rock bottom price which actually tastes pretty good. Following on the back of a recent review for another cheapy Louvel Fontaine comes this Louis Chaurey  Champagne from M&S  at a very affordable £16 a bottle.

I picked this up at our local fete where I won it in a raffle so it basically cost me £5 in tickets, even more reason to enjoy.

After my recent venture into the world of Sabrage (slicing off the top of a  Champagne bottle with a Sabre) I must say I was tempted to open it with, maybe not a sabre but a large kitchen Knife but I decided against it.

When opened, the conventional way it was extremely frothy ( lively Mousse /effervescence) calming down into a stream of small but not tiny bubbles.

I found it hard to distinguish much in the way of aroma, maybe a hint of lemon rind and cherries. On first sip this tasted  full of citrus fruits including crisp green apples and lemons giving it an enamel stripping tartness which I found refreshing. Again as in the Louvel Fontaine not much in the way of toastiness but there was a slight floral flavour which added to the appeal.

Ok, this is not a fine Champagne but it hits the spot for a mid-week venture into fizz without breaking the bank and I quite happily drink it again.

7corks

My Rating 7/10 Corks

M&S £16

 

Don’t like cheap fizz – Think Again

Louvel F ChampChampagne, generally a pretty expensive purchase, especially the good stuff and mostly opened only on special occasions. Now thanks to Asda   you can open up a bottle of bubbly whenever you feel the need for fizz with this inexpensive Louvel Fontaine Champagne, wait for it, at an unbelievable price of £10, yes ! a mere tenner.

I must be honest I saw this on the shelf at £10 and I walked straight passed it not giving it a second thought dismissing it a cheap rubbish but this time I picked up a bottle having read some pretty good reviews in the press and online recently and decided to give it a go.

This Champagne made with Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 20% and Pinot Meunier is not produced by a co-operative but made for Asda by a family run house called Champagne Gruet  based in Buxeuil part of the Aube (Champagne- Ardenne) region of North East France.

So what’s it like ? well, I opened a suitably chilled bottle for family and friends on a warm humid evening and listening to the Mmm’s after the first sips it was safe to say that everyone was enjoying their glass.

When initially poured this was extremely fizzy with a steady stream of fine bubbles and a pale straw like colour. Nose was fairly muted but it’s the taste where this shines, fresh and bright, dry (not overly) with well-balanced acidity and just enough depth of flavour. Not much in the way of toastiness but full of citrus fruits and a touch of vanilla and a reasonably long finish.

I actually enjoyed this better as it warmed up and settled in the glass, enhancing the overall fruitiness. If you like your fizz toasty and nutty then this might not be for you but I thought  this was a delicious fresh tasting Champagne and seemed to be enjoyed by everyone who sampled it.

Don’t take my word for it, go out and buy a bottle, see what you think and let me know !

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Asda £10

Aldi Wine Club Taster

Aldiwineclub logoThis Month I have been lucky enough to be selected as an Aldi Wine Club Taster. This involves, in their words ‘ Every three months, we’ll be selecting 30 budding sommeliers to join the panel. If you’re chosen, each month for three months, we’ll send you two delicious wines to taste from our range and you’ll be tasked with reviewing each via a 140 character tweet using the dedicated #AldiWineClub hashtag.

Along with the wines, we’ll also send you a selection of tasting notes to help guide you through your wine tasting journey, as well as handy hints and tips to help you with your monthly reviews.’
I’m no stranger to Aldi wines and have been enjoying them now for a while and on the whole it’s been a pleasurable experience so I was excited to receive the first couple of wines. They arrived well packaged and protected and when opened I found a French Malbec and a Australian Rose, a good start.
The Malbec was a Vignobles Roussellet and the rosé was a Kooliburra from south eastern Australia.
So here are my thoughts in a bit more detail as it’s very hard to limit your review into a 140 character tweet.
Aldi MalbecVignobles Roussellet Malbec    My Rating 8/10 Corks
This is a cracking wine and at £4.39 a bottle a real genuine bargain . A French Malbec (with a touch of Merlot) with no vintage on the label, bursting with juicy blackberries,  blueberries, hint of spice, some sweetness and a little gamey. This is a uncompletcated easy drinking Malbec that is a Decanter Bronze medal winner and an International Wine Challenge winner in 2014 and for a change a wine that lives up to its awards especially considering the price.
Kooliburra Rosé    My Rating 7/10 Corks
I admit to not drinking a lot of rosé but every now and then I come across one that is pleasant enough and this falls into that category. This is a bottle from South Eastern Australia, again no vintage Quite a darkish salmon pink colour with aromas of Summer fruits especially strawberries and raspberries.
The strawberries follow through on the palate with a hint of creaminess, nice texture with a sweetness but not overly sweet or cloying.
Well chilled on a summers day this may well convert non rosé drinkers, I thought is was pretty good and so did everyone else around the table who tasted it.

Chateau de Panigon Cru Bourgeois Medoc 2011

Chateau Panigon

Back to Lidl’s for my next wine, I bought this a few months ago along with a selection of other relatively cheap Bordeaux’s including the excellent Chateau Marjosse which I reviewed here.

The only trouble with Lidl’s wine is they are constantly changing their stock so when you find a nice bottle it may be worthwhile going back and buying more, sooner than later. I’ve recently been back and they had none of the Bordeaux’s I bought in the summer, shame really because the Panigon is pretty good.

I visit the store infrequently as the nearest one is around 8 miles away, what I do find though, when returning, is that the quality of their wines is always excellent and I never have trouble filling my trolley as I did a couple of weeks ago.

Right, back to this particular bottle the Chateau de Panigon 2011 which I paid £8.99 for and it happened to be money well spent ( Damn ! should have bought more I cry out). It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a touch of Petit Verdot thrown in. First thing to say is that this needs decanting for a couple of hours as it was tight and tannic initially,  but after a short time exposed to air it softened beautifully.

Sticking my nose in the glass it had heady aromas of ripe dark fruits, wood shavings, menthol and smoke. Taste wise what you got was a mouthful of juicy dark ripe cherries and plums, slightly sweet and a lovely spicy, smokey long finish.

If you can find it, snap it up, for under a tenner its a pretty decent buy and credit to the buyers at Lidl’s and I for one will continue to make the trek to my nearest store as I have not been disappointed yet with any of my purchases.

8corks

 

My rating 8/10 corks

Lidl £8.99

Fantastic Co-op double

Coop wines1We have a small store close by which we use for bread, milk and the odd things we forgot in our main weekly shop. I always wander down their wine section  and occasionally buy the odd bottle of wine which on the whole, so far, have all been pretty good.

I used to get some nice bargains in my local Co op on some of the better quality wines sometimes even getting them for less than half price but recently they seemed to have become a little more savvy in their pricing now only offering one or two pounds discount, still a discount is a discount.

Spotted these two wines after a little prompt on Wine writer Jamie Goode’s blog in his article about the latest Co op press tasting where he listed around 7, in his words ‘Nice affordable wines’.

Firstly the Cotes du Rhone ‘La Grange St. Martin’ 2014. This had a fairly muted nose but there was some berries and a hint of smoke. The taste is where this really shone, fresh cherries, bramble fruit, bright acidity, ash, white peppery spice and a savoury finish. Held up well on second day showing more savouriness, an altogether delicious bottle for £6.99.

Secondly the Trapiche Pure Malbec 2014, this is an unoaked Malbec hence ‘Pure’ on the label. Shared this bottle with family and friend. Very dark in colour, blackberries, blackcurrants and dark cherries on the nose. The first sip hits you like a sledgehammer, intense fruit, dry, mild dusty tannins but it’s the cherries that really come through and caused one of our tasters to cry out ‘Wow ! that’s really fruity, very nice !’ and it was, hence the bottle emptied pretty quickly. A little more expensive at £8.99 but worth every penny.

La Grange St. Martin – Cotes du Rhone 2014

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks    Co op £6.99

 

Trapiche Pure Malbec 2014

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks    Co op £8.99

 

Elegant Frog Viognier 2014

Elegant frog

France 13.5%

Dusting myself off after collapsing when our daughter announced she would make a Japanese (Wagamama) inspired chicken curry dinner for us tonight. I quickly made my way to the drinks fridge in the shed to see what I could find to accompany it.

Rummaging through the bottles I came across this Strangely labelled ‘Elegant Frog Viognier 2014’ perfect I thought and in the process of transferring it to the kitchen fridge my daughter stopped me asking “where is my Sauvignon Blanc” (she drinks SB with everything).

I showed her the bottle and said we are having Viognier tonight, she had never heard of Viognier but decided to give in to my better judgement (not a lot of choice really ) and drink something other than her usual tipple.

Dinner made and very good it was too, I poured the wine and waited for my daughters reaction “Well” I said, “yes it’s nice ” she replied and I have to agree it was nice.

From the Languedoc-Roussillon, region in France this Viognier didn’t have much in the way of aroma which was pretty muted, if pushed there was a slight hint of peach. The first mouthful though was full of flavour, peaches, apricots, honeydew melon and pears. Slightly floral, vanilla and honeyed although not oversweet.

Paired beautifully with the curry cleansing the palate and it was enjoyed by all, even our fussy Sauvignon Blanc drinking daughter.

7corks

 

My Rating 7/10 Corks

Sainsbury’s on offer at £5.50 or £8

A very drinkable Chateau Marjosse

Marjosse

Look in most supermarkets and you will find a lot of cheap Bordeaux’s, usually they are cheap for a reason and most of them that I’ve tried have promptly ended up down the sink.

But ( sorry to start a sentence with a conjunction) there is a shinning light from an unexpected source in the shape of Lidl supermarket where I have bought some pretty decent wines for well under a tenner and this Chateau Marjosse 2012 was just £8.99 and as it turns out, a real genuine bargain.

From a well-regarded Chateau and made by winemaker Pierre Lurton this is a blend of Predominantly Merlot with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.

When poured this was very deeply coloured with aromas of ripe dark fruits, plums, cherries, it smelt earthy and vegetal with distinct raw green pepper notes.

On first taste it was a bit of a beast, a little harsh and I decided to leave it to the air for a couple of hours and what a difference it made, it transformed into a slightly sweeter softer taste, lots of mouth-watering acidity with the juicy fruit more prominent, still vegetal and stalky but with well-balanced tannins and a generous hit of oak.

As you can gather this didn’t end up down the sink and for £8.99  well worth buying but don’t drink it straight off give it a little time to evolve and you will be rewarded with a nice cheap Bordeaux.

8corks

 

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Lidl £8.99

2006 Château Cantenac Brown BriO

MargauxBrio(337 x 599)

Always nice when a bargain comes along, I found this Margaux at the back of the Fine Wine shelf in my local Tesco store priced at £12, I asked if there was any more in stock and after searching the stockroom the assistant came back with another two also for the same price. Sadly the Fine Wine section has disappeared but in running down their stock there were plenty of great wines at knock down prices to be had, sadly no more.

First thing to notice about this bottle is the good-looking label, really nicely designed. Poured in the glass it was a dark red with a ruby rim (sounds like a singer). Very fragrant nose of blackberries, dark cherries, cassis, cigars, chocolate and a hint of earthy mushrooms.

The taste wasn’t quite a good as the nose promised but still pretty decent. Medium to full-bodied with some hefty tannins, I would have loved to been able to decant this for a few hours before drinking to maybe soften the tannins a little but took it around to a friend’s house at the last-minute and had to settle for drinking straight away. Tannins aside the taste was full of fresh dark fruits, blackberries dominant again with  cigar smoke, oaky but not overpowering. A little sweet tasting initially but with good acidity leading to a slightly tart finish. Towards the end of the bottle there was some sediment (another reason to decant first).

Enjoyed this a lot, paying £12 a bottle helped.  I would definitely decant for a few hours next time to soften it slightly but overall cannot complain and what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon sitting in the garden in the sunshine sharing it with friends over lunch.

8corks

 

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Usually around £20+ ( bought for £12)

Cheverny, Domaine du Salvard 2014

Cheverny 2014

France 12%

I can honestly say that the Wine Society has come up trumps with this Loire Cheverny which is predominantly Sauvignon Blanc with a splash of Chardonnay. As a certain character from Star Wars would say ‘Impressed, I am’  this is one of the nicest white wines I’ve tasted for a while and for around £8 it’s an impressive QPR (quality to price ratio) bottle.

After a long tiring day helping my son and his girlfriend sort out and start decorating their recently acquired first house this bottle was just what the doctor ordered to ease my aching limbs, along with a lovely fish dinner.

Nicely chilled in the glass it was a very light straw like colour with subtle Sauvignon Blanc aromas of nettles, grass and herbs which although restrained there was still enough there to make the nose linger over the glass for a while.

Tasting this was a pure delight, balanced fresh and fragrant, although unmistakably Sauvignon Blanc the addition of the Chardonnay softened the racey edges gave it a little more body and depth adding a little creaminess . This was bone dry with nettles, asparagus and limes leading to an extremely long enjoyable finish.

Another bottle I would recommend without reservation, it’s just simply, a joy to drink.

8.5corks

 

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Wine Society £7.95

 

 

Three supermarket wines

TaleofthreewinesThis is a quick tale of three wines in which two of them prove, if you look hard enough amongst the supermarket shelves, there are bargains to be had.

The three supermarkets which have the starring roles in this tale are as they say ‘in no particular order’ Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

Starting with the Tesco McWilliams Hayfield Pinot Noir 2013 (£5.49). Looks like it’s currently unavailable online but there was still plenty on the shelves when I bought this. Produced by McWilliams, imported and bottled in the UK. The first thing that struck me about this when poured was how incredibly translucent it was. There was the typical Pinot aromas of Cherries and a touch of mushroom but the taste kind of let it down, lacking in fruit and a little thin in texture with noticeable tannins and a slight acidic aftertaste. Not too bad, nothing to get excited about but it is only £5 a bottle.

Next is the Marques De Almeida Ribera del Duero 2010 (£8) Now this is a different beast altogether from Northern Spain and part of the Sainbury’s’ Taste the difference’ range, a beautifully rich dark purple Ribera del Duero with heady aromas of blackberries, plums, cherries and vanilla. From the first sip it’s typically Spanish, rich, succulent, full of ripe dark berries, tannic and oaky. Well worth the £8.

Finally there is the Vignobles Rousselllet Malbec (£4.39) from Aldi. A French Malbec (with a touch of Merlot) bursting with juicy blackberries and blueberries, hint of spice and a little gamey. This is a uncompletcated easy drinking Malbec that is a Decanter Bronze medal winner and an International Wine Challenge winner in 2014. This is a real cracking wine and cheap as chips, stock up !

6corks

 

McWilliams Hayfield Pinot noir  (Tesco- £5.49)

My Rating 6/10 corks

8corks

 

Marques de Almeida RdD (Sainsbury’s £8)

My Rating 8/10 Corks

8corks

 

Vignobles Roussellet Malbec (Aldi £4.49)

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Best value for money was the fabulously easy drinking Aldi Malbec, followed by the intensely rich Ribera Del Duero from Sainsbury’s and lastly the disappointing but still drinkable Tesco Pinot Noir.

Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru 2008

DomaineLarocheChablis(337 x 599)France 12.5%

I must admit I don’t drink enough Chardonnay but I hope to remedy this, especially with the better weather on its way.

So it’s time to fill your fridges with a selection of quality whites and you may well find that every now and then you come across a wine that you drink and don’t want it to finish, this brilliant Burgundy just happens to be one of those bottles.

I actually bought this a little while ago when Tesco were discontinuing some of their fine wines, there were only two bottles left in store that were both priced at £13, if there were more I would have cleared the shelf.

On pouring I had a feeling this was going to be good, a deep golden colour showing a little age, with a delightful nose of apples, pears, almonds, all if you can imagine, drenched in honey and cream.

A fresh and lively taste full of crisp green apples and ripe pears, steely minerality and a hint of oak, followed by more complex layers of tropical fruits including ripe bananas and peaches all capped off with a delicious creamy finish that lasted a week.

Paired this with a delicious roast chicken and it was a perfect match. This really was pretty good and if anyone can find a bottle treat yourself you won’t be disappointed.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

If you can find it around £20+

 

 

A perfect summer wine

FinestPouillyfume(337 x 599)Better weather on the way, so get those garden furniture sets out, pop up the Gazebo, clean the barbecue and get down to your local Tesco for the perfect summer wine, the Tesco Finest Pouilly Fume 2013 at a fantastic offer price of £7.99 until the 24th April 2015, so my recommendation is you snap some up some of this lovely Sauvignon Blanc while you can.

If you want a dry unoaked, tongue tingling refreshing drink on a hot summers day look no further than this bottle from the Loire valley. Beautifully fresh and crisp with a light bright straw like colour.  My only negative is that it’s pretty much lacking on the nose which was muted and very hard to pick out any distinguishable aromas.

The taste is where this wine really comes into its own, bright citrus flavours of lemon and limes which certainly packed a punch, it’s taut full of texture and it is very very dry but with nice minerality and steely finish.

As I said earlier for £7.99 this is a real bargain and worth stocking up on, not the best Pouilly Fume I’ve drunk but definitely worthy of the IWSC silver medal 2014 award it won and I will be opening a few bottles of this over the next few months.

 

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco £7.99 (on offer, until 24/4)

My holiday takeaway

Trioamaronepetit&corbieresWent away for the weekend with family and friends, ended up with around 20 of us going to Elveden Forest Centre Parcs in Suffolk staying in 4 different self catering chalets/villas.

Now I’m not a particularly sporty person and being an activity type holiday it maybe wasn’t the ideal choice but while the others were swimming, playing football, riding bikes and all manner of sporting things I went armed with a good book and wine. Although it sounds like I was missing out, I assure you I wasn’t, the Parc itself is really nice set in woodland and surrounded by a lake with all manner of wildlife roaming around which added up to a relaxing holiday if you wanted it to be.

The wines I brought were a Single variety Petit Verdot from the Stobi winery in Macedonia, An Italian Amarone Valpolicelli, a French Corbieres and a Medoc Bordeaux 2000 also brought along a couple of bottles of Chilean Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. Ended up drinking mostly in the chalet as I wouldn’t pay nearly £6 for a glass of wine in the bars that you could get in the local supermarket for £6 a bottle.

What were they like? well, starting with…..

Stobi Petit Verdot 2011 (8.5/10 Corks)

From Macedonia this was a big rich brute of a wine featuring the single variety Petit Verdot, dark purple in colour with bags of dark berry fruits and dense mouth drying tannins. Lovely smooth texture, slightly on the sweet side, 14% alcohol and I loved it but not for the fainthearted.

Amarone Della Valpolicelli 2010 (7.5/10 Corks)

Deep garnet colour with typically dark Raisiny flavours, rich dark cherries with dark chocolate and a slight smokiness. This will keep and mature for a few years. Alcohol 14.5 % but didn’t taste like it. lovely to drink on its own or with rich pasta meals.

Les Hauts Castelmaure Corbieres 2009 (8/10 Corks)

Very herby and rustic blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. Heady nose of country wild flowers and dried herbs. tastes a little creamy with sweetish dark berries, caramel and spice. Another winner !

Grand Vin De Bordeaux Medoc 2000Medoc 2000          (8/10 Corks)

Lightish Purple colour with a rusty tinge around the rim, aromas of wood and prunes along with cinnamon. Taste wise, lost its fruit flavour although there is a little blackcurrant/Cassis with liquorice and cloves. Surprisingly this was enjoyed by all who tasted it.

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (8.5/10 Corks)

Lovely pale straw colour with intense tropical fruit aromas not exactly leaping out of the glass like New Zealand SB’s but the smell is kind of thick, not a proper wine tasting term I know but that is my first reaction when sticking my nose in the glass, there was also a little whiff of herbs and lime.

Complex flavours, mild acidity, lush & rich mouth feel but not cloying, slightly sweet, tropical fruits again, passion fruit, lychees, limes, even sweet peppers. This was a beauty, also my daughters favourite.

Out of all the wines I still thought the Stobi Petit Verdot was the stand out drink over the weekend and at price of around £12.99 at the Wine Rack chain, not particularly cheap but worth it.

Great time, great company and lovely wines,  Salud !

Aldi’s cheap wine bottles !

AldiPinotNoirOn the way to picking up my son from Luton Airport, I made a slight detour and found myself in Aldi’s Hemel Hempstead store for my first venture into their range of wines.

Don’t get to visit aldi much due to the fact that it’s about 10 miles away but the airport trip was the ideal opportunity to stop and see why there is all this fuss about these cut price wines.

Got my trolley and entered the store and maneuvered my way over to the wine aisle, it wasn’t really a wine a aisle, more like a couple of shelves thrown together with lots of bottles scattered on them, not the tidiest I’ve seen

Armed with a list of recommendations from my wine buddies I proceeded to place a few bottles in the trolley as were a lot of other people. Now I’m not sure whether it’s because most of the wine was so cheap that the trolleys were being filled fast or the fact that maybe they all know that the wine is pretty decent. I ended up buying some Pinot Noir from Both New Zealand and France, French Malbec, Italian Sangiovese and Spanish Tempranillo, most of them with award stickers all over them.

Standing at the till looking around there was lots of people with a lot of wine in their trolleys, the only difference was they had food and groceries as well, mine was just stacked with wine bottles (what does that say about me !).

With my son picked up and safely home it was decision time, which wine with tonight’s Lamb dinner, I decided to go French and picked the Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir at £4.39.

In the glass it was dark garnet colour slightly see through, not much on the nose apart a little smoke and savouriness. What I would say is it’s very French in style and rustic, the taste was again savoury with a plummy sweetness which I liked. After the first few sips I thought this is nice, nothing complex, not the best Pinot I’ve tasted recently but it’s better than a lot I’ve tasted for three times the price.

Remember this is a Vin de France, not a Burgundy, yes it’s Rustic, yes it’s cheap and yes it’s very acceptable even enjoyable and i wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it, lets hope the rest of the bottles I bought today are as good.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Aldi £4.39