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

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

 

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.

A tale of two tastings

CV wine weekend winesportugal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last week I have been to two very different but very enjoyable wine tastings, the first was the annual ‘Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting 2016’ and the second was a ‘Cuvée Reserve Tasting Weekend’

Cuvée Reserve is an online wine forum in which I and a group ex Tesco Wine Community members got together to continue the online friendships we had built up over the 3 years or so that TWC had been running.

The ‘Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting’ was a London trade and press show in which I was kindly given an invite to. Cuvée  Reserve was a weekend away in Stratford-upon-Avon with a group of 10 friends who all share a passion for wine.

Wines of Portugal logoThe Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting

Held at the Royal Horticultural halls in London where over a hundred producers were showcasing their wines. A big thank you to Brian Elliott of MidWeek Wines for inviting me on his behalf.

4
Muros de Melgaco 2014 Alvarinho

Not knowing a great deal about Portuguese wine what struck me most walking around tasting was the fabulous array of good quality affordable wines a lot of them in the sub £10 bracket.

The whites in particular impressed me especially the delightfully fresh and zingy Alvarinhos and one that stood out was the Muros de Melgaco 2014  Alvarinho from the vineyards on the south-facing hillsides of the Vinho Verde region, high in acidity and aged for 6 months in French oak. Dry, tasting fresh and very elegant, full of tropical fruits and a hint of honey and in a lovely looking bottle. This was probably one of my favourite whites of the day.

Alvarinho trio
Top to bottom – Quinta da Calcada, Covela Edicao Nacional & Vale Do Homem

Other whites that impressed were the Quinta da Calcada Branco 2014 , Covela Edicao Nacional Avesso Vinho Verde DOC 2014 and the Vale Do Homem Loureiro 2015 all very good examples of fresh and bright wines from the Vinho Verde region.

Most of the reds were powerful beasts hailing from the Douro and Dao regions, a lot of these were dark and brooding high in alcohol and utterly delicious among the highlights was the excellent Quinta do Perdigao Touriga Nacional 2009, showing dark cherries and plums on the nose. Lovely structure. Dark ripe plums to taste and bitter dark chocolate with some spice on the long finish.

Others of note were the Valmonte Reserva Touriga Nacional 2010 and the Sao Matias Reserva Tinto 2011 

9
Opta Range all retailing at around £8

Amongst the best value wines under £10 was the Opta Range (all around £8) all were fresh & bright tasting, I was quite impressed with their Opta Dao Rose 2015 (not being a big fan of Rose) but this had Raspberries and strawberries  in abundance with a nice floral hit perfect for a summer picnic. I gave their Opta Dao Branco 2015 the big thumbs up as well. Most of the range was 13% alcohol.

Special mention for the Fonte do Ouro 2014  made from Encruzado & Arinto  again around £8 this a pale green colour a lovely minerality and full of apples, pears and peaches.

8
Terra de Lobos all around £8

Also very good value was the Terra de Lobos range.

Terra de Lobos 2015 (white) Perfumed floral and lots of tropical fruits made from Fernao Pires and Sauvignon Blanc.

Terra de Lobos 2015 (Rose) Crisp with strawberries and a Little toastiness, balanced acidity

 Terra de Lobos 2015 (Red)  Rich tasting, spicy

Big Shout for the Falcoaria 2014 white wine, this was seriously tropical, a little toasty and extremely nice, big 5 stars from me, again around £8.

Didn’t taste a lot of fizz but I must say the Almeida Garrett VEQPRD Beira Interior Brut Natural super Reserva 2010 seriously impressed, very biscuity and toasty and lots of fizzy bubbles, not cold enough but still tasted pretty good. Apparently rated 91 Points by Jamie Goode.

Finally one last white that I found just as I was leaving was the seriously impressive GURU 2014 made10 from the Rabigato, Viosinho, Codega de Larinho grapes an explosion of orchard fruits with a hebal twist, not particularly cheap at around £15- £20 but for me worth it.

So a brilliant days tasting that left me impressed by the quality and more importantly value for money of these great Portuguese wines.

Cuvée Reserve Wine Tasting Weekend at Stratford Upon Avon

Pick a place and a time, get ten people who love wine together in one place, get them each to bring a selection of wines and some food and you have got yourself a hell of a weekend and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

We are all ex members of the Tesco Wine Community (TWC) where for three years or so we spent time online talking wine with some of us having met at various activities and events. So when Clare Hearnden who runs ‘Cuvée Reserve forum’ suggested a ‘Wine Tasting Weekend’ in Stratford -Upon-Avon the ten of us jumped at the chance. Clare found us the perfect location and perfect house, within walking distance of Stratford town centre.

Stratford bottles
Just some of the first night tasting line up, whites and fizz were in the fridge

The weekend was a real hit with everyone, very informal and friendly with some fantastic wines to drink. For the first night everyone brought along a selection of buffet food and the wines began to flow. The second night Clare kindly cooked a meal and more wine flowed.

Stratford1
Cuvée Reserve Crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all a fantastic weekend with good food, good wine and best of all good company, hopefully to be repeated again and again.

White wine

Alongside a clutch of Sparklers including Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir from Chile, Prosecco, Cava and Champagne, our white wine selection included:

  • Denis Dubourdieu 2010 Clos Floridene, Grand Vin De Graves (blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Semillon, 3% Muscadelle), France, 13%. A nice chance to try a rare white example of Graves
  • Symbiose La Grande Olivette, Cuvee Florence, Piquepoul, Sauvignon Blanc blend, Cótes de Thau 2014, France, 12%. Piquepoul is something of a recent trend in the UK, so this was an interesting one to try
  • Karl Pfaffmann 2013 Weissburgunder, Trocken, Walsheim, Pfalz, Germany, 12.5%. The first of three wines sourced exclusively from Germany and rarely seen in the U.K.
  • Karl Pfaffmann 2014 Riesling, Trocken, Walsheim, Pfalz, Germany, 12.5%
  • Randersackerer Ewig Leben 2013er, Albalonga Auslese, Franken, Germany, 11%
  • Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva 2015 Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 14%
  • Alvi’s Drift 2015 Chenin Blanc, Worcester, South Africa, 13.5%
  • Calvet Reserve 2013 Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France, 12.5%
  • The Cup and Rings 2013 Godello Sobre Lias, Monterrai, Spain, 13%
  • Ara Single Vineyard 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 12.5%

Red wine

All the wines supplied were kept undisclosed to the other attendees prior to the day, and so it is interesting to notice the heavy red bias towards Spain.  Our full selection comprised:

  • Arjona (unoaked) 2014 Rioja (100% Tempranillo), Spain, 13.5%
  • Club Des Sommeliers, Morgon (100% Gamay) 2014 Beaujolais, France, 12.5%
  • J Opi 2014 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%. This wine was decanted to bring out the rich flavour
  • Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007 (Tempranillo), Rioja, Spain, 14%
  • Cháteau Hervé Laroque 2007 (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon), Fronsac, France, 13%
  • La Cantera Reserva 2007 (Tempranillo based blend), Carinena, Spain, 13%, (from magnum)
  • Ermita de San Lorenzo 2008 Garnacha based blend, Rioja, Spain, 14%. Another one for the decanter
  • Mayu Syrah Reserva 2011, Elqui Valley, Chile, 14.5%. This wine was again decanted to allow the rich flavours to mellow
  • Piccini Memoro 2010 (Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nero D’avola, Sangiovese blend), Regional blend across Tuscany, Basilicata, Veneto and Sicily, Italy, 14%. Decanted, but perhaps needed more time to open fully.
  • Cháteau Valfontaine 2012 (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) Bordeaux, France, 12%
  • Stobi 2011 Petit Verdot Barrique, Tikves, Macedonia, 14%.  A rare opportunity to try this wine.
  • Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 2007 (Tempranillo), Rioja, Spain, 13.5%
  • Les Vaucorneilles Cuvee Nathan 2005, Touraine, Loire Valley, France, 13.5% (Blend of Gamay, Cabernet and Cot)
  • Vox Populi 2012 Bobal, Utiel-Requena, Spain, 14%
  • Laurent Miquel L’Artisan 2014 (Syrah, Grenache), Faugeres, France, 13.5%
Stratford empties
Selection of bottles, all empty, from the second night

 

 

 

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

Verdejo on the cheap

compania verdejo (337 x 599)

Spain 12.5%

Ok, I know the label looks like someone printed this up on their home printer and stuck it on with a Pritt stick but looks can be deceiving as I found out with this impressive (for the price) Verdejo. I actually got this in Majestic, Calais for the ridiculous price of £2.99 and now I’m kicking myself repeatedly as I only bought the one as I wasn’t really convinced at the time but I knew I usually like Verdejo and at that price I thought why not try at least one.

Verdejo is one of the most popular wines in Spain and This ‘Real Compania De Vinos’ or the Real Wine Company was established by Bodegas Muriel (who make pretty decent Rioja) back in 2007.

Golden straw like colour in the glass with perhaps a touch of green. Really aromatic on the nose which brought an appreciative ‘nice’ from my son and a ‘Smells ok’ from my wife. For me Pears were evident even dominant with some limes and tropical fruit in the mix including mango’s and bananas.

The taste is where things changed slightly although initially sweet there was a strange bitter aftertaste which, although not unpleasant, it was , well, I say again rather strange. Not much in the way of acidity but a hint creaminess (pears with cream) with a herbal, flowery finish leading to that bitterness. Don’t let this description put you off, this was a lovely easy drinking Spanish white which was endorsed by both my wife and son, both commenting on how much they enjoyed it.

For £2.99 it’s a steal, almost worth taking the ferry back to Calais for more.

7.5corks

My Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Majestic Calais £2.99 a bottle – I repeat £2.99 a bottle.

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

 

 

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+

 

 

Le Pallet – Muscadet-sèvre Et Maine,2009

LePallet MuscadetWhen a wine is made in a Cru Village ‘Le Pallet’ in  France’s  Loire valley and has a Decanter Gold Medal ‘Best in Show’ sticker on it, there’s a good chance it’s going to be pretty good and that’s exactly what this turned out to be, a pretty decent bottle of wine.

Muscadet, made with the slightly less well known ‘Melon de Bourgogne’ grape is not everyone’s cup of tea (or glass of wine), it’s quite sharp and in this case very dry but it just tastes amazingly fresh and clean

I first sampled this at my local ‘Majestic’ wine store at one of their always enjoyable tasting evenings and it was by far the best white wine of the night.

Nice clear straw like colour but with restrained aromas even after vigorous swirling, however, there was a little pear, melon and a nuttiness about it.

On first taste, this is clean, crisp and bone dry. There wasn’t a lot of flavours going on but I loved the vibrant freshness and it had a beautiful minerality about it, like pebbles in a mountain stream. This is partially oaked and you can taste it and along with a slightly creamy texture. Not much in the way of fruit coming through although there is a hint of lemon peel, toffe apple and it finishes with a little salty tang.

Perhaps not to everyones taste but I loved the simple fresh crispness of this wine. Great with seafood of any kind, I had this with fish & chips and it paired brilliantly refreshing the pallet after every mouthful. If you haven’t tried Muscadet give it a go, especially if you enjoy dry crisp wines and I would definitely recommend this.

Le Pallet Muscadet is a MUST-A-BUY !

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Majestic £9.99 on Multibuy

 

Serabel Vacqueyras Lidl Beauty

Serabel Vacueyras France 13.5%

After hearing a lot of good things about wines being sold at Lidl’s, I decided to try a few out even though I had to travel around seven  miles for my nearest store. This is the first of six bottles I bought from their premium range which included mostly French bottles and I must say what a great start.

This is a Southern Rhone blend of Grenache around 60%, Syrah 20% and Mourevedre 20%  made in the shadow of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. The bottle was impressive and very heavy with its embossed crossed keys and Vacqueyras, very stylish. When poured, it was a dark ruby colour with a tinge of rustiness around the edges.

Beautiful nose of blackberries, dark cherries, smokey bonfire and forest earth. There was a dark fruit sweetness in the mouth which turned into a slightly bitter finish. Although rustic it still had a kind of elegance and smoothness but with a hefty kick of spices, smokey and noticeable tannins.

This was a delight which improved with time in the glass and for around £8 well worth the money. Found it hard but kept a little back for tomorrow to see how it holds up, my expectations are high.

I just hope the other bottles I bought live up to this but as I said earlier this was a fabulous start to my Lidl adventure and this Vacqueyras comes highly recommended.

 

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Lidl stores around £8.99

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

Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2011

Mouton Cadet (450 x 600)France 13.5%

Walking down the wine aisle in your local supermarket amongst the hundreds of bottles on display sometimes a label suddenly catches your eye, not because it has distinctive artwork or design but because of what’s written on it.

In this case it was the words, Mouton, Baron Philippe De Rothschild and Bordeaux, so whilst my wife’s back was turned a bottle of ‘Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2011’ (just happened to be on special offer as well) found its way into my shopping trolley next to the veg, bread , shower gel and toothpaste.

The question is was it any good and worth the clandestine operation to get it in the trolley? Well, in a word, not really (sorry, two words). This was one of the most disappointing bottles I’ve opened recently; maybe the £6 odd I paid should have alerted me that perhaps this is not what it seems.

After pulling out the cork with Baron De Rothschild printed on it I was looking forward to trying the wine, that was before I smelt it, not the best, being predominately Merlot a whiff of dark berries, plums, some earth and vegetal notes were the main aromas although there was a hint of something chemical which wasn’t nice.

Taste – medium bodied, a little on the thin side for me with a plums, blackberries and liquorice making it seem very bitter on the finish (which did subside after an hour or so left in the glass). Harsh and quite dry but not altogether undrinkable, definitely better with food.

Considering the prestigious name this was a little bit of a letdown, I know it’s suppose to be a budget level affordable Bordeaux and in some respects it does the job especially as a midweek everyday wine.

Not so much a Mouton Cadet more of a Mouton Regret

5.5 corks

My Rating 5.5/10 Corks

Various around £10

Blason down the sink

BlasonFrance 12.5%

Ever started a book and struggle through the opening pages only to eventually give up after reading much more than you should have done.

I used to but with millions of books out there if what I’m reading doesn’t hold my interest within a few pages I move on to the next one, why waste your time with something you’re not enjoying, life’s too short to read a bad book.

Life’s definitely too short to drink bad wine, although wine maybe slightly different in that you can’t pass it on or donate it to a charity shop, it’s either persevere or tip it down the sink. Thankfully I haven’t had to do this very often but I have and this is such an occasion.

The bottle in question is the ‘Blason de Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise Pinot Noir 2012’, bought at half price and during a recent 25% off six bottles promotion, luckily it amounted to a cheap bottle of wine.

I won’t dwell too long on why I didn’t like it only to say that it lacked any kind of nose, it was thin, watery, slightly bitter and lacked any sort of flavour, maybe it was just a bad bottle, who knows so Glug, Glug, Glug it went down the sink, as the Late Ian Drury said ‘What a Waste’.

Hey, it’s only my opinion, you may well enjoy it but………………

3.5 corksMy Rating 3.5/10 Corks

Morrisons around £9.99

Palais des Anciens – Fitou Reserve 2012

FitouFrance 12.5%

Languedoc Roussillon in Southern France home to this rustic and very drinkable, I know, sorry to use that annoying phrase again but it definitely applies to this bottle of Fitou. Can’t see on the bottle what it’s made up of but I assuming Carignan, Grenache and Syrah.

Rustic looking bottle, rustic wine, felt like I should be drinking this in a field somewhere leaning against a tree tearing off a chunk of bread and eating a lump of cheese, I settled for a beef stew instead and very nice it was too.

This Fitou had heady aromas of rich blackberries, tar and smoke. Initially straight out of the bottle it was very fruit laden with blackberries and blueberries, dry, slightly spicy, smokey and tannic. There was also a liquorice flavour which left quite a bitter finish, saying this it did pair very nicely with the food.

Second day, the tarry bitterness had sweetened slightly and it was much easier to drink without food.

Nothing subtle about this wine, the Carignan taking centre stage and I liked it, not a lot more I can say, except I only paid £5.99 for it and bought it as a 6 bottle get 25% off deal so what’s not to like !

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Morrisons £5.99

Beaujolais – Villages 2013

societybeaujolais(450 x 600)France 12.5%

There are not many grape varieties I don’t like but saying that the one that causes me to react negatively more often than any other is Gamay. Never been a fan of it, never been a fan of Beaujolais and this offering from the Wine Society hasn’t changed my mind. Not to say that it’s a bad wine far from it, just not for me.

This particular Beaujolais from the Wine Society is a ‘Villages’ classification and is generally given good reviews by experts and Society members. Nothing actually wrong with the wine it’s well made , nice purple colour and fresh looking In the glass with aromas of cherries and bubblegum (Bazooka Joes spring to mind).

Taste – Light in body, very fruity, again dark cherries, perhaps a little spice, very acidic, liquorice and slightly chalky. Can see how it would appeal to a lot of people but put simply I just don’t like the taste. It did improve after around 20 minutes or so in the glass and with food it was drinkable.

Will I continue with my quest for a Beaujolais I might like, only if somebody puts a glass of something spectacular in my hand, a Cru ( Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, to name a few) then it would be rude not to taste it.

7corksAs a well made wine my Rating would be 7/10 Corks 

Wine Society £7.50

Rating for my own personal taste would be 5.5/10 Corks

 

French Grenache & Spanish Tempranillo

Two bottles, one from France the other from Spain, both delicious, an adjective I seem to use rarely but in this case it describes these reasonably priced wines perfectly.

Oldvinegrenache(450 x 600)The first is a Grenache from the Cotes du Roussillon and Muscat de Rivesaltes regions in the South of France, a ‘Old Vines Grenache Noir 2012’ and available at M&S for £7.99. An unoaked, fruit filled, soft, silky, almost port like beauty with light tannins, slight acidity, a hint of sweetness with a long finish, It also has a little complexity and depth which makes it an interesting drink . The only slight drawback is the hefty alcohol 14.5% which you certainly feel after a few sips.

This is a wine to savour and finish over a couple of evenings brilliant with food equally as good on it’s own.

 

Epototempranillo(450 x 600)Next is from Spain, from a traditional Bodega north west of Madrid but with a non traditional screw cap. The ‘Opoto Single vineyard Tempranillo 2010’– Wine Society £6.25.
Very deep crimson with aromas of cherries, strawberries, Vanilla and smokey ash.
Taste – Very fruity, quite tannic, with a real hit of sweet vanilla but with a hint of mint, Eucalyptus and chewy candle wax.

Typically Spanish tasting and you won’t be disappointed !

 

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Old Vines Grenache Noir M&S £7.99

 

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Opoto Tempranillo £6.25