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

Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2016

Been a while since I actually reviewed a bottle here, not that I haven’t been drinking any, far from it but after tasting this Chardo (again another daughter abbreviation along with Sovee bee that I must stop saying) I thought I must share my thoughts on this very good Chilean Chardonnay.

Always enjoyed wines from Luis Felipe Edwards and this is up there with the better ones I’ve tasted although it may well be a little intense and slightly over the top for some.

When poured, this was quite a deep golden colour with pronounced aromas of butterscotch, vanilla, tropical fruits and nuts.

After the first mouthful, what is evident straight away is the creaminess and buttery almost fatty flavours along with a touch of vanillary (not sure if that’s a proper word) oak but quickly followed up by peach, pear, apricots, caramel and almonds.

For £7.99 this is a steal and a wine I very much enjoyed, although, as I mentioned earlier, it may not be for everyone, especially if you don’t like buttery Chardo ( Damn it, sorry !! ) but for me this comes highly recommended 👍

My rating 8/10 Corks

Majestic £7.99 (multi buy)

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)

Spanish Sauvignon Blanc – anybody ?

jose-pariente-sb-2014In the Rueda region in the heart on the Iberian peninsula where Verdejo and Viura are kings, Sauvignon Blanc also plays a part even if it is overshadowed. The grapes for this wine come from the first Sauvignon Blanc vines planted in this area around 30 years ago and has resulted in this deliciously bright and fruity Jose Periente SB 2014.

This is more of a cross between French and New Zealand SB’s as it has elements of both, darkish straw like colour in the glass with bright fresh citrus fruits on the nose with some tropical passion fruit and a whiff of freshly cut grass.

Taste wise it is more subdued but still with a touch of bright acidic citrus fruits, again a little tropical sweetness and grassiness but finishing quite vegetal with green peppers, maybe even a little fresh pea pods and herbs.

I really enjoyed this and paired with steamed fresh Haddock it was even better. I bought this at Majestic for around £9.99 a little while ago but not sure if they still sell it but if you can find it give it a go you may well be surprised how good it is.

I tend to like Verdejo, Viura, Albarino, Godello to name a few but this is definitely up there with the best of Spanish white wines I’ve tasted recently.

8.5corks

My rating 8.5/10 Corks

Majestic ?    around £10

 

 

A small selection of good affordable wines reviewed in 2016

ivorfan-logo-2016Another great year in this wonderful world of wine, lots of wines sampled, some fantastic, some good and some not so good but always fun trying them.felizanonuevo

Been lucky enough to attend some fabulous events  and tastings meeting some interesting and amiable people along the way and after three seasons in the doldrums Fulham are starting to look like a team again, so everything is looking good for a brilliant 2017 with hopefully more of the same.

🍾🍾HAPPY NEW YEAR to all 🍷🍷🥂🥂

So here are just a small selection some easily available wines I’ve enjoyed over the last year, as they say, in no particular order ( click on More link to see full review)…….

Gran Reboreda 2015

reboreda1The bottle caught my eye as it featured one of my favourite white grapes Godello although with this one it’s a small part of a blend with Treixadura which is the predominant grape around 80% (used mainly in the making of Portuguese Vinho Verde) also featuring is another lesser known grape Loureira. More ..

 

 

Rustenberg John X Merriman 2012

Rustenburg John X Merrriman 2012South Africa takes on Bordeaux with this powerful beast of a wine from the Stellenbosch region, named in honour of John Xavier Merriman who revitalised the Rustenberg farm in 1892 after it suffered badly due to the Phylloxera crisis and went on to establish Rustenberg wines.

A blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. More..

 

Truly Irresistable Fiano 2015

co-op-fianoAs regular readers know I am a big fan of Co Op and their wines and have been really impressed by most of their ‘Truly Irresistible’ range and this is no exception. I was initially alerted to this wine by a recommendation by wine journalist Brian Elliot from the website MidWeek Wines, so when popping into my local store for a loaf of bread and some milk a bottle kind of found its way into my basket. More..

 

Brancott Estate Letter B series sweet dessert wine

late harvest BEHands up all those people who will break out a bottle of dessert wine at the end of a meal to accompany pudding, I guess if I look around there would probably not be many arms in the air but if you haven’t tried it then you are missing out on a real treat. More..

 

 

Hambledon Classic Cuvée

Hambledon sparklingSome may say who needs Champagne when we have Sparking wine in this country as good as this. I have sampled a few English wines mostly a tastings and events, notably Nyetimber and Chapel Down and both are very good but it’s not until I tasted this particular bottle that I sat up and realised that the Brits do make some pretty decent sparkling wines. More..

 

Wakefield Clare Valley Shiraz 2014

Wakefield Shiraz 2014 (337 x 599)I first discovered this gem of a wine  at a Majestic ‘Winter tasting ‘ event back in November 2015.

Although not one of the wines on show, It happened to be sitting on their tasting counter along with one or two other pretty decent bottles, not sure how long it had been opened for but their was still half a bottle and over the course of the evening I must admit to revisiting this Aussie beauty a few times. There was slightly less than half a bottle by the end of the evening (Shhh, empty it was !! ) but I didn’t drink it all, honestly and I did end up buying a few bottles. More..

Xarel-lo 2014

Xarel-loCan’t pronounce it and never heard of it I hear you cry but if you look on most bottles of Spanish Cava you will find Xarel-lo is one of the three main grapes used to make their fabulous sparkling wines.

This bottle is a 100% Xarel-lo (pronounced Shre-lo) made in the Penedes region of north-east Spain and not a bubble in sight. It’s a still wine that is wonderfully fresh and vibrant and has a Cava/Champagne flavour without the fizz although there is a slight zingy after-taste. More..

Lindeman’s Bin 1355 Semillon

lindemans-semillonBought  a case of this very good Lindeman’s Hunter Valley Semillon 2013  from Majestic on their WIGIG (When its gone its gone) promotion for the bargain price of £4.99 a bottle, which in my opinion, turned out to be a bit of a steal. More..

 

 

 

Lindeman’s Bin 1355 Semillon

lindemans-semillonBought  a case of this very good Lindeman’s Hunter Valley Semillon 2013  from Majestic on their WIGIG (When its gone its gone) promotion for the bargain price of £4.99 a bottle, which in my opinion, turned out to be a bit of a steal.

I was alerted to this offer by a member of our wine forum who thought it was a decent drop for the price.

Would I have given Lindeman’s a second look in the past ? probably not but from the first sniff and sip I was totally sold.

I have enjoyed many Hunter Valley Semillon’s before especially the wonderful  McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2005 so this Lindeman’s had a lot to live up to.

In the glass it was a pale straw like colour with perhaps a slightly green hue, quite nice aroma of lemons, limes but with a pronounced whiff of petrol /oil even burnt rubber. I love this smell reminiscent of some Rieslings but it’s not for everyone and some people namely my wife found the petrol a step too far.

When taking my first sip this wine came to life with a hit of bracing mouth-watering fresh tasting acidity bursting with citrus fruits, namely lemons (think lemon curd) and limes again, which suggest that this Semillon will age for quite a while as in the excellent McWilliams mentioned above. The oily texture  was prominent which became more noticeable as the wine warmed up in the glass and if anything tasted the better for it, so I suggest not over chilling. The finish was not overly long but pleasant enough.

I’m definitely glad I picked up a case of this and I will drink them at various intervals seeing how it develops over time, if i gets anywhere near the quality of the McWilliams I’m on to a winner and at £4.99 what’s not to like.

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks

£4.99 at Majestic (WIGIG promotion)

 

The three wine review

tale-of-three-winesThis week I review three contrasting wines, a South African Chenin Blanc, a Chilean Chardonnay and a rather nice Spanish Monastrell.

Firstly the Chardonnay from a new range launched by Morrisons called the Head Honcho which also includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot, these are all the sole property of Morrisons. Aimed primarily at the younger market with its bright eye-catching labels and its simplified consumer friendly wine description on the back, not to mention the price which is around £6.

The Head Honcho Chardonnay 2015 is an entry level wine so  I didn’t expect anything special, nothing to dislike but nothing to write home about either. Heady aromas of tropical fruits, pineapple, peach and mangoes, there was also a noticeable buttery nose.
Taste wise it had bright tropical fruits, touch on the sweet side which was almost slightly artificial. Did I enjoy it? well, it was OK but I do think a lot of people will like it.

Next, the  South African Zalze Bush Vine Chenin 2016 which was a wine selected by a member of our wine club ‘Cuvée Reserve’ for our monthly tasting in which we all take a turn at selecting a widely available bottle up to £10 to discuss and give our views.

Initially  I probably had this chilling for too long and the aromas were a little muted, but as the glass warmed up the nose became pretty full on with tropical fruits especially ripe pineapple, guava and peaches .
The tropical theme continued  in the tasting with the pineapple dominating but with some lemons and limes in the background giving it a fresh, crisp and bright hit in the mouth almost zingy.  Although fairly dry, there was a hint of sweetness as well which was appealing.

Overall thought this was pretty decent and probably worth the full price, I will say that it was even better 24hrs later as I had a little drop left, the flavours were more intense almost like a fresh fruit salad with a touch of cream. I also think that this would probably be even better aged for a little longer.

Lastly, the Mo Salinas Monastrell 2013 and definitely my favourite, from the Alicante region of south east Spain, which had a some what rustic charm about it. Made mostly with Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) with a splash of Garnacha and Cabernet.

Chilled this for about ten minutes as I often do with my reds. In the glass is was a deep purple with a nose of ripe bramble fruit, some smoke and a savoury, slightly earthy smell. On tasting this was medium bodied, with bright dark fruits, some spice, liquorice,  hint of oak. There was a hit of acidity giving it a fresh mouth-watering feel and it had moderate but noticeable tannins.

Nothing to complex but a very enjoyable bottle that I would certainly buy again and I have no hesitation in recommending if you want a fairly inexpensive midweek red.

6corks

Head Honcho Chardonnay 2015

My Rating 6/10 Corks

 

7.5corks

Zalze Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2016

My Rating 7.5/10 Corks

 

8corks

Mo Salinas Monastrell 2013

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Majestic Autumn Tasting September 2016

MajesticwintertitleDoesn’t seem like long ago I was at my local Majestic in Ruislip for their summer tasting, now with the nights drawing in it was time for another visit in-store and another excellent event. Majestic really do these tastings well, their staff are all friendly, always accommodating and nothing was too much trouble.

The tasting normally runs from 6.30pm -8.30pm but when my friend and I  arrived at around 6.15pm there was already a few people gathering. We were told that around a hundred were arriving which seemed rather a lot compared to other events I have attended, in the end probably around forty or so turned up over the course of the two hours, still quite a big turn out.

We were given a tasting sheet listing all the wines to be tasted and we were offered a chilled glass of Prosecco to start the evening off with.  Looking around the whites were all chilling nicely in large ice buckets on the tasting counter and the reds were positioned at various points around the store. The wines on show were, in no particular order

Whites – The Astronomer Australian Chardonnay, Toledana Gavi, Jackson Estate Grey Ghost Sauvignon Blanc, Pouilly Fume and an Alsace Gerwurztraminer.

Reds – Chateau Tour Haut Caussan Medoc 2006, Ciabot Berton Barolo 2011, Ben Marco Malbec, Astronomer Shiraz and  the Definition Beaujolais Villages.

majestic-sept-2016-7

All good in their particular price range but I must say I was impressed with the JE Grey Ghost and the Barolo although both a little on the pricey side, not that the other wines were bad it’s just those two stood out.

majestic-sept-2016-6
My Majestic buys

The evening was another hit and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, I didn’t buy any of the wines on show but I did buy 6 bottles including a Spanish Sauvignon Blanc, a Godello, Monastrell, Mencia, Beefsteak Malbec and a rather lovely Italian Tasca Regaleali made with local Inzolia, Greciano, Caterratto and Chardonnay.

 

Thanks again to the guys from Majestic Ruislip

 

Graham Norton Sauvi GN on Blanc 2015

GNorton SBWhen I first came across this bottle at a Majestic tasting  my initial thought was it’s just another celebrity endorsed mass produced bottle of plonk, well, I couldn’t have been more wrong, this was a sheer delight and generally well received by everyone who tasted it.

Viewers of Graham Norton’s chat show will normally see him within reach of a very large glass of white wine in which his tipple of choice is normally Sauvignon Blanc. So with the help of  guys from Invivo, Co founder Tim Lightbourne and winemaker Rob Cameron who transported 6 different samples of Sauvignon Blanc from their New Zealand Marlborough growers to London where Graham Norton joined up and helped in the blending process creating his very own bottle.

The label itself looked strange at first until you realise that it is actually quite clever with the emphasis on the GN (Graham Norton) and it definitely stands out.

In the glass the aromatic aromas hit you straight way filling the room with tropical fruits, grass and passion-fruit, stick your nose in the glass it will make your eyes water it’s so intense. On first sip this tasted fresh and zingy, the tropical fruits are evident especially passion-fruit  along with sharp limes and lemons. A little hint of freshly cut grass and a little herby thing going on in the background make this a refreshingly delicious glass of wine and at £8.99 bit of a bargain I’d say !

Now my wife and daughter are big ‘Sovvy Bee’ fans  especially from New Zealand and they both liked this a lot and I must admit I enjoyed it and I’d say it’s probably one of the better Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted recently, Nice one Graham !.

8corks

 My Rating 8/10 Corks

£8.99 on Multi buy at Majestic

A quick review – Majestic Summer Showcase 2016

MajesticwintertitleI recently attended another Summer wine Tasting event at my local Majestic store in Ruislip. As always it was a brilliant evening with lots of great wines on show, (Majestic do seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to these showcase tastings).The Whites and Rose’s were the stars and it’s probably the first time I’ve ever left the store having bought a case without a red in sight.

Among the highlights were….

WP_20160519_041 (600 x 337)
M de Minuty and Haut Vol classy Rosé’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WP_20160527_001 (337 x 599)Kumeu River Pinot Gris 2014 (£9.99 on Multi buy) – Fabulous NZ wine with tropical flavours, floral, peppery and slightly herbal. Dry but with a rich texture but not at all cloying, would pair brilliantly with Asian and spicy food. This enjoyed by everyone and a big hit on the night.

Cotes du Rhone Villages 2015 ( £8.99 on Multi Buy) – This was a late decision and was brought out towards the end of the evening but again it went down well with everyone. Lees ageing, rich and complex with peaches and again slightly floral.

Summer is arriving, well I think it is, so Rosé’s start making an appearance and there were two very nice ones out for us notably the M de Minuty Rosé 2105, Cótes de Provence (Grenache, Cinsault and Tibouren) and the Haut Vol Rosé 2014  ( Grenache & Carrignan)   (see picture above) both French, both extremely drinkable and highly recommended even though I’m not a big Rosé drinker myself.

Of the four reds two really stood out, although a bit on the expensive side these were the Petalos Bierzo 2014 (£13.99 on Multi Buy) from Northern Spain and the Angels Share Two Hands Shiraz 2014 (£17.99 on Multi Buy) from McClaren Vale Australia.

Thanks again to the guys at Majestic Ruislip for another fantastic evening tasting some pretty decent wines, ended up buying a case of whites and went home happy and content.

Wakefield Clare Valley Shiraz 2014

Wakefield Shiraz 2014 (337 x 599)I first discovered this gem of a wine  at a Majestic ‘Winter tasting ‘ event back in November 2015.

Although not one of the wines on show, It happened to be sitting on their tasting counter along with one or two other pretty decent bottles, not sure how long it had been opened for but their was still half a bottle and over the course of the evening I must admit to revisiting this Aussie beauty a few times. There was slightly less than half a bottle by the end of the evening (Shhh, empty it was !! ) but I didn’t drink it all, honestly and I did end up buying a few bottles.

Made in the Wakefield Estate in the Clare valley this Shiraz was a teeth staining inky black in the glass with aromas of dark cherries and ripe plums with a whiff of mocha. On first sip the juicy ripe dark fruits are prominent and there’s a slight tarry flavour about it. Coffee beans and Vanilla also make an appearance with a spicy peppery finish.

A wine to enjoy with or without food, I actually drank this with some spicy lamb kebabs and it paired beautifully.

As you may have gathered I liked this a lot and for £8.99 on multi buy very good value for money and it’s one Shiraz I will be buying again.

8corks

 

My rating 8/10 Corks

£8.99 on Multi buy  @ Majestic

Three aromatic whites

SAwhites

Off to South Africa and Argentina for my next reviews and three aromatic whites. The first two are both from South Africa, Fire Flower an unusual blend of Chenin Blanc / Pinot Grigio and the Bellingham, The Bernard series Viognier. The third is the Territorio a Torrontes from Argentina .

Invited our South African neighbour round for a glass or two over the weekend and as usual he came armed with wines from his homeland that are both readily available here.

We opened the Fire Flower first, a blend of Chenin Blanc and Pinot Grigio, from the Western Cape. In the glass a bright lemon colour with a pretty intense nose of crisp fresh apples with a hint of floweriness about it. On first sip the apple crispness wasn’t as pronounced as the nose promised, more like stewed apples, the floral side was definitely more noticeable, it was very dry and there was a little greenness which I couldn’t quite make out. We all enjoyed it and for the price (on offer at £5.99 usually £8.99) a bit of a bargain.

On to the next, the Bellingham, Bernard Series Viognier 2015, which I have had before and thought it was decent and I haven’t changed my mind. This was a much paler colour, more straw like with a tinge of green but with wonderful aromas of peaches, pears and flowers (jasmine).  Lovely and fresh tasting with peaches, apricots, a little spice and touch of vanillary oak. This was a big favourite.Torrontes

The third bottle was a slight disappointment, an Argentinian Torrontes, the Territorio around £6 from Tesco.

Again a light straw like colour with a green tinge but the aromas were fairly muted hard to distinguish anything apart from peach and limes.

Taste was mostly a mouthful of lychees fairly acidic with a slightly bitter finish, needed food to get the best out of it but is was still pretty average and probably not one I would buy again.

Fire Flower                   My Rating 7/10 Corks

Bellingham Viognier   My Rating 8/10 Corks

Territorio Torrontes    My Rating 5.5/10 Corks

Papa Luna – Divine wine

Papa Luna

Spain 14.5%

Named after the last pope to reign under a dual papacy in the 14th and 15th Century in Avignon, Pedro Martinez de Luna who was born in Calatayud and was a local and historical icon. This wine is made as a homage to him.

I first tasted this at my local Majestic store a couple of years ago, I bought a couple of bottles stored them away and then forgot about them until now. What a pleasant surprise it was when I opened it and took that first sip, as the title says it was divine.

Inky black in the glass, after a quick swirl (the glass not me) and a deep sniff there were powerful aromas of dark ripe fruits mainly cherries and plums, with my nose still in the glass more aromas of cigar boxes, chocolate and a whiff of lavender emanated.

Drank this straight out of the bottle after opening (poured into a glass first) but I think it would benefit from a little more air although it still tasted pretty good as it was.

Smooth is mentioned a lot when people first taste wine but this is exactly what this was, almost velvety and elegant, intense taste of dark cherries that have been dipped in chocolate burst in your mouth along with liquorice. Bordering on jammy it also had a spicy savoury kick to it, mild tannins and an extremely long finish.

This was really very good and much better than you would expect from a wine this price, I will be back in store to get more

8.5corks

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Majestic currently  £7.86 on Multi Buy

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.

Maretti Langhe Rosso 2013

Maretti(337 x 599)

Italy 13.5%

I first came across this wine at a recent Majestic Summer tasting event and it was for me, one of the stars of the night. It was the wine I kept going back to for a top up and I must say the generous and amiable staff were more than  happy to oblige. I did end up buying a few bottles along with one or two others I enjoyed over the course of the evening.

So whats it like, well, it’s made in the North west Italian region of Langhe within Piemonte which is famous for Nebbiolo and it is a blend of Barbera 70% and Nebbiolo 30%.

Fairly deep garnet colour with a very slight brownish tinge but still impressively dark, looking very inviting but it’s when you get your nose in the glass this is where the wine comes alive bright cherries and blackberries with a more intense backbone of dried herbs, leather, tar and liquorice all very heady.

Medium to full-bodied –  first taste this was very tannic although it still had a bright fruity acidity which made the wine taste fresh. Dark ripe fruits along with bitter liquorice, herbs and an edge of aniseed were all lurking in the glass. There was also a meaty savoury thing going on as well which was appealing. Left in the glass for a while the chalky tannins did soften a bit leaving a sweeter taste but still retaining that bright acidity.

As a stand alone wine I would quite happily drink it on its own but its with food that this really shone. On the tasting night it met with mixed opinions although no one disliked it, some weren’t sure initially but it grew on them. I think this needs time to breathe to really get the best out of it but I liked it a lot.

My wife who is not a big red wine drinker enjoyed it with food and didn’t pull that face when she instantly dislikes a powerful red, so all round big thumbs up.

8corks

 

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Majestic Multibuy £8.99

 

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

 

Pizarras de Otero Bierzo 2011

Bierzo Otero2011(450 x 600)Spain 14%

First discovered the Bierzo region of North West Spain a few years back when on holiday touring the north following the Camino route to Santiago de Compostela although I must stress this was done on a coach staying in government backed Parador hotels not on foot or bike travelling hundreds of miles.

This is where I discovered the Mencia grape and my favourite Spanish white Godello.

So finding a reasonably priced Bierzo wine here is a real treat and this particular bottle brought back memories of sitting in a sleepy Spanish town bar eating wonderful Tapas and drinking cheap but great tasting wine.

This 2011 Pizarras de Otero is one of the new wave of brilliant Spanish wines that are now widely available. Dark, brooding, aromatic and 14% alcohol this wine is not for the faint hearted. After an initial taste I decided to leave this to the air for a couple of hours before drinking and it seemed to soften slightly.

Looking at the wine in the glass it has a deep purple colour but it’s when you stick your nose in the glass this is where it comes alive, powerful aromas of dark ripe cherries, blackberries and a big hit of meaty savouriness with smells of bacon fat and liver all in a good way.

Taste wise, again Rich cherries, dark chocolate, liquorice and spices. A little on the tannic side and some spices in the background. This tastes like a big wine and the 14% is noticeable.

Although this wine is rich, it does taste remarkably fresh, and mouth wateringly juicy and I really liked it, made by the excellent Bodegas Martin Codax.

If you haven’t tried the Mencia grape treat yourself to this, hopefully you won’t be disappointed.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Majestic £9.99 (offer £7.49)

A Majestically Good Wine and Good Food Weekend

MajesticwintertitleDrinking great wine, eating great food, what better way is there to spend your time after a long week of work?

My weekend started with a Friday night Wine Tasting at Majestic Ruislip, showcasing their new range of winter wines along with a impressive selection of cheeses, Saturday was a eating day along with more wine spent at the Good Food & Wine Show at Olympia London, both very good, both putting a sizeable dent in my credit card balance.

Being regular visitors to a lot of Majestic Wine events my friend and I (wife had a prior engagement) were really looking forward to this particular one as it’s usually the biggest of the year. The evening started a 6.00pm and we arrived promptly we were also pretty much the last men standing when we finally left at around 9.00pm. Anyway, we were greeted with a selection of Fizz including Prosecco, Nyetimber Classic Cuvee and a Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne, nice start.

altAjePDPJMajesticwinter2(600 x 450)Moving on to the whites, there was a Alsace Riesling, Clos St-Jacques 2011, a Muscadet Le Pallet 2009, a Californian Viognier Nettie 2013 and a South African Chardonnay Trebuchet 2013. All were very nice with the lemony off dry Riesling being a lovely start but for me the stand out was the Muscadet which was a partially oaked beauty full of pears with a great minerality.

Majesticwinter3 (450 x 600)I was particularly excited about the reds when I spotted an odd looking dumpy bottle on the counter which contained a lesser known Spanish grape called Bobal and a great favourite of mine. The other reds were an Aussie Shiraz the Parcel series 2012 from the Clare Valley, a Cotes du Rhone Jaboulet Parallel, and a Chateau Beau-site St Esteph 2007and a 10 year old Portuguese Tawny Port Warre’s Otima.

Starting with the Bobal (Vox Populi) 2011, which I took upon myself to promote at every occasion. This was a big powerful tannic red but very drinkable despite the weightiness of it and I absolutely loved it. The Chateau Beu – Site Bordeaux was pretty decent and will improve, The Aussie Shiraz was your typical fruity, spicy offering, the Port was very light in colour and had an elegance about it, the Cotes du Rhone was a little disappointing but only because it was up against some good wines. Did I mention how good the Bobal was? Perhaps I did.

majesticwinter1As well as trying a selection on the tasting counter in which we both liked the Malbec we finished with a sweety the extremely nice Chateau La Rame 2012.
As usual the guys at Majestic were friendly and knowledgeable making us all feel comfortable with no hard sell although they didn’t need to as all the wines pretty much sold themselves. Another enjoyable evening, roll on the next one !

goodfood1On Saturday, my son, daughter and their partners along with my wife and I ventured off to our annual day out at the Good Food Show. Billed as bigger and better than ever it certainly lived up to the hype. We went armed with pre paid dining currency, tickets to the Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood show, tickets for the excellent Wine Tube Map Tasting and more tickets for the World of Wines Experience.

winetubemaptitleWith hundreds of stalls all giving out free samples of food a drink you could almost have a three course meal walking around if you planned it correctly. What I must do is tell you all about the first wine tasting we did as a group, it was the brilliant Wine TubeMap hosted by the very amiable Nikki Welch. I won’t go into how the tasting is run it’s better to look at their website http://conviviumwine.com/ but what I will mention is two wines which were the stars for me, the Ampakama Syrah Tannat from Argentina and a New Zealand Riesling.

Goodfood2014(450 x 600)
Wine Expert Susy Atkins and some bloke at the ‘Wines of the World’ at Olympia

The other tasting was the ‘Wines of the world Experience’ another new one for the show. This was a brilliant tasting of mostly fine wines in which you wandered around for an hour trying whatever took your fancy. The twist was every few minutes a guest celebrity Wine Expert would grab a microphone and call you over for a brief talk on whatever wine country they were promoting while we drank on, this was really interesting and we tasted some fantastic wines.

We ended the day with a cooking show featuring Mary Berry & Paul Hollywood.

All in all a good day out my wife enjoyed the food part and I had to put up with tasting wine all day, still we all have to make the odd sacrifice sometimes.

Leon Perdigal Cotes du Rhone 2012

perdigal(450 x 600)France 14%

This Léon Perdigal CdR was named after the first cellarmaster from the largest cellars (Ogiers) in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre. Fantastic looking bottle that really stood out with its embossed glass and vivid label. First tasted this at a Majestic ‘Winter Tasting evening’ late last year and it’s a pretty solid CdR and at £6.99 a bottle on multi buy, good value.

In the glass, not as aromatic as I thought it would be, fairly muted nose of red fruits raspberries, cherries, some  blackcurrant  and slightly smokey.

Taste – Very drinkable, soft, much more fruity and ripe than I expected with firm acidity and a sweetish finish. Hints of smoke, spice and licorice.  Drank this straight after opening and it was pretty good but it did improve while sitting in the glass, so maybe let it breathe and open up a bit and you will be rewarded with a decent  CdR which can be enjoyed with or without food.

So, big thumbs up if you want a easy drinking soft, slightly sweet, spicy and smokey French red.

. 8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks – Majestic Usually around £9.99 (on offer multi buy for £6.99)