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)

Tesco Finest South African Chenin Blanc 2014

SwartlandChenin(450 x 600)South Africa 14%

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Tesco around £6.99

Revisiting an old Friend

vinamara2007(450 x 600)Spain 13.5%

Rummaging around in my wine rack the other day, I came across a few bottles of the Vina Mara Reserva Rioja 2007 I bought at least a couple of years ago and forgotten about, it was liking finding an old comfortable pair of slippers.

When I first drank these it was probably up there with the better Rioja’s I’d tasted at the time and enjoyed by everyone I shared them with. I was initially looking for something to drink with our Sausage & Chorizo Casserole and in the process of moving stuff around I also found a few bottles of it’s bigger brother the Vina Mara Gran Reserva 2004, another very good wine although I actually prefer the Reserva.

When poured there was a wonderful aroma of candle wax, dark fruits, smokey wood even a hint of church incense.

On first sip I thought, this is what a Rioja should taste like, full of raspberries, cherries with pronounced sweetish vanilla and a big hit of oak, transporting me to a tranquil bar in a sleepy Spanish village, Flamenco dancers kicking up dust with frantic guitar music playing in the background.

Although you can’t easily find the 2007 now, the 2008/9 vintages are still pretty good (still winning awards), maybe not quite as good, in my view but they are solid decent Rioja’s pretty much what you would expect from ever reliable Baron De Ley.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco around £9

Finest Argentina Mendoza Malbec & Finest Swartland Pinotage

malbecpinotage(450 x 600)Argentina 13.5%

South Africa 14%

I’ve been spoilt lately drinking some pretty decent wines but the last couple have been a what I would call a ‘safe nice’ and the other ‘kinda nice’ but not as safe.

The two bottles in question are an Argentinian Malbec and a South African Pinotage, both from the Tesco Finest range.

The Malbec was by far the better of the two and although not a dinner party wine it was perfectly acceptable for a midweek tipple and I enjoyed it. Actually bought this a while back when it was on special offer, think I paid around £5 and at that price it was hard to be overly critical.

When poured it was a very inky and vibrant in the glass, with pronounced aromas of rich dark plums and berries. Taste wise – quite sweet, dare I say it, jammy but a nice jammy. Dense flavours of berries, plums, smooth dark chocolate, a little tannic but still with a fairly smooth taste and longish finish.

As I said earlier, this was a safe even enjoyable wine, for around £5-£7 no real complaints and even my son who is not a wine drinker nodded his head in approval when poured a glass.

Now the South African Pinotage was a little different, I know this grape is not to everyone’s liking and I’ve heard it called the ‘Marmite grape’ (you either like it or you don’t). I’m firmly in the ‘like it’ camp although this particular bottle didn’t quite hit the spot.

Not as earthy or smokey tasting as some Pinotages, this one having more of a fruitier tang to it. Lightish in colour with aromas of cherries mainly and with a slight whiff of mocha.
Quite a big mouthful of chocolate and cherries but with that tang I mentioned earlier, no real earthiness to speak of and my wife who tried it with me pulled a face on first taste and ended up not finishing the glass. I on the other hand did finish my glass followed by another couple and with food it was ‘kinda nice’ but perhaps a little too tangy for me to really give it the thumbs up.

7corksTesco Finest Mendoza Malbec £6

My Rating 7/10 Corks


5.5 corksTesco Finest Swartland Pinotage

My Rating 5.5/10 Corks

Negroamaro Salento 2012

negroamaro(450 x 600)Italy 13%

As I mentioned in my previous  post,wander around any supermarket these days and you are bombarded with meal deals, they are everywhere usually around £10 mostly including a main course pudding and a bottle of wine. The meals themselves look ok but I’ve been interested in what wines they have been offering to accompany the quick and easy cook foods.

Having recently sampled a meal deal wine without the meal, I know silly, for another £3 or so I could have had the food as well, so what do I do ?, I end up buying another bottle without the accompanying food. The wine in question was a Tesco Finest Negroamaro, one of the reasons for trying these MD wines is the fact that most of the time it’s not a regular wine you find in the wine aisle amongst the others in the Tesco Finest range and is only offered as part of the deal and I assume will  disappear when the offers  change or finish. This one however is, anyway for whatever reason I bought the wine, the question I wanted answering was is it any good?, well the answer in this case was – yes.

Negroamaro is a dark skinned grape grown almost exclusively  in the Puglia region in SE Italy. I decided to open this a couple of hours before eating but couldn’t resist the obligatory sneaky sip just after unscrewing the cap.  Initially it was a little rustic and earthy, smelt of ripe blackcurrants,  vanilla, chocolate, herbs and spice, I actually quite liked it and  ended up drinking a glass before the evening meal.

Around 2 hours later and with the food it changed quite a bit but equally as enjoyable, gone was that earthiness replaced by a mixture of ripe blackcurrants, plums, much smoother and still with a hint of chocolate. This was now much easier to drink as a stand alone but I must say I really liked the initial taste and if I had it again I would eat with a glass freshly poured but that’s just me.

The previous review for the ‘Toro Vinas Del Rey’ meal deal wine was for another Tesco Finest and pretty decent, this Negroamaro was no different. Next time though and for a few pounds more I must see through my wine fixation and buy the food with it, still don’t know why I didn’t.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Tesco (part of meal deal or £6.99)

Finest Chianti Riserva 2010

finestchianti(450 x 600)In a dilemma, not quite sure what to drink with your food, usually my golden rule is reach for a bottle of Italian red, this time it was a Chianti Riserva 2010 from the Tesco Finest range. Sometimes though,   golden rules don’t always work, not entirely anyway.

Nothing wrong with this wine, there again not anything to shout about either,  It’s an ok drinkable Chianti  (although it does need to be drunk with food)  produced by the normally reliable Picinni family.


Looked ok when poured, nice ruby colour but it’s when you get your nose in the glass where the first signs of doubt creep in,  fairly muted cherries, raspberries but then followed by something  slightly metallic. Taste wise, the label claims it to be ‘smooth, elegant and Velvety. Soft tannins and a long finish’ straight from the bottle my description would be ‘full of sour red cherries, liquorice,  a little rustic  and slightly on the thin side’ . That said, it did improve in the glass after a short time with the tartness softening a little and overall it did go well with the Tomato based Pasta meal.

It was easy drinking but needed food, bought this bottle while on offer and at the price I paid I was satisfied but not overally impressed.


My Rating 6/10 Corks 

Tesco £7.99

Finest Cotes de Gascogne 2013

cotesdegasgogne (450 x 600)France 11.5%

Always nice when freebies come along and this bottle of Cotes de Gascogne  was sent to me courtesy of Tesco last week for my humble thoughts. To tell you the truth I didn’t expect to like this but as it turned out I was pleasantly surprised. This is an unusual blend of Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc which may not be to everyone’s taste but……..

After collecting it from my neighbour (I’m never in when a delivery arrives) I promptly put it in the fridge expecting to drink it sooner than later but as it turned out it spent the best part of a week between the butter and milk.

Finally, in the glass, which became instantly covered in condensation from a  week’s worth of chilling the golden straw like colour looked bright and refreshing, although faint, aromas of green crisp apples, pears, peaches and a hint of sour grapefruit, quite a pleasant nose.
Taste – Initially very dry, sharp and mouth watering and because it was very cold the flavour was quite subdued. What I did notice though was the finish stayed with you for some time.
Drank this finally with a simple meal of Haddock, potatoes and veg and I would have said it definitely needed food but as it warmed up in the glass it changed into a different wine altogether (my wife also agreed) much more intense flavour still sharp and tangy and still with an incredibly long finish.

Drink this with food, preferably fish,  don’t over chill and enjoy what is a perfectly acceptable and  enjoyable bottle of wine

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Tesco £7.99


Tesco Finest Sauvignon Blanc Furmint 2012

furmint1(450 x 600)Slovenia 12.5%

Slovenia ,  a small country in central Europe, it gained it’s independence from Yugoslavia back in 2004 and it now makes a pretty lively , racey little number  ’Sauvignon Blanc  Furmint’  which  is now part of the new Tesco Finest range.

Furmint is a white Hungarian grape used to make Tokaji  and in this collaboration with Sauvignon Blanc it makes for a tongue tingling, refreshing, very good but very different white wine.

Doesn’t stand out on the shelves in it’s small stumpy like bottle with a fairly bland label but it definitely stands out swirling about  in your mouth.  In the glass it has a greenish silvery look, aroma’s of citrusy fruits lime, bitter orange and crisp green apples, with a whiff of aromatic peach.

Taste –  on first sip ifurmint2(450 x 600)t was  lively and very refreshing ,  full of bitter fruits, lemon, limes, oranges and apples.  The traditional Sauvignon Blanc taste although there was hard to pick out and you would be hard pressed to know it had any at all.  This is a fairly dry wine  but with an almost spritzy  and slightly spicy finish.

This will be a big hit in the summer, chilled, very easy to drink, perhaps a little too easy as I noticed half way through our meal of Sea Bass and prawns that the bottle was suddenly three quarters empty.  My wife who loves Sauvignon Blanc found it a bit too different and I had to end up finishing her glass, shame !

Tesco Finest Chateau Palatio Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie – 2012

Muscadet (450 x 600)France 12%

Fancy an extremely light, steely , crisp and dry (not the oil) white then this Muscadet made with the Melon de Bourgogne grape from the Loire valley probably fits the bill.

In the glass it looked clean, fresh and very pale, for me though what let it down slightly is the lack of any real aroma. After vigorous swirling there was what I could describe as a gentle waft of sea breeze blowing over an apple orchard.

Taking that first sip you realise how dry this is, It’s  very sharp and crisp like biting into a under ripe Granny Smith apple, it’s minerally, acidic and has a stony quality finishing off with a touch of lemon juice.

To sum up, for me,  this was an ok wine if you want something  dry, refreshing and tangy, it would certainly fit the bill chilled with seafood on a hot summers day,  doesn’t quite have the same affect on a cold rainy January evening.


My Rating 7/10 Corks          Tesco £7.49

Tesco Finest Ribera del Duero Reserva 2009

Riberadelduerores(450 x 600)Spain 14%

A recent addition to The Tesco Finest range this Ribera del Duero Tempranillo from northern Spain is not for the fainthearted, bold, full of vanillary oak and I liked it !

Straight out of the bottle aromas of blackberries and dark plums hit you and that initial taste of rich rustic fruit and in your face oak set the taste buds tingling.

Maybe a little bold for some to start with, I decided to decant this for a couple of hours in which time it had settled into a much smoother and palatable drink although it still retained the hefty kick of oak. Left for a while it did seem to mute some of it’s initial aromas but this didn’t detract from what is a lovely tasting drink that would have some longevity.

Finally, for me, this needed food and the Roast lamb with Rosemary and Garlic that I had with it paired beautifully. If you like Big bold, oaky wines full of Spanish charm, this would be perfect.


My Rating 8/10 Corks            Tesco Currently 25% off at £7.49