Ca’ Marrone Rosso 2016

Is there a better bargain out there in the high street than this Italian stallion of a wine ? especially when on discount, currently £6.50 at Tesco and if you add in the regular 25% off 6 bottles promotion this is astonishing value.

The bottle in question is the CA’ Marrone Rosso from Puglia region of southern Italy made in the Appassimento method which is the Italian term for drying harvested grapes, traditionally on bamboo racks or straw mats, for a few weeks up to several months to concentrate the sugars and flavours.

So what’s it like ? Firstly, this is a great looking if slightly heavy bottle. When poured this is a medium ruby colour with strong aromas of dark fruits predominantly cherry, plum and blackcurrant, there is also a whiff of dried herbs and some vanilla.

On first sip you can tell this is a powerhouse, initially intense sweet and sour dark fruits hit you before the pronounced tannins kick in. Secondary flavours of tobacco, leather and dried herbs arrive filling your mouth with a richness and depth of flavour you get with the Appassimento method.

This is a proper grown up wine and not for the fainthearted but watch out for the 14.5% abv,  although it doesn’t feel like it at first but be warned  it does creep up on you and be sure to hang on to something or someone  before attempting to stand after a glass or two.

As you may have gathered, I liked this a lot, ok, maybe not for everyone but if you find it for £6.50 it’s worth a go, top stuff !

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco £9 (look out for offers £6.50 atm)

Two everyday Spanish reds

albaicampo-vTwo Spanish reds take to the stage this time, easily available from most supermarkets and for the quality, reasonably priced.

Both from the Rioja region of Northern Spain, one a 100% Tempranillo and one 100% Garnacha and made in a modern style, with the focus very much on the pure fruit.

Campo Viejo has been around for along time is very well known and features on the shelves of many supermarkets, the Albai you can find mainly in Tesco and Sainsburys.

As I mentioned earlier both these wines are made in a modern style and are very fruit forward, so lets start with the Albai. Firstly the bottle itself which is surprisingly heavy and chunky, when poured the wine has a fairly dense dark purple colour with prominent aromas of cherries and strawberries this follows through in the taste which gives an instant mouthful of juicy bright red fruits. Although slightly tart initially there is a hint of appealing sweetness which comes through on the finish. For an entry-level unoaked Rioja 13% ABV, this wine may well hit the spot for a lot of people but if you prefer a bit of oaked woodiness in your wine that’s still made in the modern style then perhaps for a few pounds more the Reserva is the one to go for, which is in my opinion, excellent.

Next, I think most people would have heard of Campo Viejo with its distinctive labels, most of you guys must have tried their Rioja Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva but how many of you have tried their Garnacha ? ( if you click on the link you will see my thoughts on this CV Garnacha, second review down, when I was a member of the Tesco Wine Forum under the name spikedc, although it was for the 2012 vintage). Unlike the Albai this CV wine has been aged for 4 months in American oak barrels and this comes through in the taste, so as well as the sweet red fruits (think of those cherry drop sweets) there is a soft vanilla creaminess about it. Be warned though this is 14% ABV and can creep up on you pretty quickly.

So overall, both pretty good everyday wines without being too complex, both appeal in their bright fruity flavours and both are very easy to drink.

7corks

Castillo de Albai Rioja 2015

My Rating 7/10 Cork

 

7corks

Campo Viejo Garnacha 2015

My Rating 7/10 Corks

Tesco Wine Fair 2015

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

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

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

Fidel Fernandez
Fidel Faustino Fernandez

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

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

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

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

VillaMariaArneis
Villa Maria Arneis
VillaMariaTaylorsPass
Villa Maria Taylors Pass

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

BrancottTerriorSB
Brancott Terroir Sauvignon Blanc
Brancott Sauvignon Gris
Brancott Sauvignon Gris

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

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

Chanoine freres
Chanoine Freres 2007
HeidsieckMonopole
Heidsieck Monopole

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

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

BeroniaDosMaderas
Beronia Dos Maderas 2008
FaustinoI
Faustino I 2001

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

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

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

Les Dauphinsreserve
Cotes du Rhone Reserve

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

Les Dauphins photocall
Les Dauphins Photo Call

Winefairgang

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

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

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

McWilliam’s Mount Very pleasant

Mount Pleasant semillon

I’ve been singing the praises of Aldi wines in my last post but this time it’s a big round of applause for Tesco with this superb tasting 10-year-old Aussie Semillon currently selling at an unbelievable £5.99.

My only regret is that I didn’t try this earlier because unfortunately this wine will be unavailable soon, so I’ve been scouring the Tesco shelves buying up what I can at this brilliant price because ‘when it’s gone it’s gone’.

The wine in question is the McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2005 from the Hunter Valley, Australia.

Lovely deep golden colour, a little greenish with pronounced aromas of apples, limes and tangerines with a petrol oilyness not too dissimilar to Riesling.

On first taste it’s a little spritzy, dry, very fresh and acidic considering its age. A mouthful of apples and limes along with that wonderful waxy, oily aftertaste. Complex flavours that change as the wine warms up, buttered toast and nutty but still retaining the sharp citrus fruits.

Ten years old now but still fresh and probably still has a few more years left yet to mature. Cleared my local Tesco of what was on the shelf and now currently looking around to find more.

So if you see any in the Hertfordshire area, hands off, leave me a comment telling me where and I happily take it off their hands.

Seriously though, if you’re a fan of Semillon and you find a bottle treat yourself you won’t be disappointed.

8.5corks

 

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco Currently £5.99 (until 6/10/2015)

Will the last person to leave please drink up and turn the lights out !

TWC2

As from Friday 28th August 2015 the Tesco Wine Community which I have been a part of for the last four years is shutting down. This was out of the blue and a complete surprise to us all and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Tesco Wine team past and present for making it such a great forum to be involved with.

TWC1Without this Community I would never have met fellow Oenophiles, a lot of them now good friends, I would never have got to taste so many fantastic wines, attend events and share dinner with renowned wine makers from around the world, including Casillero del Diablo’s Marcelo Papa, Brancott Estate’s Patrick Materman, Jacob’s Creek Rebekah Richardson and Yalumba’s Louisa Rose to name a few.

So with some sadness after Friday the 28th I will be deleting the Tesco Wine Community page on this site, it’s been a rollercoaster four years but an enjoyable one and I wish Tesco the best of luck for the future in these cutthroat times for supermarkets.

I’m sure wines from Tesco will appear on here again at some point as I scour the supermarket shelves looking for great value buys.

On a lighter note I would heartily recommend a Rioja from the Tesco Finest Range that has remained aTWC3 favourite of mine from the early day of the community when I first tasted it and I for one will continue to buy it, it’s the Tesco Finest Vina Mara Reserva Rioja made by the excellent Baron de Ley, In my opinion this is one of the best sub £10 Rioja’s out there. Next time I open a bottle I will toast the Tesco Wine Community,    RIP !

 

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)

The Joys of Yalumba

Yalumba duo

I first discovered the joys of Yalumba many years ago when I attended a wine show in London, I bumped into wine expert Oz Clarke at the event and chatted for a while, I must say he was very amiable and talked with great ease and enthusiasm about this wonderful liquid we all enjoy. I asked if he recommended any stands to visit and without hesitation he told me to try Yalumba. I remember the stand was packed and not knowing much about them the first wine I happened to try was the fantastic Octavius, which I was blown away by (before I realised the price). I went on to try many of their wines including the Signature, the Cigar, the Patchwork and probably my favourite to date the Scribbler Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz.

So imagine my delight when I received a couple of their bottles (from Yalumba courtesy of Tesco) to take part in a taste panel to review two of their more affordable wines. Read on to find out what I thought of them…..

Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache 2013

Whenever I see the name on a bottle of wine I know instantly it’s going to be good and this Old Bush Vine Grenache 2013 is no different, even the bottle itself looks classy with its distinctive branding.

The wine itself when poured is a little translucent but still a vivid red colour, light to medium bodied and elegant looking in the glass with an intense aroma of red fruits especially cherries and red currants, kind of reminds me of cherry drop sweets I had as a kid. There was also a smokey herbal thing going on that was pleasant.
On first sip, again the red cherries are dominant with some raspberries but this time mixed with vanilla giving it a slight sweet taste although still with a bit of tartness and acidity making this a very subtle fruit bomb. Herbs and maybe some floral notes are also there with soft tannins and a terrifically long finish.

No surprises here, I liked it a lot and all the people I shared it with (some fussy) enjoyed it as well, even confirmed white wine drinkers. I would say another winner from the ever reliable Yalumba, I would recommend this whole heartedly.

8.5corks

 

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco around £12

 

Yalumba Shiraz Viognier 2012

Another excellent offering this time from their ‘Y Series’, again a distinctive label with its snorting horse below the iconic Yalumba title.

In the glass red garnet like colour with heady aromas of really, really ripe cherries, red currants and raspberries. There was an essence of bacon fat (which i really liked) all mixed with a vanilla candy like smell much like those sweet candy cigarettes which don’t seem to be around now.

Taste wise, ripe sweet red fruits again as on the nose, cherries and raspberries, tannins were soft, there was a bright acidity with the addition of the Viognier giving more than a hint of flowery honeysuckle which was different but added to the overall enjoyment, all ending with a kick of peppery spice.

Another pretty decent wine from the ever reliable Yalumba, brilliant on its own or with food, either way a wine to remember.

8corks

 

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco around £8 (currently on offer)

 

To sum up, two very good wines and both I would recommend with a slight preference for the Grenache. My thanks to Yalumba and Tesco for letting me try these and a big thank you to Oz Clarke for steering me in the right direction.

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+

 

 

Sangiovese Vino Lascito 2013

Sangiovese tesco(450 x 600)Italy 12%

I was recently sent another bottle to review by Tesco as part of a Tesco taste panel, this is a 10 man/woman panel who are selected to review the same wine and leave comments on their wine by the case website.

The wine in question is a Sangiovese Vino Lascito 2013.

Firstly I must say that whenever I open a bottle of Italian wine I can’t help imagining a table full of wise guys sitting in a restaurant, spaghetti stained napkins tucked into their shirt collars eating pasta made with mama’s special sauce.

Back to the wine, the bottle shape was a bit strange and I’m not a big fan of it, being a bit short and stumpy it just looks a little awkward and doesn’t fit it the wine rack very well, actually reminded me of a bottle of port.

When poured although dark purple-ish in colour it still was a little translucent, with aromas of sour cherries, plums, raspberries and a slight whiff of herbs.
First sip prior to food, a little on the thin side, the tartness, slightly bitter taste (although I expected some ) was a little too noticeable, although it did lead to a mouth watering explosion of sour cherries, raspberries and a spicy finish. Tannins were soft though and the fruit did stand out but where this wine sort of impressed was after a mouthful of food (Spaghetti Bolognese in this case), with the tartness less intrusive and the spice and herbs making a subtle entrance.

I must admit I liked this wine much better with food as most Italian wines it just seems to complement food brilliantly, easy drinking , nothing complicated, a pleasant enough drink especially with a plate of pasta but nothing to get me too excited.

My fellow taste panelists seem to disagree with me looking at their reviews but hey ho everyone to their own it’s just wasn’t for me.

6corksMy Rating 6/10 Corks

Tesco £7.99

Finest Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010

finest stellenboschCS(450 x 600)South Africa 14%

Opened a bottle of this South African Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010, which is one of the fairly new offerings in the latest Tesco Finest limited edition range at £14.99, ok it’s not cheap ( I did manage to get a couple for £9.99 on offer) but it does exude a little bit of class.

After ten or so days of feeling rough over Christmas with a virus drinking nothing but water I was really looking forward to getting back on the wine trail even though my taste buds were still all over the place. We decided to have a second go a Christmas dinner, although this time it was with roast beef not turkey but still with crackers, party hats and the dreaded sprouts.

This was a Bordeaux style red and a pretty serious bottle it looked too, all black and brooding with a understated touch of elegance. When poured this was seriously dark in colour almost inky black, with aromas you could smell at fifty paces. Ripe blackcurrants were dominant but there was a big whiff of meaty almost composty smells as well as burnt rubber, for me a pretty intense and enjoyable experience and I was really looking forward to my first taste.

On first sip there was a big explosion of blackcurrant and liquorice, there was some vanilla, faint mint and dark chocolate. This was fairly tight at first and needed time in the glass to really open up but after a while it turned into a very decent drink and one that will probably improve with age.

Even with my taste buds all over the place I still managed to really enjoy this, I will look forward even more now to the second bottle and hopefully really get the full experience of what is a very good Cabernet Sauvignon .

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco £14.99

Tesco Wine Fair London 2014

tescowinefair logo

Sunday afternoon , big lunch, glass or two of something nice, settle down to watch TV and most likely fall asleep, to be honest doesn’t sound too bad. This particular Sunday though, I spent an enjoyable afternoon with my wife and four friends at the Tesco Wine Fair 2014 at Earls Court.

This was a new venue to last year’s which was held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.

To be honest when we came out of Earls Court station my first impression of the EC building having not been to it for a while was how dated it looked especially with its corrugated iron walls it looked like a giant prefab.

We were about 20 minutes or so early, doors opening at 12.00pm but we did manage to get pretty close to the front of the queue. Once inside, the hall was enormous in previous years everything was far more cluttered but this worked much better with easier access to all the display stands. Earls Court

We straight away booked a 20 minute ‘Wine Walk’ with the enthusiastic and energetic , very entertaining and slightly bonkers independent wine expert ‘Joe Wadsack’ taking us on a quick tour of his pick of the wines on display. A hectic tasting ensued knocking back Champagne and wine at a frantic pace but he did come up with some great wines, notably the ‘Finest Vinha Do Vinteiro Duoro Reserva 2011’, my first brief tasting of my latest review wine ‘L ‘Envas Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc’ (looking forward to to opening this up this week, review to follow), the ever reliable Glorioso Rioja Reserva 2008. He was under a little more time restraints this year so the walk lasted just over the 20 minutes not like last year’s which lasted nearly an hour. Well done Joe thoroughly enjoyable walk as always.

tres vinas
Tres Vinas

Spent some time with the Baron De Ley selection and really enjoyed the ‘Tres Vinas Blanco Reserva 2009’ and the ‘Finca Monasterio 2011’ (which I’ve drank before but couldn’t help sampling again). Also have to mention the Errazuriz, Jadot & Cune stand with the very nice Contino Reserva Rioja 2007 and the Cune Gran Reserva 2007.

P&P spatlese
Peter & Peter Merler Stephansberg Spatlese 2008

Best and most friendliest stand was the ZGM and their excellent Peter & Peter, the guys on this stand were brilliant and I ended up tasting all their range and particularly enjoyed the ‘Merler Stephansberg Spatlese 2008’ and I’ve seemed to have developed a fondness for German Pinot Noir as well and theirs was pretty good.

One little gem my wife and I both really liked was on the Gonzalez Byass Stand and it was the ‘Vinas del Vero Luces 2013’ from Somontano Spain and it was a blend of Chardonnay, Macabeo and Sauvignon Blanc, a very pleasant wine.

Vinas del Vero
Vinas del Vero

Later in the day we managed to get on a workshop with the excellent Lucy Clements (wine buyer for Tesco) ‘Sledgehammer Reds’, featuring some very nice wines including Trivento Reserve Malbec from Argentina , the South African Bernard Series Basket Press Syrah, Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Marques de Casa Concha Syrah from Chile and the very nice Tim Adams Clare Valley Shiraz, probably not the ideal workshop at 3.30pm after numerous tastings but i must say all the wines she presented were again excellent although my least favourite was the Californian Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon (little too sweet for me), the best was tied between the Tim Adams &  Casa Concha.

st Stephens Tokaji
St Stephens Tokaji

Nice to see a fellow Tesco Wine Community member Mike S and he mentioned a Hungarian ‘St Sephen’s Tokaji Aszu 2008’ he’d tried earlier, it just happened to be our last tasting of the afternoon and it was a nice way to end, with bright acidity,full of Peach, apricot, slight orange flavour, honey, not at all cloying or sickly sweet.

Vinha do Vinteiro duoro
Brilliant Vinha Do Vinteiro Douro

Apart from a few stands where the tasting portions were slightly on the mean side, just barely getting a sip out of the glass but overall we all had a pretty good time.

My favourite wine from the whole show was the fantastic ‘Finest Vinha Do Vinteiro Duoro Reserva 2011 from Portugal, a little expensive but well worth it.

7.5corks

Show rating 7.5/10  Corks

Finest Pazo Das Donas Godello 2012

Godellonew(450 x 600)Spain 13%

Up until a few years ago I hadn’t even heard of Godello never mind taste it, now it’s one of my favourites whites, a richly flavoured, aromatic, intense wine from North west Spain.

Although it is now becoming widely available it still isn’t instantly recognisable by a lot of wine drinkers and when mentioning it to friends I get a confused “never heard of it, where’s it from ?”. Well, it’s from the Galicia in Northern Spain, this particular bottle from the Monterrei region famous for aromatic whites. The ‘Pazo Das Donas’ Godello is a fairly new addition to the Tesco Finest range and I must say what a pretty good addition it is.

One bit of advice, don’t over chill this wine, I found the flavour and aroma fairly muted when too cold but once warmed up slightly it turns into a different beast, I say beast because this wine has attitude.

Pale straw like colour, smelling tropical with ripe peaches (on the second day, the ripeness of the fruit aromas intensified, a little baked apples and strangely ripe mature cheese, bit like Gorgonzola)

Quite dry and fresh tasting, ripe peaches, lemons, spiced apples with an extremely long and zippy finish. On the second day the flavours seem to intensify and I enjoyed it more again when not over chilled.

Summing up this is an enjoyable, different , intense and slightly Burgundian flavoured white wine.

Now you’ve heard the name, go on try a bottle !

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Tesco £7.99

Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007

finca torrea(450 x 600)Spain 14%

Roast lamb with all the trimmings, family round the table, empty glasses at the ready, what’s missing? Rioja of course. The bottle in question is the ‘Marques de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007’ a blend of Tempranillo & Graciano.

Forward planning is needed with this wine so letting it breathe for a few hours is probably a good idea. Initially straight out of bottle it was very aromatic, full of ripe cherries, strawberries, plums, slight earthy smell, vanilla everything you would expect from a Rioja. Taking a crafty sip after pulling the cork it tasted very spicy with intense fruit and quite a bit of oak.

After around three hours sitting in a decanter (the wine, not me) it had calmed down making this a very balanced drink with nothing dominating, the fruit was still there but the vanilla and spices had mellowed. Still retaining a slight dustiness. Not overly sweet, silky tannins, earthy, smokey but as i said all perfectly balanced to make this one hell of a Rioja.

Luckily for me I managed to find four bottles of this a little while back at the bargain price of £10.99 at our local Tesco Fine wine section, if there were more than four on the shelf I would snapped them up as this retails at around £20+. Even got a staff member to check in the store room for me but alas no more available.

As someone on TV says ‘Rioja doesn’t get better than this !’ well, maybe not quite right but it sounds better.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco online £21.99

Nederburg Winemasters Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

nederburg CS(450 x 600)South Africa 14.5%

Not drank a lot of South African wines lately so I decided to rummage around my bottles to see what I could come up with to pair with my Steak and Chips dinner.

I actually found more than I thought I had and this bottle of Nederburg, made in the Western Cape Region was the first one to hand and being a Cabernet Sauvignon I thought I’d give it a go.
Grabbed my corkscrew before realising it was in fact a screw cap, not a good start !

When poured it was much lighter in colour than I thought it would be with very heady aromas of mainly smokey wood and roasted coffee beans with perhaps a whiff of blackcurrants, this gave me an idea of what this was going to taste like and it pretty much tasted as it smelt.

There was oak and a big hit of black pepper spice, the fruit was predominately blackcurrants with perhaps a little dark cherries. It was however pretty smooth and velvety but the fruit did come a big second to the woodiness, there was also a sweetness which for me was a little too sweet.

Overall though, it did go very well with the Steak and I did enjoy it, I also think a lot of people will like it especially with that sweetness.

Think I bought this whilst on special offer for around £6 usually £8.99. At the lesser price not a bad bottle and it does tempt me to try the others in the Nederburg range.

It is a very drinkable wine but watch out that 14.5% ABV, soon catches up with you

7corks

My rating 7/10 Corks

£8.99 Tesco

Tesco Finest Toro Vinas del Rey 2012

toro1(450 x 600)Spain 13.5%

Supermarket meal deals seem to be everywhere at the moment and I must admit to be a little sceptical about the bottle of wine thrown in with this offer.  The bottle in question is the Tesco Finest Toro Vinas del Rey 2012 from North West Spain, a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha.

As it turned out the scepticism was unfounded as this turned out to be  a fairly decent bottle of wine. Opened this about 2 hours before eating, couldn’t resist having  a sneaky sip just after pulling the cork and instantly thought this is going to be good. Really fruity nose of blackcurrants, cherries with a hint of woody vanilla. Initially taste wise, quite a hefty kick of spicy fruit and some noticeable tannins.

Two hours later, it developed into a smoother drink, still very fruity and still with some spice. The tannins were still there and there was a little heat from the 13.5%. A little rugged, slightly sour but with a hint of vanilla. The proof was this just reminded me of Spain and that’s always a good thing.

If you give it a little time to open up and breathe you have a very typically Spanish and a pretty decent glass of wine. Not sure if Tesco will put this on it’s shelves as a stand alone wine, I think they should.

NB: Kept a little back to see how it faired on day two, what I found was a more fruitier flavour , lost that touch of spice but still fairly tannic and dusty tasting.  My human gauge (my wife, not a big red wine drinker) who didn’t taste it on day one thought it was very nice, that will do for me !

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco £6.99 (part of meal deal only)

Chilean Pinot Noir

If you’re looking for a good introduction into Pinot Noir I’ve found two very good affordable Chilean examples, the ‘Luis Philipe Edwards Estate Collection Pinot Noir 2012’ from Morrison’s and the equally good ‘Santa Rita Winemakers Lot Pinot Noir 2012’ from Tesco.

Luis Philipe Edwards Estate Collection 2012

LuisPEpinot (450 x 600)This award winning wine comes from the Leyda Valley Chile where the vines are grown in a cool climate close to the Pacific ocean.

Light typical Pinot colour in the glass with aromas of smokey strawberries  and raspberries which gives way to a rich elegant mouth full of slightly spicy, ripe juicy red fruits, again predominately strawberries with just the right amount of sweetness  and a little touch of herbs.  Soft tannins and a lasting finish make this a very enjoyable wine that can be enjoyed with or without food and currently on offer at Morrison’s for around £6 reduced from £9.99 but even at the higher price it’s still good value. 14% ABV.

8corks

 

 

 

My Rating 8/10 Corks  – Morrisons offer around £6 (normally £9.99)

Santa Rita Winemakers Lot Pinot Noir 2012

winemakerslotIn the glass it was light in colour, see through and a violet red.  Lovely nose of ripe cherries, raspberries, very aromatic with pine needles and a slightly savoury.

Taste – aromatic and sweetish were my first thoughts, full of juicy red fruits with a touch of spice. Very nice mouth feel and very easy to drink and  13.5% ABV. Being a little on the sweet side it did feel like a new world Pinot and that sweetness might not be to everyone’s taste, for me though it was very enjoyable.

Chile are now producing some pretty good, really affordable wines and this is a good addition to the Tesco range up there alongside Casillero and Cono Sur.

7.5corks

 

My Rating 7.5/10 Corks – Tesco £7.99

Tesco Finest Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013

New Zealand 12.5%finestmarlborough1 (450 x 600)

Bought this when on offer and I’ve been meaning to try it for a while now, having only tasted it at organized events. Unfortunately it looks like it’s now unavailable, online anyway, might be able to find some still in store.

Very pale straw like colour but with an unmistakable, very intense Sauvignon Blanc aroma of grass, nettles, lemon, pineapple even got a little hint of asparagus. Taste – Like a ripe fruit salad with a few rogue sour grapefruits thrown in and mixed with the contents of a lawnmower box after a shower. Although a little sharp there was generally a good balance and it made for a nice SB.

Although there are better New Zealand SB’s out there I still enjoyed this and if anything as it warmed up in the glass it became more flavoursome. I actually preferred it not too chilled and it went really well with my fish n chip dinner.

Another decent wine from the excellent ‘Tesco Finest’ range.

7corks

My Rating 7/10 Corks – Tesco £9.99