I hab a code !

coldheadHaving a head cold and losing your sense of smell and taste is bad enough but when you enjoy wine as much as I do it seems like the end of the world.

So my wine reviews have taken a temporary setback but I will be up a running again as soon as the wine doesn’t smell like ‘Olbas Oil’ and tastes like sucking on a 2 pence piece.

manflu

 

The Black Shiraz & The Hedonist

hedonistSunday roast lunch with family, a loopy dog and two very good Australian Shiraz’s, is there a better way to spend an afternoon to end the week, I think not.

The two Aussie bottles in question were the ‘Black Shiraz‘ and the ‘Hedonist’, been wanting to try the Black Shiraz for a while now ever since seeing it on the shelf of our local Co op after hearing good things in the press about it. Made in the Berton vineyards of SE Australia with its plain dark bottle with a pewter label and 14.5% abv, it just cries out powerhouse, the heavy metal of the wine world. The Hedonist completely different in looks but with the words ‘McLaren Vale’ on the label it was bound to be good, I hoped !

As it turned out both were very decent in their own way considering their differing price points, £7.49 and £13.99 The Hedonist being the dearer.

First bottle opened was the Black Shiraz, this was very dark in colour with pronounced aromas of blackberries and plums, the nose was really all about the intense fruit although not much else of note. Taste wise again dark plums with blackcurrants and a bit spice. The alcohol which at 14.5% was definitely noticeable giving a little heat on the back of the throat but the tannins were quite subtle. Overall this ended up being a lovely mouthful of  juicy mouth-watering black fruits, slightly sour with a kick of spice and for a high alcohol wine surprisingly drinkable.

Next the Hedonist made an appearance and everyone around the table thought this was a step up in quality although no one knew the price of either bottle but all guessed this was the more expensive. If the Black Shiraz was dark in colour this was almost inky and had a headier aroma with dark ripe fruits, liquorice, cocoa and vanilla. The taste was a lot more velvety and rich in texture, the fruit was slightly sweeter and there was a hit of chocolate, vanilla and black pepper spice, again the alcohol was high 14% but not as noticeable as the Black Shiraz. Everyone agreed this was a lovely wine.

In conclusion, the Hedonist was the outright winner but that’s not to say the Black Shiraz was that far behind and for £7.49 excellent value and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying it again but if you fancy spending double again the Hedonist is a fabulous wine and probably worth the extra, no, definitely worth the extra !

8corks

The Black Shiraz

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Co op £7.49

8.5corks

The Hedonist

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Waitrose £13.99

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

 

 

Peter Lehmann Portrait Shiraz 2013 leftovers !

peter-lehmann-shirazWasn’t exactly planning to review this particular bottle but after returning from a weekend away in France we found half a bottle of Wine sitting on the kitchen counter in which our daughter Laura had started drinking on Friday night but didn’t finish it. Being a Monday evening and not happy at seeing wine go to waste we asked if she was going to drink the rest of it and if not we would finish it.

Although not ideal drinking wine that has been left on a kitchen counter for three days we were surprised just how good this still tasted.

The bottle in question was an Aussie Barossa Valley Shiraz with a hefty 14.5% abv. As soon I poured a  couple of glasses the aromas leapt out of the glass (could almost smell it from across the room), intense dark ripe fruits , smoke and sweet spices.

On taking the first sip I was amazed how fresh this still tasted, blackberries, blackcurrants coated the inside of my mouth along with dark chocolate, black pepper and sweet spices. Very noticeable smoke almost ash like flavour which was very appealing.  Tannin’s were there but didn’t overtake and it had a very long juicy but smooth finish.

Both my wife and I were impressed with this and I will definitely buy again to taste what it is like on first opening. Well done Peter Lehmann wines.

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Waitrose and various around £10

 

The Unexpected Red 2016

unexpected-redBack to my local Co op and a bottle I’ve picked up off the shelf many times and always ended up putting it back. maybe it’s the slightly odd looking label (more like a crime novel or a poster for a play) or maybe the fact that it’s bottled in the UK shipped from Australia usually arriving bulk packed in large plastic bags which kind of loses the appeal and magic for me. Anyway, this time I decided to give it a try as I have heard good things about it recently and as it turned out the wine itself was, as the label says unexpected.

This is made by Andrew Peace wines in Murray Valley, Victoria,  Australia and as I said earlier bottled in the UK. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagrantino, Merlot and Tempranillo and a price tag of around £6.

Darkish ruby-red colour in the glass with a very fruity aroma namely raspberries and cherries with a hint of maybe something flowery in the background. On first sip the tannins were fairly noticeable along with a slightly jammy sweet cherry flavour, there was a hit of spice and earthiness but the alcohol was evident coming in at 14% and could catch up with you pretty quickly if not careful.

The four varietals seemed to marry together well with a new one for me Sagrantino unique to Umbria (Central Italy) which I can’t recall tasting before.

The trouble with this wine was how easy it was to drink, there was nothing offensive about it and I think a lot of people would enjoy it as it proved when my daughters friend who was around at the time and a non red wine drinker tasted it and thought it was in her words, nice.

So overall this was an OK wine and a wine I would not turn down if offered again, for £5.99 (£1 off at the time of buying) it’s pretty much what you would expect from the unexpected.

7corks

My Rating 7/10 Corks

Co op £6.99

Viento de Otoño Godello – A nice start to 2017 !

viento-godelloStarting the year off with a cracker of a wine from Lidl and in my endless quest for the elusive 9/10 or even 10/10 corks this rates highly even if it doesn’t  quite reach the summit.

Godello is one of my favourite white wines found primarily in the northwest of Spain mainly in  Valdeorras but also in other regions of Galicia, including Monterrei and Ribeira Sacra, also Bierzo in Castilla y Léon.  Styles vary greatly from those made and aged in steel tanks giving them a fresh livelier taste to the ones aged in oak barrels imparting a more creamier intense flavour, even prompted Jancis Robinson MW to state that “Godello combines the structure of white burgundy with the finesse of a juicily mineral grape”

This particular bottle I picked up for £8.99 and in my opinion worth every penny, veering toward the latter creamier style it hit the spot in every way including pairing beautifully with my prawn, squid and tomato pasta meal.

Very pale straw like colour in the glass with pronounced heady aromas of tropical fruits particularly peaches and pineapples. there was also a whiff of nuttiness about it. In the mouth it was very dry along with a lovely creamy taste, again with peach, pear and baked apples. Still had a fresh bright feel about it and I loved it.

Not sure how long it will be on the shelves for as Lidl do tend to rotate their stock frequently but if there is a store near you and you’ve not tried Godello before give this a whirl, it’s different, as I said it does vary in style but this is utterly delicious. Well done Lidl wine buyers !

**Can’t quite bring myself to give it 9 Corks but it was close

8-75-corks

My Rating 8.75/10 Corks

Lidl £8.99

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..