Brancott Estate B Letter Series Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Brancottletter

New Zealand 14%

Although Sauvignon Blanc is perhaps not my favourite white wine, if I had to pick a SB to take to a desert Island this would be it.

I’m a big fan of Brancott Estate wines in general, from their entry levels right the way through to their premium range including the excellent if expensive ‘Chosen Rows’ Sauvignon Blanc which I have only sampled at tastings but it is a wine in my opinion that takes SB’s to a new level (maybe one day I’ll treat myself to a bottle).

Back to this wine, as you can see from the picture in the glass it’s a bright, clear colour with a hint of green. Aromas literally leap from the glass before getting your nose anywhere near it, unmistakably New Zealand with tropical fruits and wet grass but what really stands out is asparagus it dominates the nose in a big way.

Taste wise it’s dry, crisp but with a restrained acidity, full of gooseberries, grapefruit and tropical fruits, really rich in density. The asparagus disappears leaving a more minerally finish which is incredibly long and satisfying.

Drunk this wine many times and it always delivers, wonderful aromas and a crisp fresh taste, as I said it’s one of my favourite Sauvignon Blancs even at £13 a bottle well worth the price.

 

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Various around £13

 

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The Hedonist Shiraz 2013

Hedonist2013

Australia 14%

The definition of a Hedonist is ‘a person who believes that the pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life; a pleasure-seeker.’ and one of the ways of enjoying life is drinking a good bottle of wine.

I haven’t opened a Aussie wine now for a while and I must say it was nice to return to the sunny shores of our antipodean friends with this heady Shiraz from McLaren Vale made with grapes grown biodynamically without chemical intervention of pesticides or herbicides.

In the glass this wine is dark almost inky black, a wine you could dip the tip of a fountain pen in it a write a novel with. If you sniff hard enough there is some dark rich fruit there, mainly blackberries along with dark chocolate, spice and a little vanilla.

First taste this is a fruit powerhouse, juicy acidity, slightly jammy with blackberries, plums and white peppery spice. Sweet but also sour tasting with a woody vanilla flavour and grainy tannins. At 14% this is rich wine and very enjoyable, can cope with robust foods but can be equally drunk on its own.

A bit of a fruit bomb but a well made one and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying it again even at £14.

8corks My Rating 8/10 Corks

Waitrose around £14

 

 

Aldi Pinot Noir taste off

battlepinotIn my last review I tasted the Aldi Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir which I picked up at an incredible price of £4.39, at the same time I picked up a couple of bottles of their Exquisite collection New Zealand Pinot Noir for £6.99.

After enjoying the cheaper French Pinot with a Lamb dinner I decided to follow-up with the slightly more expensive New Zealand version paired with roast pork to see which one came out on top. It turned out to be surprisingly harder than I thought with both wines, especially for the price holding their own but in very different ways.

The New Zealand Pinot compared to the French was very much lighter in colour, (almost read a book through the wine) and straight away the aroma was much more noticeable than the French which was fairly muted. Cherries, raspberries and to a lesser extent strawberries were all there with an almost red fruit pastilles smell (the one everyone goes for in the packet). The French aroma was almost fruitless with savoury and smoke dominant.

Taste wise again completely different, the French was rustic, unmistakably French, pretty sweet but with a smokey wood flavour. Although you could taste red fruits it wasn’t a full on fruitiness of the New Zealand, this was bright a very fruity with cherries, strawberries but still with a whiff of smoke and hint of savouriness.

If the French was rustic the New Zealand wine was kind of elegant in comparison. Which one did I prefer?, hard to say, enjoyed both of them equally for different reasons and they both showed well on the second day. As long as they remain at these prices I will be making the 10 mile journey to buy more of each for £4.39 & £6.99 silly not too, well done Aldi !.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Aldi £6.99

 

Aldi’s cheap wine bottles !

AldiPinotNoirOn the way to picking up my son from Luton Airport, I made a slight detour and found myself in Aldi’s Hemel Hempstead store for my first venture into their range of wines.

Don’t get to visit aldi much due to the fact that it’s about 10 miles away but the airport trip was the ideal opportunity to stop and see why there is all this fuss about these cut price wines.

Got my trolley and entered the store and maneuvered my way over to the wine aisle, it wasn’t really a wine a aisle, more like a couple of shelves thrown together with lots of bottles scattered on them, not the tidiest I’ve seen

Armed with a list of recommendations from my wine buddies I proceeded to place a few bottles in the trolley as were a lot of other people. Now I’m not sure whether it’s because most of the wine was so cheap that the trolleys were being filled fast or the fact that maybe they all know that the wine is pretty decent. I ended up buying some Pinot Noir from Both New Zealand and France, French Malbec, Italian Sangiovese and Spanish Tempranillo, most of them with award stickers all over them.

Standing at the till looking around there was lots of people with a lot of wine in their trolleys, the only difference was they had food and groceries as well, mine was just stacked with wine bottles (what does that say about me !).

With my son picked up and safely home it was decision time, which wine with tonight’s Lamb dinner, I decided to go French and picked the Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir at £4.39.

In the glass it was dark garnet colour slightly see through, not much on the nose apart a little smoke and savouriness. What I would say is it’s very French in style and rustic, the taste was again savoury with a plummy sweetness which I liked. After the first few sips I thought this is nice, nothing complex, not the best Pinot I’ve tasted recently but it’s better than a lot I’ve tasted for three times the price.

Remember this is a Vin de France, not a Burgundy, yes it’s Rustic, yes it’s cheap and yes it’s very acceptable even enjoyable and i wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it, lets hope the rest of the bottles I bought today are as good.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Aldi £4.39

el gordito – The little fat one

elgorditoSpain 14%

Strange name (translates to little fat or chubby one), pretty non descript label but far from a non descript wine, this is a silky smooth blend of Garnacha and Syrah from Calatayud in the south west region of Aragon in Spain.

I bought this from the Wine Society a few months ago but looking through their listing now it seems to have unfortunately disappeared, shame because this would have definitely been a repeat buy.

I love Garnacha (Grenache), I love its exuberent fruity flavour and this has fruit in abundance especially cherries, almost like those cherry fruit drop sweets I remember as a kid. There was a kind of sweet perfumed aroma on the nose and a subtle smokiness in the taste which i really found appealing.

The more sips taken the more I enjoyed this wine, it grows on you, mild tannins and a touch of that smoke from the French oak barrels really lift this wine into something really likeable. Bright, fresh, sour with a sweetish finish and very food friendly although I finished a glass after eating and probably enjoyed it more just savouring that smokey fruitiness.

This is a really good wine and was featured in Decanters top 50 wines under £20 and rightly so at around £9.99.

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Around £9.99