I must admit the last thing I expected to find sitting on a supermarket shelf was a bottle of Chinese wine but fair play to Sainsbury’s for taking a chance and introducing us to the ‘Changyu Noble Dragon‘ a blend of Cabernet Gernistcht (aka Carmenere), Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Made by the oldest and most famous winery in China, the ‘Changyu Pioneer Wine Company’ established in the 1930’s and according to Sainsbury’s description one of the best-selling wines around the world.
This was actually picked by a member of our wine group ‘Cuvée Reserve’ as the ‘Wine of the month’ (February selection) a regular feature in which we all take a turn at selecting an easily available bottle to review up to a value of £10.
So what did we make of it, well, so far mixed reactions, a couple of us thought it was OK and some not really convinced mainly due to the tannins and oak.
So here are my thoughts…. Quite a nice deep red colour with pronounced aromas of fleshy ripe dark fruits mainly blackcurrants and berries along with wood shavings and a whiff of bonfire ash. (although others found it hard to distinguish any fruit they did notice the wood and smoke).
On first sip, the tannins were very prominent and mouth drying before the juicy slightly sweet and sour (sorry for the Chinese analogy) dark fruits burst to life. The oak was also very noticeable with a smokey woodiness in the background.
A few minus points for being a little too acidic and lacking in any real body and weight but overall I thought it was a good effort and enjoyed it.
I bought this at £8 when it was on the introductory offer, it has since reverted back to £10 which I think is a little steep but would buy again but only when discounted or part of a 25% off 6 bottle promotion.
So the verdict, for novelty value alone it’s worth a try, I was pleasantly surprised and if you haven’t tried Chinese wine before give it a go, it’s not that bad at all !
My rating 7/10 Corks
Sunday 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 !
The Black Shiraz
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Co op £7.49
My Rating 8.5/10 Corks