Les Hauts Castelmaure Corbieres 2009

Rummaging through my wines I came across this Corbieres which I must have bought a few years ago and forgot about so, I thought it’s about time I opened it.

Corbieres, not a wine I drink a lot of but when I do I always enjoy it and this bottle was no different. I think I bought it at Majestic maybe six or seven years ago, can’t remember how much it cost, maybe around £8-£9.

For those that don’t know Corbieres is a fairly rustic wine which most times tends to get a raw deal. Usually a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah and you can just imagine drinking this with a hunk of bread and some cheese, which I can say from experience pairs very well.

When I first poured in the glass it showed a slightly rusty colour from a little ageing with very pronounced aromas of ripe dark fruits, smoke and peat. Taste wise again ripe dark fruits namely black plums, vanilla and very earthy with a smokiness about it. A little on the sweet side but not overly but still retaining a brightness of fruit.

Really do like Corbieres,  I must make a mental note to drink more of it, a good honest enjoyable bottle.

My Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Various around £9

Home of Cricket & wine from a plastic cup

Sorry for the late post, been on holiday but just before we went away our daughter kindly treated us to tickets to watch the one day Cricket international England v Ireland on 7th May at Lords (the home of cricket).

Lords being the only ground that allows you to bring in food and drink, we went armed with a picnic and of course a couple of bottles of wine. Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast,  so a coat and warm  top was the order of the day but that didn’t spoil what turned out to be a brilliant day.

Nestled in the cooler bag amongst the Chicken Pasta and nibbles were the wines in question, a Brancott Estate 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Selected by my wife whose a big Brancott Estate fan) and a French Syrah Les Vieilles Vignes Maris 2015  which I bought from Waitrose on offer for around £8.

Now Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc is a wine we always have a stock of and generally everyone in our family really enjoy it. I personally think it’s an excellent everyday Sovee especially for the price and has wonderful aromas of freshly cut grass and fruit salad with the bright flavours of kiwi fruit and crisp green apples perfect for a nice warm sunny day. Unfortunately, at times our side of the ground was in shade and most of us were in jumpers and coats but in contrast the  other side was in bright sunshine and the crowd were all in t-shirts and sunglasses but that’s the British weather for you. It still didn’t spoil our enjoyment  of the game or the wine, even if it was out of a plastic cup.

Now the French Syrah was a bit of a beast but hugely enjoyable none the less and one I would have no hesitation in buying again. Full of rich dark plums, touch of acidity and powerful tannins, there was also a fair lashing of earthiness and spice, this really was a rustic wine with a touch of class.

Oh yeah, the cricket game was pretty good as well with Ireland making a game of it for a while but England’s class showed through in the end and won fairly comfortably  but not without a fight and the odd scare. All in all a fabulous day out good entertainment, good food and good wine.

Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015

My rating 7/10 Corks

Widely available around £7-£8

Les Vieilles Vignes Maris  Syrah 2015

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Normally £10.99 on offer at time for £8

 

Majestic Stratford Upon Avon Fine Wine Tasting April 2017

As regular readers will know that I belong to a wine Forum called ‘Cuvée Reserve’ and once a year our group meet up for a weekend of basically, drinking lots of wine. This year we met at Stratford Upon Avon and we thought we would signed up for a ‘Fine Wine Tasting’ at the local Majestic store. An initial fee of £20 per person was paid but that is redeemable on any wine purchases after the event.

Big thanks to our head girl Clare who runs the forum and for organising everything so superbly !

We arrived at 1.30pm on Saturday the 8th April, an early start for drinking I know but we have to make sacrifices sometime. There was a slight confusion with the time as they had us down for 2.00pm which we found out was their mistake but it wasn’t a problem as we spent the time browsing around the store with a glass of Moet & Chandon 2008 Champagne (is there a better way to shop).

A table was laid out in the corner of the store for us as we finally settled down for the tasting first up was the Moet & Chandon again. This was a beautifully balanced single vintage Champagne full of intense apple and lemon fruit, lively mousse with a pronounced bready, nutty and a creamy aftertaste producing a very long, extremely enjoyable finish and loved by everyone. (Top ups were not refused).

Second wine was a Rosé the Miraval 2015 Cotes de Provence bought by Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie in 2009 and made by the Perrin family. Pale pink almost Salmon like colour with a very strange almost peaty aroma although there was a hint of strawberry, it just smelt a bit weird. Taste wise again it was not what we expected there were elements of soft fruit including strawberry, peach and pear. Slightly flowery but with a slightly overpowering herby, earthy flavour which most of us found a bit strange, think my wife and I liked it more than the others, so overall a little bit of a miss.

Third was the impressive Greywackey 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand and made by Cloudy Bay former wine maker Kevin Judd.  From the first sip this was universally applauded by all of us. Superb aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit, flowers and damp freshly mowed grass. On first sip it was greeted by a lot of M’mms and everyone thought it was stunning. Crisp and vibrant, soft acidity with intense flavours of  lemongrass, white flowers, gooseberry and herbs with just a hint of subtle oak rounding it off.  Refills all around and the bottle didn’t last long, superb stuff.

The Last white was an unusual oaked Chardonnay from Italy, the Planeta 2015 with heady aromas of butterscotch, banana and vanilla. On first taste I was initially hit by what tasted like barley sugar along with caramelised banana, there was a creaminess about it and the oak definitely stood out, again this split us although nobody disliked it and I thought it was very good.

With the whites finished next up were the reds starting with a Pinot Noir from Martinborough New Zealand the impressive Escarpment 2014 generally liked by all. Pronounced aromas of soft dark fruits, smokey and earthy. Cherry and plums to the fore with a kick of spice on the palate, earthiness coming through but not intrusive. Nicely balanced wine.

Next up was a big favourite, the Chateau Haut Balailley 2011  but it comes at a price for a whopping £40 per single bottle. Cherries, Cassis and classic pencil shavings on the nose. Love the taste, complex yet harmonious, blackcurrants, cedarwoood, herbs, notable tannins and really really drinkable on its own.  As you can see from the picture we emptied the bottle.

A Gran Reserva Rioja next the Marques de Riscal 2007 this is everything a Rioja should be full of red cherries a little strawberry, leather, incense, oak, candlewax and tobacco. Ten year old wine that went down well with everybody including my wife who doesn’t generally like oakey Riojas, fabulous example of what Spain does well.

This was suppose to be the end of the tasting, but the guys at Majestic (who were very good, amiable and knowledgeable) decided we were enjoying ourselves so much that they opened up another couple of bottle for us to try.

First was another French red the Caronne Ste-Gemme 2011 Haut Medoc and again enjoyed by all, dark ripe blackberries, menthol, tannic, rich and chocolately but this time, I’d have to say, more of a food wine but none the less enjoyable.

Last but not least a black Muscat dessert wine called Elysium 2015 even if you’re not a fan of dessert wines you cannot fail to be impressed with this. smells like Turkish Delight and that rose like flavour carries on in the taste, not overly sweet and a big thumbs up from all around the table.

Thanks to the guys at Majestic for a superb tasting, (one of the better ones I’ve attended) they were very generous letting us drink as much as we wanted and we all went away pretty happy if a little unsteady.

My rating 9/10 Corks (for the whole tasting)

Chardonnay & Greco ??

With the weather this week taking a turn for the better many of us raid the fridge for a nicely chilled bottle of white.

This week I opened two that were very different, one very familiar and the other not so. The first was a French Chardonnay from Morrisons  reduced from £10 to £7 including a very fancy wooden box, the other from Sainsbury’s at £8 an unfamiliar Italian grape called Greco.

Starting with the Chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France which at £7 (reduced at time of buying) seemed like a bit of a bargain as most Burgundy comes with a hefty price tag. In the glass it was a darkish golden colour with aromas of lemon, pear melon and apricots. On first sip it seemed maybe a touch too sweet but had a nice rich texture with the apricots and pears to the fore and a nice creamy finish. Sampled this over a couple of days and I must say it was definitely better on day two.

Next the Greco which is a grape from the Campania region of southern Italy and if you haven’t tried it before and you like Sauvignon Blanc this may well be for you. From Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range it was a bright light straw colour, fairly muted aromas but there was some crisp red apples and lemon zest. Taste-wise, bright mouth-watering acidity and very refreshing with a touch of pear and a slight nutty almond aftertaste.

Both were nice and reasonably priced with a slight preference for the classy and bright tasting Greco Di Tufo.

Macon Aze Chardonnay, Morrisons £10 (on offer £7)

My Rating 7/10 Corks

 

Greco Di Tufo, Sainsbury’s £8

My Rating 8/10 Corks 

 

Another winner from the Co-op Saint Chinian 2015

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I belong to a small wine group called ‘Cuvée Reserve’ and every month one member chooses a wine up to a value £10 which is easily available from any high street merchant for us all to review.

It was my turn again this month and I selected a bottle from the Co-op currently one of my favourite high street stores for good quality and reasonably priced wines. The wine is the ‘Hauts de Saint Martin – St Chinian’ a blend of Syrah, Black Grenach, Carignan and Mourvedre.

Firstly, let me say that this probably isn’t for everyone, it’s very dry and tannic but in my opinion it has an elegance that you don’t usually find in a £7 bottle, it’s certainly full of mouth-watering sour dark fruits but with underlying tar, liquorice and spice with a little touch of herbs and not to heavy with an abv of 12.5%

I would suggest decanting this first for at least a couple of hours, I didn’t but found it got even better the more it hung around in the glass, I even kept a little drop back to taste the next day and the tannins had softened and even my wife who doesn’t like tannic wines finished hers and enjoyed it.

Probably more a food wine, although I enjoyed it on its own as well and definitely worth checking out. I will certainly be buying more.

**NB: There was a slight problem with sourcing this bottle as not every Co op store had it in stock ( there does seem to be quite an inconsistent availability across all Co op stores, especially wine), so some of our group couldn’t get it which was a real shame because it’s a wine worth trying.

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Co op £6.99

 

Kuhlmann-Plate Riesling 2015

Having a Chinese takeaway? not sure what wine to drink with it, why not try a Riesling and this Kuhlmann- Plate from the Alsace region of France may well fit the bill.

Now I’m not a great lover of Chinese food although my wife is, so I do give in now and then and I do like to have a nice bottle of something with it normally Riesling so I always have a bottle in the fridge on stand by.

This particular bottle I first tasted at my local Majestic store and seemed to be going down well with most who were trying it, so I bought a couple to try at home.

First let me say that this bottle is not going to blow anyone away its just a nice French Alsace which is perfect for the multitude of flavours associated with any Asian dish, in my opinion it’s not worth spending too much on an expensive Riesling for a Friday night take away but this bottle just seemed to do the job well.

Well chilled , this was a pale golden colour in the glass with aromas of nectarines, lemons and peaches. On first sip it was bright and acidic but with a slightly sweet finish, green apples, lemons and peaches to the fore with a honeyed edge.

This is a very enjoyable Riesling on its own, or in this case with a Chinese take way and it did cope with all the different sweet, spicy and sour flavours thrown at it admirably.

Why don’t I like Chinese food? well, in most cases it gives me a bit of a headache or head rush and no it’s not the wine. So maybe its a bit unfair to say I don’t like it maybe it just doesn’t like me.

The wine I would recommend as a no fuss reasonably priced Riesling and I enjoyed it.

My Rating 7.5 / 10 Corks

Majestic around £8.99

More bargain Fizz !

louis-chaurey-champagneThere’s nothing better than a glass of top class fizz, unfortunately all reasonable Champagne weighs in with a hefty price tag, what comes a close second is finding fizz at a rock bottom price which actually tastes pretty good. Following on the back of a recent review for another cheapy Louvel Fontaine comes this Louis Chaurey  Champagne from M&S  at a very affordable £16 a bottle.

I picked this up at our local fete where I won it in a raffle so it basically cost me £5 in tickets, even more reason to enjoy.

After my recent venture into the world of Sabrage (slicing off the top of a  Champagne bottle with a Sabre) I must say I was tempted to open it with, maybe not a sabre but a large kitchen Knife but I decided against it.

When opened, the conventional way it was extremely frothy ( lively Mousse /effervescence) calming down into a stream of small but not tiny bubbles.

I found it hard to distinguish much in the way of aroma, maybe a hint of lemon rind and cherries. On first sip this tasted  full of citrus fruits including crisp green apples and lemons giving it an enamel stripping tartness which I found refreshing. Again as in the Louvel Fontaine not much in the way of toastiness but there was a slight floral flavour which added to the appeal.

Ok, this is not a fine Champagne but it hits the spot for a mid-week venture into fizz without breaking the bank and I quite happily drink it again.

7corks

My Rating 7/10 Corks

M&S £16