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..

 

 

 

Order of the Golden Sabre

Sabrage logoTwo hundred years ago officers of the French cavalry under the command of Napoleon would celebrate victory in battle by opening a bottle of champagne but instead of searching around in their saddlebags for a corkscrew they would simply slice the top of the bottle off with a sabre. This is the art of Sabrage in which a swords edge meets with the top of the bottle, the annulus, along the seam which is the weakest point just below the cork.

Sabrage 13This proud and dashing tradition has now been revived and can now be performed by any budding dragoon under the tuition of the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or (Club of the Golden Sabre) founded in France in 1986 in which the UK branch was formed in 1999. The society hold various events around the country in which everyone attending can have a go at sabering a bottle of Champagne to become a Subreur the entry rank and the first step in the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or other ranks as you go up the chain are Chevalier Sabreur, Officier, Commandeur and Grand Commandeur.
Smith&Wollensky logo2On the 16th of August 2016 I was kindly invited to such an event at Smith & Wollensky a classic American steakhouse in the heart of London run by Operations director Nathan Evans who also happens to be a Grand Commandeur of the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or. The evenings event was sponsored by Champagne house Perrier-Jouét supplying bottles of their Grand Brut for sabering.

S&Wseafood
Selection of Smith & Wollensky seafood

On arrival we were asked to sign a disclaimer whilst being offered a glass of Perrier-Jouét Champagne.  Men in green cloaks which signifies seniority in the society were already busy setting up, arranging tables with suitably chilled bottles of Champagne and a big heavy curtain in front to catch the bottle top as it flies from the neck. The Grand Commandeur Nathan Evans introduced himself and gave us a quick history of the art of Sabrage ending with the immortal words “the only thing you can do with a sabraged bottle is drink it !”.

Introductions over Nathan then gave us a quick demonstration slicing the top of the bottle with elegant ease as the cork still firmly in the neck shot off with a loud pop into the curtain with enthusiastic applause.

sabrage 11
On my way to becoming a Sabreur, at the first attempt !

Soon after it was our turn, we were called up two at a time aided by Senior members Nathan Evans and David Herbert. Suddenly the room was filled with excitement as loud pops like gunfire filled the room as bottles were sliced with golden sabres as guests became Sabreurs after successfully hacking off the top of the champagne bottles, Sabreur being the entry rank after the first successful slicing. After completion we were presented with the top of the bottle in a velvet pouch along with a  Sabreur certificate.

Sabrage 2
After a successful Sabrage a photo call, even got to try on the cape and hat

I was lucky and hacked off the top of the bottle first time, probably due to the fact I was relaxed having finished a couple of glasses of champagne before hand. The secret is to find the seam in the bottle and run the sword along the bottle in a smooth action with the blade not leaving the bottle hitting the annulus (the rim below the cork) and make sure to follow through as you would in a golf swing.

Links to Sabrage and how it’s done…..

http://www.goldensabre.co.uk/?page_id=19

As the evening continued we were treated to a selection of fantastic seafood including Oysters, lobster, crab and prawns as well as Smith & Wollensky’s famous aged cured steak, all washed down with the fabulous Champagne (see below for tasting notes).

Fabulous venue, fabulous hosts and a fantastic evening had by all, many thanks to Smith & Wollensky, Nathan, David and of course Perrier-Jouét.

 

Perrier – Jouét Grand Brut Champagne.

sabrage 10Pinot Noir/Meuneir and Chardonnay

A light straw colour, lively mousse with a steady stream of fine bubbles.

Yeasty on the nose, slightly oaky with a hint of crisp apples and pears

Taste – dry, full flavoured, slightly flowery with citrus fruits, brioche, pear and green apples

 

 

Two Spanish Bobals and a Rhone Valley red

Asda BobalBeen a while now since I drank a wine that disappointed me and unfortunately this was the case with this Spanish offering from Asda’s ‘Wine Atlas’ range, which I must say on the whole have been very good.

Although a lot of people may not have heard of Bobal, surprisingly it’s the third most planted grape in Spain behind Airen (white grape) and Tempranillo. Bobal is a dark-skinned grape grown in south-east Spain just outside the city of Valencia, generally  at its best the wine is very dark in colour with bright fresh juicy acidity, chewy tannins and a little spiciness.

This particular bottle had very little in the way of aroma, very hard to pick out anything of note, the taste was better, very bright dark forest fruits, lots of acidity and a slight smokiness but it just left me thinking this tastes like a £4.97 wine, nothing wrong with it but comparing it to other Bobals I’ve had in the past it fell short. As I said earlier, this is by no means typical of their ‘Wine Atlas’ range as most of what I have tasted so far has been very good.

Vox BobalNow a better barometer for what Bobal should taste like is the Vox Populi 2012 a big and tannnic beast from Majestic, although nearly twice the price and a heady 14% ABV it’s well worth the extra. This is a dark ruby colour in the glass with a baked and sweet nose, a little smokey ash. Taste wise dark fruits, nice balanced acidity, slightly liquorice, a spicy finish and noticeable tannins.

Before I finish I must return to Asda and praise them for a wine I picked up a few weeks ago for a bargain price of £4.37, it was the ‘Grignan -les- Adhemar’ by Cellier des Dauphins a lovely blend of Grenache and Syrah in a very elegant bottle.

Grignan-les-Adhémar

Very drinkable with a smokey nose and flavours of ripe dark berries, subtle tannins, sweet vanilla with a lovely peppery finish. For the price this is a serious bargain and still £4.37 at the moment (standard price £8.50), so grab a few bottles whilst still on offer.

Asda – Wine Atlas Bobal  £4.97

Majestic – Vox Populi  £8.99 on multi buy

Asda – Grignan les Adhemar £4.37

 

 

6corksAsda ‘Wine Atlas’ Bobal

My Rating 6/10 corks

 

8corks

 

Majestic ‘Vox Populi’

My Rating 8/10 Corks

8corks

 

Asda ‘Grignan les de Adhemar’

My Rating 8/10 Corks

 

My top ten wines reviewed in 2015

top10 2015So another year comes to an end, a year in which I’ve drunk some very good and not so good wines and the elusive search for my first 9/10 corks ends up fruitless (excuse the pun).

In this review I will reveal some of my top 10 wines of 2015. Most of the wines reviewed I have bought, some have been donated, I have also sampled a lot at various tastings and events throughout the year.

Some of these events and tastings have offered some fabulous wines, some pretty expensive, I’ve purposely left these out concentrating on wines that are readily available from various outlets and are on the whole reasonably priced, although some may well be unavailable now.

So click on the links below to see the full reviews and here’s to finding many more brilliant wines in 2016, perhaps my first 9/10 or you never know, a 10/10.

So in no particular order here are my ten favourite 8.5/10 Cork scoring wines….

FaustinoI Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja 2001

Probably the most recognisable labels in the  wine world with its portraits of Rembrandt, El Greco and composer Gluck  and the use of Roman numerals are on the Faustino range. My earliest memories of this wine is seeing these bottles lined up on the shelves and noticing how they stood out with their frosted bottles…Read more

 

Honoro Vera6(450 x 600) Honoro Vera Garnacha 2012

Honoro Vera Garnacha 2012 from Bodegas Ateca in Calatayud Northern Spain , the wine served during the Gala Dinner at the 2013 Oscars in which Argo the American political thriller won best film First tasted this wine at the Good Food & Wine Show Olympia a couple of years ago where I attended the wine…Read more

 

BrancottletterBrancott Estate Letter B Sauvignon Blanc 2012

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…Read more

 

Mount Pleasant semillonMcWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2005

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…Read more

 

PrimitivoWaitrosePrimitivo Di Mandurie Paololeo 2012

Italy 14.5% If you’re looking for a reasonably priced Primitivo (Aka Zinfandel) and you enjoy the big hitting Zins from California look no further than this beauty from the very heel of boot in South east Italy’s Puglia region. When I picked this up I was amazed at how heavy this bottle was and it…Read more

 

Bierzo Otero2011(450 x 600)Pizarras de Otero Bierzo 2011

Spain 14% First discovered the Bierzo region of North West Spain a few years back when on holiday touring the north following the Camino route to Santiago de Compostela although I must stress this was done on a coach staying in government backed Parador hotels not on foot or bike travelling hundreds of miles. This…Read more

 

stoneleigh2 (311 x 600)

Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc 2013

New Zealand 12.5% With the temperatures soaring here in the UK what better way to relax and cool down than sitting in the shade of a Gazebo, eating barbecue food and drinking a chilled glass or two of this very nice New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. I Love Marlborough wines especially anything from Brancott Estate…Read more

 

Yalumba duoYalumba Old Vine Grenache 2013

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…Read more

 

porta 6Porta 6

Porta 6 Vinho Tinto Portugal First tasted this in the Majestic store in Calais a few months back, it was on the tasting counter and one of their featured wines. I was initially drawn by the bright cartoon like label which was painted by Portuguese artist Hauke Vagt. This wine was also featured on the…Read more

 

DomaineLarocheChablis(337 x 599)Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru 2008

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…Read more

 

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 !

 

StoneLeigh Sauvignon Blanc 2013

stoneleigh2 (311 x 600)

New Zealand 12.5%

With the temperatures soaring here in the UK what better way to relax and cool down than sitting in the shade of a Gazebo, eating barbecue food and drinking a chilled glass or two of this very nice New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

I Love Marlborough wines especially anything from Brancott Estate and this bottle which is produced by them is up there amongst my favourite Sauvignon Blancs. I was first introduced to Stoneleigh by Brancott Estates chief winemaker Patrick Materman himself at a tasting a while ago and whilst sampling his own range he asked me to try the Stoneleigh and after that initial sip I was totally won over by it.

When poured it’s a lovely straw like colour with a slight green tinge. On the nose it’s typically New world and typically New Zealand, rich tropical fruits mixed with sharp citrus aromas along with damp grass and herbs.

The taste is where this wine really shines, bright fresh and tangy with flavours of peaches, Lychees and melon but with a bracing backdrop of lemons and limes giving it a mouth-watering acidity along with lots of minerality.

Fantastic summer drink, great to drink on its own or with chicken, seafood, it would even go well with Asian food.

If you enjoy a bright, fresh, acidic, minerally wine with bags of flavour you won’t go far wrong with this, becoming a favourite in our household especially with my daughter (who is a bit fussy with her wine, don’t tell her I said that though !)

Highly recommended.

8.5corks

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Variuos outlets around £9