Carménère, originally from the Medoc Region of France has now become synonymous with and is now considered the national grape of Chile.
Beware though Carménère is not for everyone and has a distinctive taste profile not to everyone’s liking almost branding it as the Marmite of the wine world, you either love it or hate it, think of Merlot with some attitude. I’m very much in the love camp.
This particular bottle from Asda priced at £6 was, as far as I’m concerned a bit of a bargain. In the glass it was a serious dark purple colour with heady aromas of raw green peppers, sweet plums, soil and something meaty. That raw vegetal pepper taste instantly hit you and I got a flavour similar to liver (tasted better than it sounds). There was some sweetness, a hint of vanilla and some earthiness.
I’d say this is a food wine and hearty food at that, maybe a casserole or stew would be perfect. Kept a little back in the bottle for the next day and it held up well and overall I enjoyed it.
So there it is Carménère, if you’ve not tried it maybe give it a go and if you do or don’t like it let me know either way.
My Rating 7.5/10 Corks
Been hearing lots of good things about the ‘La Moneda’ range of wines at Asda in the past few months so I thought it was about time I tried them especially as they were on special offer at £4.50.
Popped into my local store specifically looking for the highly rated and award winning ‘La Moneda Malbec’ unfortunately the Pinot Noir was the only one available at the time.
Generally Pinot Noir around this price point is a little bit hit or miss but I must say this particular bottle was more on the hit side. First of all the bottle looks good with its brushed metal like label (the Malbec and Merlot look exactly the same).
In the glass the wine is fairly translucent with aromas of fresh strawberries and cherries with a whiff of something more rural. On first sip I wasn’t entirely sold as there was a slight bitterness to the finish. There was initially, that strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavour bursting with a lovely mouth-watering acidity followed by a more farmyardy earthiness. There were some pronounced tannins but too intrusive.
Overall, I did enjoy this and it was only let down by the slight sour (bitter) finish, which did improve after a a little time in the glass but for £4.50 it’s hard to criticise too harshly.
I will be back to Asda for the Merlot and I’m looking forward to trying the Malbec to see if it lives up to the hype.
My Rating 7/10 Corks
Asda £5.98 (on offer for £4.50)
Champagne, generally a pretty expensive purchase, especially the good stuff and mostly opened only on special occasions. Now thanks to Asda you can open up a bottle of bubbly whenever you feel the need for fizz with this inexpensive Louvel Fontaine Champagne, wait for it, at an unbelievable price of £10, yes ! a mere tenner.
I must be honest I saw this on the shelf at £10 and I walked straight passed it not giving it a second thought dismissing it a cheap rubbish but this time I picked up a bottle having read some pretty good reviews in the press and online recently and decided to give it a go.
This Champagne made with Pinot Noir 70%, Chardonnay 20% and Pinot Meunier is not produced by a co-operative but made for Asda by a family run house called Champagne Gruet based in Buxeuil part of the Aube (Champagne- Ardenne) region of North East France.
So what’s it like ? well, I opened a suitably chilled bottle for family and friends on a warm humid evening and listening to the Mmm’s after the first sips it was safe to say that everyone was enjoying their glass.
When initially poured this was extremely fizzy with a steady stream of fine bubbles and a pale straw like colour. Nose was fairly muted but it’s the taste where this shines, fresh and bright, dry (not overly) with well-balanced acidity and just enough depth of flavour. Not much in the way of toastiness but full of citrus fruits and a touch of vanilla and a reasonably long finish.
I actually enjoyed this better as it warmed up and settled in the glass, enhancing the overall fruitiness. If you like your fizz toasty and nutty then this might not be for you but I thought this was a delicious fresh tasting Champagne and seemed to be enjoyed by everyone who sampled it.
Don’t take my word for it, go out and buy a bottle, see what you think and let me know !
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Looking like a bottle found under a park bench this unusually packaged wine is certainly quirky and definitely stands out on the supermarket shelf but is it any good?
As some of my regular readers may know I belong to a small wine circle called Cuvée Reserve where once a month one of our members select a wine of the month which is easily accessible and under £10 for us all to review. This particular bottle is our March selection and is currently priced at £5.50 from Asda.
Farmers of wine is from the Puglia Region of Italy, a blend of Negroamaro, Zinfandel, locally known as Primitivo, Merlot and Nero d’Avola.
Ok, going back to my first question, is it any good?, for me for the price it’s a resounding yes!
This comes with a cork and has a very intense dark garnet like colour when poured. The nose is fairly muted although there is a hint of ripe dark plums and cherries. The first mouthful has those plums and cherries bursting with juiciness followed by a little dark chocolate. Slightly on the jammy side but not over the top, subtle tannins and a hit of pepper comes through on the finish. Left in the glass for a while everything softens ending up with a very drinkable Italian for not a lot of money.
I was a little bit sceptical when I saw the gimmicky bottle but rest assured there is nothing gimmicky about the wine, this is a very quaffable mid week drink with Pizza 🍕 or pasta 🍝 I enjoyed it and would probably buy again.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Recently I won a Twitter competition courtesy of premium wine estate Cramele Recas winning four bottles of Romanian wine. Now, If you’ve never tasted Romanian wine here’s an ideal opportunity to try some at a very affordable price.
The first bottle I opened was the Feteasca Neagra (Black Maiden) which is an old native variety originating in Moldova now grown in several areas in Romania. I’ve since found out Asda are selling as part of their Wine Atlas Range at a reasonable £5.97.
Looking at the bottle, the label (as do all the Wine Atlas range) looks like an old travel poster and I couldn’t see any vintage marked anywhere.
When poured, what surprised me was how light the wine looked, as you can see in the picture, almost see though. Heady aromas of smoke, strawberries and dark plums with a vegetal thing going on in the background.
On first sip, very bright with mouth wateringly juiciness, quite light but with bags of flavour. The smokiness is still there along with the strawberries and plums. Slightly herby and savoury. Mild chalky tannins and when left in the glass for a while the fruitiness gets more intense, almost Grenache like.
I would have liked the finish to bit a bit longer and it does give an almost spritzy sour end. Overall though this was an affordable (even though I got mine free) introduction to Romanian wine and I must say an enjoyable one.
Three more to drink and if they are as good as this I’ll be happy. Big thanks to Cramele Recas for the prize and introducing me to Romanian wines, I will be investigating further. So I urge you all to take a trip to Asda look for their Wine Atlas range and stick this bottle in your basket, even if you’re not a big red wine drinker
My Rating 8/10 Corks