The Black Shiraz & The Hedonist

hedonistSunday 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 !

8corks

The Black Shiraz

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Co op £7.49

8.5corks

The Hedonist

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Waitrose £13.99

The Unexpected Red 2016

unexpected-redBack to my local Co op and a bottle I’ve picked up off the shelf many times and always ended up putting it back. maybe it’s the slightly odd looking label (more like a crime novel or a poster for a play) or maybe the fact that it’s bottled in the UK shipped from Australia usually arriving bulk packed in large plastic bags which kind of loses the appeal and magic for me. Anyway, this time I decided to give it a try as I have heard good things about it recently and as it turned out the wine itself was, as the label says unexpected.

This is made by Andrew Peace wines in Murray Valley, Victoria,  Australia and as I said earlier bottled in the UK. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sagrantino, Merlot and Tempranillo and a price tag of around £6.

Darkish ruby-red colour in the glass with a very fruity aroma namely raspberries and cherries with a hint of maybe something flowery in the background. On first sip the tannins were fairly noticeable along with a slightly jammy sweet cherry flavour, there was a hit of spice and earthiness but the alcohol was evident coming in at 14% and could catch up with you pretty quickly if not careful.

The four varietals seemed to marry together well with a new one for me Sagrantino unique to Umbria (Central Italy) which I can’t recall tasting before.

The trouble with this wine was how easy it was to drink, there was nothing offensive about it and I think a lot of people would enjoy it as it proved when my daughters friend who was around at the time and a non red wine drinker tasted it and thought it was in her words, nice.

So overall this was an OK wine and a wine I would not turn down if offered again, for £5.99 (£1 off at the time of buying) it’s pretty much what you would expect from the unexpected.

7corks

My Rating 7/10 Corks

Co op £6.99

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.

I was alerted to this offer by a member of our wine forum who thought it was a decent drop for the price.

Would I have given Lindeman’s a second look in the past ? probably not but from the first sniff and sip I was totally sold.

I have enjoyed many Hunter Valley Semillon’s before especially the wonderful  McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2005 so this Lindeman’s had a lot to live up to.

In the glass it was a pale straw like colour with perhaps a slightly green hue, quite nice aroma of lemons, limes but with a pronounced whiff of petrol /oil even burnt rubber. I love this smell reminiscent of some Rieslings but it’s not for everyone and some people namely my wife found the petrol a step too far.

When taking my first sip this wine came to life with a hit of bracing mouth-watering fresh tasting acidity bursting with citrus fruits, namely lemons (think lemon curd) and limes again, which suggest that this Semillon will age for quite a while as in the excellent McWilliams mentioned above. The oily texture  was prominent which became more noticeable as the wine warmed up in the glass and if anything tasted the better for it, so I suggest not over chilling. The finish was not overly long but pleasant enough.

I’m definitely glad I picked up a case of this and I will drink them at various intervals seeing how it develops over time, if i gets anywhere near the quality of the McWilliams I’m on to a winner and at £4.99 what’s not to like.

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks

£4.99 at Majestic (WIGIG promotion)

 

Aldi Wine Club Taster

Aldiwineclub logoThis Month I have been lucky enough to be selected as an Aldi Wine Club Taster. This involves, in their words ‘ Every three months, we’ll be selecting 30 budding sommeliers to join the panel. If you’re chosen, each month for three months, we’ll send you two delicious wines to taste from our range and you’ll be tasked with reviewing each via a 140 character tweet using the dedicated #AldiWineClub hashtag.

Along with the wines, we’ll also send you a selection of tasting notes to help guide you through your wine tasting journey, as well as handy hints and tips to help you with your monthly reviews.’
I’m no stranger to Aldi wines and have been enjoying them now for a while and on the whole it’s been a pleasurable experience so I was excited to receive the first couple of wines. They arrived well packaged and protected and when opened I found a French Malbec and a Australian Rose, a good start.
The Malbec was a Vignobles Roussellet and the rosé was a Kooliburra from south eastern Australia.
So here are my thoughts in a bit more detail as it’s very hard to limit your review into a 140 character tweet.
Aldi MalbecVignobles Roussellet Malbec    My Rating 8/10 Corks
This is a cracking wine and at £4.39 a bottle a real genuine bargain . A French Malbec (with a touch of Merlot) with no vintage on the label, bursting with juicy blackberries,  blueberries, hint of spice, some sweetness and a little gamey. This is a uncompletcated easy drinking Malbec that is a Decanter Bronze medal winner and an International Wine Challenge winner in 2014 and for a change a wine that lives up to its awards especially considering the price.
Kooliburra Rosé    My Rating 7/10 Corks
I admit to not drinking a lot of rosé but every now and then I come across one that is pleasant enough and this falls into that category. This is a bottle from South Eastern Australia, again no vintage Quite a darkish salmon pink colour with aromas of Summer fruits especially strawberries and raspberries.
The strawberries follow through on the palate with a hint of creaminess, nice texture with a sweetness but not overly sweet or cloying.
Well chilled on a summers day this may well convert non rosé drinkers, I thought is was pretty good and so did everyone else around the table who tasted it.

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.

Made in the Wakefield Estate in the Clare valley this Shiraz was a teeth staining inky black in the glass with aromas of dark cherries and ripe plums with a whiff of mocha. On first sip the juicy ripe dark fruits are prominent and there’s a slight tarry flavour about it. Coffee beans and Vanilla also make an appearance with a spicy peppery finish.

A wine to enjoy with or without food, I actually drank this with some spicy lamb kebabs and it paired beautifully.

As you may have gathered I liked this a lot and for £8.99 on multi buy very good value for money and it’s one Shiraz I will be buying again.

8corks

 

My rating 8/10 Corks

£8.99 on Multi buy  @ Majestic

2up McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010

2up2

Australia 14%

Kangarilla Road I reviewed earlier in the year is one of my favourite Shiraz’s and this 2up from the same winery, It’s their second label wine and although not quite reaching the heights of it’s bigger brother, it’s still very good.

The name 2up comes from a old Australian gambling game dating back to the beginnings of the Gold Rush mining days of the 1850’s in which two pennies are tossed up and bets are made on the way they fall.

Make a bet on this bottle you won’t be disappointed. When poured this was extremely dark in colour, almost inky black. Aromas wise, very fruity with rich ripe plums, cherries and a hint of strawberries, very chocolatey and full of spiced cinnamon and nutmeg.

Take a mouthful and straight away the dark fruits take over along with sweet subtle combination of French and American oak with mild well-balanced tannins. The spice comes through as well as that rich chocolate but doesn’t overpower and makes for a pretty smooth velvety wine.

A bit of a Aussie fruit bomb this may be but it’s easy to drink, with or without food, I drank this without food sitting in the garden early evening with friends and it was a delight, perhaps a little too easy though before I knew it the bottle was empty.

8corks

 

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Majestic – Around £7 on Multi Buy

 

Yalumba Butcher, Baker and Winemaker, dinner with Louisa Rose

 

yalumba logoA warm sunny evening and a pleasant stroll from Warwick Avenue underground station heading towards the Truscott Arms Maida Vale London where Yalumba were hosting their aptly named Butcher, Baker and Winemaker dinner with Yalumba chief winemaker Louisa Rose.

I remember visiting the Truscott Arms many times although it was Truscott Armsquite a few years ago now before its makeover and it was nice to return.

My wife and I were invited to the dinner courtesy of Tesco by submitting an online review of two of Yalumba wines the ‘Old Bush Vine Grenach 2013’ and the ‘Shiraz Viognier 2012’ and then Yalumba voting on the best reviews. (see reviews here).

On arrival around 7.00pm we were shown into the outdoor garden area for pre dinner drinks and canapes  where we were given a glass of ‘Yalumba Y Series Riesling 2014′ which was crisp and dry but still with a lovely creaminess giving a little weight. This is where we met fellow review winners along with the guys from Negociants UK and of course Louisa who we had a quick chat with before dinner.

Yalumba 1(600 x 337)

At 7.30pm we were shown to an upstairs dinning area where an impressively laid out table greeted us. After a few formalities and an introduction By Louisa Rose about  the wines we were drinking  our glasses were filled with the first selection of the ‘Eden Valley Viognier 2013’ and the ‘Old Bush vine Grenache 2013‘ to go with the first course Charcuterie. Both paired very well with a Yalumba Menu(337 x 599)slight preference for the Intense and aromatic Viognier which was full of ripe apricots and wonderful texture.

Next up was Halibut with a Rousanne reduction, grapes and Salsify accompanied by a crisp, slightly acidic and perfumed Roussanne in which, after a show of hands not many people in the room had tried before.

Beef Cheeks were next along with a couple of reds, the ‘Patchwork Shiraz 2013‘ and my star of the night the ‘Signature Cab Sauvignon Shiraz 2010‘ a superb blend full of fresh cherries and red currants, slightly dusty and tannic with a touch of menthol, (didn’t decline the offer of a refill ).

For dessert we were treated to another brilliant wine the ‘FSW8B Botrytis Viognier 2014‘ Sweet but not cloying a perfect end to a perfect meal.

Yalumba 2(600 x 337)
Louisa introducing wines

Louisa was friendly and knowledgeable answering all our questions and it was brilliant to meet her personally. All in all another fantastic night eating, drinking and meeting the guys behind the wines we buy. Superb stuff.

yalumba 6(600 x 337)
Ivorfan and Wife Agnes
ivorfan & Louisa Rose chief winemaker at Yalumba
ivorfan & Louisa Rose chief winemaker at Yalumba
yalumba 12(600 x 337)
A few wines to taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yalumba 17(600 x 337)

 

 

 

 

 

 

yalumba 13(600 x 337)yalumba 15(600 x 337)yalumba 11(600 x 337)yalumba 10(600 x 337)yalumba 9(337 x 599)yalumba 7(600 x 337)Yalumba 8(337 x 599)