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

 

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Godello – The great white Spanish hope

Godelia 2012(450 x 600)I first discovered Godello when travelling in northern Spain a few years ago when we stopped at a bar in a sleepy town in the Bierzo region.

Sitting outside eating Octopus (Pulpo) with a plate of grilled peppers, olives and freshly baked bread. I asked what wines they recommend I was told to try a local white wine called Godello, having never heard of it I decided to take a chance and thank goodness I did as it is now probably my favourite wine white. The food was delicious and on an extremely hot day the chilled wine was the perfect pairing.

Since then I have sought out many Godello’s and found out that they do vary in style, the one I had at that bar was very Chardonnay like, intense , fleshy with peaches, pears and quiet oaky but I have had bottles that are non oaked, fresh, crisp, acidic, showing apples and slightly salty.

GodelloGrape
Godello Grape

The grapes shown here were apparantly nearly extinct back in the 70’s but they were brought back to life and rescued and now stand up there with the other popular fine whites of Spain.

This particular bottle I bought in Murcia in a small wine shop opposite the local food market. It was an Aladdin’s cave of wine with racks upon racks of bottles some covered in dust but I was searching for Godello and eventually came across a few bottles and took a chance with this Godelia which is predominately Godello 80% with 20% of a grape called Donna Blanca (used in making white Port).

Right what was this 2012 Godelia bottle like, well, this was very much like a Chardonnnay in style with a Pale golden colour with tropical aromas including ripe peaches and with  litttle flowery, perfumy notes.

The texture of this wine was rich and fleshy with a creamy like feel. very fruity with an intensness to go with it. Peaches were there but also crisp apples and pears in the background but what really comes through is a flowery taste making this an unusual but extremely enjoyable glass of wine.

As I said earlier Godello varies in style but if you haven’t tasted it or even heard of it, seek it out, whether it’s the Chardonnay almost Burgundian style or the non oaked fresher crispier style,  hopefully you won’t be dissapointed I know I’ve not been, not yet anyway.

8.5corks

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Bought in Spain, around £8 but there are lots of Godellos over here now

Pizarras de Otero Bierzo 2011

Bierzo Otero2011(450 x 600)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 is where I discovered the Mencia grape and my favourite Spanish white Godello.

So finding a reasonably priced Bierzo wine here is a real treat and this particular bottle brought back memories of sitting in a sleepy Spanish town bar eating wonderful Tapas and drinking cheap but great tasting wine.

This 2011 Pizarras de Otero is one of the new wave of brilliant Spanish wines that are now widely available. Dark, brooding, aromatic and 14% alcohol this wine is not for the faint hearted. After an initial taste I decided to leave this to the air for a couple of hours before drinking and it seemed to soften slightly.

Looking at the wine in the glass it has a deep purple colour but it’s when you stick your nose in the glass this is where it comes alive, powerful aromas of dark ripe cherries, blackberries and a big hit of meaty savouriness with smells of bacon fat and liver all in a good way.

Taste wise, again Rich cherries, dark chocolate, liquorice and spices. A little on the tannic side and some spices in the background. This tastes like a big wine and the 14% is noticeable.

Although this wine is rich, it does taste remarkably fresh, and mouth wateringly juicy and I really liked it, made by the excellent Bodegas Martin Codax.

If you haven’t tried the Mencia grape treat yourself to this, hopefully you won’t be disappointed.

8.5corksMy Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Majestic £9.99 (offer £7.49)