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
South 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.
This is an impressive looking bottle and even more impressive when poured and you stick your nose in the glass with it’s powerful and heady aromas of blackcurrants dark forest fruits, cloves, wood (quite pronounced pencil shavings) and smoke.
On first taste it’s a bit of an intense untamed beast, rich, full flavoured, dark fruits, pine needles, oaky, liquorice, cloves. Slightly savoury but it’s the sheer power of the dark fruit and wood that dominate.
This needed air and would benefit from decanting for a couple of hours which I should have done, although it did mellow slightly with time in the glass. This would also perhaps be even better if layed down for a couple of years and you will find you may have to lay down after drinking it.
I absolutely loved this wine, loved its raw brooding power and rich complex taste and have no hesitation in recommending it and if you’re a fan of Bordeaux wines give this a go you won’t be disappointed.
My Rating 8.5/10 Corks
Waitrose around £15
Look in most supermarkets and you will find a lot of cheap Bordeaux’s, usually they are cheap for a reason and most of them that I’ve tried have promptly ended up down the sink.
But ( sorry to start a sentence with a conjunction) there is a shinning light from an unexpected source in the shape of Lidl supermarket where I have bought some pretty decent wines for well under a tenner and this Chateau Marjosse 2012 was just £8.99 and as it turns out, a real genuine bargain.
From a well-regarded Chateau and made by winemaker Pierre Lurton this is a blend of Predominantly Merlot with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.
When poured this was very deeply coloured with aromas of ripe dark fruits, plums, cherries, it smelt earthy and vegetal with distinct raw green pepper notes.
On first taste it was a bit of a beast, a little harsh and I decided to leave it to the air for a couple of hours and what a difference it made, it transformed into a slightly sweeter softer taste, lots of mouth-watering acidity with the juicy fruit more prominent, still vegetal and stalky but with well-balanced tannins and a generous hit of oak.
As you can gather this didn’t end up down the sink and for £8.99 well worth buying but don’t drink it straight off give it a little time to evolve and you will be rewarded with a nice cheap Bordeaux.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Always nice when a bargain comes along, I found this Margaux at the back of the Fine Wine shelf in my local Tesco store priced at £12, I asked if there was any more in stock and after searching the stockroom the assistant came back with another two also for the same price. Sadly the Fine Wine section has disappeared but in running down their stock there were plenty of great wines at knock down prices to be had, sadly no more.
First thing to notice about this bottle is the good-looking label, really nicely designed. Poured in the glass it was a dark red with a ruby rim (sounds like a singer). Very fragrant nose of blackberries, dark cherries, cassis, cigars, chocolate and a hint of earthy mushrooms.
The taste wasn’t quite a good as the nose promised but still pretty decent. Medium to full-bodied with some hefty tannins, I would have loved to been able to decant this for a few hours before drinking to maybe soften the tannins a little but took it around to a friend’s house at the last-minute and had to settle for drinking straight away. Tannins aside the taste was full of fresh dark fruits, blackberries dominant again with cigar smoke, oaky but not overpowering. A little sweet tasting initially but with good acidity leading to a slightly tart finish. Towards the end of the bottle there was some sediment (another reason to decant first).
Enjoyed this a lot, paying £12 a bottle helped. I would definitely decant for a few hours next time to soften it slightly but overall cannot complain and what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon sitting in the garden in the sunshine sharing it with friends over lunch.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Usually around £20+ ( bought for £12)
Walking down the wine aisle in your local supermarket amongst the hundreds of bottles on display sometimes a label suddenly catches your eye, not because it has distinctive artwork or design but because of what’s written on it.
In this case it was the words, Mouton, Baron Philippe De Rothschild and Bordeaux, so whilst my wife’s back was turned a bottle of ‘Mouton Cadet Bordeaux 2011’ (just happened to be on special offer as well) found its way into my shopping trolley next to the veg, bread , shower gel and toothpaste.
The question is was it any good and worth the clandestine operation to get it in the trolley? Well, in a word, not really (sorry, two words). This was one of the most disappointing bottles I’ve opened recently; maybe the £6 odd I paid should have alerted me that perhaps this is not what it seems.
After pulling out the cork with Baron De Rothschild printed on it I was looking forward to trying the wine, that was before I smelt it, not the best, being predominately Merlot a whiff of dark berries, plums, some earth and vegetal notes were the main aromas although there was a hint of something chemical which wasn’t nice.
Taste – medium bodied, a little on the thin side for me with a plums, blackberries and liquorice making it seem very bitter on the finish (which did subside after an hour or so left in the glass). Harsh and quite dry but not altogether undrinkable, definitely better with food.
Considering the prestigious name this was a little bit of a letdown, I know it’s suppose to be a budget level affordable Bordeaux and in some respects it does the job especially as a midweek everyday wine.
Not so much a Mouton Cadet more of a Mouton Regret
My Rating 5.5/10 Corks
Various around £10
Repeat visit to this Prestige de Calvet Bordeaux for me, not because it’s a great wine it just happened to be near the front of my rack and I wanted an inexpensive (it was at the time of buying , around £5) wine to accompany my evening meal.
Last time I drank this straight from the bottle (although not literally !) this time I poured a large glass and left it for an hour or so before drinking. It’s a 80/20 % blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and in the glass it was a very dark with an OK nose of dark fruits, mainly black currants, with a whiff of smokiness. Looking back at my previous notes I mentioned that it was hard to distinguish much aroma wise and this was again the case.
After first opening the bottle the taste was a little tart with just a hint of sweetness but after a while left in the glass it softened to a much more palatable and enjoyable drink. Medium bodied perhaps a little thin but easy to drink and not unpleasant, still with characteristics of a Bordeaux. There was some oaky vanilla and spice and overall it was a smooth enjoyable drink.
One definitely to consider but only when on offer.
My Rating 7/10 Corks Tesco & Various around £8