Sorry for the late post, been on holiday but just before we went away our daughter kindly treated us to tickets to watch the one day Cricket international England v Ireland on 7th May at Lords (the home of cricket).
Lords being the only ground that allows you to bring in food and drink, we went armed with a picnic and of course a couple of bottles of wine. Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast, so a coat and warm top was the order of the day but that didn’t spoil what turned out to be a brilliant day.
Nestled in the cooler bag amongst the Chicken Pasta and nibbles were the wines in question, a Brancott Estate 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Selected by my wife whose a big Brancott Estate fan) and a French Syrah Les Vieilles Vignes Maris 2015which I bought from Waitrose on offer for around £8.
Now Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc is a wine we always have a stock of and generally everyone in our family really enjoy it. I personally think it’s an excellent everyday Sovee especially for the price and has wonderful aromas of freshly cut grass and fruit salad with the bright flavours of kiwi fruit and crisp green apples perfect for a nice warm sunny day. Unfortunately, at times our side of the ground was in shade and most of us were in jumpers and coats but in contrast the other side was in bright sunshine and the crowd were all in t-shirts and sunglasses but that’s the British weather for you. It still didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the game or the wine, even if it was out of a plastic cup.
Now the French Syrah was a bit of a beast but hugely enjoyable none the less and one I would have no hesitation in buying again. Full of rich dark plums, touch of acidity and powerful tannins, there was also a fair lashing of earthiness and spice, this really was a rustic wine with a touch of class.
Oh yeah, the cricket game was pretty good as well with Ireland making a game of it for a while but England’s class showed through in the end and won fairly comfortably but not without a fight and the odd scare. All in all a fabulous day out good entertainment, good food and good wine.
Hands 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.
On a lovely spring evening, eating al fresco with friends I brought out this bottle of dessert wine to accompany a variety of sweet puddings. Many of them had not tried dessert wine before but were all willing to give it a go, It was also a chance to try out my recently bought dessert wine glasses
The bottle in question was the Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest 2011. I had this bottle chilling in the fridge all day.
When poured it was darkish gold in colour, heady aromas of peach, apricot, mangoes and something herbal. For a sweet wine this was not cloying or sickly, tasting of fresh tropical fruits which burst in the mouth, including apricots, peaches and oranges.
Slightly sweeter than the apricot tart and strawberry cheesecake ice cream we were eating this just seemed to pair perfectly and enjoyed by all who tried it.
So if you haven’t tried dessert wine before, go on treat yourself you won’t be disappointed, this is stunning !
That time of year again when the Tesco Wine Fair hits town, this time we visited the London show which was held at Kensington Olympia.
Slightly different this year as I went not being a member of the Tesco Wine Community (TWC) which I had been a part of for the last three and a half years or so and although all good things eventually come to an end, it still felt strange.
My wife and I attended this year with family and friends and ended up being a group ten, we also met up with a couple of other ex TWC members and their partners.
Arriving just before 12.00pm we were greeted by an enormous queue which stretched down the Hammersmith road, luckily we were only 5 minutes from doors opening and we were only waiting for a short period. Once inside we all headed to the booking area for the numerous free workshops that were on offer throughout the afternoon. Restricted to one ticket per person we all picked our favourites, I chose the history of Faustino Gran Reserva Rioja presented by a member of the Faustino family Fidel Faustino Fernandez, I actually had a very interesting chat with him at his stand before the workshop, nice guy and brilliant wines.
One really nice surprise was the size of the hall, everything was well spaced out with lots of room to walk around, lots of seating areas to take a break and grab some food and although it was a sell out it never seemed crowded.
A big disappointment to us was Tesco decided to drop their ‘Wine Walks’ which was always a big favourite with us. A wine expert would walk around the stands with a group and introduce their best 10 or so wines at the show. Last year we chose a walk with Wine expert and TV personality Joe Wadsack in which a 20 minute walk turned into almost an hour, great fun, real shame it was dropped.
Right, lets get to the wines and with over 300 wines on show it was hard to know where to start. With five hours of tasting ahead we started out with a plan fizz and whites first before moving up to the heavier reds as the afternoon passes, this sounded like a good plan but trust me it quickly deteriorates into a free for all, It was also impossible for our group to stick together so we all split up and did our own thing. We tasted a lot of wines over the afternoon good and not so good, far to many to mention so I will give you a brief overview of the better ones.
The first stand we visited was Villa Maria where we sampled a variety of whites including Villa Maria’s Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Taylors pass Sauvignon blanc 2014 (excellent) and a new one on me the Cellar selection Arneis 2014 which was a real revelation.
Brancott Estate – Always enjoy Brancott wines although I had not yet tried their Terroir series and I was pleasantly surprised. The Sauvignon Blanc was lovely as was their Sauvignon Gris which was a hit with my daughter.
Couple of Champagnes to mention which were very good were the Chanoine Freres 2007 Vintage and the Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top.
Other whites which made an impression were the Spanish Breckin Valley Sauvignon Blanc and the very drinkable Finca Juana Albarino DO Rias Baixas
There were many other whites that were generally very good but the ones I’ve highlighted were amongst my favourites.
Reds were next and their were some pretty good ones, a couple of stand out Riojas were the Beronia Dos Maderas Reserva 2008 and the Faustino I Gran Reserva 2001 & 2004
Two Syrah’s which were also very good were the Marques de Casa Chonha Syrah 2012 and probably my favourite wine in the show the stunning Finca Las Moras Three Valleys Gran Syrah 2011.
One of the friendliest stands at the show was the Les Dauphins and the very amiable Jo (sorry don’t know her surname). I was introduced to her by our friends Clare & Nick as they tried to convert me to try one of their favourite wines. Jo was very patient as I tried four of their reds in which I found two very nice indeed, the Cotes du Rhone Reserve Rouge2014 and the Cote du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu 2014. We were asked if we would like a photocall and of course we all obliged.
So another Wine Fair has come and gone and very enjoyable it was too, my family who all came for the first time really enjoyed it as did all our friends. I could have gone on writing about some of the brilliant wines we tasted but my note taking suffered toward the end and became slightly illegible.
Thanks to Tesco who really do this kind of thing well and I look forward to next year.
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 !)
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 if expensive ‘Chosen Rows’ Sauvignon Blanc which I have only sampled at tastings but it is a wine in my opinion that takes SB’s to a new level (maybe one day I’ll treat myself to a bottle).
Back to this wine, as you can see from the picture in the glass it’s a bright, clear colour with a hint of green. Aromas literally leap from the glass before getting your nose anywhere near it, unmistakably New Zealand with tropical fruits and wet grass but what really stands out is asparagus it dominates the nose in a big way.
Taste wise it’s dry, crisp but with a restrained acidity, full of gooseberries, grapefruit and tropical fruits, really rich in density. The asparagus disappears leaving a more minerally finish which is incredibly long and satisfying.
Drunk this wine many times and it always delivers, wonderful aromas and a crisp fresh taste, as I said it’s one of my favourite Sauvignon Blancs even at £13 a bottle well worth the price.
Always enjoyed Brancott Estate wines and I have been lucky enough to meet their chief winemaker Patrick Materman a couple of times, actually sitting down next to him for a meal all be it with a group of other wine lovers. I found his wine knowledge was second to none and he always remains friendly and approachable.
Sorry, I digress, it’s always nice when you get sent a wine free to review (this time as part of a taste panel for Tesco), the wine in question is the new Brancott Estate Sauvignon Gris 2013.
So here we go, If you like Sauvignon Blanc but want to try a wine with a more restrained and less aggressive acidity and doesn’t feel like being slapped in the face with a grapefruit, this offering from the ever reliable Brancott Estate may well be the answer. It still has elements of Sauvignon Blanc, especially on the nose with citrus fruits, wet grass and asparagus and the taste has altogether riper, slightly smokey undertones with a creamier mouth feel and very dry finish.
Drank this very chilled , a bright straw like colour in the glass with aromas of peach, nectarines, grapefruit, damp grass, asparagus and herbs. Taste wise, it’s very dry and as I mentioned earlier it had less aggressive acidity than SB. The citrus and stone fruits flavours were still dominant but this Gris just blunts the edginess bringing through the herbal side.
All in all a pretty decent wine and one I would buy again, very food friendly and at £6.99 a bottle pocket friendly as well, even if I did receive this one free.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Various around £6.99
Update for the 2014
Where I initially thought the 2013 had some elements of Sauvignon Blanc the 2014 definitely had more aromatics similar to that of Blanc, much more of that grassiness, asparagus and grapefruit, looked beautifully fresh and bright in the glass.
Taste – Zesty, off dry, slightly spicy, Stone fruits, wet grass, grapefruit, fresh pineapple with a hint of creaminess about it, lovely mouth feel and lengthy finish.
Something about the 2014 that hit the spot more for me, initially thinking the 2013 was good, having tried the 2014 a few weeks apart for me it ‘s a step up, looked brighter, fresher tasting and much more Blancy (made up word!) although a little heftier (whopping 14.5%) alcohol, it didn’t feel like it
Always a good sign , my wife who is not a big wine drinker (although she does like Sauvignon Blanc) thought this was nice, trust me, nice from her is very good.