After my last review looks like normal service has been resumed with this delicate and refined offering from the Saumur region in the heart of the Loire valley France.
This bottle is made with 100% Cabernet Franc and is likely to appeal to Pinot Noir perhaps even Gamay fans, although more commonly used as part of a blend this subtle and dare I say elegant wine really hit the spot.
Usually I’m a fan of bigger more powerful wines but this lighter style if made well can be a joy to drink as this is a very good example of what Cabernet Franc can taste like.
Nice looking bottle with its embossed neck, nice colour, fairly muted aromas and a nice taste what more do you want from a wine? Ok, lets break it down a bit, although there wasn’t much nose wise I could detect some cherries, strawberries and herbs. On first sip the floral almost perfumed flavour hits you along with some mouth watering sweet acidity, red fruits dominate with some stalkiness along with mild tannins and a reasonably long finish.
This was very moreish and easy to drink even on its own and as I said earlier it had a kind of elegance about it. Not what I would normally drink but I enjoyed it and would happily drink it again.
My Rating 7.5/10 Corks
Waitrose around £9
I must admit the last thing I expected to find sitting on a supermarket shelf was a bottle of Chinese wine but fair play to Sainsbury’s for taking a chance and introducing us to the ‘Changyu Noble Dragon‘ a blend of Cabernet Gernistcht (aka Carmenere), Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Made by the oldest and most famous winery in China, the ‘Changyu Pioneer Wine Company’ established in the 1930’s and according to Sainsbury’s description one of the best-selling wines around the world.
This was actually picked by a member of our wine group ‘Cuvée Reserve’ as the ‘Wine of the month’ (February selection) a regular feature in which we all take a turn at selecting an easily available bottle to review up to a value of £10.
So what did we make of it, well, so far mixed reactions, a couple of us thought it was OK and some not really convinced mainly due to the tannins and oak.
So here are my thoughts…. Quite a nice deep red colour with pronounced aromas of fleshy ripe dark fruits mainly blackcurrants and berries along with wood shavings and a whiff of bonfire ash. (although others found it hard to distinguish any fruit they did notice the wood and smoke).
On first sip, the tannins were very prominent and mouth drying before the juicy slightly sweet and sour (sorry for the Chinese analogy) dark fruits burst to life. The oak was also very noticeable with a smokey woodiness in the background.
A few minus points for being a little too acidic and lacking in any real body and weight but overall I thought it was a good effort and enjoyed it.
I bought this at £8 when it was on the introductory offer, it has since reverted back to £10 which I think is a little steep but would buy again but only when discounted or part of a 25% off 6 bottle promotion.
So the verdict, for novelty value alone it’s worth a try, I was pleasantly surprised and if you haven’t tried Chinese wine before give it a go, it’s not that bad at all !
My rating 7/10 Corks
Hands up everyone who has tasted Lebanese wine?, Mmmm, looking around I don’t see many arms being raised. If you haven’t, then perhaps you should and you may be pleasantly surprised.
My first introduction to wines from the Lebanon was a couple of years ago when I tasted the stunning Bordeaux like Chateau Musar and their second wine, although less stunning still decent Chateau Hochar Pere et Fils from the Bekaa valley region close to Beirut.
Okay, these wines are a little on the pricey side but now there seems to be more and more affordable bottles appearing on the high street shelves from this ancient wine making country.
This particular bottle the ‘Chateau KSARA Clos St Alphonse 2010’ from M&S, is made up of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and is very French in style (Rhone meets Bordeaux).
Smokey, very vegetal in aroma with ripe plums and cherries . Taste wise the first thing that is noticeable is it’s quite tannic, saying that it still has a nice mouthfeel with no harshness, smokey wood, a hint of cloves come through along with tar and slightly bitter dark fruits.
It may not be a Chateau Musar then you’re not paying Musar prices and at around £10 it’s very good value and I enjoyed it immensely.
My Rating 7.5/10 Corks
M&S around £10