The Joys of Yalumba

Yalumba duo

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 asked if he recommended any stands to visit and without hesitation he told me to try Yalumba. I remember the stand was packed and not knowing much about them the first wine I happened to try was the fantastic Octavius, which I was blown away by (before I realised the price). I went on to try many of their wines including the Signature, the Cigar, the Patchwork and probably my favourite to date the Scribbler Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz.

So imagine my delight when I received a couple of their bottles (from Yalumba courtesy of Tesco) to take part in a taste panel to review two of their more affordable wines. Read on to find out what I thought of them…..

Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache 2013

Whenever I see the name on a bottle of wine I know instantly it’s going to be good and this Old Bush Vine Grenache 2013 is no different, even the bottle itself looks classy with its distinctive branding.

The wine itself when poured is a little translucent but still a vivid red colour, light to medium bodied and elegant looking in the glass with an intense aroma of red fruits especially cherries and red currants, kind of reminds me of cherry drop sweets I had as a kid. There was also a smokey herbal thing going on that was pleasant.
On first sip, again the red cherries are dominant with some raspberries but this time mixed with vanilla giving it a slight sweet taste although still with a bit of tartness and acidity making this a very subtle fruit bomb. Herbs and maybe some floral notes are also there with soft tannins and a terrifically long finish.

No surprises here, I liked it a lot and all the people I shared it with (some fussy) enjoyed it as well, even confirmed white wine drinkers. I would say another winner from the ever reliable Yalumba, I would recommend this whole heartedly.

8.5corks

 

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Tesco around £12

 

Yalumba Shiraz Viognier 2012

Another excellent offering this time from their ‘Y Series’, again a distinctive label with its snorting horse below the iconic Yalumba title.

In the glass red garnet like colour with heady aromas of really, really ripe cherries, red currants and raspberries. There was an essence of bacon fat (which i really liked) all mixed with a vanilla candy like smell much like those sweet candy cigarettes which don’t seem to be around now.

Taste wise, ripe sweet red fruits again as on the nose, cherries and raspberries, tannins were soft, there was a bright acidity with the addition of the Viognier giving more than a hint of flowery honeysuckle which was different but added to the overall enjoyment, all ending with a kick of peppery spice.

Another pretty decent wine from the ever reliable Yalumba, brilliant on its own or with food, either way a wine to remember.

8corks

 

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco around £8 (currently on offer)

 

To sum up, two very good wines and both I would recommend with a slight preference for the Grenache. My thanks to Yalumba and Tesco for letting me try these and a big thank you to Oz Clarke for steering me in the right direction.

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Gran Fabrica Carinena Gran Reserva 2001

granfabrica2001Spain 13.5 %

A trip to northern Spain for my next review and the excellent Gran Fabrica Carinena Gran Reserva 2001. This is actually the penultimate bottle from a case I bought a couple of years ago and from what I remember with discount it worked out at a ridiculous price of around 4 or £5 a bottle.

A delicious blend of Tempranillo, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Carinena is located betweeen the fabulous area of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat and this particular bottle the 2001 is from a great vintage for Spanish wines.

Ideally I would have liked to have decanted this for a couple of hours as I have done with the other bottles but this time I took it along to a friends birthday party and we ended up opening and drinking straight away, (everyone who tasted it gave it a big thumbs up).

When poured it was pretty dark and dense in colour with the aged rusty tinge around the rim. Pretty intense aromas of ripe dark plums, cherries, vanilla spice and smokey ash.

Initially quite sweet tasting, smokiness and vanilla oak dominant, mildly tannic, a little dark fruit action but fairly subdued which left the spices and oak pretty much taking over. It did taste smooth and elegant and I like it a lot, shame I’ve only got one bottle left.

The 2006 is currently on sale at Tesco online at £36 a case of six, it’s ok but not even close to the 2001, unfortunately not sure you’ll find the 2001 anywhere now, real shame !

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Tesco 2001?  2006 online £6 a bottle

 

GSM 2012 – Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, Muzzy head and tickly throat.

GSM M&SSpain 13 %

Now tasting wine when you have a bunged up head and a tickly throat is not recommended but it was either a couple of glasses of the this or a dose of ‘Night Nurse’.

Now I really like Grenache, really like Syrah and I really like Mourvedre so this GSM from M&S should have been an ideal blend and on the whole it didn’t disappoint.

Dark crimson in the glass, with a sweetish candy like aroma (through slightly blocked nose) of blackcurrant pastilles and those cherry drops popular a few years back.

Even with my taste buds taking a vacation I could still make out how fruity this wine really was, even though the blend was is in fairly equal ratios Grenache 34%, Syrah 33% and Mourvedre 33%, the Grenache really took centre stage, the tannins were mild and the Syrah provided a touch of spice.

I know the phrase ‘easy drinking wine’ gets used a lot but this really was an ‘easy drinking wine’. Nothing complex and reasonably priced, paired brilliantly with Spaghetti Bolognese  but it would also go with any stew type meal.

Enjoyed this as much as I could with a muzzy head and redundant taste buds but I still think this is an Ok wine and I will be sure to revisit this soon hopefully with a clear head and clear nostrils.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 corks

M&S  £6.99

French Grenache & Spanish Tempranillo

Two bottles, one from France the other from Spain, both delicious, an adjective I seem to use rarely but in this case it describes these reasonably priced wines perfectly.

Oldvinegrenache(450 x 600)The first is a Grenache from the Cotes du Roussillon and Muscat de Rivesaltes regions in the South of France, a ‘Old Vines Grenache Noir 2012’ and available at M&S for £7.99. An unoaked, fruit filled, soft, silky, almost port like beauty with light tannins, slight acidity, a hint of sweetness with a long finish, It also has a little complexity and depth which makes it an interesting drink . The only slight drawback is the hefty alcohol 14.5% which you certainly feel after a few sips.

This is a wine to savour and finish over a couple of evenings brilliant with food equally as good on it’s own.

 

Epototempranillo(450 x 600)Next is from Spain, from a traditional Bodega north west of Madrid but with a non traditional screw cap. The ‘Opoto Single vineyard Tempranillo 2010’– Wine Society £6.25.
Very deep crimson with aromas of cherries, strawberries, Vanilla and smokey ash.
Taste – Very fruity, quite tannic, with a real hit of sweet vanilla but with a hint of mint, Eucalyptus and chewy candle wax.

Typically Spanish tasting and you won’t be disappointed !

 

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Old Vines Grenache Noir M&S £7.99

 

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Opoto Tempranillo £6.25