Looking like a bottle found under a park bench this unusually packaged wine is certainly quirky and definitely stands out on the supermarket shelf but is it any good?
As some of my regular readers may know I belong to a small wine circle called Cuvée Reserve where once a month one of our members select a wine of the month which is easily accessible and under £10 for us all to review. This particular bottle is our March selection and is currently priced at £5.50 from Asda.
Farmers of wine is from the Puglia Region of Italy, a blend of Negroamaro, Zinfandel, locally known as Primitivo, Merlot and Nero d’Avola.
Ok, going back to my first question, is it any good?, for me for the price it’s a resounding yes!
This comes with a cork and has a very intense dark garnet like colour when poured. The nose is fairly muted although there is a hint of ripe dark plums and cherries. The first mouthful has those plums and cherries bursting with juiciness followed by a little dark chocolate. Slightly on the jammy side but not over the top, subtle tannins and a hit of pepper comes through on the finish. Left in the glass for a while everything softens ending up with a very drinkable Italian for not a lot of money.
I was a little bit sceptical when I saw the gimmicky bottle but rest assured there is nothing gimmicky about the wine, this is a very quaffable mid week drink with Pizza 🍕 or pasta 🍝 I enjoyed it and would probably buy again.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
New Zealand 13.5%
Rummaging around my wine rack, trying to fight my way through many bottles of Spanish wines I seem to have accumulated and trying to ignore the temptation to pick out a bottle of Rioja I decided finally to try something different and something I wouldn’t normally have with Lamb Chops and Mediterranean vegetables the bottle I finally settled on was the Hawkes Bay Villa Maria Private bin Merlot 2013.
Always been a fan of Villa Maria wines and when attending tasting events Villa Maria is always amongst one of the first stands I usually visit, I particularly enjoy their Pinot Noirs especially the Reserve and their Cellar selection.
I opened this just before dinner and couldn’t resist a little sniff and sip and I must say I was slightly disappointed, trouble is I’ve had such positive experiences from Villa Maria I didn’t expect this. Another sniff and aromas of Cherries and plums didn’t exactly jump out of the glass although they were there if you inhaled for long enough.
Didn’t get any earthy or smokey flavours in the mouth, bit lacking in depth and surprisingly a little thin tasting, it was very fruity, full of sharp red fruits, including raspberry, cherry and plums. The tartness was the dominant force but it seemed to be much better when paired with the food and by the end of the meal I enjoyed it far more than my initial taste.
Having said what I have, I still think this is probably better than a lot of wines in this price range but the bar has been set so high with other Villa Maria wines I’ve tasted, this was however, a touch disappointing.
My Rating 6/10 Corks
Various around £10
Macedonian wine, not everyone’s first choice when browsing the shelves looking for a red wine to go with dinner but do yourself a favour and grab a bottle that mentions the Vranec grape.
I first tasted Vranec a few months ago and thought it was excellent , I’ve now revisited the grape and my thoughts are still that it’s a very decent drink. Vranec is the native red grape of Macedonia and it produces very dark rich full bodied wines.
This particular wine from M&S is called Tikves (most well known wine region in Macedonia). This is a blend of Vranec and Merlot and for £8.99 is well worth a try.
When poured the wine is strikingly deep purple in colour with aromas of ripe plums, blackcurrants, prunes and rich dark chocolate.
Taste – Not for the faint hearted, rich, velvety, bitter sweet jam and fairly tannic (for me pretty much what I like in a wine). It also boasts 14% alcohol but doesn’t feel like it (which can be a good or bad thing) because a lot of the bottle can disappear quickly without realising.
For me, Vranec will definitely feature a lot in my wine rack, so treat yourself and try this Balkan beauty, you may be pleasantly surprised.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
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