The three wine review

tale-of-three-winesThis week I review three contrasting wines, a South African Chenin Blanc, a Chilean Chardonnay and a rather nice Spanish Monastrell.

Firstly the Chardonnay from a new range launched by Morrisons called the Head Honcho which also includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot, these are all the sole property of Morrisons. Aimed primarily at the younger market with its bright eye-catching labels and its simplified consumer friendly wine description on the back, not to mention the price which is around £6.

The Head Honcho Chardonnay 2015 is an entry level wine so  I didn’t expect anything special, nothing to dislike but nothing to write home about either. Heady aromas of tropical fruits, pineapple, peach and mangoes, there was also a noticeable buttery nose.
Taste wise it had bright tropical fruits, touch on the sweet side which was almost slightly artificial. Did I enjoy it? well, it was OK but I do think a lot of people will like it.

Next, the  South African Zalze Bush Vine Chenin 2016 which was a wine selected by a member of our wine club ‘Cuvée Reserve’ for our monthly tasting in which we all take a turn at selecting a widely available bottle up to £10 to discuss and give our views.

Initially  I probably had this chilling for too long and the aromas were a little muted, but as the glass warmed up the nose became pretty full on with tropical fruits especially ripe pineapple, guava and peaches .
The tropical theme continued  in the tasting with the pineapple dominating but with some lemons and limes in the background giving it a fresh, crisp and bright hit in the mouth almost zingy.  Although fairly dry, there was a hint of sweetness as well which was appealing.

Overall thought this was pretty decent and probably worth the full price, I will say that it was even better 24hrs later as I had a little drop left, the flavours were more intense almost like a fresh fruit salad with a touch of cream. I also think that this would probably be even better aged for a little longer.

Lastly, the Mo Salinas Monastrell 2013 and definitely my favourite, from the Alicante region of south east Spain, which had a some what rustic charm about it. Made mostly with Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) with a splash of Garnacha and Cabernet.

Chilled this for about ten minutes as I often do with my reds. In the glass is was a deep purple with a nose of ripe bramble fruit, some smoke and a savoury, slightly earthy smell. On tasting this was medium bodied, with bright dark fruits, some spice, liquorice,  hint of oak. There was a hit of acidity giving it a fresh mouth-watering feel and it had moderate but noticeable tannins.

Nothing to complex but a very enjoyable bottle that I would certainly buy again and I have no hesitation in recommending if you want a fairly inexpensive midweek red.

6corks

Head Honcho Chardonnay 2015

My Rating 6/10 Corks

 

7.5corks

Zalze Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2016

My Rating 7.5/10 Corks

 

8corks

Mo Salinas Monastrell 2013

My Rating 8/10 Corks

The Baron and another noble wine

BdL Camino del Monte Rioja

Spain 13.5%

From the heart of Rioja next to the banks of the river Ebro, the ‘Monastery of Imas’ Baron de Ley’s headquarters is home to some brilliant wines including this made especially for British Supermarkets.

For me, the Baron can do no wrong and this bottle the ‘Camino Del Monte 2001‘ is no exception, from its brightly coloured label to what’s actually inside everything just works.

Imagine sitting in an old church in a sleepy Spanish town surrounded by aromas of incense, candle wax and wooden benches with flamenco music playing outside, well, this is exactly what this wine conjures up.

Darkish garnet in colour with a rusty tinge around the edge. The first mouthful tastes of red cherries, plums and strawberries, spicy and a little smokey. Mildish tannins and a generous hit of Vanilla / oak with a very long finish.

Bottle looks typically Spanish, smells Spanish and tastes Spanish. A classic Rioja all round with age and won’t break the Banco coming in at a full price of around £12 but often on offer for less.

8corks

 

My rating 8/10 Corks

Morrisons around £12 (look for offers)

Gru Vee Baby !

Gruner VeltlinerMorrAustria 12.5%

Gruner Veltliner or to the trendies ‘Gru Vee’ (Austin Powers springs to mind) is the signature grape from Austria and this ‘Signature series’ bottle from Morrisons was a real pleasant surprise to me.

I must admit Austrian wines are generally not top of my shopping list but Gru Vee may well find its way into my shopping basket from now on, especially as the summer arrives.

When poured it was a beautifully clear and fresh looking in the glass and looked very inviting but I was a little disappointed when after sticking my nose in the glass the aromas were fairly muted, there was a faint hint of peach but not much else however vigorously I swirled.

The real pleasure in this wine is the taste, bursting with crisp freshness the citrus fruits danced around in my mouth, a little lemon peel which gave it that slight bitterness along with maybe a touch of grapefruit added to the liveliness. There was also the peach which gave it a sweetness to counteract the tartness but what really was noticeable was the spice in the form of white pepper, which really came through on the finish which was incredibly long.

I drank this with fish but I would say it’s extremely flexible and would pair with most foods including spicy curries. Gruner Veltliner may not be on everyone’s radar but if you haven’t tried it give it a go, brilliant for summer sun and barbecues.

Gru Vee Baby

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Morrisons £6.99

Morrisons Riesling Auslese Mosel 2012

Morrisons riesling 2012Germany 8%

I’ll keep this review short, my son picked this up for me while shopping in Morrisons, not really knowing what he was buying only that he knows I like Riesling and more importantly it was on special offer. The bottle itself is fairly non-descript and the wine although fairly one dimensional and simple it was surprisingly enjoyable.

This was supposed to be semi sweet and it was, you really needed to drink this well chilled as it started to get a little sickly and cloying as it got warmer. Looked nice enough in the glass fairly bright straw like colour with a nose of honey and lemons but in the background if you took a big enough sniff there was a hint of puncture repair kit.

When really cold, first sip was very pleasant, a mouthful of sherbet lemons hits you first along with apricots and maybe some peach. It was fairly sweet but it didn’t feel to sickly especially really cold and it was nice and light on alcohol coming in at 8%.

Overall, nice enough, easy to drink, nothing complex, nothing to really dislike about it unless you don’t like wines on the sweet side. I don’t know how much my son paid for it but knowing him and the bargain hunter he is it must have been fairly cheap but it was an nice gesture and it was an ok simple wine.

6corksMy Rating 6/10 Corks

Vina Maipo Vitral Reserva 2012

vinamaipovitral(450 x 600)Chile 13.5%

An elegant looking bottle with its (Vitral) multi coloured stain glass window emblem but is it an elegant wine? not quite but saying that it is still a very nice drink.

This is the Chilean Vina Maipo Vitral Syrah 2012 and is their flagship wine from a producer famed for its Syrah.

As I said earlier the bottle looks great and the wine when poured is a lovely dark purple with aromas of blackberries, dark ripe plums and a little wood smoke.

Very juicy in the mouth with a bitter sweet taste, some tannins evident along with spice and a hint of dark chocolate.

Drinking this with food it was very pleasant and went down pretty good with the steak we were tucking into, My wife and son had a glass each and they would soon tell me if they didn’t like it but they both said it was very nice, good enough for me.

If you’re looking for a decent enough everyday Syrah/Shiraz you won’t go much wrong with choosing this especially when on offer as I did.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Morrisons £8.99

Blason down the sink

BlasonFrance 12.5%

Ever started a book and struggle through the opening pages only to eventually give up after reading much more than you should have done.

I used to but with millions of books out there if what I’m reading doesn’t hold my interest within a few pages I move on to the next one, why waste your time with something you’re not enjoying, life’s too short to read a bad book.

Life’s definitely too short to drink bad wine, although wine maybe slightly different in that you can’t pass it on or donate it to a charity shop, it’s either persevere or tip it down the sink. Thankfully I haven’t had to do this very often but I have and this is such an occasion.

The bottle in question is the ‘Blason de Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise Pinot Noir 2012’, bought at half price and during a recent 25% off six bottles promotion, luckily it amounted to a cheap bottle of wine.

I won’t dwell too long on why I didn’t like it only to say that it lacked any kind of nose, it was thin, watery, slightly bitter and lacked any sort of flavour, maybe it was just a bad bottle, who knows so Glug, Glug, Glug it went down the sink, as the Late Ian Drury said ‘What a Waste’.

Hey, it’s only my opinion, you may well enjoy it but………………

3.5 corksMy Rating 3.5/10 Corks

Morrisons around £9.99

Palais des Anciens – Fitou Reserve 2012

FitouFrance 12.5%

Languedoc Roussillon in Southern France home to this rustic and very drinkable, I know, sorry to use that annoying phrase again but it definitely applies to this bottle of Fitou. Can’t see on the bottle what it’s made up of but I assuming Carignan, Grenache and Syrah.

Rustic looking bottle, rustic wine, felt like I should be drinking this in a field somewhere leaning against a tree tearing off a chunk of bread and eating a lump of cheese, I settled for a beef stew instead and very nice it was too.

This Fitou had heady aromas of rich blackberries, tar and smoke. Initially straight out of the bottle it was very fruit laden with blackberries and blueberries, dry, slightly spicy, smokey and tannic. There was also a liquorice flavour which left quite a bitter finish, saying this it did pair very nicely with the food.

Second day, the tarry bitterness had sweetened slightly and it was much easier to drink without food.

Nothing subtle about this wine, the Carignan taking centre stage and I liked it, not a lot more I can say, except I only paid £5.99 for it and bought it as a 6 bottle get 25% off deal so what’s not to like !

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Morrisons £5.99