Fabulous South African Fizz

Been spoilt with good fizz over the last few months and this Graham Beck is up there with the best I’ve tasted especially for the price.  From the first sip I was sold with its lemony, yeasty, nutty and creamy taste leaving a lot of Champagne at twice the price floundering in its wake.

A Blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, spending 15 months or so on Lees this stunning sparkler was apparently served at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and again served up for Barack Obama’s presidential win. My bottle was served up in my kitchen before our evening meal, not quite as grand  but it did feel like a special occasion with its impressive looking bottle and it’s equally impressive taste.

In the glass it was a very darkish golden colour with a lively mousse and pronounced aromas of yeast and nuts with some lemony fruit along with a creamy and long finish. A touch of sweetness added to its appeal and overall it was very Champagney in flavour.

Everyone who tried it loved it and I can’t praise it highly enough and would recommend it without hesitation even at the full price of around £13.50, I paid £9.99 at Waitrose  (which is a steal).

Don’t take my word for it, go out and buy some , you won’t be disappointed, I’m heading back for more.

My rating 8.5/10 Corks 

Waitrose £13.50 (bought on offer for £9.99)

 

**Tempted to give this my first 9/10 Corks, the wait goes on but only just !!!

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La Moneda Pinot Noir Reserva 2015

Been hearing lots of good things about the ‘La Moneda’ range of wines at Asda in the past few months so I thought it was about time I tried them especially as they were on special offer at £4.50.

Popped into my local store specifically looking for the highly rated and award winning ‘La Moneda Malbec’ unfortunately the Pinot Noir was the only one available at the time.

Generally Pinot Noir around this price point is a little bit hit or miss but I must say this particular bottle was more on the hit side. First of all the bottle looks good with its brushed metal like label (the Malbec and Merlot look exactly the same).

In the glass the wine is fairly translucent with aromas of fresh strawberries and cherries with a whiff of something more rural. On first sip I wasn’t entirely sold as there was a slight bitterness to the finish. There was initially, that strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavour bursting with a lovely mouth-watering acidity followed by a more farmyardy earthiness. There were some pronounced tannins but too intrusive.

Overall, I did enjoy this and it was only let down by the slight sour (bitter) finish, which did improve after a a little time in the glass but for £4.50 it’s hard to criticise too harshly.

I will be back  to Asda for the Merlot and I’m looking forward to trying the Malbec to see if it lives up to the hype.

My Rating 7/10 Corks

Asda £5.98 (on offer for £4.50)

 

 

Three supermarket wines

TaleofthreewinesThis is a quick tale of three wines in which two of them prove, if you look hard enough amongst the supermarket shelves, there are bargains to be had.

The three supermarkets which have the starring roles in this tale are as they say ‘in no particular order’ Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

Starting with the Tesco McWilliams Hayfield Pinot Noir 2013 (£5.49). Looks like it’s currently unavailable online but there was still plenty on the shelves when I bought this. Produced by McWilliams, imported and bottled in the UK. The first thing that struck me about this when poured was how incredibly translucent it was. There was the typical Pinot aromas of Cherries and a touch of mushroom but the taste kind of let it down, lacking in fruit and a little thin in texture with noticeable tannins and a slight acidic aftertaste. Not too bad, nothing to get excited about but it is only £5 a bottle.

Next is the Marques De Almeida Ribera del Duero 2010 (£8) Now this is a different beast altogether from Northern Spain and part of the Sainbury’s’ Taste the difference’ range, a beautifully rich dark purple Ribera del Duero with heady aromas of blackberries, plums, cherries and vanilla. From the first sip it’s typically Spanish, rich, succulent, full of ripe dark berries, tannic and oaky. Well worth the £8.

Finally there is the Vignobles Rousselllet Malbec (£4.39) from Aldi. A French Malbec (with a touch of Merlot) bursting with juicy blackberries and blueberries, hint of spice and a little gamey. This is a uncompletcated easy drinking Malbec that is a Decanter Bronze medal winner and an International Wine Challenge winner in 2014. This is a real cracking wine and cheap as chips, stock up !

6corks

 

McWilliams Hayfield Pinot noir  (Tesco- £5.49)

My Rating 6/10 corks

8corks

 

Marques de Almeida RdD (Sainsbury’s £8)

My Rating 8/10 Corks

8corks

 

Vignobles Roussellet Malbec (Aldi £4.49)

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Best value for money was the fabulously easy drinking Aldi Malbec, followed by the intensely rich Ribera Del Duero from Sainsbury’s and lastly the disappointing but still drinkable Tesco Pinot Noir.

Aldi Pinot Noir taste off

battlepinotIn my last review I tasted the Aldi Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir which I picked up at an incredible price of £4.39, at the same time I picked up a couple of bottles of their Exquisite collection New Zealand Pinot Noir for £6.99.

After enjoying the cheaper French Pinot with a Lamb dinner I decided to follow-up with the slightly more expensive New Zealand version paired with roast pork to see which one came out on top. It turned out to be surprisingly harder than I thought with both wines, especially for the price holding their own but in very different ways.

The New Zealand Pinot compared to the French was very much lighter in colour, (almost read a book through the wine) and straight away the aroma was much more noticeable than the French which was fairly muted. Cherries, raspberries and to a lesser extent strawberries were all there with an almost red fruit pastilles smell (the one everyone goes for in the packet). The French aroma was almost fruitless with savoury and smoke dominant.

Taste wise again completely different, the French was rustic, unmistakably French, pretty sweet but with a smokey wood flavour. Although you could taste red fruits it wasn’t a full on fruitiness of the New Zealand, this was bright a very fruity with cherries, strawberries but still with a whiff of smoke and hint of savouriness.

If the French was rustic the New Zealand wine was kind of elegant in comparison. Which one did I prefer?, hard to say, enjoyed both of them equally for different reasons and they both showed well on the second day. As long as they remain at these prices I will be making the 10 mile journey to buy more of each for £4.39 & £6.99 silly not too, well done Aldi !.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Aldi £6.99

 

Aldi’s cheap wine bottles !

AldiPinotNoirOn the way to picking up my son from Luton Airport, I made a slight detour and found myself in Aldi’s Hemel Hempstead store for my first venture into their range of wines.

Don’t get to visit aldi much due to the fact that it’s about 10 miles away but the airport trip was the ideal opportunity to stop and see why there is all this fuss about these cut price wines.

Got my trolley and entered the store and maneuvered my way over to the wine aisle, it wasn’t really a wine a aisle, more like a couple of shelves thrown together with lots of bottles scattered on them, not the tidiest I’ve seen

Armed with a list of recommendations from my wine buddies I proceeded to place a few bottles in the trolley as were a lot of other people. Now I’m not sure whether it’s because most of the wine was so cheap that the trolleys were being filled fast or the fact that maybe they all know that the wine is pretty decent. I ended up buying some Pinot Noir from Both New Zealand and France, French Malbec, Italian Sangiovese and Spanish Tempranillo, most of them with award stickers all over them.

Standing at the till looking around there was lots of people with a lot of wine in their trolleys, the only difference was they had food and groceries as well, mine was just stacked with wine bottles (what does that say about me !).

With my son picked up and safely home it was decision time, which wine with tonight’s Lamb dinner, I decided to go French and picked the Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir at £4.39.

In the glass it was dark garnet colour slightly see through, not much on the nose apart a little smoke and savouriness. What I would say is it’s very French in style and rustic, the taste was again savoury with a plummy sweetness which I liked. After the first few sips I thought this is nice, nothing complex, not the best Pinot I’ve tasted recently but it’s better than a lot I’ve tasted for three times the price.

Remember this is a Vin de France, not a Burgundy, yes it’s Rustic, yes it’s cheap and yes it’s very acceptable even enjoyable and i wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it, lets hope the rest of the bottles I bought today are as good.

7.5corksMy Rating 7.5/10 Corks

Aldi £4.39

Luis Felipe Edwards Estate Collection Pinot Noir 2013

LPE Pinot Noir Chile 14%

One of the attractions of this bottle apart from being from Chile and the fact that it was on offer were the two award stickers on the top left of the label, one being a silver award from the IWSC (International Wine & Spirit competition) and the other a gold award from AWC (Vienna International Wine Challenge).

I have tasted the 2012 and looking back over my notes I see I enjoyed it, so what was the 2013 like, well, again I kind of enjoyed it but I can’t remember the 2012 having quite as strangely intense nose as this, think cooking a dish of fried liver on bonfire night that’s exactly what the nose was like, burnt out fireworks and liver were really prominent, muted red fruits including strawberries and cherries were there but way in the background.

Colour was very light (could see my fingers through the glass), taste was on the sweet side and a little more fruity than the nose, strawberry pastilles, candied cigarettes, smoke and a little spice, I can’t help feeling though,  the taste was perhaps a little artificial.

Paired this with roast chicken and it went pretty well but I couldn’t get that burnt out firework smell out of my head or should I say the nose. Not the best Pinot Noir I’ve had, definitely not the worst, not a lot more to say.

6corksMy Rating 6/10 Corks

Various stores around £7

 

** Had a little drop left to try  the next day, in my opinion, much better, the over the top aroma had settled and the fruit  much more to the fore, if perhaps still a little sweet.

So, maybe open this and drink it the next day

Cono Sur Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2013

conosurespecialPN(450 x 600)Chile 14%

Cono Sur do everyday wines very well, spend an extra eight or nine pounds and that gets you into their premier 20 Barrels range but you only have to spend an extra two or three pounds to be in their middling Reserva Especial range and it’s where I found myself with this excellent ‘Cono Sur Especial Reserva Pinot Noir 2013’.

Nice looking bottle and I must say when poured it looked very inviting in the glass, fairly dark purple colour with quite an intense nose of earthy strawberry, cherries, green peppers and cloves, smelt a little candy like. On first sip there I thought it was on the sweet side maybe even jammy, the veg side then kicked in with green peppers and mushrooms then finishing with spiciness and a little heat from the 14% although still tasting velvety, smooth and very moreish.

Forget what I paid for this, sells now for around £9, probably didn’t pay that, there’s probably a good chance I got it on special offer but I do think it’s worth full price and I would recommend it.

8corksMy Rating 8/10 Corks

Various around £9