Encantado Shiraz 2013

encantado-shirazIf you want a value for money Shiraz that’s as good as anything Australia has to offer (in my opinion) for a similar price then this Encantado Reserva may be the answer. This is a lovely example of a full flavoured juicy, woody treat of a wine that will probably evolve over time into something even better.

I do like Chilean Syrah / Shiraz but I must warn it may not be for everyone, this bottle in particular is fairly intense and somewhat complex and my wife and daughter found it a little too full on and tannic.

On the nose there was plenty of ripe fruits including black cherries, a whiff of chocolate and peppery spice. Taste-wise, again this was initially sweet & sour dark cherries, a generous helping of oak, tannins and a kick of white pepper to finish.

As I said earlier this needs a little time to settle and would probably benefit from some extra bottle ageing but I still enjoyed it now especially with food and would definitely recommend it without hesitation even for £9.99 ( I got mine when on offer for around £7, which was even better value).

Just make sure you open it early, give it some air and you will be rewarded with an impressive Shiraz.

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Waitrose £9.99

The Black Shiraz & The Hedonist

hedonistSunday roast lunch with family, a loopy dog and two very good Australian Shiraz’s, is there a better way to spend an afternoon to end the week, I think not.

The two Aussie bottles in question were the ‘Black Shiraz‘ and the ‘Hedonist’, been wanting to try the Black Shiraz for a while now ever since seeing it on the shelf of our local Co op after hearing good things in the press about it. Made in the Berton vineyards of SE Australia with its plain dark bottle with a pewter label and 14.5% abv, it just cries out powerhouse, the heavy metal of the wine world. The Hedonist completely different in looks but with the words ‘McLaren Vale’ on the label it was bound to be good, I hoped !

As it turned out both were very decent in their own way considering their differing price points, £7.49 and £13.99 The Hedonist being the dearer.

First bottle opened was the Black Shiraz, this was very dark in colour with pronounced aromas of blackberries and plums, the nose was really all about the intense fruit although not much else of note. Taste wise again dark plums with blackcurrants and a bit spice. The alcohol which at 14.5% was definitely noticeable giving a little heat on the back of the throat but the tannins were quite subtle. Overall this ended up being a lovely mouthful of  juicy mouth-watering black fruits, slightly sour with a kick of spice and for a high alcohol wine surprisingly drinkable.

Next the Hedonist made an appearance and everyone around the table thought this was a step up in quality although no one knew the price of either bottle but all guessed this was the more expensive. If the Black Shiraz was dark in colour this was almost inky and had a headier aroma with dark ripe fruits, liquorice, cocoa and vanilla. The taste was a lot more velvety and rich in texture, the fruit was slightly sweeter and there was a hit of chocolate, vanilla and black pepper spice, again the alcohol was high 14% but not as noticeable as the Black Shiraz. Everyone agreed this was a lovely wine.

In conclusion, the Hedonist was the outright winner but that’s not to say the Black Shiraz was that far behind and for £7.49 excellent value and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying it again but if you fancy spending double again the Hedonist is a fabulous wine and probably worth the extra, no, definitely worth the extra !

8corks

The Black Shiraz

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Co op £7.49

8.5corks

The Hedonist

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Waitrose £13.99

Peter Lehmann Portrait Shiraz 2013 leftovers !

peter-lehmann-shirazWasn’t exactly planning to review this particular bottle but after returning from a weekend away in France we found half a bottle of Wine sitting on the kitchen counter in which our daughter Laura had started drinking on Friday night but didn’t finish it. Being a Monday evening and not happy at seeing wine go to waste we asked if she was going to drink the rest of it and if not we would finish it.

Although not ideal drinking wine that has been left on a kitchen counter for three days we were surprised just how good this still tasted.

The bottle in question was an Aussie Barossa Valley Shiraz with a hefty 14.5% abv. As soon I poured a  couple of glasses the aromas leapt out of the glass (could almost smell it from across the room), intense dark ripe fruits , smoke and sweet spices.

On taking the first sip I was amazed how fresh this still tasted, blackberries, blackcurrants coated the inside of my mouth along with dark chocolate, black pepper and sweet spices. Very noticeable smoke almost ash like flavour which was very appealing.  Tannin’s were there but didn’t overtake and it had a very long juicy but smooth finish.

Both my wife and I were impressed with this and I will definitely buy again to taste what it is like on first opening. Well done Peter Lehmann wines.

8corks

My Rating 8/10 Corks

Waitrose and various around £10

 

Wakefield Clare Valley Shiraz 2014

Wakefield Shiraz 2014 (337 x 599)I first discovered this gem of a wine  at a Majestic ‘Winter tasting ‘ event back in November 2015.

Although not one of the wines on show, It happened to be sitting on their tasting counter along with one or two other pretty decent bottles, not sure how long it had been opened for but their was still half a bottle and over the course of the evening I must admit to revisiting this Aussie beauty a few times. There was slightly less than half a bottle by the end of the evening (Shhh, empty it was !! ) but I didn’t drink it all, honestly and I did end up buying a few bottles.

Made in the Wakefield Estate in the Clare valley this Shiraz was a teeth staining inky black in the glass with aromas of dark cherries and ripe plums with a whiff of mocha. On first sip the juicy ripe dark fruits are prominent and there’s a slight tarry flavour about it. Coffee beans and Vanilla also make an appearance with a spicy peppery finish.

A wine to enjoy with or without food, I actually drank this with some spicy lamb kebabs and it paired beautifully.

As you may have gathered I liked this a lot and for £8.99 on multi buy very good value for money and it’s one Shiraz I will be buying again.

8corks

 

My rating 8/10 Corks

£8.99 on Multi buy  @ Majestic

Papa Luna – Divine wine

Papa Luna

Spain 14.5%

Named after the last pope to reign under a dual papacy in the 14th and 15th Century in Avignon, Pedro Martinez de Luna who was born in Calatayud and was a local and historical icon. This wine is made as a homage to him.

I first tasted this at my local Majestic store a couple of years ago, I bought a couple of bottles stored them away and then forgot about them until now. What a pleasant surprise it was when I opened it and took that first sip, as the title says it was divine.

Inky black in the glass, after a quick swirl (the glass not me) and a deep sniff there were powerful aromas of dark ripe fruits mainly cherries and plums, with my nose still in the glass more aromas of cigar boxes, chocolate and a whiff of lavender emanated.

Drank this straight out of the bottle after opening (poured into a glass first) but I think it would benefit from a little more air although it still tasted pretty good as it was.

Smooth is mentioned a lot when people first taste wine but this is exactly what this was, almost velvety and elegant, intense taste of dark cherries that have been dipped in chocolate burst in your mouth along with liquorice. Bordering on jammy it also had a spicy savoury kick to it, mild tannins and an extremely long finish.

This was really very good and much better than you would expect from a wine this price, I will be back in store to get more

8.5corks

My Rating 8.5/10 Corks

Majestic currently  £7.86 on Multi Buy

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.

The Hedonist Shiraz 2013

Hedonist2013

Australia 14%

The definition of a Hedonist is ‘a person who believes that the pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing in life; a pleasure-seeker.’ and one of the ways of enjoying life is drinking a good bottle of wine.

I haven’t opened a Aussie wine now for a while and I must say it was nice to return to the sunny shores of our antipodean friends with this heady Shiraz from McLaren Vale made with grapes grown biodynamically without chemical intervention of pesticides or herbicides.

In the glass this wine is dark almost inky black, a wine you could dip the tip of a fountain pen in it a write a novel with. If you sniff hard enough there is some dark rich fruit there, mainly blackberries along with dark chocolate, spice and a little vanilla.

First taste this is a fruit powerhouse, juicy acidity, slightly jammy with blackberries, plums and white peppery spice. Sweet but also sour tasting with a woody vanilla flavour and grainy tannins. At 14% this is rich wine and very enjoyable, can cope with robust foods but can be equally drunk on its own.

A bit of a fruit bomb but a well made one and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying it again even at £14.

8corks My Rating 8/10 Corks

Waitrose around £14