Sorry for the late post, been on holiday but just before we went away our daughter kindly treated us to tickets to watch the one day Cricket international England v Ireland on 7th May at Lords (the home of cricket).
Lords being the only ground that allows you to bring in food and drink, we went armed with a picnic and of course a couple of bottles of wine. Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast, so a coat and warm top was the order of the day but that didn’t spoil what turned out to be a brilliant day.
Nestled in the cooler bag amongst the Chicken Pasta and nibbles were the wines in question, a Brancott Estate 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Selected by my wife whose a big Brancott Estate fan) and a French Syrah Les Vieilles Vignes Maris 2015 which I bought from Waitrose on offer for around £8.
Now Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc is a wine we always have a stock of and generally everyone in our family really enjoy it. I personally think it’s an excellent everyday Sovee especially for the price and has wonderful aromas of freshly cut grass and fruit salad with the bright flavours of kiwi fruit and crisp green apples perfect for a nice warm sunny day. Unfortunately, at times our side of the ground was in shade and most of us were in jumpers and coats but in contrast the other side was in bright sunshine and the crowd were all in t-shirts and sunglasses but that’s the British weather for you. It still didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the game or the wine, even if it was out of a plastic cup.
Now the French Syrah was a bit of a beast but hugely enjoyable none the less and one I would have no hesitation in buying again. Full of rich dark plums, touch of acidity and powerful tannins, there was also a fair lashing of earthiness and spice, this really was a rustic wine with a touch of class.
Oh yeah, the cricket game was pretty good as well with Ireland making a game of it for a while but England’s class showed through in the end and won fairly comfortably but not without a fight and the odd scare. All in all a fabulous day out good entertainment, good food and good wine.
Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015
My rating 7/10 Corks
Widely available around £7-£8
Les Vieilles Vignes Maris Syrah 2015
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Normally £10.99 on offer at time for £8
Off to north eastern Spain in the Catalonian region for my next wine the Cara Nord Negre 2012, a Blend of Syrah, Garnacha and Garrut (Monastrell aka Mourvedre).
An impressively dark brooding wine, so inky in colour that you probably dip a fountain pen in a glass and write a short story with it, if anyone can remember what a fountain pen is.
This wine is made in Conca de Barberà to the north of Tarragona in a region that’s more used to producing Cava. The winery only makes two wines at the moment the other being the Cara Nord Blanc a blend of Macabeo, Chardonnay and Albarino.
When I opened the bottle the aroma was quite stinky and pronounced, rich with blackcurrant, dark cherries, herbs and dark bitter Chocolate. I decided to give it a little air for an hour or so and it did mellow slightly.
My first sip told me that this was very much a food wine full of blackberries, dark cherries with a rich, smokey and a robust earthiness. There was a little woodiness from the oak, dark chocolate and fine dusty tannins. The wine did open up a bit after a little while but there was still a rustic harshness about it which I kind of liked.
With food it was a pretty decent drink, I had a glass after the food and again it was pretty decent but I would say slightly better with something to eat.
Bought this from the Wine Society for around £10 and it’s pretty much what it’s worth, although it looks like they now only stock the white which I’ve yet to try and is on my list.
My Rating 7.5/10 Corks
Wine Society around £10
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.
My Rating 7.5/10 Corks
After a bit of a disaster with my last bottle it’s was time for something more reliable and who better to turn to than the consistently good and excellent value for money, Trivento.
The bottle I went with was the Syrah, Malbec Reserve 2010 and having already tasted quite a few of their range from the entry level Malbecs through to the excellent Golden Reserve I was hoping that this bottle would fit the bill.
When poured it was very dark purple in colour, strikingly dark actually with aromas of ripe sweet plums with cherries giving it an almost Kirsch like flavour. There was also an earthiness there, vanillary oak and some smoke. Taking a sip the dark fruits dominate mixed again with a little earthiness, the tannins are noticeable and grippy, stewed prunes come through and there’s a little smokiness in the background.
This was a very enjoyable glass of wine, full of character and some depth of flavour and although Trivento is a large commercial player and is widely available the quality of their wines for the price are very good and I have never been disappointed.
I turned to Trivento as I knew it would be reliable and the fact that it happened to be at the front of my wine rack and easy to get to but unlike my last bottle of wine which I tipped down the sink, the only time this got near the sink was to rinse the empty bottle and wash the glass.
My Rating 8/10 Corks
Various around £8
Hands up everyone who has tasted Lebanese wine?, Mmmm, looking around I don’t see many arms being raised. If you haven’t, then perhaps you should and you may be pleasantly surprised.
My first introduction to wines from the Lebanon was a couple of years ago when I tasted the stunning Bordeaux like Chateau Musar and their second wine, although less stunning still decent Chateau Hochar Pere et Fils from the Bekaa valley region close to Beirut.
Okay, these wines are a little on the pricey side but now there seems to be more and more affordable bottles appearing on the high street shelves from this ancient wine making country.
This particular bottle the ‘Chateau KSARA Clos St Alphonse 2010’ from M&S, is made up of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and is very French in style (Rhone meets Bordeaux).
Smokey, very vegetal in aroma with ripe plums and cherries . Taste wise the first thing that is noticeable is it’s quite tannic, saying that it still has a nice mouthfeel with no harshness, smokey wood, a hint of cloves come through along with tar and slightly bitter dark fruits.
It may not be a Chateau Musar then you’re not paying Musar prices and at around £10 it’s very good value and I enjoyed it immensely.
My Rating 7.5/10 Corks
M&S around £10
Spain 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.
My Rating 7.5/10 corks