M&S

M&S Wine Festival offers

I recently bought some wine from M&S during their latest ‘Wine Festival’ discount promotion in which they were selling off a large selection of bottles for anything from a few pounds off to over half the recommended price. The wines on offer varied from store to store but if you were lucky enough there were some real bargains to be had. Friends told me that they were finding offers like [……]

Wine Event

Hosting a ‘Wine Tasting’ evening

Having been to many wine tasting events in the past most of them very enjoyable and informative I decided to hold my own such evening and let me tell you I ‘doff my cap’ to the people who organise them and as I found out, it’s not as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of preparation from, finding a venue, selecting a theme, sourcing the wines, buying them, [……]

Summer Whites

Two dynamic summer whites

I have to bring to your attention two white wines which I have enjoyed during our recent spell of hot weather. To start with I revisited a Vinho Verde from Waitrose/Majestic that I first tasted a few years ago and then a real gem of a find from the Co op, a quite superb Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (Sovee Bee). The Vinho Verde was a real surprise I will explain why [……]

Australian Wine

Lindeman’s Bin 1355 Hunter Valley Semillon 2013

Semillon, most widely known and grown in France and Australia. France in particular use it as a integral part of making White Bordeaux. and is the 3rd most planted grape variety in the country behind Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Bit of an acquired taste this with sharp tangy, lemon flavour along with an oiliness akin to some Rieslings. This particular Aussie bottle from Lindeman’s was part of a case I [……]

La-Bien-Pinta-Verdejo
Lidl

La bien pintá, Verdejo

The Rueda region of Castilla y Leon in northern Spain produces some fabulously fresh and vibrant white wines and this Verdejo (a classic white grape of the region) from Lidl is no exception and brilliant value at £5.99. The flavour profile for Verdejo is usually fresh and fruity and the ‘La bien Pintá´scores on both accounts. The Verdejo grape is usually harvested during the night when the temperatures are cooler [……]

Vilarnau-Cava-Rose
Sparkling wine

Spanish Pink Fun Fizz

‘At last’, I hear you all cry ‘the weather is warming up’, pink drinks start appearing, all kinds of Rosés and even pink gin but in my opinion nothing beats pink fizz, in all its forms including Champagne, English sparkling and especially the much more affordable Cava. Step forward this excellent offering the Cava Vilarnau Rosé Brut Reserva from Barcelona., with its Gaudi inspired designer bottle. This was lively, when [……]

Misc

Three big reds and a refreshing white

A quick round up of four wines this time, I know the weather is nice and chilled fizz, whites and rosé’s should be featuring but I still enjoy a big red even when the sun is shinning. It’s been a good few days for reds and the three I feature I shared with friends who all thought, as did I, that they were very good indeed. Conde San Cristobal – [……]

Spanish Fortified

Sherry – Sunshine in a glass

What springs to mind when Sherry is mentioned, my guess is memories of that bottle that sits in the sideboard for years only brought out a Christmas when your grandmother fancies a little tipple, served in those awfully old fashioned shaped glasses. Today, it seems everyone is talking about sherry and its many different styles even attracting a younger consumer, suddenly sherry has become cool and trendy. Below is a [……]

Italian Wine

Gattavecchi Rosso Di Montepulciano 2016

At a recent trip to Tuscany we stopped by at the Gattavecchi winery in the Argiano area in south Multepulciano, where we tasted amongst others this Rosso Di Montepulciano. Although it wasn’t the best wine we tasted on our Tuscany tour, it seemed kind of honest and typical of a lot of the wines served at the local bars and on opening this again a few months later it immediately [……]

Botham Wines
Australian Wine

Sir Ian Botham Wines

Always a bit sceptical about celebrity endorsed wines but in this case the man himself cricket legend Sir Ian Botham is renowned as a passionate wine lover especially the Aussie stuff and was deeply involved with the creation and actual making of these wines working closely with award wining wine makers Nick Badrice, (Chief winemaker Dorrien Estate, Barossa valley) Marty Edwards (The Lane vineyard, Adelaide Hills) and Geoff Merrill (McLaren [……]

Bardolino
Waitrose

Light,cheerful & chilled

Fancy a nice white or Rosé ? it may be perfect for those summer evenings sitting in the garden with the sun shining but have you considered a light red wine slightly chilled, maybe a Beaujolais, Pinot noir or how about a Bardolino? Bardolino is an Italian red wine produced around lake Garda in the province of Verona and named after, surprisingly, the town of Bardolino Probably a wine to [……]

Monte Da Casteleja
Portuguese wine

Organic White from the Algarve

Back in the summer of 2018, we visited an Organic vineyard ‘Monte Da Casteleja’ situated in the Algarve region of Portugal. We were so impressed with the quality of the wines we had to bring some back and now I’ve just revisited their white (Branco) almost a year on, to see if the wine has developed from what already was a deliciously rich and complex but unusual drink. Winemaker Guillaume [……]

Lot XI chardonnay
Aldi

Lot XI Chardonnay

A quick review Couldn’t let this bottle from Aldi pass without a quick mention, a lovely Aussie Chardonnay from Clare Valley/Margaret River, full of fresh citrus, tropical fruits and a lick of creamy vanilla. Not particularly cheap at around £11 compared to a lot of Aldi wines but in my opinion worth every penny, this really was a beautiful example of how good Chardonnay can be. A word of warning [……]

Luigi Bosca & Catena
Argentinian Wine

Battle of the Malbecs

“Ladies and Gentleman for tonight’s main event, a head to head contest featuring two Argentinian Malbecs sponsored by Waitrose. In the blue corner and weighing in at 75cl from the Vistalba vineyard Mendoza the ‘Luigi Bosca’ and in the red corner at 75cl and also from Mendoza the ‘Catena’. The fight takes place over two nights, and two evening meals, the winner by knock-out, stoppage or points will be announced [……]

Hungary

In Praise of Furmint, the Hungarian ‘Jewell in the Crown’

I was recently invited courtesy of Brian Elliot’s Midweek Wines to the ‘Wines of Hungary’ Furmint tasting in London where I was treated to an array of sublime white wines, from bone dry with citrus and zingy minerality, to wines which were a little more intensely oaky including tropical flavours and of course their flagship sweet but still incredibly fresh tasting Tokaji. It’s true to say that I was suitably [……]

Tempus & Lisboa
Great Value

Tale of two reds

A double review this time, two reds and a real contrast in styles, one a light Cabernet Sauvignon from south-east Australia and the other a heavier but silky Portuguese blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. Tempus Two – Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 This surprised me, mainly because I didn’t expect it to be a light as it was. Initially very tart with its bright acidity and vibrant [……]

Majestic

Bo Ya Pinot Noir 2015 – Chile

Pinot Noir, Burgundy’s most famous if a little fickle grape, requiring optimum growing conditions to produce what often becomes an elegant wine. Although it is often described as a “difficult” grape to grow, it can sometimes be a difficult wine to drink and as I found from my daughters reaction it may not be for everyone. This particular Pinot is made by the Garcés Silva Family coastal winery in the [……]

De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc
Waitrose

Stunning South African ‘Sovee Bee’

Regular readers will know I rate wine with a simple Cork rating and back in September 2018 after a long while searching for my first 9/10 corks I tried a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand called the Elara by Waimea which I was blown away by and now it just happens that another Sauvignon Blanc this time from South Africa the De Grendel has equally impressed me enough to award [……]

Gordons wine bar
Wine Bar

Gordon’s Wine Bar, step back in time

Visiting London? fancy a glass of wine? then why not head down Villiers Street at the Embankment, seek out Gordon’s Wine Bar, enter by the side entrance carefully walk down the rickety steps and enter a world that transports you back in time. Established in 1890 it’s said to be the oldest wine bar in London, Home to Samuel Pepys in the 1860’s and Rudyard Kipling who lived in the [……]

La Maldita Garnacha
Majestic

La Maldita, the ‘Cursed one’

Another bottle from Spain, this time a Garnacha but from the Rioja region where Tempranillo is king. La Maldita literally translates to ‘The Cursed one’ referring to the fact that Garnacha is very difficult to grow due to its thin skin and low yields in an area which only boasts around 10% of all vineyard plantings in Rioja. The grapes are sourced primarily from estate-owned vineyards located largely in the [……]