Archive for the ‘Wines tasted’ Category

Save 33% on Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2006

May 12, 2010

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On a relatively regular basis, our suppliers offer us bin-end deals on some of their wines for various reasons; they might want to clear out the last of the previous vintage to make room for a new one arriving, the wine may have been de-listed and replaced by something else, and of course, they sometimes find they got over-excited about a new wine and bought far too much of it, and need to sell it off in volume. The caveat is usually that we have to buy up a decent chunk of stock if we want to get the benefits of the good prices, and the wines can often be ones we don’t usually stock or aren’t familiar with, so we don’t always jump at the chance.

No such trouble with this Californian Sauvignon Blanc from the well-established and highly rated Kendall-Jackson range. We were already selling this at £11.99 when we were asked if we wanted to take a few cases at a reduced price, and knew we liked it, so we grabbed 36 bottles a few days ago and promptly opened one for the tasting counter (come in and ask if you’d like to try it yourself this week). I was delighted with the quality, and the more unusual style; this is not a New Zealand-style Sauvignon by any means, and in my opinion is all the better for it. I love to see regions producing wines in their own individual manner, instead of trying to emulate someone else’s success (something the New World is still getting the hang of in many parts).

So the all important question of course is price, and we’ve reduced this from £11.99 to £9.99/bottle, or you can buy 3 bottles for £7.99 each (£23.97), saving you a fantastic 33% off the original shelf price (down from £35.97).

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Below are my own tasting notes, tweeted live as I tried it (start at the bottom and read upwards though, as they’re listed with the most recent tweet first). If you’re ever interested in seeing what others and myself have been tasting recently, search on Twitter for “#wineyardtasting” or click the image below.

Chilean Desert Wines

April 26, 2010

CYT Late Harvest Sauv Blanc & Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Last night I gathered a bunch of friends to try a couple of Chilean desert wines with a homemade lemon tart (recipe courtesy of @SareySue). The tart in particular generated a lot of interest on Twitter from the likes of Mel D, FoodyPhil, BlueVanMan1, Marieiram, and TEDavis, and was a great success. It was a Rick Stein recipe, and was my first bash at pastry in recent memory. The base was nice and biscuity, and the filling was soft, creamy, rich, dense, full of flavour, zesty, tart and refreshing. The combination of the sharpness of the lemon and the richness of the cream and eggs in particular made it a bit of a challenge for me to work out what to pair with it, so I decided to try a couple of different styles of wine against it, both Late Harvest sweeties from Chile.

Six of us were tasting together: Me, Rob, Sonia, Paul, Steve, and Charlotte.

First up was Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (£5.99), a tart, crisp and refreshing desert wine that was surprisingly light and sharp in style – the citrus and gooseberries you expect in Sauvignon were definitely showing through, despite the sweeter and more intense nature of the wine. It was a zippy little number with bags of citrus flavour. Paul, Steve and Rob went for this wine with the tart as their preferred pairing. Rob in particular was keen on the match, but preferred the second of our wines on its own.

The rest of us opted for the Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel 2009 (£5.59) with our lemon tart. The wine was much richer and more honeyed, with flavours of caramel and apple sauce, but nicely balanced with refreshing acidity to keep it on the right side of syrupy. The finish was decent as well, with a touch of orange peel and toffee coming through (I would have tweeted more, but we sat down to watch 28 Days Later, and the glow of a phone/laptop was a bit of a drain on the atmosphere). I found I preferred the richness and luscious texture of the Moscatel with the tart, as it worked really well with the creamy and thick lemon filling in the tart. This is probably as much down to personal taste as it is to the quality of the pairing; as a group we were evenly split on preference, with the other half liking the fact that the zingy Sauvignon Blanc style with it’s startling acidity cut through the thickness and heavyness of the tart. My love of all things rich and sweet is doubtless responsible for my own choice.

It was a fun night’s wining and dining in the end, and the movie wasn’t bad either. If you’ve not seen 28 Days Later it’s an entertaining horror flick. I usually get very easily bored by horror films but it kept me interested, despite the second half being poorer than the first. The wines were fascinating to taste, and proved two things to all of us – Desert wines don’t need to be expensive to be good (both under £6), and they aren’t all gloopy, syrupy, rich things. the crisp acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc in particular was a suprise to most of us. Although Charlotte didn’t enjoy the sharper style, the rest of us all enjoyed both wines a lot.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

Thanks again to @SareySue for the Rick Stein recipe which I shall try and blog later in the week.

Belmont Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Marlborough, New Zealand)

April 19, 2010

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Sauvignon Blanc, probably one of the most popular grapes in the UK today, is usually a crisp, refreshing and dry white wine. Marlborough, New Zealand is increasingly regarded as the pinnacle of all Sauv Blanc producing regions, and offers some stunning wines, usually in a very zesty style full of gooseberry and citrus flavours, and full-on in-your-face character. The only downside to the region is perhaps the price (these wines don’t often come cheap), although this doesn’t stop us Brits from buying serious quantities of the stuff.

Imagine my excitement then, when this Marlborough Sauv Blanc came in through the door and went on sale at £5.99 (or two for £10)! First thing first, I checked the vintage to see if our wholesale half of the company had been conned into buying a load of old wine that was past its best. 2009? My smile widened. Still young and fresh, barely out of the winery. Perhaps it was just a cheap wine, and everyone else was selling it cheaply too? A quick search online finds it being sold by Tesco at £10/bottle, and everywine.co.uk at £8.99! Now I’m seriously giddy, and impatiently waiting for the bus home with a bottle in my bag to check it out for myself.

I get home, having tweeted about it through the afternoon and encouraging others to try it too, and plonk it in the fridge to chill. Fast-forward a few hours, add a few Twitter folk tasting along with me, and here we go:

The aromas were definitely tropical to me, with scents of peach and guava (check out me with the posh fruit reference!) being particularly prevalent. I had to double-check, having expected to be slapped in the face by gooseberries, but yep, this was tropical through and through! In the mouth, the wine was really soft and rounded, much more elegant than anticipated, and almost creamy. There was a bit of zest there too, with a little citrus complimenting the tropical flavours, and lending it an altogether pleasant finish too. The acidity was good, meaning the wine maintained a nice freshness and crispness.

Others who tasted it live on Twitter all felt that they felt it had a fairly sweet-smelling nose, and grapefruit flavours in the mouth. A customer in the shop also thought there was a hint of lychee lurking around. All of us enjoyed it, and felt it was good value for money at £5 a bottle. Special thanks to @SoniaAnders @PabloVonSteel and @Rob_Workman for joining in with the live tasting! If you fancy joining in with one of these, give me a tweet and I’ll help you pick out a wine that you’ll hopefully love for us to taste live together. I’ll even give you 10% off the wine we taste, just for joining in and tweeting about it.

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

UPDATE: We’ve stocked up for the weekend and put a fab case offer on Belmont Sauvignon Blanc 2009: £27 for 6 bottles. That’s £4.50/bottle (down from £5.99 for a single bottle) giving you a whopping 25% saving!

Tonight’s Live Tasting: Belmont Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)

April 15, 2010

Tonight’s live Twitter tasting is an exciting one as far as I’m concerned. We’ve managed to get our hands on some Marlborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc for a cracking price (£5.99 or 2 for £10) and are yet to taste it ourselves. We’re assured it’s very good value for money, and I’ll be tasting it for the first time this evening. As I taste, I’ll be tweeting my immediate impressions and notes on the wine as I go, and encouraging you guys to tweet back and quiz me on it too. If you fancy joining in for a bit of Twitter tasting with me, pick up a bottle this evening and tweet your own thoughts on the wine (there are a few already chilling in the fridge).

If you’re not on Twitter, and don’t want to join, fear not! You can keep up anyway thanks to some recent improvements to the site. Open this page in your web-browser and it’ll automatically update with the latest tweets about the wine:

#WineyardTasting Tweets

As a genuinely brand new & untested wine, I can make no promises regarding quality, but you only live once and it’s not gonna cost the Earth right? Just to be clear, this isn’t an attempt at snazzy web 2.0 marketing where I only bang on about how great all our own wines are. If I’m unimpressed, you’ll hear about it just as much as if I love it (my last wine tried live on Twitter was far too acidic on first tasting, and I made no secret of it, but in fairness, the next night it had really softened up and improved a great deal – blog post about it coming up later). I also regularly tweet about wines and beers from other companies if I’m trying them (last night was an interesting selection of beers from Sainsbury’s with friends for example). So if you’re feeling curious and daring, grab a bottle of Belmont on the way back from work, and join in with me and any other curious tweeps, and we’ll try some cheap ‘n’ cheerful New Zealand Sauv Blanc together at about 8pm tonight.

Not sure if you’ll like Sauvignon Blanc (or what it is)? Expect a tart, citrus-fruit style wine full of grassy, gooseberry flavours – it’ll be crisp and refreshing, and a good pair for seafood/fish if you’re wanting to have it with food. Very very popular style of wine, and Marlborough is widely considered one of the very best regions for producing it.

Tasting Tonight on Twitter: Chilean Pinot Noir

April 12, 2010

A fairly young Pinot Noir from Chile, and the bottle I’m taking home tonight. I’m yet to taste this wine, but will be doing so in an hour or two’s time. When I do, I’ll be tweeting my thoughts live (follow me here), and cranking out a blog entry with my full tasting notes later on. If you’re feeling bold, join in on Twitter with any bottle you might have at home, and we can compare our Pinots as we taste them.

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2007 (Australia)

April 9, 2010

If you’ve not tried Australian Shiraz, I’m surprised you’re even reading a blog about wine to be honest! Incredibly popular in the last 10-15 years, it’s undoubtedly one of the best-selling styles of wine in the UK, and for good reason. Reliably good quality, good value, and great flavours are very typical when it comes to these big reds from Down Under. Almost always spicy or peppery to some extent as a result of a good whack of oak during the aging period, they are usually full of dark fruits and vanilla too, and almost always bring super-supple, silky smooth tannins to the table, softening the edges of what can otherwise be immense and intense wines.

The likes of Hardy’s, Yellow Tail and Jacob’s Creek may dominate at the supermarket (and to be fair, offer very good value for money given the rock-bottom prices they achieve these days), but spend a couple of extra quid, and you can get some storming wines for your money. Push the boat out to £10+ and you’re onto another planet entirely, reaching up towards some of the best wines in the world at the very top, and stumbling over some absolute corkers in between.

This weekend’s bottle brings all of the classic Aussie Shiraz qualities to the fore, at a very affordable price. The colour is a lovely deep red with a vibrant purple rim, and the aromas immediately grab your nostrils and suck you in. Deep and rich scents of blackberries, plums and cedar are quickly followed up by flavours of dark cherries and juicy plums in the mouth. Intense and full-bodied, spicy and warm, smooth and supple. The finish is persistent and thoroughly enjoyable. Great value for money at £7.49.

This was another wine I tweeted about live as I tasted (See here, here, and here). If you want to know more about this wine, the technical sheet is available here. We’ve opened a bottle for you to try this weekend, and while it’s open, you get 10% off 2 or more bottles, and 15% off 6 or more.

De Bortoli VAT 1 Petite Sirah 2006 (Australia)

April 3, 2010

Petite Sirah, also known as Durif in Australia, is a little-known red grape variety that’s starting to crop up in all sorts of interesting places (Mexico for example; L.A.Cetto produces a fascinating wine that we also stock). It’s probably originally best-known as one of the grapes sometimes used in Bordeaux as part of the world-famous red blends the region produces, but has been showing it’s potential as a single varietal in other climates for a while now.

This award-winning example from De Bortoli exudes powerful, intense dark fruit flavours and aromas. In the glass it is an inky purple colour, and on the nose shows some fabulous spicy cedary chocolatey aromas. After just one whiff of this beauty, my mouth was watering and I knew I was going to love it. Absolutely gorgeous stuff! I tweeted my thoughts live as I tasted (see here) and the flavours didn’t disappoint. “Warm brambly blackberry fruits, nice lick of spice and oak giving it great depth and character.” (Quoted from this Tweet of mine)

This is a really top-drawer full-bodied red, and offers a stunning QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) with bags of flavour and complexity. A new and very firm favourite for me, that falls wonderfully into my own budget for wine at £8.99 a bottle (special offers running this weekend whilst it’s open for you to try for free: 2/4/2010 – 5/4/2010).

Come and see us at the shop if you’d like to taste this wine for yourself, and bring your wallet because you’ll want to stock up if you do. The wine suggests an aging potential of up to 5 years, but as you might have guessed, it is already drinking very well indeed.

Painter Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California, USA)

March 26, 2010
Painter Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California, USA)

Painter Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California, USA)

Tonight’s red I’m trying is Painter Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 from sunny California, USA. American wines often get a bad rep over in the UK, particularly Californian stuff, due to the glut of sweet, alcoholic, lower end wines like Blossom Hill, Sutter Home, and Gallo. However, the yanks produce mid- and top-tier wines too (this example being a mid-level offering) and have established themselves as capable wine-makers. They are often criticised for being overpriced, although this has been changing in recent months, with the recession pushing many producers into exporting more heavily. As a result, we are starting to see some good wines coming across the pond at more realistic prices, and in some interesting styles that aren’t often found elsewhere (notably, old vine Zinfandel is fairly unique to California).

This Cabernet Sauvignon fetches £7.99 on our shelves, and only just came into stock today. As it was a wine Barry had ordered, I was yet to try it so it promptly went into my bag for tonight. On the nose the wine has strong fruity aromas, and on the palate it is full of fruit flavours, with just a touch of vanilla. Cherry and raspberry dominate, with a little bit of a curranty note on the finish, which is fairly persistent. All in all, very tasty stuff, at a more than reasonable price. Definitely a good pizza wine in my book. If you prefer your reds less forwardly fruity and jammy, and with a bit more oak in them, give the Chilean “Tormenta” Cabernet Sauvignon I tried the other night a go.

Norfolk Rise Shiraz 2006 (Mount Benson, Australia)

March 25, 2010
Norfolk Rise Shiraz 2006 (Mount Benson, Australia)

Norfolk Rise Shiraz 2006 (Mount Benson, Australia)

For tonight’s tasting I’ve been getting you guys to vote today for which wine I tried, as the previous blog entry details. The Aussie Shiraz just pipped the Argentine white, so without further ado, here’s what I and a few friends thought of it:

A fantastic nose with a real smokiness and dark berry fruit about it. The aromas were by far the best thing about it for one of us. The palate was incredibly rich, full of dark berry fruit and a sweet-sour edge that a couple of us really enjoyed, and a couple were not so excited about. We all got slightly different flavours in the mouth, with some getting cherry, others grapefruit, and myself finding chocolatey blackberry notes. Everyone agreed that the wine was very smooth, with supple soft tannins (a quality Australian Shiraz is known for) giving it a velvety mouthfeel, and we all picked up the pepperiness and warmth that the producer described on the back label. The finish is pretty persistent too, with some nice fruit flavours sticking around for some time.

All in all, I’d happily recommend this to fans of Aussie Shiraz as an excellent quality full-bodied red (the 14.5% alcohol was fairly evident). Another Australian Shiraz that we also stock, which has also been written about on this blog, is the Billi Billi Shiraz 2005 (Mount Langhi Ghiran, Australia), which has less chocolatey peppery notes, and much more damson plum, violets and vanilla in the mouth. Both are cracking wines, although for my own palate, I prefer the Billi Billi style, with less sweet-sour flavours and more upfront fruit.

If you’re interested in getting me to review any particular wines in the weeks and months ahead, get in touch and let me know what you enjoy and I’ll be sure to include an example of a style/grape/region in a write-up soon. You can also follow me on Twitter to see what I’m drinking on any given night, and what I think of it (it’s almost always something new I’ve never tried before, and I love suggestions for what to try next).

Twitter Wine offer – 8/3/2010

March 8, 2010

For tonight only, anyone who orders my selected mixed case of tip-top sub-£10 wines gets a whopping 20% off if they place the order through Twitter before midnight! This is a fantastic chance to sample 6 different wines that I absolutely love, at a brilliant price. The set would normally set you back £48.94, but for tonight only, Twitter can have it for £39.14! Tweet meto order, or for more info if you’re interested. Below are my own brief tasting notes on each wine along with their usual full-price:

Tohu Kono Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 (£7.99) – Marlborough, New Zealand
Kono is made by the indigenous Maori of New Zealand, and is probably our best selling white wine in the shop, for very good reason. Sauvignon Blanc is immensely popular in the UK, which certainly helps, but this is a very good value example. It’s much more elegant and subtle than most Sauvignon Blancs at this price level, and has really nice melon, peach, lemon and gooseberry flavours. Lovely refreshing stuff!

“Dr. L” Loosen Bros Riesling, 2008 (£8.49) – Mosel, Germany
Light (only 8.5% alcohol), zippy, vibrantly fruity white wine, with the classic sweet palate and crisp refreshing acidity that good German whites are famous for amongst wine lovers. This is a fantastic example of precisely why Germany is regarded as one of the best wine-making countries in the world, despite a bit of an image-problem amongst the population at large. This is a far cry from the frankly shocking stuff that used to be churned into the UK market a decade ago! One of my absolute favourite white wines, simply for being so different to everything else out there (aside from other German Rieslings).

The Lizard Pink Shiraz, 2008 (£6.49) – Languedoc, France
Crisp and refreshing rose, demonstrating how good (and affordable) the stuff can be if you know where to look. This is no White Zinfandel, lacking any of the sweetness that California’s become famous for. Instead this is a wine that’s full of crisp and dry cranberry and redcurrant fruit flavours, and leaves me licking my lips thirsting for more every time.

Chat-eu-Oeuf Rose, 2008 (£6.49) – Languedoc, France
A similar style rose to the Lizard Pink Shiraz, this again offers crisp and refreshing red-berry fruit flavours. This example also has a nice touch of sweet spice, and a bit more warmth on the palate. All around more juicy and mouth-filling, this is a more openly fruity rose.

Patrizi “Bricco Rosso” Dolcetto Di Dogliani, 2007 (£9.49) – Piemonte, Italy
Probably my favourite Italian red I’ve tried to date for under £10, this wine has an intense purple colour with pleasant brambly, wild berry and plummy fruit aromas. Bitter cherry and gripping tannins on the palate and a deliciously long, spicy finish. Fabulous stuff!

Lapostolle “Casa” Merlot, 2007 (£9.99) – Rapel Valley, Chile
From arguably one of Chile’s best wine producers, this is a cracking example of why Chile has become so well known for good Merlot. A red that features typical and intense plummy and red-fruit flavours, a fascinating set of aromas and a luscious, velvety smooth texture, this is some seriously good wine at a very good price. 6 months of oak lend it a spicy complexity. As well as being a fab wine to drink now, this is one that will keep improving for another 5-10 years.