Posts Tagged ‘£6-10’

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).

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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.

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.

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.

De Bortoli Windy Peak Sangiovese 2005

January 29, 2010

De Bortoli Windy Peak Sangiovese 2005

Originally uploaded by The Wineyard

De Bortoli Windy Peak Sangiovese 2005: Wonderfully rich brick-red colour. Fantastic nose; what I usually imagine classic old-world reds like Chianti and Rioja to be like – plenty of cherries and vanilla (definitely got some oak in this one), but also full of fascinating aromas that I still struggle to identify (maybe you guys will have some better ideas?). In the mouth, it’s light and fruity stuff. Cherries dominate but some lovely spicy warmth and vanilla notes coming from the oak ageing. Very similar to Italian Chianti (which mostly uses the Sangiovese grape, so no surprise there). Really tasty stuff, and a more unusual and interesting bottle to get from Australia. Definitely a great food wine – pasta/pizza should be great with this.

Cave de Turckheim Pinot Gris 2007

December 30, 2009

Cave de Turckheim Pinot Gris

Originally uploaded by The Wineyard

Alsace, France: One of my favourite white wine regions in the world. This Pinot Gris from the Cave de Turckheim co-operative is their entry level wine for this varietal. Pinot Gris is actually the same grape as Pinot Grigio (particularly popular from Italy at the moment), but is made in a richer and more interesting style. The flavours are still fairly subtle, but have more honeyed tropical notes as opposed to the crisper refreshing whites the Italians tend to produce.

This Pinot Gris is a lovely aromatic dry white, which pairs beautifully well with spicier foods such as Thai Green Curry (what I tried it with), and also white meats like chicken, turkey, and pork. If you enjoy this wine, we’ve also got some wonderful New World examples of Pinot Grigio made in the Alsace style.

Billi Billi Shiraz 2005

December 28, 2009

Billi Billi Shiraz

Originally uploaded by The Wineyard

Super duper, big fat silky smooth Shiraz from Australia. Plenty of kick at 14.5%, but full of delicious violet flavour, mixed with spice and plums and plenty of dark berry fruits. A real treat for £8.79.

Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay 2006 (Casablanca Valley, Chile) – £8.99.

December 15, 2009

Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay 2006

Originally uploaded by The Wineyard

One of my favourite oaked chardonnays at the moment, this is a buttery creamy tropical fruit ensemble, reminiscent of classic white burgundys but with a modern twist. The aromas and flavours mix peaches, mango, and papuya with a juicy squeeze of lime, and the wine carries a superb weight and structure in the mouth through to a wonderfully elegant finish. Top stuff for under £10.

Chateau de Balan ’05 vs ’07

December 7, 2009

When we were recently sent a few bottles of the 2005 vintage of a cheapish Bordeaux (£8.99) from our warehouse instead of the 2007 (that we normally stock), I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to compare the two wines and see how they measured up to one another. A direct comparison of the two like this is probably a bit unfair; 2005 was perhaps the best vintage of the last decade or more in Bordeaux, whereas 2007 was underwhelming by comparison, to say the least. The extra two years maturity should also have given the 2005 added depth and intrigue, so without question, the expectation would be that it should be the nicer wine, and it didn’t disappoint. The two bottles provided two very different wines, which were very good for different reasons, but the ’05 was definitely the more enjoyable.

Chateau de Balan itself is based just outside of Sainte-Foy-la-Longue, in the Entre-Deux-Mers (“between two seas” – the Garonne and Dordogne rivers) area of Bordeaux to the east of the city of Bordeaux itself. The map below displays the 1hr 15mins (roughly) route from Bordeaux to the 3 hectares of vines at the Chateau. The Entre-Deux-Mers region is generally known for producing good, if unremarkable Bordeaux that doesn’t overwork the palate or the pocket. The wines make for decent easy-drinking everyday stuff, although some producers have been markedly improving their production methods in recent years, and consequently the quality of their wines too. If you know where to look, there are some real gems to be found for a good price right now, that could prove to be the big names of tomorrow.

Sold under the general AC Bordeaux title, Chateau de Balan is a real quality example of the everyday easy-drinking sort of Bordeaux that can be had for under £10. Both wines were very approachable and offered good flavour and complexity, but the 2005 was definitely the better of the two. It had a lovely inviting deep purple colour, fairly complex nose with some black fruit and some more unusual aromas I couldn’t work out. Rich and velvety smooth on the palate; really soft supple tannins and good depth of flavour. The finish lasted longer than expected as well. A wine that’s drinking very well now, and should last a while longer yet but I’m not sure it’s got much more developing to do. For under £10 this was an absolute steal, and drank like a £15 bottle of wine.

By comparison, the 2007 has got at least a good couple of years improving to come yet. Not as smooth as its older brother, but packing more upfront fruity flavour and a slightly rougher tannic edge to it. Tasty stuff, still pretty smooth, and still very enjoyable. The colour was a deep reddy-purple, and the nose had plenty of cherries upfront. The flavours were dominated by the red cherries as well, with a hint of bitter fruit. The finish was pleasant, but had no great length. The wine delivered what you’d expect for the price, but should improve markedly over the next 2-3 years.

All in all I’d happily recommend the 2007 Chateau de Balan for someone who wants a sub-£10 fruity and approachable bottle of Bordeaux, but comparing it with the ’05 helped re-affirm the idea that any Bordeaux is better with a bit more age on it, if you can afford to pay for it. It also demonstrated that it’s not just expensive wine that improves with age; the ’05 definitely punched above its price tag. I’ll be interested in trying the ’07 again come 2011 to see if it gets a similar result.

Darriaud Reserve Cotes du Rhone 2007

November 23, 2009

Been drinking some very approachable easy going Cotes du Rhone tonight – Went particularly well with some mince pies after dinner, and only costs £6.99 – Bargain wine for that money in my opinion. A blend of 3 grapes: Syrah, Grenache and Mouverde.