Posts Tagged ‘Tasted’

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

May 12, 2010

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

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.

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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

[tweetmeme source=”TheWineyard”]

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!

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.

American Beers: Beyond Budweiser

March 28, 2010

Well before this weekend I had never tried “proper” American

Brooklyn Lager (New York)

Brooklyn Lager (New York)

beer, other than the likes of Bud and Coors. Not that I dislike these lagers as such, but they lack any of the interesting flavours of an ale for example. When I was picking my drinks out on Friday evening before leaving the shop, purely by coincidence I went “All-American” and picked a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (which was fruity and delicious!), and a couple of interesting looking beers, one from San Francisco, and the other from Brooklyn.

Anchor Steam Beer (San Francisco)

Anchor Steam Beer (S.F.)

Both beers genuinely surprised me with how complex and rich they were with the flavours and structure. Similar in colour, a lovely golden orange, these were deep and delicious. The Anchor Steam was more honeyed and fragrant, whilst the Brooklyn Lager was malty, hoppy, and slightly lighter. All in all, a very enjoyable weekend’s drinking thanks to the Yanks across the pond. Cheers!

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).

De Bortoli Sacred Hill Chardonnay 2007

January 29, 2010


De Bortoli Sacred Hill Chardonnay 2007

Originally uploaded by The Wineyard

De Bortoli Sacred Hill Chardonnay 2007: Very clean, vibrant golden colour. Crisp, fresh tropical fruit aromas of peaches & nectarines. No oak, very concentrated fruit, melon, mandarins, apricots, peaches, nectarines. Should be really good with a simple chicken dish.

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.