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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Chateau Brown Rosé 2017

An impressive pink Bordeaux from Chateau Brown 

Bordeaux is not just red wine and rosé is not just for summer.

Obviously, it helps if the weather is warm and sunny, but this is a substantial, sophisticated and complex rosé from Bordeaux's Pessac-Léognan that you can drink at any time of the year..

Château Brown Rosé 2017 delicate red-berry fruit with zippy lime and a complex, leesy minerality; fresh-yet-full, long and precise.

Very Good.

This is very much a food wine - match with earthy salads, risotto with sun-dried tomatoes or chicken cacciatore.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Co-op Irresistible Limestone Rise 2016

An English wine for St. George’s Day from The Co-op

English wine is now becoming A Thing - and with St George's Day approaching, this English wine, made by Denbies for the Co-op, makes for an affordable, patriotic aperitif.

Co-op Irresistible Limestone Rise 2016 £8.99 aromatic hedgerow and elderflower with tropical fruits and fresh minerality. Nicely rounded, if perhaps a little lacking in definition.

Match with light vegetable starters, white meats and mild cheeses.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Il Sangiovese - Noelia Ricci

A Sangiovese from Emilia Romagna - available from The Knotted Vine

Emilia Romagna is all about food and wine - and plenty more besides.

This Sangiovese is from family-owned Noelia Ricci and available from The Knotted Vine, a young wine importer based in London, specialising in hand crafted wines.
Il Sangiovese, Romagna DOC Sangiovese Predappio fresh, vibrant and pure, with red plum and cherry fruit and spice. Good underpinnings with fine tannins and a saline minerality.

Very adept. Good.

Improves with some aeration and will age.

A versatile food match, it goes well with local food - think pasta (tortellini, lasagne, tagliatelle), cheeses (Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano), hams (Parma, mortadella, prosciutto) and balsamico di Modena.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Domaines Et Chateaux - Three Rhône Wines

Three Domaines Et Chateaux Rhône Wines - available from Tesco

Rhône wines provide Old World sophistication with New World fruit ripeness - expressive yet nuanced and complex, they appeal to both head and heart.

Here are three very classy and enjoyable Rhônes from Domaines Et Chateaux, all made by family-run wineries; there is a white and two reds. They are all well-made, food-friendly and improve with a bit of aeration.

Domaine Bariol 2016, Côtes du Rhône (£9) based in Valreas, a blend of Marsanne and Viognier; floral with ripe peach, apricot and fresh citrus fruit. Waxy and substantial with toasty leesiness and good underpinnings.

Domaine L'Autrandine 2015, Côtes du Rhône Villages (£9) baked red fruits and damsons with violets, spice with some earthiness; quite big and alcoholic yet fresh with very fine tannins.

Match with roast red meat, especially lamb. 

Domaine de la Combe Dieu 2016, Rasteau (£12) GSM+C blend, blackberries, plums and violets with black pepper, liquorice, spice and cool mint. Substantial, supple and harmonious with fine tannins. Will age.


Match with a rich lamb stew, roast meats or hard yellow cheeses.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

World Malbec Day 2018

Two sophisticated and surprisingly fresh Malbecs for World Malbec Day 

It is World Malbec Day on 17th April - if you didn't already know. Malbec is Argentina's signature red grape and often makes for a boldly spicy, expressive and dark-fruited sort of a wine.

Also known as Côt, it originates from France where it is one of the Bordeaux grapes but is most associated with Cahors.

These two Malbecs have something of a European style - a freshness and deft elegance that works with food and will have you thinking more of the Old World than the New.

Both wines are also interesting for reasons beyond just the quality of what is in the bottle; neither New Zealand nor Chile are particularly associated with Malbec, so they represent something a bit off the beaten track.

Of the two, the (more expensive) Left Field is the better with a superb minerality and complexity that needs a bit of aeration to become evident.

However, the Tributo is no slouch either and demonstrates the strides Caliterra is making in moving away from some occasionally heavy-handed wines of the past towards a more sophisticated style.

Finally, both wines have a bit of age, yet are remarkably fresh and primary still, so will continue to improve for years.

Tributo Malbec 2015 (£13.30, independents) mixed berries, red plums and mocha with spice; fresh, vibrant and supple with fine tannins and a savoury finish.


Match with roast red meat or strongly-flavoured cheeses.

Left Field Malbec 2014 (£17.45, www.nzhouseofwine.co.uk, independents) blackcurrant pastilles, liquorice and oaky spice with tarriness; fresh, savoury and mineral with a supple, inky texture and very fine, rounded tannins.

Very Good and Good Value for the quality.

Match with darker game.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Easter Star Buys From The Co-op

Two Easter wines from the Co-op

These two Co-op Easter star buys are expressive, well-made and inexpensive - as well as being thoroughly enjoyable for the price.

Co-op Irresistible Marsanne (£7.99) rich and waxy yet refreshing with ripe, honeyed orchard fruits and sweet, toasty spices.

Match with seafood, roast chicken or creamy curry.

Co-op Irresistible Rioja Crianza (£6.99) expressive Rioja with bramble and black fruits, oaky vanilla spice and sweet coconut; fine tannins and balanced freshness.

Match with garlic-and-rosemary lamb.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Bordeaux and Champagne: From Vineyards Direct

A classy-yet inexpensive Bordeaux and Champagne from FVD

These two wines from FVD are both classics and relative bargains; the Champagne is from a tiny, family-owned producer whose vineyards on the Montagne de Reims are all Premier Cru.

The red is a more-affordable stable-mate of first-growth Haut-Brion.

Champagne Arlaux, Premier Cru Gande Cuvée NV (£32.95) yeasty-citrussy with toasted hazelnuts, orchard fruit toasty brioche. Fine mousse, elegant and balanced with a long nutty finish.

Good and will improve further with age.

Drink as an aperitif or match with light starters.

Clarendelle Red 2012 (£16.95) classy, classic Bordeaux with a bit of age; bramble fruits, pencil shavings and earthy-woodsiness, fine tannins and freshness. Complex, adept and very well-balanced. Drinking nicely now, this is as good a mid-range Bordeaux as you can hope to find.

Good and Good Value for the quality; will only improve with further aging.

Drink with red meat, especially darker game.