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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Win The Trip of a Lifetime to New Zealand with Villa Maria Wines

Win a holiday in New Zealand with Villa Maria

New Zealand winery Villa Maria is giving wine drinkers the chance to win the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand.

Just look out for special bottles of Villa Maria in major retailers including Sainsburys, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Co-op and Majestic and independent wine shops for a chance to win.

Two trips are up for grabs; each trip includes:

· Return economy flights for the winner and one guest from the UK to New Zealan
· 10 nights’ accommodation
· Self-drive car rental for 10 days
· NZ$2000 spending money

Shoppers can enter via a hidden URL and entry code found on stickers or neck collars on a range of Villa Maria Private Bin wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir bottles.

The competition ends on 19th February 2018 and lucky winners will be drawn on 24th February 2018.

Villa Maria's wines are characterful, deft and well-made - so great to have around at Christmas for entertaining. If you fancy a change from the standard kiwi Sauvignon, try this Pinot Grigio.

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Grigio 2017 aromatic, fresh and mineral with ripe orchard fruits, sweet spice and a leesy richness. Harmonious and well-balanced, very enjoyable.

Drink as an aperitif or match with seafood or white meats.


Sunday, 10 December 2017

When In Rome - Barbera

A Northern Italian Bag-in-Box wine  from When in Rome

To people of a certain generation, Bag-In-Box wine is associated with bulk generic plonk for house parties - but, like prawn cocktails, pork pies and facial hair, there's nothing so "out" that it can't be rendered hipster with some ironic functional packaging, bold typeset and upmarket distribution.

When In Rome specialises in Italian made from small independent producers; the brand launched last year and is now available at Waitrose and Harvey Nichols and independent wine merchants at £25.99 per 2.25 litre box (equivalent to three bottles that will last up to six weeks).
Barbera - DOC Piemonte raspberry and red plum fruit with sour-cherry freshness, some woodsy-earthiness, spice and fine, gentle tannins. Deft and well-made; far too good for spilling on the carpet at a suburban house-warming.

Good - and Good Value.

Match with rich dark meats, mushrooms and roast dinners.

The full When In Rome range includes:
  • Nero D’Avola - IGP Terre Siciliane
  • Pinot Grigio - IGT Venezia Giula
  • Barbera - DOC Piemonte
  • Merlot - IGT Veneto
  • Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso - IGP Venezia Giula
  • Rosato - IGT Venezia Giula Beneventano
  • Falanghina IGT
  • Sauvignon - IGT Venezia Giula
  • Dolcetto - DOC Piemonte
  • Marche IGP Bianco (Verdiccho)
  • Marche IGP Rosso

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Virgin Wines for Christmas - Brouilly

A Beaujolais Cru from Virgin Wines

At Christmas you need a range of wines for all occasions - this juicy and gluggable Brouilly (the largest Cru in Beaujolais, situated around Mont Brouilly) is perfect for lunchtimes or afternoon tea, say with cold cuts on Boxing Day.

With trademark Beaujolais freshness, drink this either as a warm-up to bigger wines with your Christmas roast or as a pick-me-up to refresh palates after a day of Christmas pudding and mince pies.

Domaine Les Roches Bleues Brouilly 2016 juicy black cherry and raspberry fruit with lifted spice and freshness. Substantial, mineral core with very fine tannins and good length. Pure and adept.

Good and Good Value.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Martini Prosecco

Prosecco from Martini - available at Ocado

It's an oversimplification - but not necesssarily and unhelpful one - to say that Prosecco is a poor man's Champagne. In the same way that a two-seater Fiat is a poor man's Ferrari.

There is enjoyment to be had, perhaps fewer tears and certainly a lower price.

This Martini Prosecco is a perfect fizz for everyday drinking over Christmas or to keep handy in case of unexpected visitors.

Martini Prosecco (£6.99, Ocado) light, very fresh and mineral-citrussy-sherbety; elegant, well-made and thoroughly enjoyable.

Good Value.

Drink as an aperitif, with light starters or cold cuts - it is fresh enough to cut through a wide range of foods.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Two Bordeaux Wines for Christmas

Two special Bordeaux wines from Dourthe for Christmas - available from The Wine Society and the Co-op

Christmas is a time to try out some better-quality wines - with good food and good company. These two Bordeaux, a mature red and a sticky, cost a little more but come with  impeccable credentials, are good value for the money and won't disappoint.


Château La Garde 2010 Pessac-Leognan (£23, The Wine Society) classic mature Bordeaux, with cassis, red plum fruit, spice and cedarwood; fresh and mineral with very fine tannins and a firm, muscular core. Drinking nicely now, will continue to improve for many years

Very Good.

Match with a Christmas roast, Boxing Day cold cuts or a beefy stew.

Château Roumieu 2014 Sauternes (£12.99, Co-op - half-bottle) apricots, honeysuckle blossom, beeswax and candied lemons; sweet tropical fruits, sherbet, acacia honey, Sicilian lemons and overripe peaches with some musky beeswax. Long, sweet-sour-savoury and complex.

Very Good.

Match with crème brûlée or lemon torte.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Most English Fish & Chips

The most English fish & chip shop - with an English wine list

The mark of many a classic wine region is a traditional food match: Muscadet and seafood, Chianti and bistecca alla fiorentina, mature Rioja and manchego.

Add to that, English wine with fish and chips - light and crisp, English wine is a great match for our traditional dish,

Now, Olley's Fish Experience of Herne Hill, South East London has launched the most extensive English wine list of any fish and chip shop in Britain.

Rather than just fizzy pop of varying colours, you can now choose from a range of English wines with your cod or hake. And for would-be Bond villains, there's even a red wine:

· Ridgeview Fitzrovia Sparkling Rosé (Sussex)
· Chapel Down Brut N/V (Kent)
· Jenkyn Place Blanc de Noirs (Hampshire)
· Bolney Pinot Noir (Sussex)
· Lyme Bay Shoreline - Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Reichensteiner, Seyval Blanc (Dorset)
· Chapel Down Bacchus (Kent)
· Litmus Bacchus/Chardonnay (Surrey)
· Jenkyn Place Brut (Hampshire)
· Litmus White Pinot Noir (Surrey)

Friday, 24 November 2017

Worldwide Winter Reds

Two Worldwide Winter Reds - Western Australia's Robert Oatley and a Beajolais from Louis Jadot

From different corners of the world and different grapes, both these wines have a certain atypicity, a difference from the norm.

Beaujolais is best-known as a juicy glugger for early drinking - not a wine to age.

Equally, Western Australia's wines are more considered and European than standard-edition Blockbuster Aussie.

What both these wines also have in common is an elegance and food-friendliness to match with, for example, winter game.

Louis Jadot Château des Jacques Moulin à Vent 2013 (£18.00, Sainsburys and independents) red plum and cherry fruit with some spice and leather; fresh and juicy with tobacco leaf, fine tannins and minerality - drinking nicely now and will comtinue to improve for a few more years.

Good.

Match with darker game, especially duck in cherry sauce - or something mushroomy.

Robert Oatley Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (£13.75, The Co-op, Cambridge Wine Merchants, independents) juicy dark-berry fruit with blackcurrant leaf, pencil shavings and spice; fresh, pure and crystalline with a supple texture and a muscular core.

Drinking nicely now, will gain complexity with age.

Good.

Match the juiciness to a rare steak with plenty of garlic and pepper, be it beef, venison or tuna.