Saturday, 30 May 2020

SRC Etna Bianco DOC 2018

My 30th-odd lockdown wine. This is a field blend of local grapes from the slopes of Etna in Sicily and produced from apparently one of the top estates, using wild ferment yeasts. It's just 12.5% alcohol, quite a curious wine but an interesting one nonetheless.
The nose is lemony, appley and a slight hint of mustiness (but not faulty). The palate is quite long and a real melange of flavours - apricots, lanolin, old sherry and quince. It's quite zesty too with a few bubbles CO2. A pretty unique wine but a good buy from Lay And Wheeler at £18.88. Drinking now to 2022. 16/20

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Domaine des Herbauges La Roche Blanc Muscadet 2016

Another lovely Loire lockdown wine from Lay And Wheeler. I have bought several vintages of this in the 2016 is perfect now. Very dry and understated initially as you would expect from Muscadet. But on the mid-palate and on the finish it is complex structured and a perfect accompaniment for seafood or light meat dishes or just as an aperitif on its own. This is my very good producer is the domaine wine and really punches above its weight. Drink now 17/20. £12

Berry Bros.& Rudd Malbec 2016

One of BBR's in house wines and frankly, very disappointing. This is the last of parcel of a sample of three that I received for testing. I first tasted it in 2019 and was hoping that he was going to improve but at four years old now it's really given up! There's not much information on the back label about the provenance of this wine but I can only say that if BBR are continuing with this house Malbec I just hope they change the supplier! Maybe it was off-vintage but I think thin and uninteresting and not the slightest bit engaging in terms of what a Malbec should be even at a low price end. 12/20. Drink now. ca. £12

Friday, 22 May 2020

Lulu l’Alouette Chinon 2018 cabernet franc

Another great lockdown wine from Majestic, an estate wine from the ancestral home of single varietal Cabernet Franc red wine! This is a classic Chinon red with some good acidity and tannins and a beautiful minty nose of red fruits. A dry, long finish excellent as a food wine. Well balanced now. Drink 2020-24. 16/20. Ca. £11 from Majestic.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Vouvray 2019 Denis Meunier ‘Expression de Silex’

A great expression indeed of of the Loire silex soil geology (Cretaceous flints and sands) and a fine sense of terroir for £10 at Majestic! Another one of my lovely Lockdown Wines' - 60% of which have been from Loire, both red and white. Classic chenin blanc tart apples on the nose. The palate is dry, flinty, with sour apples on the back palate and long finish. Hint of gooseberries too. Nice wine, needs another year. Drink 2021-24. 16.5/20. A bargain

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Saumur Le Bois Dore 2019 AoC

Another great £10 per bottle 'lockdown wine' from my good friends at the local Majestic. It's apparently a Chateau bottled wine and could probably do with another year but it's nice to drink now and comes with a screwcap which is quite a statement, I guess, from any French producer!
Not as distinctive as a typical Vouvray chenin blanc but still very accessible, dry with good acidity and good tart apples on the palate. There is a hint of some tropical fruits on the nose.
Superior quality everyday wine. 15.5 / 20 drink now 2022.

Vouvray Bernard Fouquet chenin blanc 2018

A classic interpretation of this varietal from its ancestral home and a real winner from Majestic at just £10 a bottle at the moment. This is fresh zesty and ready to drink now but will keep for a few years too. But this wind has some finesse and elegance to and all the classic notes that you expect of the grape Bramley apples on the palate and citrus notes on the nose. This doesn't have the steely bone dry minerality of some of the top of estates - this has a hint of sweetness.
But it's a lovely wine, complex and elegant and great value and gives any Chenin blanc from South Africa a run for its money at this price point. 16/20

Friday, 15 May 2020

Cent Visage Cot Jean Francois Merieau Touraine 2017

A lovely wine for less than £14 from Lay and Wheeler. This is made from cot aka malbec and is possibly the ancestral home of the grape. This is not your big, bold, fruity Argentinian malbec - like most red wines from Loire it tends to be restrained, a little tannic with more understated fruit. This is a tad off-dry rather than dry but is otherwise a lovely wine. Ready now, it's elegant with lovely dark fruits and the nose but with more red and cherry-like fruit on the palate. Well balanced and very well made. 16/20

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Goldwater Marlborough Wairau Valley 2019 Sauvignon Blanc

Unfortunately this was a big disappointment from my usually reliable friends at Majestic. Probably last time I pay around £10 from New Zealand Sauvignon blanc as it simply unfortunately not worth it. Possibly I'm drinking it very young and I'll keep the second bottle I bought for a year or so before I try it but as it stands at the moment this is unfortunately kiwi Sauvignon blanc at its worst. As we know as its best it can be superb. This is very acid and overpoweringly gooseberries on the palate and little else. The nose similarly so. I suppose if you like your wine like this then you'll like it but unfortunately I prefer a rather more subtle approach from the Loire Valley or the top NZ Estates. Drink now -2021. 13/20

Albarino Caixas (Codax) Rias Baixas 2018

A lovely wine and one of my bargains of the lockdown! This is from the always reliable and highly regarded Martin Codax stable and represents an entry-level wine from him from the region of Northwest Spain just north of Portugal border and Minho.
Good acidity and beautiful notes of melon and lemon on the palate and a really zesty apply nose, off dry but very refreshing.
Drink now -2021. £7.99 Majestic

Friday, 8 May 2020

The Great Red 2015 Stellenbosch

Another nice Lay And Wheeler, from a reliable South African winery. This is essentially a Bordeaux left bank blend with some Cinsault added. It's about £20 from the above merchant and always very reliable. This is benefiting from a few years of bottle age and has beautiful blackcurrant and sandalwood notes but with the freshness and hints of capsicums that you'd expect from a non-French Cabernet blend.
Lovely. Drink now - 2025. 17.5/20

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Domaine Bousquet Tupungato Uco Malbec 2019

Bitterly disappointed with this £12 wine from my usually very reliable, organic grocery provider Abel & Cole. This is the domaine gets good reviews but that tends to be for the reserva wine rather than this entry-level. I suspect Abel & Cole is a little bit overpriced on this one as the usual retail seems about £8 but you expect a lot more for £10 also from a good producer in South America these days. It should at least taste like Malbec ! It is very young for sure but it's very generic and not even generically Malbec - it could be any cheap fruity red blend from Argentina. It's unstructured, it has angular tannins, too sweet and though it has some hints of dark fruit, I wouldn't even say it was noteworthily Malbec.
I'm afraid this one will be destined to be the cooking wine for the casserole tomorrow. At least as a screwcap! 12/20.

Cabernet Franc 2015 Domaine de Brau

This is one of my favourite everyday wines from my organic grocery provider Abel & Cole. This is an unusual wine in that it's a French wine marketed by its varietal grape rather than its domain or region. I love Cabernet Franc wines from Loire Valley but this one is from Pays D'Oc in Languedoc-Roussillon. This is from a small organic producer. Has absolutely pure CF fruit, minty with wonderfully restrained blackcurrant fruit with some gamey notes as well. This I bought recently and I was very happy when they delivered the 2015 vintage as it had some useful bottle age but they seem to have run out now maybe because of Covid supply problems or this was the last of that vintage they had. I will try to get some more. £12 from A&C, 16/20 drink now

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2017 Casablanca, Chile

This wine is consistently one of my favourite weekday wines and shows what Chile is capable of at this price point. This would be able to compete with many Chardonnays from the Old World as this is considered to be more of a premium wine but of course a very different style to a Burgundian one. This is widely available for about £11 in the likes of Majestic and Tesco's.
Beautifully balanced with judicious use of oak but the fruit is very different to what you would expect from the Old World - It's tropical fruits like lychee and papaya and off-sweet in some ways - there is certainly no 'steely or flinty minerality' as of Chablis or Macon. A great wine for the price. Drink now. 16/20

Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2014

From a top producer, one of my favourites, this is their entry level Riserva (a blend, essentially, rather than single estate). Now though it's from the modest 2014 vintage, it's beginning to sing now - it was rather closed when I tried it last a year ago. For younger drinking for sure but it's got the classic traits that you expect - beautiful black cherry fruit on the nose and palate, dry, a little acidic but with smooth tannins. Fantastic food wine and a very good direct import from xtraWine of Italy - about £14 per bottle I think. 16.5/20 drink 2020-24