Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Berberana Reserva Rioja 2007: Amazing value

Great value under £7, decent at £13
I picked up a bottle of this at Tesco at less than £7. I believe it's usually about £12-13.

At that price it's a real bargain. Having tasted it, I'd just about pay full price for another, at a pinch.

It's a really light colour for a Rioja. A friend of mine who know his wines struggled to place it as such, which might be why I like it so much. So often I find Rioja wines big in predictable full bodied Tempranillo flavour, one dimensional and gone off the palate in less than ten seconds.

This Berberana Reserva is really quite unusual, a little more complex and subtle, with a reasonable length attached. My wine buff friend who I tasted it with, says it has a "tannic backbone". For something different from Rioja, it's well worth a try, if you can stomach buying wine from Tesco.

Chateau Gloria St Julien 2003: Gem of 2012

 Gloria St Julien 2003 really has it all. The hot summer of that years means the fruit really comes to the fore.

I love a good St Julien wine but it's not my favourite part of the left bank. Often I find the wines a little, well, less bold than I like. "Very elegant, but no hips", as a friend of mine put it.

My favourite is where St Estephe borders Pauillac. So Cos D'Estournel for example, where I once drank the 1990, which was sublime.

But this St Julien 1993 Gloria is one of the best wines you can get for under £50. That's not cheap, but this wine is a stunner. It combines the big flavours of the 1993 vintage with the traditional subtlety of Chateau Gloria and the St Julien region.

The complexity is a wonder, and the finish well over a minute in length. It also has a slight minerality usually found further north, which surprised me.

Truly a gem to savour. For £50 you can also buy Smith Haut Lafite 2005 from the Graves, which is a beauty, but this Gloria definitely wins out in my book. Superb.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Puligny-Montrachet Vielles Vignes 2009: No bargain but what a beauty

How would you describe this fine white from the Loire?

It's smooth to the first taste, growing very quickly to rich, big honey flavours and a strong acid finish.

I'm not a big drinker of white wine, although I must confess a weakness for Bret Brothers Pouilly Fuisse 2009

That's a very different kettle of fish to this Puligny-Montrachet (left) from Remigny, Saone et Loire.

This wine, at £29.99, is a lot more than I would usually pay for white.

Usually I limit myself to £15-20 for a half decent Sancerre or if I can find it, a white Bordeaux from the left bank (Cos D'estournel makes an excellent one, but it's not cheap)

This wine was a gift, however, but it makes it onto the blog purely due to its unusual character. Not what I expected, but nonetheless very tasty indeed. If you want to spend £30 on a big rich fine white, this Puligny-Montrachet is a good place to start.

My gift was from Sainsbury's, but I'm sure you can find this elsewhere too.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Septimo Dia Malbec Mendoza 2009 - Great price, great wine

I've not been a huge fan of a lot of Malbec wine I have tasted in recent years.

People go on about it to me, and I often struggle to see what all the fuss is about.

Yes, the Catena's make some good ones.

But so often a Malbec is very one-dimensional.

Masses of fruit, high alcohol, they overwhelm the palate and then are gone in less than thirty seconds.

Clearly I've not been drinking the right stuff.

This Septimo Dia Malbec Mendoza 2009 I tried recently definitely bucks that trend.

Much longer-lasting than the usual, its has a finesse and complexity I was very pleasantly surprised at.

This UK wine site has it at less than £11, which for that price is amazing value.

Saperavi Satrapezo 2008: Tasting beyond its years

If this wine is anything to go by, Georgia has some real gems to offer.

I tasted this last week in a Georgian restaurant near where I live in Islington, London.

It retails for around the £20 mark, and at that price it's well worth it.

French cabernet sauvignon vines taken to Georgia some time ago produce grapes mixed with the local Saperavi grapes to excellent effect.

I found it not dissimilar to a Bordeaux but with a depth and aged taste that you'd expect in a much older wine from that region. It has superb length and a hint of mustiness.

According to my waiter, and the Georgian wine society , it is also produced in an unusual way:

"Produced in accordance with ancient wine making techniques dating back over 6000 years, the wine is fermented in clay vessels called Kvevri buried in the ground. Long, one-month maceration, followed by maturation for 24 months in oak barrels"

One Saperavi made the Independent's top 50 list last year. 

Click here for more details and how to buy. I shall be looking out for more of this.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

An excellent value Central Otago Pinot Noir from Sainsbury's

Superb value
I was lucky enough to spend some time in New Zealand a couple of years ago.

Whilst there, I was introduced to Central Otago Pinot's by a friend, who runs this company that makes an excellent Marlborough Pino, called Tohu.

Tohu is NZ's first Maori-made/owned wine offered for export. It's hard to get in the UK, although you could try these guys and see if they have any.

In the meantime, I can highly recommend Sainsbury's Central Otago Pinot Noir, particularly given the price of under £10.

Usually the Central Otago Pinot's you see in wine retailers in the UK start at least at £15, and often more like £20-30.

So at this price it's a bargain. I've just bought half a case for summer drinking.

Decanter gives it 16.5 from 20, and I'd say that's about right. They describe it thus:

"A vibrant, accessible Pinot - at a good price too - based on a lovely mix of dried flowers and juicy cherry notes. Augmenting the fruit are further red berry flavours which display a good, crunchy character.