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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Marques De Valido Gran Reserva Rioja

An aged Rioja from The Co-op

Aged wines have a quality unlike any other - for wines, as for people, maturity brings a harmoniousness, quietly self-confident mellowness and a general smoothing-off of youthful earnest vigour.

Like Bryan Ferry or Mick Jagger, all the qualities that made them great in their youth are still there - handsome, mischievous and knowing - but with the self-assurance of a few grey hairs and lines.

Most wine is not made to be aged extensively before drinking and cellaring properly at home is tricky and expensive.So the opportunity to taste a properly mature wine is not one to be missed.

With a minimum of two years in oak and nine years' age in total, this is a mellow and harmonious wine that is ready for drinking now, but in no rush to be opened if you want to hang onto it for longer.

Marques De Valido Gran Reserva Rioja 2009 (£12.99) mellow oaky spice and aged leather with bramble fruits and coconut. Fresh, supple and very harmonious.

Good.

Match with classic roast lamb, or any other roast red meat.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Garçon Wines

Wine in a flat-pack bottle - from Garçon Wines

Wine is something of a conservative, old-fashioned business - each region has its own grapes, quality standards and labelling etiquette.

One of the few standard things about wine is that it is - generally - sold in 75cl bottles. And yet even these are bulky, brittle and awkward.

Step forward Garçon Wines who have designed a flexible flat-pack bottle to fit through the letter box and that won't break when it drops on the doormat, so you do not need to be at home for deliveries.

It's one of those ingenious solutions that make you wonder why no-one thought of it before.

And what of the wine itself?

Garçon Wines was set up by wine lover Joe Revell and serial entrepreneur Santiago Navarro who was responsible for Vinopic Wines. I was very impressed with Vinopic's wines (they were tested for technical quality by both a Professor and Master of Wine) but I felt their communications did not do justice to this.

For Garçon wines, they have enlisted the help of another MW who brings 15 years of experience in wine making, buying and retailing as well as an MBA in marketing.

Garçon Wines Tempranillo Carinena expressive with ripe-yet-fresh dark berry and bramble fruit, spice and supple, rounded tannins, with a slightly porty finish; well-made, it both drinks nicely straight out of the bottle and improves with a bit of aeration.

Match with roast red meat, such as lamb with rosemary or beef with horseradish.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Wines for Curry Week

Two wines for curry week

This year marks National Curry Week's 20th birthday.

The event, running from 9th to 15th October 2018, seeks to raise awareness of and appreciation for the UK's Indian restaurant scene whilst also raising funds for charity.

Forget beer - here are two wines that will stand up to a curry; a well-made white Burgundy from Macon-Villages and a spicy South African red blend of Shirz, Mourvedre and Viognier.

Louis Jadot Macon Villages 2017 (£13.05, Tesco) match with a delicate korma curry

Zalze SMV 2016 (£10.00, Morrisons, Asda) curry pairing: tikka masala

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Barbecue Rosés from Virgin Wines

Two very different barbecue rosés from Virgin Wines

Barbecue food can be tricky to match with wine - pickles, relishes, sauces and charred, meaty foods do not go well with the subtle, nuanced flavours of complex wines.

So, where the event requires you to lead with the food and let the wine to pick up things afterwards, you can go one of two ways. Virgin Wines have addressed both options.

Go Neutral
If you just want a bland, pleasant palate cleanser, this neutral fresh, inoffensive Aussie pink is perfect.

16 Little Black Pigs Rose 2017 (£8.99)  pleasant, neutral and inoffensive with some soft red fruits followed by a bit of freshness, spice and minerality. Well-made and quaffable with a reasonable finish.

Will refresh the palate after strong barbecue foods.

Go Big
Alternately, you can Go Big and find something that will not only stand up to strong foods, but positively demands to be quaffed with grilled meat drenched in a sweet, sharp, sticky sauce.

This Zin rosé feels more constructed than made - it is Joan Collins in a power suit with shoulder pads, a blow wave and full-on make-up.

Big Top White Zinfandel Rose 2017 (£7.99) Big, American personality with sweet watermelon and strawberry fruit; like Joan, there is some class and depth underneath.

Will stand up to relishes and barbecue sauce.


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Anello Barbera 2016 - Virgin Wines

Virgin's barbecue wines - an Italian red from Piemonte

One of the great northern Italian reds, Barbera is very much a food wine. More specifically, it seems to demand rich beefy, tomatoey pasta dishes.

If you are having a berbecue, match this sharp, juicy red with a spicy sausage or a burger and tomato relish.

Anello Piemonte DOC Barbera 2016, Italy (£9.99) juicy, cherry and plum fruit with spice and some woodsiness; sharp and fresh with fine tannins. Good fruit, elegance and concentration - well-made and thoroughly enjoyable.

Classy and easy-drinking.

But don't just take my word for it, here's Matthew Jukes' review:


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Les Jamelles Reserve Mourvèdre - The Co-op

An exclusive Jamelles Mourvedre from The Co-op

Mourvèdre is the French name for Spanish grape Monastrell; also known as Mataro, it thrives in warm climates, producing big, but not necessarily jammy, wines with aromas of earthiness and wild game on top of lots of dark fruit.

It is, then, something of a diamond geezer - earthy and feral with a wildness of the countryside about it, but not without sophistication under the right circumstances.

In the Pays d'Oc area, it is often made into GSM blends with Grenache and Syrah; here, however, it has been given star billing.

Les Jamelles Reserve Mourvèdre 2016 (£7.99, The Co-op) expressive with ripe dark berries - elderberries, black cherries and blueberries - liquorice and garrigue herbs, vanilla and oaky spice. Supple texture and ripe, rounded tannins.

Good.

Match with rosemary and garlic roast lamb, darker game or barbecue sausages.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Gosnells of London - Mead

A modern take on an ancient drink from Gosnells of London

Part medieval, part hipster, mead is set to be the Next Big Thing - especially amongst those of a Bearded Disposition who "do" Craft Products.

If mead makes you think of men in tights running around with swords and drinking from goblets then you've not yet met the eponymous Tom Gosnell.

Urban, clean shaven and devoid of (visible) tattoos, Tom was introduced to craft mead on a trip to the US East Coast in 2012; by 2015, he was winning awards as a "mazer" (mead producer - do keep up).

Mead dates back around 9,000 years and in its purest form is made from honey, water and naturally-occurring yeasts, but like "sherry" or "curry" it is more a category than a specific product; it can be sweet or dry, fully-fermented or topped up with spirit, flavoured or not.

Gosnells mead is distinctly modern in style - light, dry and clean; it is fermented for three weeks, lending some complexity.

Gosnells Mead (£12.50 for 75cl, 5.5% alcohol - available at independents and online at Gosnells) fresh, clean, floral and citrussy with a flavour of orange blossom and beeswax; light, elegant and dry with a slight fizz.

A light easy-drinker, sip in the garden or as a different take on an aperitif;