From the Bottle
'A smart and snappy, savoury red from Romania. Feteasca Neagra is an old, native grape variety with a new twist on peppery blackcurrant flavours.'
Price £4 Available at Asda
Feteasca Neagra translates to Black Maiden (which I think would make a really kick ass name for a comic book heroine) and even though it is one of the oldest varieties in the world I'd never heard of it until I stumbled upon it in Asda. In fact I've only had one Romanian wine which was a Pinot Noir and whilst perfect quaff-able it was nothing to write home about and was rather expecting the same to happen with this wine.
The first thought that came into my head when I smelt this wine was blackberry pie (I love pie) with cherry, woodsmoke and herbal undernotes. Upon tasting it has more red fruits with a cranberry and raspberries coming to the forefront. The fruit tastes ripe with fresh acidity, chalky tannins and slight white pepper.
A medium bodied wine that would make an interesting alternative to Sangiovese, Beaujolais or Mencia (especially at the price!)
Definitely worth scraping your pennies together for
Mosel - Germany
From the Bottle
'A crisp, fruity and refreshing Riesling from the mineral-rich slate soil of the Mosel valley. It is an ideal companion to midly spicy stir fry dishes and Indian curries or simply serve as an aperif'
Price £6 -£7 Available at Asda and Sainsburys
First and foremost let it be known that 'I LOVE SWEET WINES!'
It's not really fashionable to be seen to like anything but brut in wine world and I've never really understood why. Off dry, demi-sec and full on syrupy thick dessert wines can be absolutely fantastic if they have the right amount of flavour and acidity to match the residual sugar.
Not only do they tickle the taste buds, but they also match so well with foods dry wines just can't stand up to.
On the nose this wine has gorgeous aromas of honeysuckle, lime, mandarin oranges and stone fruits and what I love is that all of those flavours come through on the palate as well! There is obviously some sweetness observed but there is lovely lively acidity that follows to perfectly balance it.
Although recently changing, most people think that you get more bang for your buck the higher in alcohol a wine is. Firstly, I guess it because it gets you drunk quicker (but hopefully we don't just always just drink to get drunk.) Secondly, I imagine it's something to do with the mouthfeel. Alcohol is one of the things we take into consideration when we talk about the body of the wine. More alcohol (and other things) equals more body. This wine at 8.5% is pretty low in modern standards but let me tell you now this does not mean that this wine feels thin and like you haven't got value for money!
This little beauty would be a perfect accompaniment to fruity and spicy dishes like mango/avocado salad with a chilli and lime dressing or a maybe a nice bit of chicken with a slightly sticky sweet glaze.
Rating - Buy it now!
Languedoc - Sud France
From the Bottle
Price £8.99 (single bottle) £5.99 mix six - Majestic
To the casual observer this is a very unassuming bottle. Without looking at the back label you wouldn't know that this was a Gerard Bertrand wine, and even if you did read that, what exactly would that mean to you? Nothing, more than likely and why should it?
Well readers I am here to tell you that GB is a name you should look for. An abridged version of events, this former rugby star was introduced to wine by his late father. His passion grew as did the size of his estates (he is currently up to 9) and he is a well known ambassador of the Mediterranean lifestyle and Art the Vivre. He is obviously doing something right because in 2012 Gérard Bertrand was named Red Winemaker of the Year by IWC and European Winery of the year by Wine Enthusiast. No small feat.
What I personally like about GB is that he comes across as genuine and unpretentious with a range of wines to suit every budget. This is one of his entry level but don't let that fool you into thinking it's cheap.
Deep purple in colour the nose gives blackcurrant, black cherry jam, sweet spice, chocolate and raspberry ripple ice cream notes with a little eucalyptus, forest floor, earthy backdrop.
On the palate this wine is not a fruit forward as the nose would suggest. Black fruit salad with a lick of leather, fresh acidity and a slight white pepper heat. A sprig of mint on the finish with clay- earth and a tad salty. Medium bodied with crunchy tannins. Might be best to let breath before drinking.
Would be good with cheese and meat.
Rating - A cheaper end of price spectrum would be worth scraping your pennies together.
Saint Chinian Roquebrun - Sud France
From the Bottle
Price £11.99 (single bottle) or £8.99 mix six - Majestic
Southern French wine may not be seen to be as glamourous as Bordeaux or Burgundy but I think they are much more exciting! Wine laws are very strict when it comes to what grapes are allowed, percentage restrictions and ageing etc but in South France the winemakers can get away with being a little bit more experimental and therefore I think ultimately the wines are more expressive and unique.
Deep purple legs with a complex nose of cassis, damson, black forest fruits and a savoury earth and (please stay with me on this one) cold bean salad notes.
This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre and a perfect example of what the French call 'Terrior' (I'll cover that in another post, but it basically means how a particular region's soil, climate etc affect the taste of the wine) which comes through in the unpretentious and rustic qualities of this wine.
The fuller side of medium bodied with tannins that have softened with age. Black pepper spice and slight smokiness on the palate with black fruits coming through. Short finish but pleasant.
Would pair fantastically with sausage and bean casserole.
Definitely worth scraping your pennies together