Valle de Aconcagua, Chile
From the bottle
'Cool fermented and lightly oaked. Aromas of fresh strawberries and cherries complemented by a touch of violets and damp earth. Light bodied and crisp with soft tannins and a pleasing well rounded finish. Serve with grilled salmon or tuna or cold avocado soup'
Price Available from Asda (£10.45) or Majestic £11.99 (£7.99 when two bottles brought in same offer)
Well I don't know about you, but I do find it rather helpful when there is a serving suggestion on a label. Not only does it help me understand the wine a little more, if it's a particular goodun, it might even shake up what I throw into my food basket (depending on whether it sounds like too much effort after a 10 hour day at work)
'Grilled salmon' I read. Mmmm yeah yummy and healthy, not much work involved, great idea I think. 'Tuna' Ohh nice, makes a change to beef steak and I haven't had it in a while.
'Cold avocado soup' Erm, come again?
Now I'm no food prude. I love a good gazpacho, on a hot summers day and a ripe avocado that spreads like butter is blissful on toast will marmite (don't knock it till you've tried it). But cold avocado soup? Come on mate, let's not be silly. You are basically suggesting I eat a meal just consisting of Guacamole. I am a grown woman. I need more sustenance than that.
Food pairings aside, when opened up this wine has aromas of cherry jam with a slight smokiness and indeed a hint of damp earth. The palate matches the aroma profile with slight acidity following through. Light bodied with just noticeable tannins. A perfectly good example of warm climate Pinot, but it just didn't knock my socks off. Maybe I should have drunk it with the avocado soup after all...
Rating - Wouldn't turn down a free glass
From the Bottle
Dark red colour with well integrated aromas of ripe fruit. The palate is balanced and well structured. Serve between 14-16c
Price £4.99 (Available from Budgens)
Rioja seems to be one of the new darling wine of the moment. The one people ask for if they want to seem a little bit more 'knowledgeable' about wine and not just order a standard Merlot or Cab Sav. Even my dad has told me that Rioja is his current favourite, a fiftyish year old, 6ft4, Jamican born in Birmingham, not that you need to know that, but it tickles me when I think of him going into a bar and specifically ordering a bottle of Rioja. Anyways, this particular one is a blend of Grenache Noir and Tempranillo grapes, which combine to give a bouquet of lush fruits, slight spice and a hint of vanilla (from the limited time spent in oak). The taste mimics the fruity smell and there is slight acidity that balances well. Supple tannins are observed with a slight heat to the back of the throat.
Rating - Worth scraping your pennies together for
From the bottle:
'a richly flavoured, full bodied wine made from Garnacha, Tempranillo and Carinena grapes which combines vibrant cherry and raspberry flavours and a vanilla spice oak character... Grapes are carefully hand harvested and then fermented and then aged for at least 24 months in American oak barrels. Enjoy with roasted red meats, game and strong cheeses.'
Price £9.99 (Available from Tesco)
I brought this Gran Reserva because I thought the label and the name sounded like quite a posh wine to start my blog with, but it wasn't as good as it looked. On the nose you get red fruits with a background of spice and a hint of butter. Coming to the taste the fruit is somewhat lacking and so the spice seems a tad unbalanced. A little harshness at the back of the throat and noticeable tannins. Left with slight acidic after taste.
Rating - Would cry more over spilt milk