Saturday, November 11, 2017

PAZO DOS CELTAS 2016 ALBARINO

This is a perfect dry white to branch out and try something new. It's a lovely example of the variety without being earth shattering. 

A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 5.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Spain
RATING: 4/5 from me

ANOTHER DAZZLING BUDGET DRY WHITE


ANTINA 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC 
This is a delicious dry white with restrained varietal fruit. Crisp, dry and lean it's a remarkable wine at the price.

GRAPE VARIETIES: Sauvignon Blanc
A/V: 12% 
PRICE: 1.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Spain
RATING: 5/5 from me 

OUTSTANDING WINE TASTING NUMBER THREE

This tasting was comprised of the previous three posts:
Epulum 2009 Grand Reserva 7.95euro
Rivallana 2013 Reserva 5.99 euro
Rivallana 2014 Crianza  4.49 euro

All Rioja. All purchased from the same Aldi store in Cambrils just south west of Barcelona. And hopefully enough vintage and price range to reveal some differences. Three wines tasted over three consecutive days.

It WAS an outstanding wine tasting with all the wines evolving in a satisfying discernible way. That's described in the individual wine posts. Many thanks to Frances and Alan for their very valuable input. They embraced the concept.



RIVALLANA 2014 CRIANZA RIOJA


Our third wine of Outstanding Wine Tasting Number Three was the youngest and the lowest on the pecking order of Rioja. It held its own on the first day and continued to evolve into a beautifully balanced, medium bodied red. On the third day it was at its best which suggests a far greater cellaring life than was originally intended.

GRAPE VARIETIES: 
REGION: 
A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 4.49 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Spain
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

RIVALLANA 2013 RESERVA RIOJA


This was the second wine opened each day of Outstanding Wine Tasting Number Three. It was undoubtedly the majority winner on day one and then faded into a distant third place by the end of the tasting. So perfect to open and drink now without too much excitement.

GRAPE VARIETIES: Tempranillo 90% The balance comprising of Carignan [Mazuelo] Grenache and Graciano
REGION: Rioja
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 5.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Spain
RATING: 3.5/5 rating from me 

EPULUM GRAN RESERVA 2009 RIOJA

This starred in Outstanding Wine Tasting Number Three. It bullied its way through the first day with huge flavours all over the place. It softened slightly on day two and by day three had us all seduced. At eight years old and a mere eight euro this is a cellaring bargain that I would love to taste in 10 years time. The fact that it's still on retail shelves at this price is extraordinary

GRAPE VARIETIES: Tempranillo 85% Carignan [Mazuelo] 5% Graciano 10%
REGION: Rioja
A/V: 14% 
PRICE: 7.95 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Spain
RATING: 5/5 from me 

Monday, November 6, 2017

HOW LOW CAN I GO?

VEGA DEL CEGA 2016 BLANCO 
This is crazy. A crisp, dry white with a  perfectly balanced palate and lifted melon/pear fruit. For under a euro. That's $1.50 in Australia currency and under a quid for UK travellers.
It's made from two of Spain's most widely planted white varieties and it is a faultless little quaffer.
 

GRAPE VARIETIES: Viura and Airen
REGION: Valdepenas
A/V: 12% 
PRICE: .99 euro 
FROM: Lidl, Spain 
RATING: 5/5 from me 

OUTSTANDING WINE TASTING NUMBER TWO

On the basis of the OUTSTANDING 2011 vintage Chateau de Fieuzal is our favourite Bordeaux producer. So how could we resist when we found these two wines on the shelves at E.Leclerc St Vincent Tyrosse.

CHATEAU DE FIEUZAL 2014 GRAND GRU CLASSE DE GRAVES PESSAC -LEOGNAN 
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 23.90 euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 5/5 from me 


L'ABEILLE DE FIEUZAL 2015 PESSAC -LEOGNAN 
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 18.20 euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 2/5 from me 

We tasted these over three days and the difference between the two was closest at the beginning. Even then the difference in quality was far greater than 6 euro. Then the gap just widened. Presumably the L'Abeille is a secondary label and I don't know why you'd bother. The 2014 is a class act that drinks beautifully on opening and just keeps improving. Definitely one for long term cellaring. The L'Abeille goes nowhere.

NOT ONE OF OUR FAVOURITES

LES CARACTERES SAUMUR BRUT METHODE TRADITIONELLE 

If you love your sparkling wines with a bit of aged character you'll rate this far higher than we did. Colour is quite golden and there's a pronounced honey character on the developed, quite heavy palate. 
It's perfectly sound but I suspect would surprise and disappoint most as there's no way of knowing that it's this style.


A/V: 12%
PRICE: 4.9 euro
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 2.5/5 from me 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

TIME FOR ANOTHER ROSE CHALLENGE?


Both these are from an extensive range we found at the stunning E.Leclerc St Vincent Tyrosse. Both are dry, both have a 4.5/5 recommendation and interestingly both are blends of three different red varieties. Their biggest difference is probably geographic coming from opposite southern corners of France. 

LARCISSE 2016 ST MONT ROSE
Never have I knowingly encountered a rose made from Tannat before. I associate that variety with huge thunderous reds - from Mclaren Vale in South Australia. For what it's worth Pinenc is also known as Fer.
GRAPE VARIETIES: Tannat, Pinenc, Cabernet Sauvignon
REGION: Saint Mont, Gascgone
A/V: 12% 
PRICE: 3.95 euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 4.5/5 from me



CHATEAU SAINT HIPPOLYTE 2016 ROSE
From the renowned Provence in the south east comes this beauty. Very pale salmon colour and searingly dry. Won't be to everyone's taste but we loved it
GRAPE VARIETIES: Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault
REGION: Provence
A/V: 13.5% 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 4.5/5 from me

AL DES NUDO 2016 VIURA SAUVIGNON BLANC



This is a perfectly pleasant little quaffer and for the price well worth a try. It's a blend of viura, the white variety of Rioja and nearly everyone's favourite, sauvignon blanc. Don't expect any sauvignon blanc flavours though because there aren't any. It has a surprisingly hefty palate weight which may appeal more to you than it does me.

And for what it's worth Viura is also known as Macabeo in other parts of the world. Which one is corrects? Growers of each would undoubtedly believe they are.

GRAPE VARIETIES: Viura 70% Sauvignon Blanc 30%
REGION: Valencia, Spain
A/V: 11.5% 
PRICE: 1.49 euro 
FROM: Lidl, Spain
RATING: 3/5 from me

Thursday, November 2, 2017

OUTSTANDING WINE TASTING NUMBER ONE

Chateau Bellevue Medoc : Vintages 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015
October 8, 9 and 10 - 2017




The starting point for understanding wine is drinking the stuff. We in the wine biz used to say "we had a look at that wine" or "have you seen it?".It meant have you tasted it? And that's just like drinking although you may spit. 

I can't see the point of spitting if you've only got four wines and you're planning to taste them over three days. This tasting was inspired by the opportunity to buy four sequential vintages of the same label. We wanted to see the extent of vintage variation and how the wines evolved once the cork was pulled.

The vintage variation was HUGE!
2012 was the strongest performer on Day 1. A little bit all over the place but a big opulent wine offered plenty of optimism for Day 2. Sadly it had fallen over by then and never got back up. If you have some, drink now

2013 was by far the lightest bodied and the biggest surprise. It evolved each day in a positive subtle way. Medium cellaring should be fine.

2014 was oak dominated and didn't show anything but oak for the life of the tasting.

2015 not surprisingly opened as a young wine and evolved really well each day into the best of the line up. Enjoy it over the next three years.

The wines were all around the 9.5 euro mark. I wouldn't jump up and down about any of them but for under 40 euro this was a priceless tasting experience.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

ALBERT SCHOECH 2016 VIN d'ALSACE RIESLING

There's a lot to like about this starting with the gloriously busy, bright retro label. It's classic Alsace riesling, dry appealing, though slightly, subdued fruit. A crowd pleaser. 


A/V: 12.5% 
PRICE: 4.75euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 



EXTREME BARGAINS AT LIDL ROCHEFORT VOLUME 2


TERRES d'EXCEPTION 2016 BORDEAUX  

If you've got room in the trailer it's worth stocking up on this as well. It's a dry, savoury little number that I reckon would benefit from a few years in the cellar. So much better than the price suggests

A/V: 12.5% 
PRICE: 1.89 euro per bottle by the 6 pack
FROM: Lidl, Rochefort France
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

EXTREME BARGAINS AT LIDL ROCHEFORT VOLUME 1

OUSTALET 2016 COTES  DU GASCOGNE

I walked into their store at Rochefort, France and as much as I admire Lidl, this was something else again. It was huge, had a beautiful layout with a booze section to salivate over. Think Dan Murphy with food and any Australian will immediately understand.

I could have spent all day there. But time was short and we just needed some quaffers so I grabbed a box of this. I should have bought a few more. This is a classic dry white style - crisp clean and dry with a refreshing acid zing. I haven't seen it at any other Lidl since but it is such an outstanding bargain it's worth the drive.       
Wherever you are.




A/V: 11.5% 
PRICE: 1.26 euro a bottle by the 6 pack
FROM: Lidl, Rochefort France 
RATING: 5/5 from me 

Friday, October 27, 2017

LES PARCELLES DE VENTENAC 2016 CHENIN COLOMARD

This is beautifully crafted dry white. Drink now
and enjoy the lifted citrus fruit, touch of spritzig and all round drinkability. 


GRAPE VARIETIES: Chenin Blanc, Colombard
REGION: Languedoc
A/V: 12% 
PRICE: 3.90 euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

THIS SHOULD NOT BE ON THE SHELVES AT THIS PRICE

CHATEAU LA LOUVIERE GRAND VIN DE BORDEAUX

This was a huge disappointment. It opened a little dull and stayed that way. By Day 3 it was completely oxidised. Time to special this out, well under 10 euro.

GRAPE VARIETIES: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
REGION: Pessac-Leognan [Bordeaux/Graves]
A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 24.30 euro
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 1/5 from me 

LOVE THE NAME, LOVE THE PRICE, DRANK THE BEER

FINKBRAU LAGER

How crazy is this? As much as I enjoyed it, beer should not be this cheap. This is a very quaffable malt driven lager that can handle quite a chill. Every bit as a good as far better known brands.

PRICE: 5.99 euro for a box of twenty four 250ml bottles
FROM: Lidl, France
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

WOULD YOU BUY WINE FROM THE BACK OF THE TRUCK?



You would if you met Jean-Claude Berezanski from Chateau Bellevue Bordeaux. 
We met the charming, ebullient Jean-Claude at a market at Monlivet a town on the coast west of Bordeaux. 
He had lots of interesting wines to sample and fortunately his English was so much better than our French. He had four sequential vintages of his Chateau Bellevue red so what an outstanding opportunity for an Outstanding Wine Tasting, We bought the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. 
Under 40euro for the lot. 

Tasting results to follow.



Thursday, October 26, 2017

WHEN ALSACE RIESLING TASTE LIKE HOME

REBMANN 2016 VIN D'ALSACE RIESLING

This equates to well under AU$7 so forgive me for getting so excited. It's a little more developed than I'd expect from a 2016 but that's easy to forgive. This is DRY with a steely lip smacking minerality that has you reaching for the glass. It's so quality ageing Clare Valley with a combination of youth and bottle development. Beautifully balanced and the absolute perfect lunchtime companion.

A/V: 12.5% 
PRICE: 4.29 euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 5/5 from me 


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

ENGLISH BEERS TASTE EVEN BETTER IN FRANCE



I was tidying up the cellar in the motorhome and discovered these two beauties that I'd forgotten about. And as much as I'm enjoying French lager and Belgian wheat beers they were a welcome change

ELSIE MO GLORIOUS GOLDEN ALE
Castle Rock Brewery Nottingham
5% a/v, 500ml bottle. Challenger, Bobek and Aurora hops. Maris Otter malts "Full bodied and totally irresistible"

ROARING MEG IPA
Springhead Brewery Notts
5.5% a/v 500ml bottle known as The Big Blonde


Both £1.50 from Morrisons, UK. Both highly recommended if you want a beer with FLAVOUR.
Both 4.5/5 rating from me

LaCHETEAU SAUMUR BRUT CUVEE "EPHEMERE"

Not in the same class as the Ladubays and Ackermans, we discovered last year, at the same price. But it's still a very pleasant sparkler with a bit of palate weight and complexity



REGION: Saumur 
A/V: 11.5% 
PRICE: 8.03 euro 
FROM: Cave L'Avant Garde Margaux 
RATING: 4/5 from me

LES CARACTERES METHODE TRADITIONELLE CREMANT DE LOIRE

Lovely little sparkler. Clean, crisp and dry with a fine long lasting bead. No depth of character but perfect crowd pleasing fizz at this price. 


REGION: Saumur
A/V: 12% 
PRICE: 5.49 euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 4/5 from me 

NOBODY MAKES A WHITE LIKE THIS BY ACCIDENT

CHATEAU SARANSOT-DUPRE 2015 SEC

Mango! Never have I tasted a wine with such a definitive fruit character. There's no nuances, hints or suggestions. It's just full on mango - about a tray's worth from Sydney Markets as the new season begins.
So we did something unusual with our white tastings and whacked it back in the fridge. 
Day Two: Mango! Back in the fridge
Day Three: While the mango was still going strong there were other complex characters wafting around the glass and it had evolved into a really fascinating wine. Still in great condition with no oxidisation.

The verdict? At first I thought this was impossible to rate but on reflection this is the perfect 4/5 rated wine. You will love or hate it. There is no room for a wishy washy opinion. . If you're an experimenter this is a must. If you want your sauvignon blancs to taste like Marlborough, avoid at all costs.

REGION: Bordeaux
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 12 euro 
FROM: Cave L'Avant Garde Margaux 
RATING: 4/5 from me

A DISAPPOINTING BENCHMARK

CHATEAU HAUT-BATAILLEY 2011 GRAND CRU 

As the most expensive of our 24 mixed bottles from Cave l'Avant Garde we opened this with keen anticipation. Sadly it didn't rattle our cage so we replaced the cork. Next day same response. On the third day it was drinking at its best but it still didn't impress as much as lower priced reds in the selection.

REGION: Pauillac, Bordeaux
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 42 euro 
FROM: Cave L'Avant Garde Margaux 
RATING: 3/5 from me 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

REBMANN 2016 VIN D'ALSACE SYLVANER



They make lovely Sylvaners in this part of the world. I don't think this is quite up to the Rosenhof level but still a very good full bodied dry white and outstanding value at
this price.


REGION: Alsace
A/V: 12% 
PRICE: 3.8 euro 
FROM: E.Leclerc
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

GAYDA 2014 CHEMIN DE ROUGE

When I feel homesick a Languedoc red will usually cheer me up. While I get the impression that most of France view it as a lesser region I've always enjoyed the sun ripened Australian like nature of its wines. We tasted this one over three days and while it's a perfectly pleasant red we just hoped for more at this price.

GRAPE VARIETIES: 60% Shiraz 35% Grenache 5% Cinsault
REGION: Languedoc
A/V: 14% 
PRICE: 21 euro 
FROM: Cave L'Avant Garde Margaux 
RATING: 3/5 from me 

THIS GRAPE VARIETY IS CONFUSING ME

Le Heron 2016 Gros Manseng

This is the second we've found and it's far more palatable than the first. There's still the dominant peach fruit character and it will still be too sweet for some. But I'm going to persist. As for this one I reckon it would be perfect to chill to near freezing and quaff with really hot spicy food. 


GRAPE VARIETY: Gros Manseng
REGION: Cotes du Gascogne
A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 3.99 euro 
FROM: Lidl, France
RATING: 3.5/5 from me