Thursday, April 12, 2018

SOMETIMES YOU GET LUCKY

Lucky enough to be in France's vastly underrated Languedoc region, lucky enough to read an article recommending a visit to Chateau le Bouis and lucky enough to have a range of outstanding wines shown to us by the charming, knowledgeable Audrey. We've lost count of the number of Cellar Doors we've visited around the world but this experience, thanks to Audrey and the wines, was up there with the best.


In a truly impressive line up these four impressed us most. If we lived in Europe we'd be buyng dozens of them. As it is we're enquiring about shipping costs to Australia.  But for the time being we just bought a few bottles of each for some upcoming tastings we have planned.

All wines scored 5/5 from me. They're all quite different in their style with a variety of winemaking techniques applied to different combinations of varieties. This is reflected in their labelling which unusually lacks any common cotporate branding theme. 

2014 Cuvee R ... a blend of Grenache, Carignan and Shiraz [14% a/v] 9.95 euro
2014 Cuvee Zoe ... mostly Carignan that's gone through carbonic maceration [14.5% a/v] 12.70 euro
2011 Cuvee Arthur ... mostly Shiraz with 12% from old Carignan vines [14% a/v] 15.50 euro
2011 Cuvee K ... mostly Shiraz with 6% Carignan [15% a/v] 25 euro


You may struggle to find these anywhere but from the winery:
Chateau le Bouis
Route Bleue, 11430 Gruissan 
ph 04 68 75 25 25
                                                            contact@chateaulebouis.com

Saturday, March 17, 2018

90 POINTS FROM WINE SPECTATOR AND WORTH MORE


One of the things I love about Spain is that you can pluck wines like this straight off the supermarket shelves. Six years old and quite possibly drinking at its peak without us having to worry about any cellaring. It's a mere 4 euro and an extreme bargain.
Medium weight with plenty of serious complex flavour from the bottle ageing. 



SENORIO de la ANTIGUA 2012 MENCIA
GRAPE VARIETIES: Mencia
REGION: Leon, Spain
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 3.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Spain
        RATING: 5/5 from me 

THE RED DRINKERS WHITE


The label is quite vague but the wine is unequivocally huge. This is a big rich, wooded, full bodied dry white. If you like this style you'll rate it much higher. If you prefer light zingy whites, avoid at all costs.

VILLA REAL 2016 PREMIUM DOURO
REGION: Douro, Portugal
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 3.99 euro 
FROM: Lidl, Portugal
RATING: 4/5 from me 

OUTSTANDING PORTUGUESE DRY WHITE

It's a rare white wine, at this price, that combines a textural complexity with a fine fruit and acid delicacy. This is an absolutely outstanding dry white that I could happily drink for the rest of my life.

CASA FERREIRINHA PLANALTO 2016 VINHO BLANCO SECO RESERVA
GRAPE VARIETIES: ????
REGION: Douro, Portugal
A/V: 12.5% 
PRICE: 4.99 euro 
FROM: Lidl, Portugal
RATING: 5/5 from me 

NOW HERE'S THE PROBLEM OF BUYING TOO MUCH WINE

When I arrive in a new country or find a new retailer with a range of wines I've never seen before I get excited. I'm obsessed with tasting wine and making sense of varieties and regions that I've never encountered before. 
Sometimes I buy so much that we can't taste them all before we move on to a new place where those wines aren't available.  And so it was with this little beauty. We bought it in Portugal and opened the bottle in Spain. 
It's a dazzling crisp dry white full of aromatic flavour that warrants a much higher price. I wish we'd bought more

MONTE DA FERRA 2016 VINHO BRANCO
GRAPE VARIETIES: Roupeiro, Arinto and Fernao Pires
REGION: Alentejo, Portugal
A/V: 12.5% 
PRICE: 1.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Portugal
RATING: 5/5 from me 

AN INTRIGUING QUADRUPLE BLEND

This is another bargain from the recent Continente sale. 
Complex, surprisingly mellow and warmly inviting this is a masterful blend. I would have loved an opportunity to taste the components individually before the blend was put together

MULA VELHA 2016 PREMIUM WHITE
GRAPE VARIETIES: Fernao Pires, Arinto, Chardonnay and Verdelho
REGION: Lisboa, Portugal
A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 2.99 euro [marked down from 9.99]
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 5/5 from me 

A SECOND LABEL THAT'S WELL WORTH A TRY .... providing you buy it at the right price

We'd already been impressed by this maker's Premium Red so this was an interesting comparison. A solid impressive little red that over delivers at the markdown price. But still the premium is well worth the difference.


MULA VEHLA 2016 VINHO TINTO
GRAPE VARIETIES: Touriga Nacional, Aragonez and Castelao
REGION: Lisboa, Portugal
A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 2.19 euro [marked down from 5.49]
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 4.5/5 from me at the reduced price

Friday, March 16, 2018

DEFINITELY NOT WORTH 9.99 euro!



That's the original asking price Continente reckon before reducing it to 2.99. Even then there are so many better wines out there.
This is quite a hard, austere white without much enticing fruit. Some will like it but the markdown claim annoys me.

CALHANDRIZ 2016 PREMIUM WHITE 
GRAPE VARIETIES: Arinto and Chardonnay
REGION: Lisboa, Portugal
A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 2.99 euro [reduced from 9.99]
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 2/5 from me 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

TWO OUTSTANDING RUEDA WHITES FROM MERCADONA





I love Verdejo and I'm equally enamoured with the achievements of Rueda winemakers. Congratulations Mercadona, who don't have the best wine range, for featuring these beauties. Two crisp dry quality whites that over deliver flavour. Absolute bargains.
ARRIBENO 2017 & ABADIA MANTRUS 2016 .... both .....
GRAPE VARIETIES: Verdejo
REGION: Rueda, Spain
A/V: 13%
PRICE: 2.40 euro
FROM: Mercadona Spain
RATING: 5/5 from me 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

I'D BUY THIS JUST FOR THE BOTTLE

One of the most striking wine bottles I've ever seen contains a really impressive single varietal red. In an area obsessed with blending it's great to taste Mourvedre [aka Monastrell] on its proud, confrontational own. 
While this is a really impressive full on red it's not the pinnacle of value in this ridiculously cheap market. But it scores really highly on the quality of the wine, its individuality and distinctive packaging.



LAUDUM 2016 MONASTRELL
GRAPE VARIETIES: Monastrell
REGION: Alicante, Spain
A/V: 14% 
PRICE: 5.49 euro 
FROM: Aldi Spain
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

A MINI EL CHEAPO MERCADONA TASTING


When you see them aligned on a supermarket shelf it's impossible to resist grabbing two wines from the same maker, five years apart in vintage and a mere 3.2 euro. For both of them. What could possibly go wrong?
As it turned out: nothing. These are two intriguing little wines from La Mancha. I assume the grape is tempranillo but unsure. But I am sure these are two little bargains if what's on offer is to your taste

FIDENCIO 2012 RESERVA A/V: 13% , 1.99 euro from Mercadona. Quite charming in an earthy feral way. A little brown round the edges but still sound and will appeal as a quaffing aged red. Well worth a try but needs to be drunk now. 4/5 rating

FIDENCIO 2017 TINTO A/V 12.5%, 1.20 euro from Mercadona. Absolutely no wood but the fruit and acid is in perfect balance. The tannins also kick in once the wine has had a chance to breathe. We tasted it over 3 days and it started well and finished even better. If I lived in Spain I'd be buying a few dozen. 5/5 rating

Sunday, February 25, 2018

MORE CREDIT TO ALDI

If you're buying booze in Portugal or Spain it's daft to go past Aldi. Sure, there are gems everywhere but Aldi just have an outstanding range across all price points. Not just in wine. Their beers and spirits are equally impressive.
This is another stunning red wine to drink now or cellar. It's not a common blend but it works beautifully. It's on the upper end of medium weight with everything in perfect balance. Very highly recommended but not for the faint hearted.



FUERZA 2014 JUMILLA D.O.P.
GRAPE VARIETIES: Monastrell and Cabernet Sauvignon
REGION: Jumilla, Spain
A/V: 14.5% 
PRICE: 4.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Spain
RATING: 5/5 from me 

THIS WOULD BE COMMERCIAL SUICIDE IN AUSTRALIA

What? Beer in a plastic bottle? Unfortunately that market dictates that packaged beer must be in glass. Cans are accepted but plastic? No way.

Whereas if you are in Portugal you can buy this absolute gem for a mere 89 euro cents for a ONE LITRE BOTTLE!!!!!
Just pour it into a glass and enjoy one of the best beer buys in Europe. From Belgium it has that classic Pilsener minerality and dryness. The bead is persistent and consistent through the slightly more than three pours it provides a 330ml glass

SCHULTEN BRAU PREMIUM LAGER BEER [Pilsener] 1000ml
A/V: 4.7% 
PRICE: 0.89 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Portugal
RATING: 5/5 from me 

BUYING BEER IN PORTUGAL? GO TO ALDI

I'm yet to taste a Portuguese beer that would have me regret leaving Portugal. The supermarket shelves are jammed full of lagers that pretty much taste the same, are generally packed in small glass and are relatively expensive. 
So thank goodness for Aldi and this bargain offering in particular. If you're a wheat beer fan, like me, you'll love the traditional German flavour and cloudy appearance of this as well as the price. 

OETTINGER WEISSBIER NATURTRUB 500ml can
A/V: 4.9% 
PRICE: 0.69 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Portugal
RATING: 5/5 from me 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU TASTED LOUREIRO

So far with our exploration into Portuguese wines we've encountered three different varieties in the Vinho Verdes we've tasted. And a range of spritzig from "way too much" to the much preferred subtlety of this one.
This is the first time we've encountered Loureiro and this is a very classy offering for the price. Highly recommended crisp dry white with just a touch of spritz

QUINTA DA AVELEDA 2017 VINHO VERDE
GRAPE VARIETIES: Loureiro amd Alvarinho
REGION: Vinho Verde, Portugal
A/V: 11.5% 
PRICE: 3.34 euro 
FROM: Intermarche, Portugal
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

A REALLY PRETTY LABEL FOR A SURPRISINGLY PRETTY WINE

I don't expect Grenache to taste like this especially with a hefty 14.5% a/v. But this is a supple fruit driven red that's really approachable from the moment you pull the cork. Equally surprisingly is that it drank really well over five days. Drink now or cellar.

JUNTOS 2016 GARNACHA


GRAPE VARIETIES: Grenache
REGION: Spain
A/V: 14.5% 
PRICE: 3.49 euro 
FROM: Ald,  Spain
RATING: 5/5 from me 

A GREAT BIG BOTTLE AT A VERY CHEAP PRICE


For sheer visual impact this is a winner. A stylishly labeled magnum in an equally impressive gift box. And the stuff inside doesn't let you down.
This is an elegant stylish red with more finesse and subtlety than power. Big bottles slow down the ageing process so while I'd be happy to drink now I'd love to taste it in 5-10 years time. It could be something quite special. And even if it's not to your taste just give them away as Christmas presents.


CASTELO do SULCO 2016 RESERVA 1.5L Gift Boxed
GRAPE VARIETIES: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Syrah
REGION: Lisboa, Portugal
A/V: 13.5% 
PRICE: 4.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Portugal
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

FLOR D' PENALVA 2015 RESERVA VIHNO TINTA




This wine is another that seriously challenges the efficacy and credibility of Continente's current sale. There is no way this wine justifies the "original" price tag. And at the reduced price there are so many better and cheaper. The wine is sound but why would you bother?

GRAPE VARIETIES: Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz
REGION:Dao, Portugal
A/V: 13 % 
PRICE: 3.69 euro [reduced from 12.49]
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 1/5 from me 

Friday, February 23, 2018

A RED OF VARYING PRICES



We first encountered this in Palmeiras Restaurant at Turiscampo, Espiche. The young guy behind the bar had the enthusiasm to recommend it and we were happy enough to pay 14.5 euro. Next day we bought a bottle at Aldi for 5.99 and right after that we spotted it at Continente for 4.49.
But that's to be expected and it's a lovely wine so who cares. It offers a more elegant profile than some of the beasts we've encountered so far in this part of the world. Wood is restrained and there's a tasty balance of lively fruit characters. Will cellar well with plenty of acid and highish alcohol level that's not overt.

TRINCA BOLOTAS 2016 VINHO TINTO
GRAPE VARIETIES: Alicante Bouchet, Touriga Nacional, Aragonez
REGION: Alentejo, Portugal
A/V: 14% 
PRICE: 5.99 euro 
FROM: Aldi, Portugal
RATING: 4/5 from me 

PITEIRA 2016 PREMIUM RED BLEND



This is another one of Continente's markdowns [from 9,99 to 3.79 euro] that is highly recommended. Colour is deep and dazzling. It's a complete fruit bomb on the front palate and ends with a lovely dry tannic grip. It won't be to everyone's taste but grab a bottle, taste it and zip back for more if you rate it as highly as I do.

GRAPE VARIETIES: Aragones and Moreto
REGION:Alentjo, Portugal
A/V: 14 % 
PRICE: 3.79 euro 
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 4.5/5 from me 

WHACK A FEW DOZEN OF THESE IN THE CELLAR

This is one of the stars of Continente's huge wine mark down sale: from 12.99 down to 4.49 euro. It's a complex mid weight quadruple red blend that the maker recommends drinking over the next 7 years. I reckon it will last longer than that if you can resist pulling the cork. It's an absurd bargain at this price.


CASA ERMELINDA FREITAS 2016 VINHA DA VALENTINA PREMIUM RED BLEND
GRAPE VARIETIES: Syrah, Aragones, Castelao and Alicante Bouchet
REGION: Setubal, Portugal
A/V: 14 % 
PRICE: 4.49 euro 
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 5/5 from me 

GUARDA RIOS SIGNATURE 2016 VINHO BRANCO


The sceptical me wonders whether this ever saw a 16 euro price tag. Which is a shame because this is a really interesting complex dry white blend. It's quite developed for a wine this young with a honeysuckle richness dominating a full bodied palate. Won't be to everyone's taste, well and truly worth 6 euro but not 16.
GRAPE VARIETIES: Antao Vaz, Arinto, Viognier and Semillon
REGION:Alentejano, Portugal
A/V: 13 % 
PRICE: 5.99 euro [reduced from 15.99]
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 4/5 from me 

JUST ANOTHER VINHO VERDE OR TWO

 
Here are two perfectly pleasant little quaffers that are starting to taste the same. Too many bubbles and not enough individual character.

Torre de Menagaem 2017 Alvarinho/ Trajadura 2.79 euro

Aveleda 2017 2.99 euro
Both from Continenete Both 3/5 rating.

AN OK BUDGET RED

This is a perfectly OK medium bodied little red. Certainly not worth the supposed regular price but it's sound if budget is all that matters. It may have a vintage but I couldn't find it.



CAVES de PEGOES VINHO REGIONAL TINTO

GRAPE VARIETIES: Castelao, Aragonez and Alicante Bouchet
REGION: Setubal, Portugal
A/V: 13% 
PRICE: 1.69 euro [was 4.59]
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 3/5 from me

BE QUICK - I HOPE THIS IS STILL AVAILABLE

The problem of buying a whole heap of tasting wines from a sale is that it takes a while to wade through them. It's taken over 2 weeks to get to this beauty. 
The price is an absolute joke. This is a big rich fascinating red that's a little disjointed on opening but after three days reveals what a gem this will be for medium to long term cellaring.

Stop reading, get in the car and buy all they've got at this price.




SOBREIRO DE PEGOES 2016 PREMIUM VINHO TINTO

GRAPE VARIETIES: Castelao, Aragonez and Cabernet Sauvignon
REGION: Setubal, Portugal
A/V: 14% 
PRICE: 2.99 euro [reduced from 9.99]
FROM: Continente, Portugal
RATING: 5/5 from me