Friday, January 27, 2017

How many beers can I taste in 2017?

Well here's a start with two perfectly acceptable, but far from knee trembling, bargains from Asda.
They fall into my Category One Beer rating so are perfectly quaffable without any rave factors. Both are in the mid range alcohol category and prove that you can still have flavour at below 4%.

Banks Amber Bitter 3.8% 3.5 rating 90p 500ml bottle from Asda

Ruddles Best Proper Country Ale 3.8% 3.0 rating £1 500ml bottle from Asda

Just Buy It!!!

I sold truck loads of Zilzie wines during my Australian retail career. One reason was that they always offered outstanding value for money. Another was I scored all their disastrous [from a marketing point of view] Shane Warne labelled wines at a fraction of their true value. 

So I couldn't resist this as an old familiar label leaped of the shelf to me during the recent visit to Asda. It's a beauty. A small amount [probably 3-5%] of the blend is the white grape viognier and this acts to extract the shiraz flavours to create a more user friendly drink now red. It will age but I doubt whether it will get a chance once you've tasted it. Lashings of fruit flavour, 14% a/v, lovely tannins, delicious red grossly underpriced.
5/5 rating from me  
£4.98 from Asda

It's time to discover Fiano

2015 FIANO SICILIA - distributed by Asda Stores
One of the great joys of buying wine in the UK is that there are a wide number of retailers that have 80% mutually exclusive ranges. Which means there is so much to choose from as long as you rotate your wine buying visits amongst them.
I hadn't been to Asda for awhile so it was like a whole new experience. You don't see much Fiano around and unless you've tried it I suspect most wine buyers would be reluctant to give it a crack - "what is it?"

It's a grape whose home is southern Italy. It's low yielding and jam packed with very individual flavours. I know it from Australian winemakers experimenting successfully with the variety. In particular Coriole and Rutherglen Wine Estates. So I couldn't resist trying one from where it all began. and I'm so pleased I did. There's a bit of palate weight and viscosity that reminds me of viognier. But it's beautifully restrained and balanced with citrus and apple undertones [for the life of me I couldn't detect the passionfruit described on the label]. It has the character to match a wide range of foods and I really suggest you give it a try. This is a very classy, well made dry white and an absolute bargain at the price.
4.5/5 rating from me 
£5 at Asda  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

First 2016 NZ Sauvignon Blanc we've tasted and it's a beauty

Here we are in the third week of 2017 and we've just seen and tasted our very first Marlborough from the 2016 vintage. Now given that there are still 2014 releases sitting on UK retail shelves as well as most of 2015 I'd suggest the glut of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs is a long way from being over.

That's a problem because the great majority of these wines are meant to be young and fresh with all the primary fruit flavours shining through. Which is exactly what happens with this one. The fruit though is a throw back to the grassy herbaceous releases that dominated before the passionfruit, tropical fruit style took over in popularity. This 2016 is a welcome change along with its dazzling fresh vitality.

And the brand? Well I haven't been keeping this a mystery. It doesn't have one. This is the ultimate generic label available through Lidl at just £5.59. That gives it a 5/5 rating from me