Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lidl - Vino Nobile Di Motepulciano

This is a review of the Vino Nobile Di Motepulciano I bought in Lidl yesterday, mistakenly thinking it was a cheap wine at €5-29 when in fact it was a moderate €11-99. It had the DOGC seal at the top which in my limited experience means it shouldn't stink. So while I seem to be unable to read a price correctly, I reckoned yesterday that this would be a decent wine, and so it was.

Name: Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano (No Producer name)
Year: 2005
Price: €11-99
Notes: Very nice. Initially it tasted like a decent Chianti, with some strong acidity, some fruity undertones and a surprisingly big, smooth, lingering finish. At €5-29 this would have been a absolute steal, at €11-99 it's still decent value and would be lovely with pizza, pasta etc.
Rating: 7/10.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lidl - the return

Went back to Lidl, Grange Road, for the first time since I bought five sample cheap wines, three weeks ago. I was in a hurry but to my surprise I could not see any of the five I bought last time. this kind of invalidates any (positive) Lidl reviews I do as there is no guarantee the wines will be available should any reader feel motivated by my random scriblings, still, this could be of use for readers elswhere in the country/world.

What I did buy was a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Sangiovese grape, mostly) 2005 for €5-29** ( not to be confused with a Montepulciano D'Abruzzo(Montepulciano grape)), this looks like the real deal and has the DOCG label, will drink and review shortly. Its also going for £7.99 in norn irelan so its either great value or I got the price wrong **(I soooooo did).

I also bought 6 cans of Grafenwalder Pils (6 for €7, 4.8%) and six bottles of Perlenbacher Pils (6 for €7, 4.9%), I couldn't bear to buy the stubbies (250ml X 24) or the other lager 4.1%. In my experience if you buy cheap no-name beer the stronger stuff is usually better.

BTW - the way things are going Lidl is fast becoming the only place I'll be able to afford to shop so I'd best find wine and beer I like, and quick.

**Update - Crap! - have just checked the Lidl Website and its €11-99, oh well, should be nice at that price.

Chateau Haut LaGrange - Superquinn French wine sale

This is second review of four bottles of French red purchased as part of the Superquinn French wine sale last Saturday and now being drunk since my face has calmed down. 

Superquinn says "blackcurrant fruit flavours and is the favourite red wine of our Wine Specialist in Superquinn Swords, Joe Rock"

Name: Chateau Haut LaGrange 
Year: 2004
Price: €12 (reduced from €24.99)
Notes: Very nearly a great bargain. This  wine has all the classic Bordeaux flavours but unfortunalely it also has that bitterness often associated with more inexpensive Bordeaux wines. If you are a big fan of this style, akin to a lot of Bordeaux Superieurs, then you won't go too far wrong with this. As before, full price (€24.99) would be way too much to pay for this, but your mileage may vary.
Rating: 5/10.

Monday, March 23, 2009

St Joseph - Superquinn French wine sale

This is first review of four bottles of French red purchased as part of the Superquinn French wine sale last Saturday and drunk before my face exploded.

Superquinn says "from the quality conscious Northern Rhone" and "chosen from over 40 proposed wines to win the SQ seal of approval". This is a pure Syrah which in French wines tends to mean wines a lot less jammy and more austere then their new world (Shiraz) counterparts.

Name: SQ St Joseph
Year: 2005
Price: €12 (reduced from €15)
Notes: Disappointing. Very thin and acidic. No great flavour and a lackluster finish. Not worth €12 and certainly not worth €15. Surprisingly lacking in fruit given the grape in question.
Rating: 4/10.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Metronidazole Blues

Seems I have an infected tooth (seems is the wrong word, I look like half an elephant man), so I will be taking Flagyl (
Metronidazole) for the next few days, unfortunately you are not supposed to drink alcohol while taking this drug as the side effect is copious vomiting, which I am not a big fan of, so no more posts for a few days. 

However we did drink the SQ St Joseph last night and found it to be thin, overly acidic and lacking any body (full review to follow), however we then opened the Grenache and had a quick taste and it was lovely; big, full and fruity. I'm looking at the two thirds full bottle now, longingly, we are entertaining the out-laws tonight, I'm sure I won't need a drink for that 8-)

Normal service will soon be resumed...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Superquinn French Wine Sale - Purchases

Just returned from Superquinn and bought four bottles of red. Couldn't get the Domaine Grés Saint Vincent as it "didn't come in". I bought the other three as mentioned in the previous posts as well as  a Saint Joseph Cotes Du Rhone - see below.

From Left-to-right they are...
1) Domaine Cristia Grenache 2007- €8
Superquinn says "This wine has great plum flavours and has been made consistently since 1942".
I say - Plum flavours - we'll see; consistently since 1942 could be consistently average since 1942 but for €8 its worth a punt and you don't see that many pure Grenache wines aboot.*

2) Chateau Pey De Pont 2006 - €12
Superquinn says "...on the famous right bank, or 'Rive Gauche' of the River Garonne" and "has been selling wines that are reminiscent of blackcurrant ever since"
I say - "reminiscent of blackcurrant", I'd rather smell/taste the fruit than reminisce about it; "right bank, or 'Rive Gauche'" - SQ really need to employ someone who speaks French or proof read their brochure before printing it.

3) SQ Saint Joseph 2005 - €12
Superquinn says "from the quality conscious Northern Rhone" and "chosen from over 40 proposed wines to win the SQ seal of approval"
I say - This is a pure Syrah and I reckon it will deliver, if it doesn't then I cant imagine what the other 40 were like.

4) Chateau Haut Lagrange 2004 - €12
Superquinn says "is the favourite red wine of our Wine Specialist in Superquinn Swords, Joe Rock"
I say - 2004 wasn't a great year in Bordeaux but at €12 (reduced from €25.99 ), its worth a punt, especially if Joe Rock recommends it.**

* There were a few other reds at €8 but none of the other caught my fancy, I tried the la Croisade Reserve Cabernet Syrah in store (€8 reduced from €15.99). According to the brochure it's "more akin to Australian style", I'd agree but that's not an incentive to buy this wine in a French wine sale, if you want that style of wine, go to the horses mouth and buy an Ozzie Cabsav/Shiraz.

** Disclaimer - I don't actually know Joe Rock or his have any experience of his choices, but what the hey...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Superquinn French Wine Sale

Gonna go down to Superquinn this weekend and pick up a few of the inexpensive offerings.
All the wines are this year in price bands €8, €12, €16 and €20.
(Click on the picture at left for a more readable version)
I'll blog on each wine as I drink them, hopefully quickly so that I can report on any bargains while there is stock left. A couple of the €8 wines were reviewed positively last weekend in a paper but I can't find the review.

Looking at the picture I reckon I'll buy the Grenache & the St Vincent* from the €8 range and the Haut LaGrange and the Pey Du Port from the €12 pot. I'll have a look at the rest and see if anything catches my eye.

*It's a Cotes Du Rhone, according to the interweb.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Penafiel Ribera del Duero

Two bottles of this delightful Ribera were brought along on Monday night DD for some pre Paddy's day celebrations. We drank one after 2 bottles of the Protocolo below and it held up very well. The Penafiel was dark purple in the glass and was big and oaky with some vanilla coming through and a nice long finish.

Name: Penafiel Ribera Del Duero
Year: ???? ( No year mentioned on bottle)
Price: €10-50 - from Listons on Camden St
Notes: Well worth a look if you are a Ribera fan.
Rating: 7/10.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Domaine Des Vaudois - Cotes du Luberon

This is the second of the two reduced wines I picked up in O'Briens on Saturday. We opened the first bottle immediately after two bottles of the Protocolo (below) and it suffered by comparison, but on Sunday we opened the second and found it to be most agreeable.

Name: Domaine Des Vaudois
Year: 2007
Price: €8-99 ( reduced from €9-99)
Notes: If you like Rhone wines - you wont go wrong with this wine at this price. Big and Fruity.
Rating: 7/10.

Protocolo Tinto

I was in O'Briens in the Beacon South quarter in Sandyford on Saturday and I had to make a quick dash in to pick up some red as we were having people in for dinner (Jamie's Meatloaf - v. good) and I saw two wines on Special offer, grabbed two of each and ran out the door.

I thought I was buying an Italian wine and it wasnt til I got home that I discovered this wine was in fact Spanish, 100% Tempranillo. 

I was expecting an oaky Rioja but this was much more modern, think Ribera, lots of fruit up front but not too jammy giving way to some spice and a smooth rounded finish, and all this for €8-99. We guzzled both bottles, I'm going back for more today.

Name: Protocolo  Tinto
Year: 2006
Price: €8-99 ( reduced from €9-99)
Notes: See Above 
Rating: 9/10 - the wine itself is a solid 8/10 but I'm giving it an extra point for the value, this is a €20 value, easy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Faustino I Grand Reserva

Herself got a present of this recently and after the disaster that was the fifth Lidl wine this was all I could find in my wine cupboard that I wasn't keeping.

Name: Faustino I Grand Reserva
Year: 1996
Price: ?? (c €20)
Notes: I like this wine but I don't love it. I ticks all the boxes that it is supposed to but I can't help feeling that the whole is less than the sum of the parts. As with other wines I'm quite happy to drink it but I wouldn't buy it.
Rating: 6/10

Coming Soon - My latest Find

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Les Maulins Bales Sancerre

This is a bottle I've had for a couple of years, have always assumed it would be nice, based on the label alone, which looks classy.

Name: Les Maulins Bales Sancerre
Year: 2006
Price: ?? ( I suspect €16+)
Notes: Its been a while since I've had a Sauvignon Blanc that wasn't from the new world, and I had got it into my head that this would be fuller, softer than its new world cousins. As it turned out the wine was a little disappointing, a little thin. The classic citrus notes were present, but on the whole I wouldn't buy this wine if I could find a decent NZ* version around the same price.
Rating: 5/10

*Had the famous Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc for the first time recently, it's all true. However, would I pay €30 for it? Nope. But I'd happily drink it.

Lidl Wines - Summary

Last Friday week I bought five cheap wines in Lidl on the Grange road, on spec, to see if there was any value to be had. I have already posted the individual reviews but here is a summary, in ascending order of quality. All wines were decanted for at least two hours before drinking.

Lidl Baron del Cega Valdepenas 2/10 Awful, undrinkable.

Lidl Ciro Classico 5/10 Light but tasty.

Lidl Baturrica Tarragona Gran Reserva 6/10 Very Pleasant Rioja clone

Lidl Montepulciano 6/10 Lovely.

I would certainly buy both of the 6/10 wines again an intend to do so just to make sure that the quality is consistent.

Coming soon - a review of the Lidl beers I bought at the same time.

Lidl Baron del Cega Valdepenas

This is the fifth (of five) reviews of cheap Lidl wine that I bought last week.

Name: Baron del Cega Valdepenas
Year: 2002
Price: €6-49
Notes: Awful, awful, awful. This tasted horribly sharp and burnt. Poured down the sink immediately.
Rating: 2/10

I've been thinking about what a 1/10 score would mean, maybe a wine that actually makes you sick while a 0/10 would kill you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lidl Ciro Classico

This is the fourth (of five) reviews of cheap Lidl wine that I bought last week.

Name: Ciro Classico Riserva
Year: 2005
Price: €8-99
Notes: Quite a light wine, pale in the glass, pleasant. Very easy drinking, again some of the standard Italian cherry flavour. Not one for the person who like a full-bodied wine. Should be 6/10 but loses a point for being the most expensive.
Rating: 5/10

Monday, March 9, 2009

Coto de Imaz

This was a  present from our guests on Saturday and we drank it last night. Big, full bodied oaky rioja. Very nice.

Name: Coto de Imaz
Year: 2004
Price: ??
From: ??
Rating: 7/10


This was bought for me by my lovely SO and we had it with a chicken and chorizo stew on Saturday. Classic Bordeaux flavours, well balanced with moderate tannins, well balanced and with potential to age for a number of years.

Name: Amarande
Year: 2005
Price: €17
From: Oddbins
Rating: 7/10

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nugan Durif (Que?)

Had this on Saturday night. It's from Nugan in Oz and the grape is called Durif here but is better known as Petite Syrah (or Sirah). Not sure if this really is an Oz Shiraz in disguise but damn, it was good. Like pretty much all New World wines that I like, the fruity, jammy notes were not overpowering and there was good structure and a hint of tannins.

Can't estimate a price as it was a present from our guests along with a lovely Coto De Imaz rioja. If you like Penfolds Bin 389, Ridge wines etc. then this is for you.

Triennes Viognier

Had this last Friday week. We don't drink much white but we got a present of this and had it with my famous smoked mackerel paté (much improved by Jamie). It was frakkin' divine. Not sure how much it would be to buy, I expect about 20 quid, well worth it.
Note: I've decided to link to the producers website where I can find it. Ideally I'd also find out who imports the wine so I could help people find the wine wherever it is for sale.

Photos and quality thereof...

BTW - All the photos of wine labels were taken with my cheap and cheerful Nokia 6300, this is because I intend to photograph every bottle of wine I drink, within reason, and I always carry my phone with me.

Lidl Sangiovese di Romangna

This is the third (of five) reviews of cheap Lidl wine that I bought last week.

Name: Sangiovese di Romangna
Year: 2007
Price: €6-99
Notes: Drank late at night while a bit squiffy and still noticed that it tasted cheap and nasty. Avoid
Rating: 3/10

Lidl Baturrica Tarragona Gran Reserva

This is the second (of five) reviews of cheap Lidl wine that I bought last week.

Name: Baturrica Tarragona Gran Reserva
Year: 2002
Price: €6-99
Notes: Typical oaky Rioja-ish wine. Very pleasant and good value. You'd expect to pay €12/€14 for the equivalent Rioja
Rating: 6/10

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lidl Montepulciano

This is the review of the first of five bottles of Lidl wine I bought on spec last week, with a view to seeing if any of the cheap plonk on sale there is drinkable.

Name: Montepulciano D'bruzzo (Illegible producer name)
Year: 2007
Price: €5-29
Notes: Very Italian, quite bitter with very little fruit. But if you like this style of wine then you can't go wrong for a fiver.
Rating: 6/10

First Post

Hi Folks,

for a long time I've wanted to do a blog but have never felt that I had anything interesting enough to talk about, well now I do ( I hope). If you drink a lot of wine, and I do, then you'll often go "I remember this one time I had this lovely XXXXXXXX that got in YYYYYYYY, don't know what it was called but it was very nice and was only ZZZZZZZZ."

So I have decided that very bottle I (and my lovely SO*) drink, I will post a review , a picture of the label, where I got it and how much. If you are on the lookout for bargains maybe I can help out.

Yesterday I went to Lidl on the Grange road with the intention of getting some cheap booze. I got 5 bottles of Red, 6 bottles and 4 cans of beer for €50. We have drunk two of the cheapest wines so far (€5 & €6) and in the next post I'll be reviewing these.

Note1: This blog is not about cheap wine, per se, but on finding good value wine, that can be bought in the greater Dublin (southside) area. For example I recently drank a bottle of Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz which is approx €30 (£20 oop North) and while not being cheap is a fab wine and well worth the money.

Note2: I am not in the wine/restaurant trade, I'm just a normal guy/geek who likes wine a lot, I drink a lot of beer also so I may do the odd beer-related post.

*my lovely, long suffering wife