Sunday, December 7, 2014

Aldi Reds (and one white!) - The Exquisite Collection - Update**

All from "The Exquisite Collection"

Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2011 €9.99
Funny thing about this wine, is that I liked it less on the second day. Most inexpensive wines improve, IMHO, after being opened for a day. This wine did not. Initially it was tight, focused and tasty, but as it opened up, it exposed it's own lack of subtlety, especially in the fruit dept. Not bad but not a patch on the Malbec or the Ribera.

Minarete Ribera del Duero 2013 €7.99
I blogged on this wine (the 2011) about 18 months ago and I liked it then, Herself wasn't so keen, but I reckoned there was some serious skill to produce such a tasty Ribera for such little cash, especially in  Ireland, given the punitive duty on wine. The 2013 is probably better than the 2011, with none of the former's astringency. Really good, well worth a punt at this price.

Malbec Uco Valley 2013 €8.79
Opened this still slightly cool from the shop and straight from the bottle. I didn't decant it as Herself said that she only wanted a glass (as if). Anyhoo, I decided  to join her and was presently surprised, it was quite yummy, a bit of fruit, a pinch of spice and a lingering finish. It got even better as it warmed up. The flavours amplified and the finish got more complex and even longer. I did a quick Google and it seems that lots of people including professional critics really like this wine, so kudos to me. 

Crozes Hermitage 2012 €10.99
This was disappointing. As the most expensive of the bunch I had high hopes for it. While there wasn't anything wrong with it, there was nothing special on show. Drinkable, but nothing more.

Aldi have upped their game, it seems.Of the four, two are very good, one is good and one is OK, which is not bad at all give the prices in question. I wouldn't advise you to buy them though, especially the Malbec; more for me, you see. If only they'd get their finger out on the craft beer front...

** Update - New Purchases **
Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 €9.99
Drank this a few nights ago and didn't take notes but it was pretty decent. As almost always happens when we tried it first, straight out of the bottle, it was fine; but as it warmed up and oxidised a smidge in the decanter, it really improved. Good depth of flavour, some nice plummy fruit and a well long finish make this a bargain at less than a tenner - nice one.

Gavi DOCG 2014 €7.49
This is a decent white. A little fruit , some nice acidity and well balanced. I'd buy this again, especially as it's very good value at this price.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Superquinn Supervalu French wine sale 2014

Some wines from the Supervalu French wine sale 2014 link

Etienne Barret Crozes-Hermitage 2012 - €12
I keep buying this wine and for the life of me I don't know why. I loved the 2008, but really didn't care for the 2009 & 2011. Not sure why I thought the 2012 would be an improvement. Turns out, it wasn't. Last time out I described it as "pleasant but unremarkable" - plus ça change.

Saint-Laurent Corbieres 2012 - €10
Started off a bit meh, but it has been pleasantly evolving over the last couple of hours in my decanter. It's not fantastic but it has a nice balance. Worth a look for a tenner, IMHO.

Domaine de Cristia Grenache 2013 - €10

Remy Ferbras Vacqueyras 2013 - €10
Really liked this. Lots of plummy fruit with a long, tannic finish. Took a while to get there though, needs a good decanting. Very drinkable and great value as priced. Not sure what the rrp is but well worth a tenner.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lidl French Wine Sale 2014

Apologies , it's been about two weeks since I bought the above wines in Lidl on the Grange road and I'm only putting this post up now. I've been drinking and blogging the wines I bought in the Dunnes French Wine sale. They were a mixed bag to be honest. These Lidl wines look good at least. As before, I have taken input from John Wilson in the Irish Times and Martin Moran in the Sunday Times.

Chateau du Carillon Fronsac 2010 - €12.99 (punt)
Took a chance on this, I've had mixed luck with Supermarket Bordeaux. Yowsa! I'm well happy with this wine. It took a couple of hours in the decanter but by the end it had developed into a full bodied, complex beast, with some impressive plummy fruit with a wicked long finish. I'm gonna buy more of this and lay some down in my "cellar". Great value as priced.

Domaine De la Combe Rasteau 2013 - €11.99 (punt)
Not bad. Very Grenachey.

Bourgogne Aligoté 2013 - €9.99 (recommended - JW)
This is good, not quite what I expected. It has plenty of zingy acidity and not too much buttery chardonnay stuff but I like it. Would work well with food.

Domaine Messire de Very Séguret 2013 - €12.99 (recommended - JW)
Thank you John. This is really nice. It started off as a pleasant wine; "gentle" herself opined and I concurred. After a while it developed some real depth, with a pinch of spice and a wicked, long, dry finish. JW described it as "powerful" - d'accord!

Saint-Joseph AOP 2011- €11.99 (recommended - MM)

Watch this space...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dunnes French Wine Sale 2014 - Final

Bless me readers, it's been six months since my last confession post. In that time I have been drinking wine as enthusiastically as always, I just haven't been blogging about it. Anyhoo, it seems to be the time for wine sales so I popped along to Dunnes in Cornelscourt after work today to see what I could find.

I had cut out the weekend columns from John Wilson in the Irish Times and Martin Moran (no link that I could find) in the Sunday Times and I tried to buy only their recommendations, but as with the last couple of years, each Dunnes store seems to only stock a random selection of the sale wines*. Three of the wines are recommended and two are pure punts.

Lorgeril 1620 Pinot Noir 2013 €10.00 (punt)
This was...OK. A bit thin and not enough oomph for a Burgundy fan but if you were new to Pinots and/or like your reds with a light and delicate(ish) touch, you might like this...

Les Vignerons Carignan Syrah 2013 €8.00 (recommended - JW)
Hmmm - a bit cheap and cheerful. Drinkable, but only just. If you cultivate expensive tastes, and I aspire to, this probably isn't for you. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Laurent Miquel Albarino 2013 €11.50 (recommended - MM)
Just finishing this off and its really good. Crisp and zingy with a super finish.

Cuvee St Vincent Cotes Du Rhone 2013 €8.00 (punt)
I'm not hopeful about this. For starters there is no punt in the bottom of the bottle, always a bad sign, and on the back it says "Dry, Fruity red wine". It's a bit thin and anemic in the glass; Nope - this one's going down the sink. It's all cheap sharp fruit with a lingering, slightly unpleasant and cloying finish.

Chateau Bois Petrus Bordeaux 2012 €11.00 (recommended - MM)
I had my doubts about this wine, in my (limited) experience it's impossible, in this country anyway, to get good Bordeaux at this price. But this was pretty damn good for eleven notes. Not top, classed growth quality, but full and solid and quite bold. I'm gonna buy more of this and maybe put a couple in the "cellar". May not improve much in a couple of years, but worth a try.

BONUS! (not Pictured)
Both gents had recommended the  Baron de Baussac Carignan but I couldn't find this so I plumped for an Alain Grignon Carignan Pays d'Herault 2012 - €8-50. After the rotten St Vincent, I'm gonna try this now. Just better than "cheap and cheerful" this. It's got some big fruity stuff going on - not all of it successful or integrated, but not bad.

* After buying the wines above in the Off-Licence section of Cornelscourt yesterday, I had to go to the main bit tonight for some groceries. I discovered a new wine section (to the very right of the store if you are looking at the checkouts from within the shop), which appeared to be dedicated to said sale and to contain all the wines...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Random reds on the Ballyogan Road

Well it's been quite a while since I did a wine post (I've done a few beer posts) and given that I started my blogging career in wine it ill behooves me to ignore it now. I checked my "cellar" last night and all I had on the top shelf (day-to-day drinking shelf) and all that was there was bottle of Montrachet and various bottles of cheap/old non-vintage Champagne..

So I popped into Molloys on the way home from work and grabbed a couple of Reds on special offer. I was looking for a Chateau Boucarut but there was none to be had. So I got the bottles at left. They are:

Jerome Quiot Cairanne 2010 €11.99
I had this once before, a couple of years ago and I didn't like it, but I only found this out after I got home so, here's hoping it has got better since.
Update - we drank this but we didn't love it. It was a bit sharp or something. The flavours didn't really hang together, so it wasn't a particularly pleasant experience. I hope I remember this before I buy it a third time..

Sancho Garces Rioja Crianza 2010 €11.49
I'm always on the lookout for a nice Rioja so here's hoping... 
Update - Liked this. There was plenty of fruit, plenty of oak and a nice finish. Good value as priced.

By the way, Molloy's have a couple of very good Irish beer offers at the moment, if that's your bag.

Friday, February 7, 2014

BIG Changes to this blog!

After careful consideration I've decided to separate my beer and wine blogging activities. All beer posts can now be found at

I've also changed the template for this blog - just to distinguish it from the beer blog...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Some January specials from O'Briens - Update 3

Every so often I go into O'Briens (normally he Beacon store) and I just pick up four or five of the reds on special. Previous example are here, here, here , here and infacta here. This Saturday being no different, I curtailed my exploration of my latest purchase,  a Faith Venus Hi Gloss, and with the boy in tow, I sallied forth to Sandyford, to negotaite the purchase of some vinous comestibles. This is what I came home with (l-r)..

Ars Nova Navarra 2007 €12.99 reduced from €17-49 link
Note: This wine is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Tempranillo and 20% Merlot.
On first sip I wasn't overly enthused about this wine. It tasted fruity and new worldy with that Cab Sav blackcurrant undercurrent I don't really care for. However, by the end of evening this wine was really working for me, granted it was approx 6 hours since I decanted/Vin Aired it, so some improvement was to be expected. It was still pretty fruity but the various grapes and flavours were all nicely integrated and it developed some pretty decent depth and complexity, if you have the patience to wait for it you'll probably like it, especially at the discount price.

Il Padrino Nero D'Avola 2013 €8.99 reduced from €10-99 link
Well it's cheap and cheerful as expected, but it's not bad. It needs food though and because of the acidity I'd suggest, predictably, it'd work work well with any tomato based dish.

Santa Tresa Nivuro 2009 €11.99 reduced from €18-49 link
This was fantastic, a lovely blend of the acidic Nero Davola and the smooth Cab Sav. A huge steal at this price. I went back to O'Briens in Carrickmines toight after dawdling for days but they told me it was all gone. I asked them was it coming back but they said they didn't know.

Cave de Saint-Desirat Syrah 2012 €9.99 reduced from €14-49 link
Yeah, didn't really care for this. It was very French. Some fruit and lots of acidity but it's not coming together for me, sorry.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Lidl bit of Xmas Cheer - Updated

I can't believe I'm finally doing a wine post. Apologies to the fans of the grape, it's been a little while since I wrote about anything other than the grain. Anyway, I headed out into the cold Dublin mountain air earlier with the aim of buying some cheap booze for the Chrimbo to Lidl on the Grange Road .

I was hoping to find some of the Cepa Lebrel reserva, which I have been enjoying for the last year and a half and my luck was in and I bought a few for the very reasonable price of €8.49. I figger they'll be handy to have for last minute entertaining. The other two I got are pictured below:

Medici Riccardi Morellino di Scansano 2011  - €10.99
This is almost the most expensive wine I've ever bought in Lidl, but I have to say that the 10-12 euro wines from Lidl are generally pretty solid so here's hoping this follows on trend.

Herself isn't crazy about this but I quite like it. It's warm, rich and full with some nice cherry and plum notes. Would I buy it ahead of the €8 Lidl Rioja? Probably not, but if you are a Sangiovese fiend you'll find a lot to like here...
Chianti Riserva Corte Alle Mura 2010 - €6.99
Total punt here. The standard (cheap) Chianti comes at about a fiver but that's not great. I'm hoping for the modest addition of two euro that magic will occur and transform this wine into a winner.

So this is...not bad. There's a little plummy fruit, a touch of acidity; perfectly pleasant with a decent finish. If you are a Chianti freak this is probably not for you but otherwise this might be worth a try at 7 notes.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Four Cheap screw-tops from Tesco

I found myself in Dun Laoghaire yesterday morning, so I popped into Tesco for some of their delicious houmous and maybe some vino. I have to say the selection of reds was pretty good but rather than buy some old faves I grabbed four (relative) cheapies, The Negroamaro and the SGM (?)  are new to me but the Malbec appears to be a new slant on a wine I had fallen out of like with. The Villa Maria should prove interesting, as it normally goes for north of €15, and their Sauvignon Blanc is pretty decent. 

Rawnsley Estate Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre 2012 - €9.00
Awful, cheap, and nasty. (Note: judicious use of Oxford comma) Gave it a couple of hours in the decanter and it didn't improve. Down the sink with it. Found someone else who didn't like it here.

Quindi Negroamaro 2012 - €9.00
Another "drinkable" wine - apologies for using that somewhat meaningless term again. There was a little bit a pleasant, plummy fruit and a touch of spice. Not bad value for nine europes, but probably not a runner for much more.

Trapiche Melodias Malbec 2011 - €9.00
You know, there was a more expensive Trapiche Malbec in Tesco and I should have bought it, cos I really didn't care for this melody. There was plenty of fruit but I (and Herself) found it slightly cloying. I haven't found (m)any decent Malbecs below €15 so no surprises here.

Villa Maria Malrborough Pinot Noir 2011 - €9.74
I had expected this to be the best of the four and it was, by a long way. Light bodied, but delicious with lashings of zingy raspberry fruit. If you like your NZ Pinots them go and stock up on this. It's great value as priced.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dunnes French Wine Sale 2013

Not to be outdone by Superquinn, Dunnes are also in the middle of their own French wine sale. I reviewed a number of last years offerings hereI couldn't remember when I was in the shop, what I had bought last apart from the Chateau de Clotte 2010 which I loved a year ago but didn't really care for when I opened a bottle recently.

Anyhoo - I got the following:
Moulin de Meyran Cotes Du Rhone 2011 - €10.50
I really liked this last time out (the 2010 vintage) and the 2011 is no exception. Warm brambly fruit and a nice balance. Good value as priced.

Chateau Capitoul La Clape Languedoc 2011- €10
(up next!)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Superquinn Autumn Wine Sale 2013

So I went easy on the wine in Superquinn for this year's French Wine Sale. I decided not to buy anything I'd bought before, for reasons of economy and efficiency. There are lots of nice wines I've bought before in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

I decided to be lazy and bought a couple of reds as recommended by Kevin Ecock and they are as follows... 

Domaine Cristia Cotes Du Rhone 2012 - €10
I've had a couple of wines form Domaine Cristia and they've been pretty decent, so I'm giving this one a try. 

*Update - drinking this as we speak and it's not bad,  fruity but drinkable with a decent finish. Not sure I'd but it again, though. 

Puy de Dome Auvergne Pinot Noir 2011 - €10
It's hard to get good Pinot at a reasonable price  so I'm hoping this is as nice as in the review.

*Update - this was delicious. Some nice soft red fruits, elegant and light and definitely drinkable with or without food. I think I'll get some more of this.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lidl French Wine Sale 2013 - Updated

Yesterday  I had to buy a variety of mundane items and as I was on my way home from my mechanic (the beast lives!), so I popped into Lidl to get said items and may be some wine from the Lidl French wine sale that I had heard about. Kevin Ecock wrote a post about it here. I was invited to the press tasting but alas, I work full time, so was unable to attend.

I picked up the wines at left (along with some of their Cepa Lebrel Rioja Crianza - a steal at €6.50). BTW R Bampfield is Lidl's own MW and he rates all their wines out of 100 (sort of).  The Brochure is here.

Leo La Gaffeliere Bordeaux 2011 - €8.99  R Bampfield 88 - Very Good
I had intended to buy the Cotes de Blaye Chateau Grand Mazerolles 2010 €9.99, as recommended by Kevin but when I arrived home I had the Bordeaux above. I don't know how. I never buy generic Bordeaux. Anyhoo, I'll try to approach it with an open mind.
**Update -  This ain't great. It tastes like cheap Bordeaux, eh... because it is cheap Bordeaux, it's all tannins with a smidgin of blackcurrant. If you like cheap cab sav, this Bud's for you. 

Les Sarralieres Crozes-Hermitage 2012 - €11.99 R Bampfield 86 - Very Good
There's nothing like a nice Crozes-Hermitage and this is probably nothing like a nice Crozes-Hermitage, but here's hoping.
**Update -  I drank this but I didn't really enjoy it. It was a nearly wine. There were suggestions of nice fruit and tannins but they were trumped by a slightly unpleasant ripe fruity aftertaste. So far no joy from Lidl.

La Croix des Celestins Fleurie 2012 - €9.99  R Bampfield - No Rating
I'm not normally a big Beaujolais fan, the expensive stuff I like but the rest often find a bit thin. I deliberately picked this because it's outside my comfort zone. Low expectations here.
**Update -  It's not bad. It's light and fruity, natch, but with some decent acidity. We had it with a tomato and pasta dish and it worked well.

Oh and I grabbed a Chablis too, as evangelised by Kevin "Such a versatile wine style. Simple examples such as this always please me as the relatively lean fruit, acidic structure and tingly finish are just a perfect food accompaniment.". Sounds good...

I'll be drinking them over the next few days so watch this space...