Thursday, April 26, 2018

A less than Outstanding wine tasting

So I grab a range of random reds from our first Lidl we visit in Italy. You've got to start somewhere so I chose price points.  From left to right these cost 1.69, 2.99, 4.99 and 13.99 euro . Alcohol levels seemed to go up with price. Once again left to right: 12%, 13%, 13.5% and an absurd 15.5%.

Sadly there's not much else to report. We opened the bottles and tasted them over three days. Nothing happened. The two innocuous cheaper wines stayed that way. The Valpolicella Ripasso stayed a charry unbalanced beast and the |Amarone remained a weird bottle of over extractive fruit.

It's sad when a retailer I enjoy gets it so wrong. In the absence of any on floor advice you run the risk of being very disappointed. Lidl also have their own label Barolo which I've found very disappointing.



A 2/5 rating is probably harsh on the cheaper two but generous for the others. Impossible to recommend any of these.

MEET OUR NEW FAVOURITE EVERYDAY DRY WHITE

For the last five months of our travels we've found it impossible to beat the German riesling that's on the Aldi shelves [until we arrive] in Spain. But we're now a long way from Spain and as the weather warms up in Italy this looks like being our sitting in the sun everyday quaffer. This is a beautiful crisp dry aromatic white. Lemon is the dominant fruit character on a delicate yet surprisingly assertive palate. Impossible to recommend highly enough
This is a Lidl "own brand" that translates to "farmhouse in the country". As opposed to farmhouse in the city I guess.



CASALE AI CAMPI 2017 RIBOLLA GIALLA
GRAPE VARIETIES: Ribolla Giolla
REGION: Veneto/Friulli, Italy
A/V: 12% 
PRICE: 3.49 euro 
FROM: Lidl, Italy
RATING: 5/5 from me 

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