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Red

Concha Y Toro – Firemark Tempranillo Bonarda, 2012

Hello wine lovers,

Today I bring you another from a recent red wine spree. This is an Argentinian offer utilising the Spanish native Tempranillo grape (blended with other red grapes not listed). This can be bought for around £6 at Tesco.

Wine: Firemark Tempranillo Bonarda, 2012

Vineyard: Concha Y Toro, Argentina

Grape: Tempranillo / Red Grape Blend

Very smooth dry wine light tannin on the tongue bitter grape un appetising nose easy drinking 6 () 10
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Impressions: This was a fairly smooth red wine. Dry, with a puckering light tannin on the tongue. Bitter grapes within and an unappetising finish. The nose of this wine is very alcoholic.

ABV: 12%

Score: 6.25 / 10 (Low Average to Average)

Verdict: Long story short, I was not a great fan of this one. The bitterness of the grape, dryness of the tannin, and sharpness of the nose left this as a squarely pedestrian wine. Still fairly easy drinking in its lighter body. Better options on offer for less.
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Published Beers To-date

As per the title, here are all of my published reviews to-date:

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Beer

Adnams, England:

  • The Bitter – 3.7% – 6.25 / 10 (Low Average to Average)
  • Broadside (Cask) – 4.7% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)
  • Ghost Ship – 4.5% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)

Affligem, Belgium:

  • Blond – 6.8% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)
  • Dubbel – 7% – 7.75 / 10 (Very Good to Excellent)

Alexander Keith’s, Labatt, AB InBev, Canada:

  • India Pale Ale (Nova Scotia style Pale Ale in the States) – 5% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Anheuser-Busch, InBev, Brazil:

  • Brahma – 4.3% – 4 / 10 (Awful)

Asahi, Japan:

  • Asahi Black – 5% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Athenian Brewery S.A., Athens, Greece:

  • Alfa – 5% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Backyard Brewhouse, Walsall, England:

  • Bad Santa – 6.8% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)

Badger (Hall and Woodhouse), Dorset, England:

  • Blandford Flyer – 5.2% – 6.75 / 10 (Average to Good)
  • England’s Own – 4.6% – 6.75 / 10 (Average to Good)
  • Fursty Ferret – 4.4% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)
  • Hopping Hare – 4.4% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)
  • Golden Champion – 5% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)
  • Golden Glory – 4.5% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)
  • Poacher’s Choice – 5.7% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)
  • Tanglefoot – 5% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)

Banks’s, Wolverhampton, England:

  • Lion’s Roar – 3.8% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Beowulf, Forest of Mercia, Staffordshire, England:

  • Finn’s Hall Porter – 4.7% – 7.75 / 10 (Very Good to Excellent)

Black Sheep, Mashum, Yorkshire, England:

  • Best Bitter – 3.8% – 7 / 10 (Good)
  • Golden Sheep – 4.7% – 7 / 10 (Good)
  • Riggwelter – 5.7% – 7.75 / 10 (Very Good to Excellent)

Blue Moon Brewing Co., Molson Coors, Montreal, Canada:

  • Blue Moon (Rickard’s White) – 5.4% – 7 / 10 (Good)

Boddingtons, InBev, UK:

  • Boddingtons Draught Bitter – 3.5% – 6.25 / 10 (Low Average to Average)

Brew Dog, Scotland:

  • Punk IPA – 5.6% – 8.25 / 10 (Excellent to Very Excellent)

Burton Bridge Brewery, Burton-Upon-Trent, England:

  • Bramble Stout – 5% – 8.25 / 10 (Excellent to Very Excellent)
  • Golden Delicious – 3.5% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Brakspear, England:

  • Double Drop Bitter – 3.4% – 6.25 / 10 (Low Average to Average)

Caledonian (Heineken), Scotland:

  • Flying Dutchman Junibier – 4.3% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Castle Rock, Nottingham, England:

  • Red Start – 4.3% – 6 / 10 (Low Average)

Damm, Barcelona, Spain:

  • A.K.Damm – 4.8% – 8.25 / 10 (Excellent to Very Excellent)

Erdinger Weissbräu, Germany:

  • Erdinger Hefe Weissbier – 5.3% – 8.5 / 10 (Very Excellent)

FEMSA Cerveja Brasil, Brazil:

  • Xingu Black Beer – 4.6% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

FIX, Athens, Greece:

  • FIX Hellas – 5% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)

Greene King/Tolly Cobold, England/Wales:

  • Phoenix – 4.2% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

Grupo Cervezas Alhambra (Grupo Mahou-San Miguel – Carlsberg), Spain:

  • Adlerbrau Cerveza Especial – 5.4% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)
  • Alhambra Export – 4.6% – 6.25 / 10 (Low Average to Average)

Grupo Cruzcampo (Heineken Espana), Spain:

  • Cruzcampo – 4.8% – 6.25 / 10 (Low Average to Average)
  • Cruzcampo Gran Reserva – 7 / 10 (Good)
  • Legado de Yuste – 6.5% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

Guinness, Dublin, Ireland:

  • Guinness Foreign Extra – 7.5% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)

Hardy’s and Hansons, England:

  • Rocking Rudolph – 4.2% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Heineken, Italy:

  • Birra Morreti Original – 4.6% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Innis & Gunn Brewery, Scotland:

  • Innis and Gunn Original – 6.6% – 9.25 / 10 (Ambrosia of the Gods)
  • Innis and Gunn Rum Finish / Rum Cask – 7.4% – 9.5 / 10 (Ambrosia of the Gods)

Ringnes AS Brewery, Oslo, Norway:

  • Ringnes Pilsener – 4.5% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Ringwood (Marston’s), England:

  • Best Bitter – 3.5% – 6 / 10 (Low Average)
  • Boondoggle – 4.2% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

S.A. Fischer, Athens, Greece:

  • Fischer – 5% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)

SABMiller, Rome, Italy:

  • Peroni Nastro Azzuro – 5.1% – 7 / 10 (Good)

Sapporo, Japan:

  • Sapporo Premium Lager – 4.7% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Stella Artois, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Belgium:

  • Stella Artois – 4.8% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)
  • Stella Artois Black – 4.9% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)

St Peter’s Brewery, Suffolk, England:

  • St Peter’s Golden Ale – 4.7% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)

Titanic Brewery, Stoke-on-Trent, England:

  • Fit-Out – 4.5% – 7 / 10 (Good)

Warwickshire Beer Co., Cubbington, England:

  • Rugby Ball Stitcher IPA – 5% – 6.75 / 10 (Average to Good)

Wells Young’s Brewing Company, England:

  • Banana Bread Beer – 5.2% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)
  • Waggle Dance – 5% – 7.75 / 10 (Very Good to Excellent)

Wood’s Brewery, England:

  • Parish Bitter – 4% – 6 / 10 (Low Average)
  • Pot O’ Gold – 4.4% – 6.75 / 10 (Average to Good)
  • Shropshire Lass – 4.1% – 6 / 10 (Low Average)

Wychwood (Marstons), England:

  • Hobgoblin – 5.2% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)
  • Snake’s Bite – 4.2% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)
  • Wychcraft – 4.5% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)

Wye Valley, England:

  • Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout – 4.6% – 7.25 / 10   (Good to Very Good)

Wylam Brewery, Wylam, England:

  • Godhead – 4.3% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

Vale Brewing Company, England:

  • 5 Gold Rings – 4.8% – 6.75 / 10 (Average to Good)

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Cider

Aston Manor, Aston, England:

  • Amber Harvest – 5% – 6.25 / 10 (Low Average to Average)
  • Forester’s Pear Cider – 4.5% – 6.75 / 10 (Average to Good)

Magners, Ireland:

  • Magners Spiced Apple and Honey Cider – 4% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)

Matthew Clark Cider, Halewood International Ltd, England:

  • Blackthorn – 4.7% – 6.5 / 10 (Average)
  • Brut Chaumet Sparkling Perry – 5.5% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

Stella Artois, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Belgium:

  • Cidre – 4.5% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)
  • Cidre Pear – 4.5% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

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Vodka

Vikingfjord, Oslo, Norway:

  • Vikingfjord – 40% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)

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Whisky

Old Pulteney, Wick, Scotland:

  • Single Malt, 12 Year Old – 40% – 7 / 10 (Good)

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Wine

Amanti del Vino, Puglia, Spain:

  • Primitivo Salento, 2008 – 13% – 8 / 10 (Excellent)

Baturrica, Spain:

  • Gran Reserva, 2006 – 13% – 8.25 / 10 (Excellent to Very Excellent)

Casillero Del Diablo, Concha Y Toro, Chile:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, 2011 – 13.5% – 8.5 / 10 (Very Excellent)

Cono Sur, Chile:

  • Isla Negra, Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva, 2011 – 12% – 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

Criadores, Spain:

  • Castillo de San Lorenzo Rioja Reserva, 2007 – 12.5% – 8.75 / 10 (Very Excellent to Ambrosia)

Garcia Carrion, Spain:

  • El Pinsapo Gran Seleccion, Rioja, 2010 – 13.5% – 7.25 / 10 (Good  to Very Good)

Grandes Vinos y Vinetos, Carinena, Spain:

  • Marques de Carano Gran Reserva, 2005 – 12.5% – 6 / 10 (Low Average)
  • Marques de Carano Gran Reserva, 2009 – 12.5% – 8.5 /10 ( Very Excellent)

LIDL, Italy:

  • Chianti D.O.C.G., 2011 – 13% – 7.25 / 10 (Good to Very Good)

Saam Mountain, Paarla, South Africa:

  • Carbernet Sauvignon, 2011 – 14% – 8.25 / 10 (Excellent to Very Excellent)

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Primitivo Salento, Amanti del Vino, 2008

Today I bring you a fine wine from the Puglia (Apulia) wine region in Italy. This wine was from our local steakhouse here in Lichfield, http://www.netherstowehouse.com/restaurant.html. Not only was the service impeccable, the decor was interesting, and the food was excellent. This bottle of wine was priced up at £25.50, being described as:

“Grown in rich black soil this wine has superb deep fruit concentration.”

I haven’t been able to find a comparable bottle on the internet to price up in comparison, however, the 2011 vintage seems to retail at £6.99 per bottle. I’ll assume the 2008 year is more expensive (as restaurants usually triple the retail bottle price).

Wine: Primitivo Salento, 2008

Grape: Primitivo

Vineyard: Amanti del Vino, Puglia, Italy

IMG_20130411_183548


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Impressions: This was a tangy, yet smooth deep red wine. Oddly effervescent on the tongue, dry with little tannin. Slightly smoky, with a sharp, almost spicy finish.

ABV: 13%

Score: 8 / 10 (Excellent)

Verdict: This was an interesting wine. It’s easy drinking, with a light dryness. The ‘effervescence’ makes this a lively wine, with an overall tangy flavour. The mark is both helped and hindered by this. Unique to me, but perhaps a trait of these wines known to those in the know. Anyway, worth a try, as it complemented my rib eye steak beautifully.

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Happy Easter! LIVE UPDATE: Isla Negra Reserva 2011

Happy Easter Y’all!

Today I offer a live update of another Tesco ‘half price’ wine offer: Isla Negra Reserva 2011 (£5 down from £10).

Wine: Isla Negra Reserva, 2011

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

Vineyard: Cono Sur, Chile

IMG_20130331_214219
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Impressions: This was another very smooth dry, red wine from Chile. Very mild, with a light body. The dryness hits your mouth with a light amount of tannin, but again is quite mild. Almost refreshing in lightness, with light grape flavour.

ABV: 12%

Score: 7.5 / 10 (Very Good)

Verdict: Again, another easy drinking red wine from Chile. A light amount of tannin hits your mouth, but still an ‘easy drinking’ wine. Light bodied with light grape flavours.  Presumably lighter due to the lower ABV. At only £5, worth a try, but I would have liked a bit more body. Still very good value.
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LIVE UPDATE: Casillero Del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2011

Hey all, today I bring you another reduced price Tesco offer (£5, down from £8), Casillero Del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2011. A vineyard I’ve been familiar with for many years which (from my experience) produce excellent wines. “The beautiful vineyards of Casillero del Diablo are home to some of the finest wines in the world. But few outsiders know the dark secret that lies beneath them. For the locals say that in the depths of the cellar lives the Devil himself. A tale so infamous, they named the wine Casillero del Diablo, the Devil’s Cellar.”

Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2011

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

Vineyard: Casillero Del Diablo, Concha Y Toro, Chile

B - Castillera del diablo cab sauv 2011 reserva very smooth dry tannin puckering sharp at front with a buttery smooth finish med body 13o5 abv 8o5 () 10
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Impressions: This was a very smooth dry, red wine. The first thing that hits your mouth is a light-to-medium tannin, drying your tongue, followed by smooth, dark fruits (grape). A buttery smooth finish to the medium bodied wine.

ABV: 13.5%

Score: 8.5 / 10 (Very Excellent)

Verdict: Another easy drinking red wine. Quite a bit more tannin than other reds I’ve reviewed, but well within the acceptable limits of ‘easy drinking’. Medium bodied with the usual ‘dark fruits’ (ie. grape), but with minimal bitterness or strong after taste that often follows dry wines. At only £5, definitely good value and worth a try.

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WINE: Saam Mountain Paarl Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Today I bring you a bottle of red from South Africa, the Saam Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. Again, I do not profess to be a connoisseur of wines, but I know what I like and what I don’t! This was at a work conference dinner (ie. free), but a quick google search shows this wine from around £7 – £10.

Their description: “Saam is Afrikaans for ‘together’. The name captures the true essence of the team and their attitude towards viticulture at Eensaamheid Farm.  Located at the foot of Perdeberg Mountain range, Saam Mountain Vineyards is a new South African venture that unites winemaking and farming. The area is known locally as the Mountain of Horses after the wild mountain zebra, the Quagga, used to roam there.  Saam Mountain Vineyards forms under a group of 40 South African wine growers, spanning the premium growing areas from Paarl to the Durbanville Hills. The vineyards produce, on average, less than 7 tonnes per hectare – around half the average yields of other wineries of this scale, ensuring that quality of fruit and intensity of flavour is naturally at the heart of Saam Mountain’s wines.  This is a deep purple Cabernet, with a black berry and plummy nose.  The intensity of the fruit is carried onto the palate where it fills one’s mouth with juicy tannins, ripe, dark, fruit and hints of vanilla.  The aftertaste is long and fruity.”

Wine: Saam Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

Vineyard: Saam Mountain Paarl, South Africa

SAAM
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Impressions: This is a very smooth deep red wine. Dry, but not overly tanniny. Little in the way of puckering/mouth dryness. Very soft and medium to light body, with notes of grape and black current.

ABV: 14%

Score: 8.25 / 10 (Excellent to Very Excellent)

Verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed this wine. One, because it was free. But 2), it was very smooth. Again, I say I normally like wines with a bit more depth and body, but this really was an easy drinking wine. With a price ranging from £7 – £10, this seems like good value as well. At 14%, it has a good amount of body, kick, flavour, and drinkability to make most happy. Try it.
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LIVE UPDATE – El Pinsapo Gran Seleccion Rioja 2010

RIGHT NOW I am enjoying a bottle of El Pinsapo Gran Seleccion Rioja from 2010, served at a perfect 17*C. Currently available at Tesco for £4.99 (Half Price, they say).

Wine: El Pinsapo Gran Seleccion, Rioja, 2010

Vineyard: Garcia Carrion, Spain

IMG_20130322_204721

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Impressions:  This is a velvety smooth wine, with and equally soft flavour. Very dry but with little tannin puckering mouthfeel. Very light notes of grape are followed by a light alcohol after taste. Update: After having the bottle open for 1 hour+, the smoothness of the wine has decreased. A much more potent alcohol feel is prevalent, with a sharper, drier, more pungent taste. Not as nice.

ABV: 13.5%

Score: 7.25 / 10 (Good  to Very Good8 / 10 (Excellent)

Verdict: Addendum: As per the tasting notes above, this wine has seemingly lost some of it’s smooth qualities after being opened for around 2 hours (uncorked/lidded) and thus, the score has suffered. Still an enjoyable wine however. This wine is definitely an easy drinking wine. It’s so soft that it could definitely be marked down on its subtle fruit notes, but the value for money here at this (half) price point more than make up for that. For someone who isn’t a connoisseur, I’m sure this will be highly enjoyable.

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