Spring Reds


My Wife and I took to drinking a lot of Red Wine in a rainy spring until the English Summer finally got round to appearing.  During that time we had three excellent and highly recommended red wines.


The first was the excellent 2015 Cabalie from France at 13%.  It has a stylish label and has a lovely aroma of fruits, particularly blackcurrants.  The taste both with and without food was fruity and peppery and just a very pleasant drink.  It is one of the few red wines I would buy simply to drink on its own.




Next up is The Holdings 2015 Syrah Malbec; a lovely 13% red from Argentina.  The label is a bit of an odd one but I think it works in its own way.  The aroma is of strong red fruits and the taste was dry, lightly fruity but also slightly sharp.  We had the wine with a steak and it went really well with it.  I would buy again to have alongside red meat.


The Holdings


Last but by no means least, the 2014 El Bombero; a 15% red from Spain.  The label screams Spanish at you and the aroma is juicy berries and vanilla.  Both with and without food it is smooth, rich and a little bit spicy.  It is though very easy to drink and I would buy again to drink for any meal appropriate to have red wine alongside.


El Bombero

Wine Review – Henri D’Autignac Grenache

Every now and again my wife and I decide to try some wines from Aldi or Lidl and unfortunately we usually end up being disappointed.  We tried against last month with the  2015; a rose at 12.5%.


The label is no frills and basic and the smell is lightly floral and red berries.  So far so good but it all falls apart with the taste.  I expect to be able to drink a rose on its own quite happily but unfortunately the acidity of the wine overpowered all other tastes.  On a second taste it was slightly better but no a drink I would choose optionally.


We then had the wine alongside some pesto chicken and Mediterranean roasted vegetables; unfortunately the wine now tastes like cheap perfume.  In conclusion I have to say this is a no recommendation!

Wine Review – Von Reben Riesling

I love a good Riesling, particularly with Asian Food, and the Von Reben Riesling fits the bill perfectly.  The label is as simple as you will ever see but I think it works; kind of no nonsense like the win.  The smell isn’t necessarily inviting, with it being quite sharp and only the aroma of apples really coming out.


von reben


On to the taste and without food, it was dry and sharp but in a good way.  Alongside the wine we had a Lamb Pasanda and the wine really came in to its own.  It complemented the curry beautifully and it cut through the spiciness for a nice refreshing finish.


I would definitely buy this again, especially to have alongside a curry.

Chateau Vartely – Cabernet Sauvignon

Moldova isn’t necessarily a country renowned for its wines but I like trying something different and this Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Vartely was a good starting point.  In fairness to the producers, the label looks like you are buying a wine from a French Chateau.




The smell of the wine was a bit sharp but then became very fruity with a distinct hint of blackberry.  Trying it without food, it had a dry start, fruit finish and a tangy aftertaste.  There were distinct hints of black pepper, vanilla and blackberries.


We had the wine alongside a lovely hunters chicken and the pepperiness of the wine worked fantastically with the food.  Overall this was a pleasant surprise and one I would buy again.

Wine Review – Altos de la Guardia

I’ve always been a fan of a red rioja but last month I tried a white one for the first time ever.  The lucky bottle I tried was the Altos de la Guardia 2014 from Spain.

Altos de la guardia

I can only describe the label as flowery and funky but the smell was altogether more traditional, being very rich and oakey.  Trying it without food it was very easy to drink with notes of pear and floral flavours on the taste buds.  I then tried alongside a pasta meal and it really enhanced the richness of the food and vice versa; there was also a lovely aftertaste from the wine.


I am now quite happily converted to white riojas’ and I would happily buy this wine again.

Wine Review – Dr Loosen Reisling

I love a good Riesling (and most other ‘German’ types of wine) so I was very happy to recently dry Dr Loosen Bros 2015 Riesling.  It comes in at 8.5% and is from the Mosel region of Germany.


As you can seen in the picture the label is minimalist at not eye-catching but the smell of the wine is very pleasant; light with a subtle hint of fruitiness.  Trying it on its own, it was sweet (but not too sweet) and very easy to drink.  It had a slight tang at the end but overall it was a good palate cleanser.  We paired the wine with some Chinese Pork Belly and the wine complemented it perfectly.  The wine was nicer to drink with the food as it was a little bit smoother and less tangy.


Overall the wine was lovely and I’d recommend it to have with Asian food or as a drink on its own.

Champagne Review – Harrods

We were kind enough to be given a bottle of Harrods Champagne as a wedding gift last year and we decided to open it on our first wedding anniversary a couple of months ago.


With regards to the specifics it is a Brut Blanc De Blancs rand Cru Grands Reserve at 12%.  The label clearly spells it out as Harrods Champagne; depending on your point of view this either spells class or a certain amount of trepidation with a branded champagne.


The smell is surprisingly minty and also a hint of nettles; not something I’d associate normally with a champagne.  The taste was initially quite sharp with a strong taste of apples.  It softened significantly on the second try and was then a very easy drink.


Overall I was pleasantly surprised with it and it is a perfectly good champagne.  Worth buying as a gift for somebody on a special occasion, particularly if they aren’t necessarily au fait with their sparkling wine and champagne.

Wine Review – Asda Viognier

We were buying a few household items in Asda recently and we though we would try a few of their wines.  We plumped for the Viognier 2015 from their extra special range and I was really hoping to be surprised by it.

The label was traditional stylish, making it look like a wine you might want to buy.  The smell was very light and what I can only really describe as ‘white winey’!

Moving on to the taste, without food it was simply sharp and bitter and not what I would expect from a Viognier.  We then had tomato and basil pasta with it and although it was slightly improved, it was still too sharp.

Unfortunately the wine was a disappointment, both as a Viognier and as a general white wine.  I will not explore this avenue again!

Wine – Grillhouse Review

Today’s vintage is the Grillhouse Western Cape, a 2016 Shiraz Pinotage from South Africa.  It comes in at a slightly stronger than normal 14%.

First impressions of the bottle are that the label is a bit tacky but at least it fits the name of the wine.  The smell is deep and rich with a hint of cherry, and overall very nice.

On to the taste and without food it is quite sharp and acidic; I wouldn’t drink it on its own.  We then tasted it alongside the beef brisket we had cooked; although it was slightly improved we still couldn’t get past the sharpness and acidity.

Unfortunately this isn’t one I will buy again.

Wine Review – La Patrie

We’ve been lucky enough to have a good run of wine recently, but unfortunately all good things have to come to an end; for us it was with the red La Patrie, a Malbec from France.

The label is what you would expect from a French wine with the traditional picture of a chateau.  The smell is actually very nice, it being light and fruity, as well as full of promise!

The reality was not good though, both without and with good.  The taste was corky, bland, acidic and a little bit sharp.  For my wife and I, it was like we were back at university and drinking generic red wine.

I cannot recommend this wine at all and would advise you to avoid.