Summer Lovin’

IMG-20170907-WA0000I’ve had a bit of a lucky streak recently. First, the lovely people at Majestic chose my Question for their monthly Wine 999 feature, winning me a lovely mixed case (worthy of its own post – stay tuned!). And then I also got given this bottle of white, which went straight in my fridge to be enjoyed as soon as the sun made an appearance on a late summer evening.

Now it’s not one I’d probably have picked out myself, but if you’re after a fresh, zingy, tasty and affordable white, the Torres Vina Sol a pretty safe bet. It’s a Spanish white, reminiscent of a crisp NZ Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre. Along with fresh citrus on the nose, there are subtle fruity flavours that round it off nicely. Serve slightly colder that you normally would for a white – proper fridge temperature benefitted the tangy nature.

Definitely drinkable on it’s own, it’s also a good choice with the classic seafood / rice / fish options.

Good news – it’s widely available from shops including Tesco, Sainsburys and Majestic. And it’s easy on the wallet too – coming in at under a fiver if you pick the right offer.

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Inspiring Italian

20170327_164422-01Yes, I’ve got an admission to make. I *might* have drunk this whole bottle of delicious, zingy Italian white before thinking to take a picture of it while there was still any left. I guess that’s the problem when a white knocks your socks off after a rather hard day at work.

Now I freely admit I don’t know much about Italian wines full stop, and I actually got this bottle as part of a mixed case, rather than deliberately choosing it.

To me, none of the words on the label really meant much, so I thought I’d give it a go with a pasta dish and see what happened.

Think of the crisp mouthwatering flavour of a really good NZ sauvignon blanc, add in a decent whack of unoaked French chardonnay, and then imagine a twist of a lovely citrusy Viognier and you should be getting close to the flavours this white from the Veneto region offers.

I loved that fact it’s light, but got enough punch to hold its own against the chilli and crab in my pasta dish, as well as being infinitely drinkable all on its own.

Sadly, this particular bottle from Naked Wines is now out of stock (don’t worry, I’m petitioning for more!) but in the meantime I’m going to be trying this bottle from Majestic Wine, which comes from the same region.

And I’m definitely keen to try out some more Italian wines. If you’ve got any suggestions where to start, I’m always open to ideas!

 

 

Mistletoe and Wine (The Whites)

Christmas – unapologetically one of my favourite times of the year. The presents, the food, and of course the wine. I had the great pleasure of not working on Christmas Day this year (unlike last year), so was determined to really enjoy the lovely wine that was on offer over the festive period. Here are the highlights (and no, I promise I didn’t drink them all myself!).

 We enjoyed this Chilean Sauvignon Blanc courtesy of my Uncle who is a member of The Wine Society. It was a great light, lunchtime drink which went very well with our smoked salmon, freshly baked bread and general eating up of leftovers. I’m not usually a big one for South American wines, but this was very good. For similar options try this Sauvignon from Waitrose, or this Taste the Difference bottle from Sainsbury’s.

Ah, back to my old favourite and all-time best bottle of white wine (in my humble opinion!). This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is produced by Bill and Claudia Small for Naked Wines, and is quite simply gorgeous. You can see me harping on about why I love NZ Sauvignon here, but this one – to me at least – is the best example I’ve drunk. Worked brilliantly with traditional turkey.

Now I didn’t get to try more than a few sips of this Marsanne Viognier, as I was driving home after lunch. But from what I did have, it was a very nice, if different white. A more rounded and fruity offering than a traditional French Viognier, the Marsanne grape has a pear-like flavour and is richer and darker than other more commonly drunk whites. Give examples like this one from Majestic Wines a go with pork or turkey.

And of course Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some fizz … although maybe more unusually this one was of the English variety. I’m not going to lie, I’m not the biggest fan of English wine. Usually I find it doesn’t live up to expectations, leaving me wishing I’d stuck to a French / Australian / Californian etc. But, to my pleasant surprise, this bottle from a Kent vineyard was brill. Much more comparable to Champagne than Prosecco or Cava, it was very tasty and made a great pre-Christmas lunch celebration. Interestingly, some vineyards in Kent are only 90 miles or so from the Champagne region in France, and have fairly similar, chalky soil. The smooth flavours of vanilla and buttery toast combined with the ‘pop’ of those lovely bubbles really was very enjoyable. And it might just have been enough to persuade me to try some more English wines with an open mind.

Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay

Wine: Oyster Bay New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2014

From: Sainsbury’s
Price: £8.25, RRP £11.19

Oyster Bay is a great choice for a reliable, tasty white wine. It is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and comes from the famous Marlborough region. If I’m stuck for what to choose in a supermarket or on a wine list, I always look for a NZ Marlborough.

Oyster Bay have just released their 2014 vintage, and usually you would want to pick a Sauvignon Blanc that is no older than a year (possibly two). It is a wine to drink young, and won’t get better with age.

It is crisp, citrusy and zingy. Chill it down, although always let white wine warm up slightly from fridge temperature to really enjoy the flavours. Works perfectly with fish, seafood, or on its own with a good book!

If you are looking for a bottle to take to a friends, which you know will look impressive without breaking the bank, this is a solid choice. Equally a good one to choose to treat yourself!