Les Arbousiers Albariño 2018 – Virgin Wines

I was recently asked to navigate a posh Cotswolds pub wine-list and to recommend a white and a red for a private party. Their Albariño was the white I chose; it’s currently rather fashionable, particularly those from Rias Baixas in Galicia. Albariño is also found in Portugal and is now produced in several Californian regions…

Astro Costera Chardonnay 2018 – Virgin Wines

Astro Costera Chardonnay is from Chile’s Central Valley. I suspect that it, like many other Virgin Wines, comes in large containers and is bottled in the UK, to give them a greater margin. Put on a suitable label with a vaguely Andean motif, name your price and see what happens… Tasting notes: Pale lemon colour. Green…

Santa Macarena Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – Virgin Wines

This Sauvignon Blanc is from the most coastal site in all of Chile; the Aconcagua Valley is just 5km from the ocean. Morning mist, sea breezes and lower temperatures provide ideal conditions for Sauvignon Blanc. Tasting notes: Pale straw colour. Stone fruits and some vegetal notes. Short, crisp finish. Balanced, medium/high acidity. Not especially complex or…

Bruce Jack Chenin Blanc – Virgin Wines

This is decent Chenin Blanc and good value at only £7.99. Yet again I must express my wish that it had ‘Fairly Traded’ credentials… Tasting notes: Primary notes of stone fruits. Tertiary notes of vanilla. Balance acidity. Medium finish, a little complexity, Crisp, dry wine. White stone fruit notes. Hints of vanilla from oak. Wine…

Bendico Vermentino 2018 – Virgin Wines

Vermentino is primarily associated with Sardinia. Virgin wines have a few wines which don’t come from the area with which they are traditionally associated (Hungarian Pinot Grigio, Romanian Sauvignon Blanc) as do Waitrose. Is it a crafty trick, or an attempt to intrigue the consumer? Who knows…? I tasted Vermentino widely during a three week…

Virgin Wines – any good?

I signed up to Virgin Wines and paid into their ‘Wine Bank’ each month. I purchased a wide variety of wines from £7-£25 a bottle which I will be reviewing over the coming weeks in a series of articles, before moving on to review Laithwaite’s wines. So, are Virgin wines any good? With the Wine…

The Coronavirus & Wine…

The outbreak of the Coronavirus in China in late 2019 had virtually no impact on the wine industry – until now. In Northern Italy and across Europe, the harvest was safely in, fermented and barrelled. ‘Social distancing’ meant that people stopped going out to eat and drink as much. The forced closure of bars and…

Botham Wines Chardonnay 2018 'The All Rounder'

Botham wines call this ‘The All Rounder’ because Ian Botham was and this wine is. It’s decent wine and would be suitable for most occasions and would go with a lot of food. It’s also from all around Australia – from the South East to the Margaret River in Western Australia – the opposite side…

Jean P’Robert Pinot Noir 2013

This is a rather ‘generic’ wine. It’s in an attractive bottle and is from the wide region of Burgundy (a large area, that). Tasting notes: Translucent, pale ruby colour. Primary red fruit notes. No secondary notes. Faint earthy tertiary notes. Balanced acidity. Short finish. Light, smooth. No tannins. Not particularly complex. Needed food. Region of…

ARA Grüner Veltliner

I love Austria. The skiing, the frittaten suppe, schnitzel & strudel… I’ve been going there for years, usually in the winter, but last summer we stayed for a week in the mountains. I was there again eight weeks ago and am back again in five weeks time. As I say, I love Austria. Its wines…

Veuve Cliquot Vintage 2008

Veuve Clicquot is one of those champagne labels that denotes quality. At £59 a bottle, however it is only for very special occasions… I reviewed their rose champagne here. Tasting notes: Biscuity, aromas of lemon, dried apricots, peach and pastry. Notes of almond on the palate, a hint of oak. This also had bite as…