Sunday, 29 September 2013

Favourites - Bird and Dozen !!

After two day of working hard on my Dad's front garden (he passed away last year and we're renovating the house) I came home to a very much needed glass of my favourite bird - sorry not Quirky Bird but Famous Grouse.......Ginger Grouse !!

It has a light amber colour with a slight head on pouring. It's quite sweet but not overly so and the ginger has a good kick. Although there is no whisky in Ginger Grouse there is a slight hint of the Scottish liquor lingering in the mouth. It's a lovely drink, best served chilled and enjoyed outside on the patio.

I'm not actually a whisky drinker - bourbon is more my tipple - I just love the Grouse Bird and look forward to his antics every Christmas.

And so to my favourite dozen - well it could well be .....

After the Tesco Wine Fair we order a case of Tesco Finest Four Star Whites and Tesco Finest Four Star Reds. They are a fantastic way of trying new wines from around the world - all of which have high recommendations.

Finest dozen
I was impressed by the list when I ordered but even more impressed when the wine arrived - I am really looking forward to trying all of these:
Tesco finest Block 13 Shiraz Grenache 2011.
This wine is a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre and is from South Australia.
It's one the Tesco Community have been loving and I have been waiting to try - I can't believe it but I missed it at the Wine Fair.
Tesco finest Douro 2011This wine is from Portugal and is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa and Touriga Nacional. We are actually enjoying this wine this evening - our first glass with a beef roast dinner and now a second as we settle down for the evening. We decanted it in our stylish new decanter from Dunelm and are drinking it from our gorgeous new glasses from Franglais Vins (Calais).
It has a nose of red cherries with a fruity taste and a hit of spice on the finish. There is some tannin but it's very slight.
Tesco finest Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011.
An Italian wine aged in oak.

Tesco finest Argentina Malbec 2012.
Argentinian Malbecs are appearing more and more on wine programmes and in wine reviews, I'm planning beef with this with maybe a pepper sauce.

Tesco finest Cabernet Sauvignon Carménère 2012.
This wine is from Chile and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère.

Tesco finest Nero d’Avola 2012.
Finally another Italian wine, this one is from the south of Italy.

And so to the whites - I always considered myself someone who preferred white to red but over the last year tasting more and more wines recommended by friends on the Wine Community I am enjoying reds too. In fact the reds disappear from our wine rack quicker than the whites.

Tesco finest Côtes de Gascogne 2012.
This is a French blend of Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc grapes;
it's one I have had before and love with a crisp chicken salad.

Tesco finest Picpoul de Pinet 2012.
Another French wine from Languedoc- Roussillon;
 and another that I just adore. It is best served well chilled and in my opinion enjoyed on it's
own on a hot summer's evening sitting outside.

Tesco finest Tapiwey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Especial 2012
This is a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile.

Tesco finest Gavi 2012
This is an Italian wine.

Tesco finest Bergerac Blanc 2011
This wine is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon and is again from France.

Tesco finest Pinot Grigio 2011
This Italian Pinot Gris is the final wine in this case.
I am very, very pleased with the white selection, although some may have preferred wine from more of a variety of countries - being a French fan I'm more than happy.

As you can tell there are some new wines to me and Hubby - I'll be making tasting notes and sharing our finds in my future blogs. Thank you for reading my news - I read and appreciate all your comments, thank you.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Birmingham - Tesco Wine Fair

We've had a very busy few weeks since coming home from France - I didn't have chance to blog our holiday but I will add a few gem finds in a blog soon. Technology has been on hold for me as my ipad belonged to school and my laptop was very, very old.

I have been extremely spoilt by Hubby as I now have a Nexus tablet and a new Dell laptop - so watch out cyber space !! Retirement has certainly not been slow or boring - in fact I cannot believe tomorrow is the start of my 4th week.

We have been so busy with birthday treats, Bicester Shopping Village, Houses of Parliament, Birmingham's new library, Caro Emerald, Cardiff and Tesco Wine Fair. don't worry this blog will not be about them all - it would be a book if it was, but I have linked the places so please go and investigate online.

So the Wine Fair yesterday - it was another great opportunity to try over 200 wines. This was the first year the fair has been in Birmingham, but our 7th visit. As Birmingham is only 20 miles away we went by train for the fair whereas previously we've stayed away for the weekend in London, Bristol or Manchester. I think I prefer staying away - the train journey was a bit of a chore. The fair is at the NEC which is a massive exhibition centre on the outskirts of Birmingham so for us it was a train into the city and out again. It was quite a long walk from the station to the actual hall and it didn't evoke quite the same atmosphere as the Brunell Centre in Bristol or Horticultural Halls in London.

However once inside the Fair it was tasting and chatting as always - with slightly less stands but each one with 6 wines wines and great experts ready to help with all the questions.

My booklet has notes on many, many wines, tasted and enjoyed; here are some of my favourites of the day (photos are from Tesco Wine) :

Tesco Finest Saint Mont - South West France
This was a first for us - a white from the Atlantic coast of France, right down south. It's a very fresh wine, lots of apples and apricots but not too dry.

Yalumba Viognier 2012 - Eden Valley Australia
Another crisp fruity wine with apricots but with the addition of some light floral notes

Apothic Red - California USA
A real smooth red which I could easily sit and sip all evening - it's a blend of  Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wirra Wirra Church Block - McLaren Valley Australia
A deep red filled with ripe berry fruit, the soft tannins are perfect for it's weight leaving a great finish.

It was great to meet the wine experts - Frances Adams from Tim Adams was lovely; The Fergus was on show but not sadly The Aberfeldy. I also loved Tim Adams Clare Valley Shiraz 2009 with it's full nose, spicy/deep smooth fruit taste with a spice after tone.

I did introduce myself to the Piggy Bank team - and was reminded I hadn't liked their Tempranillo on the Tesco Review - but I did like their Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and their Syrah 2012.

Hardy's had a new brand - Houghton - with a light Sauvignon Blanc Semillion 2012 and Cabernet Shiraz 2012. These grapes are grown on the west coast of Australia which is a different area to Hardy's normal wine grown in the south east. Apparently there is a cooler breeze which prevents the grapes from being over ripened in the strong sun and leads to lighter, smoother wines. Both were superb, different to the expected Hardy's but with quality and flavour. The Hardy's labels have had a make over and look very stylish.

Tesco Wine by the Glass had the dominant stand across the back of the Hall - it was great to meet Laura and see the team. From their stand my favourite was the Yalumba Voignier. Tesco Finest had a Wine Trail in the booklet to follow - a little tricky at times to work out which stand the wines were on. At Bidendum Wine I was given a blind tasting of a fresh, slight fizz white wine. I amazed myself (and I think the wine chap) in recognising Riesling - it was one of the Finest Wine Trail wines:

Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling 2011 - Western Australia
I'm not a Riesling fan as they are too sweet but this was fairly dry which did have me doubting my knowledge for a moment but the slight under fizz confirmed my thoughts. It's very different from the German Rieslings and not as petrolly as the other Australian ones I've tried.

I could write loads and loads - as I look through my booklet I keep finding another one to share but I think that's enough to wet your palette. If you have never experienced a Tesco Wine Fair then you should as they are an amazing way to learn so much more in the world of wine.