Wine Press: Call My Bluff Wine Tasting fizzes perfectly

A few years ago there was a TV quiz show, Call My Bluff. My mum and dad loved it. I remember the 70s brown and beige shirts and the quizmaster technology included a simple bell.

A team would give three definitions of a word; but only one was true. Another team had to guess which.

Bring that up to 2015, add gaffer tape, wine, human guinea pigs, yours truly, some lovely helpers, and what you have is a Call My Bluff wine tasting.

We disguised wine bottles with the tape and split my guinea pigs into teams.

Call My Bluff wine tasting
Call My Bluff wine tasting with yours truly

I like fizz so I pretty much went all out on the stuff.

With the first wine I said: “I’m sauvignon blanc, and I’m from Marlborough in New Zealand.

“I was recently described as having a ‘very catty aroma’ and being ‘the spring onion side of sauvignon’.”

I threw in a Bluff line: “My homeland is France and this is the first time that French winemakers have turned me into Champagne”.

FALSE!!! Sauvignon blanc would never be used in a Champagne.

Freemans Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Freemans Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

This was Aldi’s Freemans Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£8.99). Did my guinea pigs like it? Well yes, most of them did. Though for some, the jury was out.

Next: “I’m a prosecco. I’m one of the best you can get. My grapes are grown on steep limestone hills between two villages. They are so special I have a high DOCG status. I have apricot and citrus and you can even taste a little bit of the limestone if you concentrate really hard. I’ve won awards. I’m so proud of myself.”

If you find a prosecco marked DOCG it is indeed one of the best.

In this case it was multi-award winner Sainsbury’s Conegliano Prosecco, Taste the Difference (around £11). My guinea pigs really loved this one.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut 2013
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut 2013

Moving on. My clue on Codorníu Gran Cremant Vintage, Brut (several retailers, RRP £9.99) was: “Just like Champagne, three dominant grape varieties are used to make me: paralleda, macabeo and xarel-lo. Each of them is difficult to say, but each of them makes me special. I don’t know why people like prosecco more than me, as I have more flavours and tasty layers. You might be able to smell citrus, honey and almonds.”

call my bluff wine tasting
Death by Powerpoint

Several guinea pigs didn’t think this was cava at all, but my made up Bluff description, of a sparkling chardonnay “bright and zesty with a ping of lemon and scrunched red apples”.

Next, an ooh-ahh of a Wine Bluff reveal. I said: “I have a golden hue. I have a nice crisp and intense flavour of lemon and honey. I’m an award-winning champagne at less than a tenner.”

A bluff line included… “you might think I have a smell of peach – that’s the peach trees which grow very close to the vineyard.” (Ha! See how easy it is to make it up!)

Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut Philizot Aldi
Veuve Monsigny Champagne

The wine reveal was Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut by Philizot (£9.99) and it was praised by the guinea pigs; A tenner for a really lovely drop of champers.

We turned to another of my faves. “I’m the Gracie Fields of the champagne world. I taste of brioche and toast and citrus with little hints of stone fruit.”

A bluff line included: “If I was featured in Hello! magazine I’d have a footballer boyfriend and a villa in Marbella. I’m more full in the face than most champagnes with stewed apples and cinnamon sticks.”

My guinea pigs worked out that this didn’t smell of cinnamon and some rightly guessed it was The Co-operative Les Pionniers NV Champagne, £16.99 and very nice it is too. My clue was that Gracie Fields is from Rochdale, which is also the birthplace of the Co-op movement.

Sometimes you have to live inside my head.

Published in the saturday extra magazine April 25, 2015

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

Aldi wine range sets standards at prices hard to ignore

Aldi Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay

Well knock me over with a wet tea towel and force me to drink  lager and black.

Sometimes I come across some corkers of wines; and they’re even better when they’re not only cheerful, but cheap too.  I’m talking the Aldi wine range which is setting  some really good standards and if you haven’t already picked up on that by word of mouth – or glass to lips – then where have you been?

I know I’m not always enthusiastic about chardonnay  but one sip of Limestone Coast Chardonnay (Aldi, £5.99) and I was texting friends. The Australian wine is unoaked, is full of tropical fruit but has  slight creaminess because of some lees aging. It had the same kind of fresh zinginess you might expect from a sauvignon blanc.Aldi Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay wine

Limestone Coast – commended in both the Decanter awards and the International Wine Challenge this year  – is part of Aldi’s Exquisite Collection which was  launched last  November. It has sold over two million bottles  since then.

So far in 2013,  Aldi’s beers, wines and spirits range has received 100 accolades, including 33 awards at the International Wine Challenge and 35  at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.

A couple of fizzies to definitely look out for include   Aldi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore  (£7.29). My notes say:  This fizzed, and  fizzed again. Lemons and  freshly-cut apples and pears on the nose led to  a   long-lasting taste of   pears and apples. Mouth-watering to the last.

Aldi Champagne Philizot Brut NV (£12,99) has won three silvers this year which isn’t to be sniffed at. If you do,  don’t get the bubbles up your nose. It’s a party wine to brag  “Champers” to guests    without raiding the piggy bank.

Violets and bilberries ooze from Aldi’s Malbec (£5.99)  from the Uco Valley in  Argentina  – another wine  in the Exquisite Collection  and one of the best-selling.   It’s a very pleasant red with integrated tannins and  spicy  fruits.

The Exquisite Collection  Shiraz   (£5.99) went well with a cupboard/fridge/forgot-to-shop meal  I made this week with sauteed peppers, chillis, mushrooms, bacon, red pesto and tumbled spaghetti. I looked at the shiraz – it looked at me. Shiraz and an  Italian plate?

Plums, black fruits, chocolate and liquorice layers have brought this Australian wine    commended and  silver awards in 2013. And deservedly so.

Published in the saturday extra magazine September 14, 2013

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express