Wine news is good news as the days grow longer and warmer (we hope)

Prosecco SO organic Extra Dry Sainsbury wine news

I love this time of year when everything is so new again; there’s a fresh start as the sun warms and the days get longer.  Well, I’m not so sure about the sun bit yet, but you know what I mean. It’s a busy time in the wine world too, with lots of springtime wine news and things happening.


Wine news:Organic range from Sainsbury

Sainsbury has extended its organic range with the addition of a prosecco, a sauvignon blanc and a French rosé.

This comes on the heels of the wines So Organic Malbec (£6.50), So Organic Côtes du Rhône (£7.50) and So Organic Merlot (£6.50) which launched last November. Sainsbury say they saw a 25% jump in demand for organic wines last year, which they believe is driven by younger customers.

So Organic Prosecco (£10, 11% abv) isn’t cheap when you consider how much you can spend on a bottle of prosecco these days. It’s not a DOCG designated wine (the top style of wine in Italy) unlike my favourite prosecco from Sainsbury, Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco which comes in at around the same price.

Saying that, I shared a sniff and a dip of So Organic Prosecco with some girlie friends, including lots of swirling and chatting, and the aromas got a thumbs-up; pears, tropical fruit, a little bit of cinnamon (I don’t know where that came from) and freshly sliced apples. The label on So Organic Sauvignon Blanc (£6.50, 13.5% abv) declares the wine has “citrus and grapefruit flavours and a delicate herbaceous note” but I found the opposite. It is from Spain and the sun-dappled grapes have delivered a wine of tropical fruits, guava and a hint of nectarine. So Organic French Rosé (£6.50, 13.5% abv) is grenache-based and has  squishy strawberry aromas with a hint of spice.


Wine news: DOmaines et Chateaux range in tesco

Domaine Bariol 2016 wine news

Over at Tesco, a new selection from Domaines et Chateaux has arrived on the shelves.

The team searches for smaller parcels of French wines and once they’re sold out, that’s it, they’re gone. I read today that that is something called WIGIG – when its gone its gone.  It sounded more like a 70s folk group to me.  Hey ho.

My favourite of the new four wines I tasted was Domaine Bariol 2016 (£9, 13% abv), a white from the Côtes du Rhône. It is a blend of marsanne and viognier and has a nose of white peach and honeysuckle with a peep of candied fruit.

Those same notes carry through to the flavours and it was pretty much spot-on with my Sunday afternoon roast chicken and buttery bacon and cabbage.


Wine news: Cono Sur Bicicleta lifts its game

Meanwhile one of my reliable go-to wine brands, Cono Sur Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir wine newsBicicleta, is having a makeover. New bottles with a bicycle embossed in the glass are out next month with a nod to making the wine a little more premium. The bicycles are a tribute to the vineyard workers who travel around the Chilean vineyards on bikes.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir (RRP £7.49, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Morrisons, Co-op, 13.5% abv) is the UK’s best-selling pinot noir and its notes of strawberry, violets and cherries are smooth and tempting.


Wine news: ALDI launches weekday helpings of wine

Aldi half bottles 50cl bottles

Finally, Aldi has brought out a new range of half-bottles for those weekday nights when you fancy a tipple with supper but you don’t want a full bottle calling “finish me, finish me”. The wines are Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Malbec and they are £2.99 for 37.5cl.

Let’s raise a glass to Spring! Yay!!


First published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales –  Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle  – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

Christmas party drinks: 10 ideas for tipples if you’re having people round

Christmas One Foot in the Grapes

If you’re inviting friends round for a quiet celebration, or you’re planning one of those “stand in the kitchen and ignore the sofa” parties, then you’ll be looking for ideas for Christmas party drinks. Here’s a selection.


Christmas party drinks: Nice and easy wines

Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir (£4.49, Aldi, 12.5% abv) I poured this red in a wine tasting and it went down a treat. It has bright jammy fruit, is easy-drinking and look at the price. Taste the Difference Bordeaux Rosé (£7, Sainsbury, 12.5% abv) A lovely pink. Made from merlot, it has a nose full of red fruits, fresh and dried strawberries and a hint of tropical fruit. Fruity White (£5, Spar, 13% abv) Ignore Spar wines at your peril, they’ve brought out a new range (more on that in the New Year). This is a simple South African white, billed as “smooth and mellow”, made from chenin blanc. It’s a kitchen party pourer.


Christmas party drinks:  Festive fizzlers

Martini Prosecco (£10.78, Asda – though I’ve seen it on rollback for £7, 11.5% abv) is a pretty prosecco and as it has Martini branding it might be overlooked in that prosecco “space”. It has uncomplicated aromas of apple and pear and a good citrus kick in the mouth.  

Borgo Molino (£ £9.99, The Co-op, 11% abv) You can buy this wine in a gift pack for £14.99, with truffles, to take along as a gift for your hosts. This is a dry prosecco with notes of green apple and a citrus bite, together with bubbles a-plenty.


Christmas party drinks:  Belting beers

Hobgoblin IPA (four for £6 in Asda, also sold in Morrisons, the Co-op) is a new launch. I’m told IPA drinkers nowadays are more likely “to be female and younger” though if younger than me, I don’t know. It’s a copper-coloured brew created from English hops Fuggles and Goldings.

Meantime Chocolate Porter (£23 for 12, meantimebrewing.com, or £1.99 each, Waitrose) is a dark beer with four different roasted malts, matured with real chocolate. There’s definitely chocolate on the nose! This robust beer will work well with party-time spicy dishes such as a chilli.


Christmas party drinks:  Christmas spirit

Monkey Shoulder (£27 at Tesco, widely available elsewhere) The name “monkey shoulder” refers to a time when maltmen turned barley by hand, causing their arm to tire and hang down like a monkey’s. It’s a blend of three single malt whiskies and has notes of vanilla, orange and a spicy bite. Check out party cocktail recipes at monkeyshoulder.com

Ramsbury Vodka (£34.55, masterofmalt.com) A super-special gold medal-winning single estate vodka. Ramsbury grow the wheat on their chalk downs in Wiltshire, combine it with water from their land, and distill. The nose is rich with vanilla, it has a creaminess and a good weight. Ice is all it needs, perhaps a slither of orange peel.


Christmas party drinks:  A creamy flourish

Amarula Christmas party drinks

Amarula (RRP £12.50, widely available) This isn’t as “gunky” as some of the more familiar creams and is just as tasty over a drop of ice. The base spirit is made from the fruit of the Marula tree in South Africa. Check out amarula.com for recipes. Oh, and Amarula has formed a trust to support the African elephant via educational and environmental projects.  

FIRST PUBLISHED IN OVER 30 TRINITY MIRROR REGIONAL NEWSPAPERS INCLUDING:

Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News –
Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales
–  Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle 
– Teesside Gazette – Birmingham Mail –
Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express