Co-op Romanian Pinot Noir

The one with Licor 43, a J&B Rare cocktail and a couple of reds

It’s the strangest of times. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in desperate need for something homely and comforting.

To perk up a miserable evening I tried a sip of Licor 43 (RRP £18, Tesco). I don’t know how this delicious nectar has passed me by. Am I late to the party?

It’s made to a secret family recipe in Cartagena, in the south-east of Spain and has 43 natural ingredients, including botanicals and citrus.

It’s right up my street.

There’s moreish aromas of citrus and vanilla and a warming creaminess. Several flavours partner in a Spanish flamenco, from honey and spice, to coffee and cream.

In fact, in Spain, Licor 43 is known as a perfect partner to coffee.

I poured some over a chunk of ice and sank into my sofa as I sipped. I really loved it and it wasn’t long before I had a sneaky top-up.

But how about using it in a home comfort cocktail? As we’re all struggling to do a decent shop, this springtime idea uses few ingredients.

Make Green Spring 43 by pouring 35ml of Licor 43 and 15ml fresh lemon juice into a glass which has been filled with ice. Then top up with tonic water and garnish with four slices of cucumber.

Talking of home comfort cocktails … a favourite whisky of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra et al) was J&B Rare (RRP £22.50, 70cl, Waitrose). It’s a perfect introduction to whisky (I’ve enjoyed my introduction!) as it’s a pale, light, fruity, subtle whisky.

The simplest of cocktails, with the simplest of ingredients, is a J&B Rare Whisky Highball. Fill a highball glass with ice. Add 50ml of J&B Rare and 125ml of soda water. Add a squeeze of citrus and garnish with a lemon or lime twist.

As I said – simple! Then raise a glass to Spring.

Obviously I still love wine.

The Co-op has introduced two reds which are worth seeking out as they’re both ideal for sipping in the slowly-warming spring sunshine.

Romanian Pinot Noir (£5.50) is produced by Romania’s largest wine exporter producer, Cramele Recas. When I saw that name attached to this wine I had high hopes.

It’s a light-bodied ruby colour with flavours of raspberry and plum with a juicy finish and a hint of spice. I tasted the wine with a plate of cheddar cheese and it was scrummy.

The second wine making an entrance is Finca Traversa Tannat Merlot (£8). As the pinot is femininely fruity, this wine has more punch.

I dipped my nose and sensed earth and twigs in the background; yet hedgerows of brambles and punnets of ripe black fruits keep this wine fruity, alert and fresh.

Finally …

If a white with a touch of personality is more your style then you can’t go wrong with Asda’s Extra Special Chenin Blanc (£6.25) both in price and in taste.

It has been barrel-fermented from grapes grown on old vines in South Africa. The green-tinged lemon-coloured wine has aromas that keep on giving; from butter and vanilla, to tropical fruits; to gooseberry and citrus. It zaps with acidity and is a white to make your mouth water and lift your spirits.

First published in over 30 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 

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