Red wines: Three to try, a rioja, carmenere and barbera

red wines review

I write about wine and other drinkies in a handful of regional UK newspapers; I share my thoughts here on One Foot in the Grapes. Here’s a selection of red wines reviewed in recent weeks.

Three red wines should the fancy take you

Ramón Bilbao Single Vineyard Rioja red wine review
Ramón Bilbao Single Vineyard Rioja

♦ Red wines are probably a safe bet to warm your toes if sunny days don’t live up to expectations. Ramón Bilbao Single Vineyard Rioja (13.5% abv, £9.49 at Majestic or £7.99 if in a case of six) is a blend of tempranillo and grenache.

The wine has spent eight months in American oak which lends flavours of vanilla and a grind of spice.

It is generous with its fruit, gifting a hug of cherry and blackberry aromas and flavours of warming ripe red fruit. It’s as cosy and comforting as your favourite slippers.

This wine would be great with a lamb casserole; or if you peek outside and the barbecue is calling, then burnt-edged sausages could be just the trick.
(Price correct at time of print publication: May 2016)

Rive Barbera d'Asti red wine review
Rive Barbera d’Asti

♦  Despite the  miserable summer weather,  I managed to sneak in a barbecue and poured a red wine with burgers.  

Rive Barbera d’Asti (14% abv RRP £10 from independents including thesecretcellar.co.uk/, henningswine.co.uk ampsfinewines.co.uk)

The wine has been aged in a mix of new and old oak barrels  for 18 months to create a complex, comforting wine.

Black cherries and plum aromas huddled at the top of the glass together with a flicker of mint; then oodles of rich cherries mingled with spice in the mouth to transform and uplift our ordinary burgers.

(Price correct at time of print publication: July 2016)

Root 1 Carmenere 2014 red wine review
Root 1 Carmenere 2014

♦ By all means get your kicks on Route 66, but if you want a decent drop of Chilean Carmenere for under a tenner, my advice is to take Root 1.

Root 1 Carmenere 2014, (£8, 13.5% abv, Morrisons) is a mix of 85% carmenere and 15% syrah grapes, all grown on ungrafted roots (hence the name).

This is a delicious drop, with rich berry flavours, a hint of spice and slight vanilla on the finish, and a gloriously silky texture that feels like … well, silk on the tongue.

Although it’s a full-bodied wine, there’s a delicacy to the structure that goes perfectly with a nice bit of steak or a roast beef dinner, although you certainly wouldn’t complain if you had it with a spicy tomato pasta dish.

(Price correct at time of print publication: July 2016)

Reviews first published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals  

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

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How long can you keep wine once the bottle is opened?

how long can wine stay open

How long can you keep wine once that much-needed bottle is uncorked? Sadly, nothing lasts forever, not even my crush on Harrison Ford.

In my ramblings last time I suggested you should finish a bottle of amontillado sherry within seven days of opening; a couple of days later a friend asked me how long she could keep an opened bottle of wine.

This isn’t a dilemma I usually have. I raised an eyebrow (and a glass).

Once wine is opened it immediately starts to interact with the air and its flavours and aromas change. If you have wine that smells of vinegar, it’s not worth drinking. In fact the word vinegar stems from the French, vinaigre which means “sour wine”.

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