Canyon Springs California Shiraz cellared and bottled by Eagle Rock Vineyards Lodi, CA.
Actually, not bad at all – at £12.49 from Aldi - this Champagne blend would be great for a party and indeed was for ours - we had a dancing Santa, gifts galore and some wonderful Christmassy jazzy tunes to delight.
Gotta say this offering was scary – Montepulciano D’Abruzzo – 13.5% Sainsburys, medium depth, great nose but tasted spookily bland. We moved swiftly onto a regular Shiraz – Aldi’s Grapevine at £3.69 – been featured on the show many a time. Some great pumpkins and deccos adorned the studio to the strains of some smooth spooky jazz.
Back on the airwaves and received a beautiful gift box from listener Murray in Florida – how generous. We opened it ‘live’ on air and were overwhelmed to see two - beautifully wrapped in tissue - bottles of bourbon whisky. Maker’s Mark’ which have been keen to try for a long time and Buffalo Trace. Chat room participants were happy to sing the delights of both so stay tuned for our reviews of both in due course.
Some fine jazzy tunes and 2 fine wines to enjoy alongside. The Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2012 was a joy to behold. Rich and rustic at 13.5%, nice and dry with aromas of toasted wood and cocoa coupled with subtle spiciness and a silky vanilla finish. Would be great with pasta, ratatouille, roast meats and hard cheeses. Aldi at £12.99.
The beautiful Bollinger - gifted by Brian and Julie – was opened with a small pop (always best slowly and gently) and then quickly poured – full of bubbles. Super dry, crisp, fresh and citrus - a real treat and a great way to welcome 2021 and our first BSJ Show of the year. Cheers!
From Rosemary and Steve’s Magic Cellar came this lovely little 2017 Nero Oro Riserva – Sicilia. Nero Oro being Sicily’s Black Gold. The vines for this Riserva grow on red, loamy soils known locally as ‘Ferretti’. It’s aged in Slovenian barrels for 12-18 months and is abound with black berry fruits, sweet ripe tannin with a rich finish. A pleasant fragrant spice on the tongue with a hint of chocolate and dare I say, tobacco.
Faced with the wonderful dilemma of which Champagne to drink (first) we decided to toss a coin! Brian, Julie and Emma had gifted us a perfect Pommery which I was most interested to try, never had that before - and Steve and Rosie had sent us some Heidsieck Gold Top Monopole – 2010 . . . choices choices. ‘Heads’ won so I popped the Heidsieck.
Charles Heidsieck Champagne was established in 1851 by the nephew of Piper-Heidsieck's owner. After growing up in the midst of grapes, in a family ruled by Reims traditions, Charles became a traveller and free-spirited, smooth-talking gentleman entrepreneur, focused on his champagne business. With his distinguished charm and knack for business, he captivated America becoming a prominent figure of fashionable society in just a few months. Charles focused on making a name for himself and for his champagne - Champagne Charlie This superb chilled Champers was discernibly citrus, stone and dry apricot, a hint of floral and a crisp scent of the ocean. Thoroughly indulgent and inspiring, with tinkly, tiny bubbles to the very last drop.
As it was our 10th Anniversary and we were therefore celebrating, we opened up the Pommery next and what a surprise, a different taste all together – still fresh, dry and crisp but with more hints of lemon and petals, slightly less bubblesome perhaps, but right on the mark.
Thanks to our BSJ supporters, we had a great Anniversary show with many of our super listeners (many imbibing at the same time – silly not to) and raised lots of glasses, chinking cheers to each other across the World, from Texas to NY, to New Orleans, Atlanta, Bedfordshire UK, Wilts UK, Cheshire, UK, Germany, Dubai, Brazil, California, - so many places. Thanks guys.
A red blend from Vicente Faria – The Soul of Portugal – was enjoyed on this show. ‘Animus’ 2018 via Aldi at £4.99
1. hostility or ill feeling.
"the author's animus towards her”.
2. motivation to do something.
"the reformist animus came from within the Party"
A strange name for a wine that was so good, no hostility whatsoever in fact. Rod’s first words after his first sip was ’jammy’ and I agreed. Ripe and rich with a plummy red cherry center and vanilla finish, light and airy but still rigorous and would be perfect paired with pizza, pasta and perhaps shrimp creole! The label is great too.
How lucky we were to be gifted a beautiful Bottle of Bollinger from Brian and Julie, celebrating their 30th Wedding anniversary. Never had Bollinger before but what a treat, gorgeously dry and crisp with undertones of apricot and vanilla, cool and fresh on the tongue with after-fizzles of lemon and toast. Thoroughly enjoyed it, previously my favourite has been the super Veuve de Clique and Dom Perignon (any year will do) but Bolly is now my firm favourite.
Rosie and Steve unexpectedly and amazingly, dropped off a super arrangement of roses from their garden and some exciting bottles of red from Majestic Wine! What a treat. First up, the Porta 6 Reserva 2017, slowly aged in oak barrels, smooth and lavish – exceptionally good. With a blend of 2 excellent grapes – Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz, it inspired a long finish on the palate, a soft mellow nose and ‘legs to die for.’ If you caught us ‘live’ on Twitch you can see the delight on our faces as we sample this delicious, wet bramble, juicy exotic fruitiness with a hint of slow chocolate. Imagine a stroll through the narrow streets of Lisbon – brought back memories.......
Elle’s Birthday, so a little Estevez Carignan seemed like a good idea. Elle kindly sponsored the show and we had a great time in the chat room as ever discussing wines, food recipes and the state of the World in general etc, while wishing her a Happy Birthday from us all (not forgetting playing some great smooth jazz tunes too of course).
Made by the team at Hardys, one of Australia’s most renowned wine producers, drawing on more than 165 years of winemaking experience. Chapter & Verse is an exclusive range of carefully selected wines which pay tribute to Thomas Hardy who after contributing to the early Australian wine industry many say wrote the book on winemaking, literally every Chapter & Verse. This fine Shiraz with fresh, fruity hints of deep cherry, plum and blackberry was mellow and delicious at just £4.99 from Aldi. 1.5%, 2019. Super.
Always a sucker for a pretty label – this Organic ‘O’ Reserva 2018 Malbec from Valle Central Chile looked promising – however, was sadly lacking in depth, a tad sour and watery with no nose at all. No hints of raspberry or black fruits, all in all fairly boring. ‘O’ represents circles, traditional expressions of inner peace, unity, enlightenment and the totality of the universe. The circle is also the shape of the moon which is a key element in how the grapevines are grown. ‘O’ is also for ‘Organic’ – the best way forward for agriculture (viticulture) to obtain healthier and better-balanced vineyards, thus resulting in high quality wines. Perhaps let it rest for another couple of years before drinking.
I was delighted to see that the Grapevine range from Aldi - not only offered up a Shiraz earlier this year after only proving a Merlot up ‘til then - but now, wonder of wonders – a Cabernet Sauvignon Grapevine. It was, as expected a pretty lovely taste. Warm and juicy, fruitful and concise – only 12.5% but didn’t lack depth. The Shiraz (and Merlot of course) enjoyed on earlier shows were also fulfilling and wholesome, this Grapevine never disappoints. What next? A Grapevine Malbec? A Grapevine Pinot Noir? Or perhaps a blend of 3 grapes ....
The first BSJ Show of Springtime introduced this lovely juicy Shiraz – Earth’s Essence – no sulphur or preservatives added, so purely natural. I could actually taste the difference. It was more ‘earthy’ and basic, yet light and fresh. It displayed vibrant fresh red fruit with aromas of cranberries, forest floor (just the inference you understand – I don’t think anyone has ever tasted the forest floor . . .) and black pepper. Nuances of cedary oak and vanilla accompanied a juicy tannin structure that delivered a well-rounded finish.
Even more so, we need to be increasing our fluid intake. Never being one who needs reminding – this week’s show featured a rather cheeky Old School Syrah from False Bay, W O Coastal region of South Africa. Not a jam soup with toasted oak chips added for mocha flavour, it was fermented ‘old school’ style with wild yeast and raised in large wooden casks (foudre). Elegant and deep, fragrant and juicy. 14.5%.
In fact, we imbibed in 2 bottles in our sensible quest to remain hydrated. The second bottle I selected from Co Op, primarily due to its pretty label – they say never judge a wine by its label but this ‘Chalkduster’ turned out to be really nicely fruitfully beautiful. A Californian Zinfandel, it offered aromas of jammy fruits and spice and was packed with a ripe fruit medley of dark cherries and blackberries. The vibrant diffusion of colours on the label depict the styled aroma of the wine (apparently). Magenta hues represent dark cherry, blackberry and jammy notes, the blues depict the burst of fruit and freshness and the splash of yellow showing the subtle hints of pepper and spice. . . . .
The clue is in the name – Bolgare, so from Bulgaria. A nice taste of juicy fruits, berries and spice, hint of vanilla. A rich fragrance and a warm, mellow finish. At 14% it was a deep and rich experience, loved it. From the Thracian Lowlands in Bulgaria, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Rubin is worth recommending. I don’t think we see enough Bulgarian wines in the supermarkets, so if you catch one it’s well worth trying.
Fair for Life Social and Fair Trade Certification guarantees that human rights are assured at all stages of production and that farmers and processing workers enjoy good and fair working conditions and receive a fair share. This gorgeous organic shiraz, produced by Stellar in South Africa was thoroughly enjoyed on the show, lightly spicy and round, it’d be great with stews and risottos and earthy pasta dishes. Vegan friendly to boot. Had a super rich scent which teased the flavours to come, fruit and bramble, juicy berries.
We tried out this really super blend of 70% Bobal, 20% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon ‘0rganico Toro Loco (Crazy Bull) Superior’ 2018 from Aldi. £4.99, fresh and juicy, could really taste the raspberries from the Utiel-Requena region of Spain. 12.5% so pretty light and fresh. Would be good with roasted vegetables and other Mediterranean style foods, tapas, olives etc. A word or 2 about organic wine - Organic wine is wine made from grapes grown in accordance with principles of organic farming, which typically excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. In simplest terms, organic winemakers are focused on a purer process — less exposure to chemicals, and wines labelled as Organic can have no added sulphites. Less of a headache if one drinks a little too much perhaps?
Very nice indeed - Old Vine Garnacha, Campo de Borja. First sip was rather nice and improved from there. At 14% and the super Grenache grape – this smoky, deep berry red was a juicy delight from the start. The 40-year-old vines nestle in the shadow of the Moncayo Mountain, Northern Spain and produce a really wonderful experience. This at only £5 from local Co Op store, vegetarian and vegan apparently – that’s got to be good news too. Would serve with a traditional and well-loved tray bake perhaps or maybe a lamb tagine with a little rosemary?
How wonderful! Beatrice and Peter in Switzerland gifted us a bottle of Swiss White Wine. Nice and chilled from the ice box, it was really quite delightful. Hints of citrus, slightly floral scented with a peach/apricot finish while remaining medium dry and mellow. Would definitely have this again, best served with a nice coq au vin and some tasty cheese. Aigle les Murailles, 13.2% - grape = Chasselas. Super.
The first Best Smooth Jazz Show of 2020 was exciting not just because it was a new year and a brand new decade but because we were able to review a really nice Chianti . . . . in a retro basket no less. Rod received this as a gift for Christmas and, as a listener pointed out – no doubt it will be featured on a future BSJ TV show with a candle in it. It was fairly dry (as a good Chianti should be) but was forthright and spiky on the tongue – couldn’t have drunk too much of it as it should have been paired with some ripe cheese or a nice antipasti to enhance the flavour and truly appreciate its appeal. Italy is world renowned for its Chianti and this Cassatta Barrettini 2017 at 12% was a good example. Sainsburys £7.99.
Second up on the show was the inimitable ‘Underworld Blend 3’ 2018 which I was very much looking forward to tasting. South African, West Cape, from our local wine merchant – and generously gifted by Elle – it came recommended and as I love a good blend, it was therefore high up on my expectations. The grapes were Grenache noir / Durif / Carignon and Mourvèdre – a combination which should have been luscious, however I probably didn’t serve at the correct temperature because it lacked interest and although had some deep red berry fruitiness, proved to be dull and uninspiring. Note to self, make sure that red wine is warmer than room temperature – difficult to achieve sometimes in the winter (from kitchen pantry or the wine cellar) cost £12.99, 13.5%.
The best wines tasted so far this Christmas have been the amazing Gruet, a sparkling Champagne from local wine merchants - priced at £27.95
The really rather special Vinca Verrene - a chocolaty offering from Italia, super smooth, like a touch of velvet on the tongue, a hint of spice and a deep finish.
A cheeky treat was The Coffee House Pinotage, also from the local wine merchants. Smoky and deep, a whisper of coffee – a tiny hint of dark chocolate but not overpowering, ensuring a delicious taste right down to the final mouthful. 2017, Wellington South Africa. choices, choices. . . .