Angie's

Best Smooth Wines

‘Best Smooth Wines’ is a popular part of the BSJ show. Angie joins Rod to talk about the new red, rose and white wines from around the world, tasting them ‘live’ on the show. Good bad or indifferent – Angie reviews them all.

‘I’m always honest about the wines we taste – if it’s not enjoyable, we’ll switch to another bottle – life’s too short for bad wine. Luckily I get to review some super wines and I love to share my thoughts on them with you’

Best Smooth Wines

As featured on Best Smooth Jazz

Rainbow Tulips and a new Grapevine

28th March 2020


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 ....

Just to remind, Grapevine range is Spanish, medium bodied, well priced, but a good experience every single time at £3.59. Super drinking. On your own (if you have to) With close family – in the same household. Or, when things settle down, sharing with friends – if you have any wine left by then.

Springtime Wine preserved by nature

21st March 2020


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.

Earth’s Essence is naturally preserved using a patented South African wine making process, meaning that no sulphur or synthetic preservatives were added, keeping it as natural as possible (presumably meaning it won’t last too long so drink up, don’t worry – we did) £4.99 in Aldi. 14%.

Keeping up the fluids and staying healthy

14th March 2020


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 it’s pretty label – they say never judge a wine by it’s 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. . . . .

Both wines to be enjoyed with something deep and spicy – good job I’d earlier made a rather large pan of Mexican Bean soup – perfect.

European Wines

29th February 2020


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.

After encouragement (we don’t need too much) to open another bottle of wine, I uncorked a great Spanish offering simply labelled 100% Syrah Roble. At 13.5 % it was gentler and lighter than the previous wine. Cherry vibes and good hit of spring flowers, I served it pretty cool but that didn’t hinder the enjoyment one bit and in fact, I feel it enhanced the flavours. A wine I would drink again. Would be wonderful alongside seared tuna steak, other seafoods or a light Mediterranean supper of various tapas.

Fair Trade & South Africa

22nd February 2020


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.

Also, from ‘The Elle Wine Cellar’ that is our local wine merchants (Thanks Elle for the vouchers) - Primordial Soup, a rich and bloody bouillabaisse of the Western Cape’s classical cultivars, packed with juicy life, red in tooth and claw. It’s The Natural Selection. This one had ‘no nose’ to speak of, no fragrance but despite this, oh so tasty, light and fresh, scintillating and sumptuous. I personally preferred this wine to the Stellar.

What about Organic?

8th February 2020


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?

A very exciting discovery. Aldi’s Grapevine Merlot is - at only £3.59 a bottle - one of the best budget, yet gorgeous tasting wines around at the moment so imagine how pleased I was to discover a Grapevine Shiraz in the wine aisle! Love Shiraz anyway so unsurprised to experience another knockout wine - well done Aldi and Thank you.

Couple of Classics from Co-op

1st February 2020


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?

Also enjoyed on the show was this fine Vina Gala (£5.50 from Co Op) A good example of a great Spanish Temparanillo from Villamalea (Albacete) packed full of soft berry flavours (not vegetarian as includes gelatine for clearing . . . .) I actually preferred this wine to the first as I do appreciate Tempranillo, not often you get a bad one. 13.5%, so also deep and well rounded, remained dry but with a super nose (smelled terrific on opening and beyond)

Smooth Swiss Wine

18th January 2020


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.

Second on board: Aimone D’Italia, from my old favourite wine cellar – Aldi. Just £4.99, it’s pretty full bodied, warming and mellow, dash of vanilla spice, a tad of fruity red berriness yet staying delicate. Would imagine this with something deep and beefy, maybe an Italian Bolognese – of course.

New Year, New Wine

4th January 2020


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%.

So, our third tasting of the day – Andes Peaks 2018, Carmenere from Chile’s Valle Central at 13.5%. Now this was the best of the bunch, loved it, interestingly still at temperature of the previous wines (not chilled obviously) tasted zesty yet plummy, just what you fancy this time of the year. It was succulent with rich tones of violet on the tongue – a mouthwash of delight. Best enjoyed with roast or grilled meats and perhaps some more of that delicious ripe cheese. £9.99 from local wine merchants but also available at most supermarkets, I have seen it in Sainsburys and Waitrose.

Wines at Christmas

14th December 2019


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. . . .

Merry Christmas!