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

Birthday Cat

25th July 2020


My birthday this week and received so many great messages in the chatroom, thankyou. Celebrated with a rather purrfect Chat-eu-Oeuf, pronounced ‘Sha noof’ – which translates to ‘Cat in an Egg’. Frenchly delicious with a fragrant nose, ruby red velvet tannins and a terrific lees at the base (so it must be good?) At 14 % it was every inch the best wine to enjoy with Jambalaya, Cajun sausages or even Angie’s homemade burgers, heavy on the chilli flakes. This luscious red is made up of old vine Grenache and Syrah (AKA Shiraz) making it a truly mouth filling wine with rich, juicy and berry fruit flavours plus a subtle twist of spice and toffee at the end. Available from Amazon, Waitrose, other wine merchants, however not currently Aldi. Lapped it up, cat like. Purrrr.

Unexpected Treats for Father’s Day

20th June 2020


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.......

Then of course we felt obliged to try the French Jean Bon Merlot Pays D’OC 2018 – just as good. Nothing plain about this Merlot. At 13.5% it was deep and warm, fruity, fresh and clean - not a sour grape amongst us. In the chatroom during the show we discussed grits, shrimp, salmon dishes and what we planned for Father’s Day Dinner – Al’s usual suggestions were incredible, The Rev was cooking a special dinner and as always Paulette’s sweet and saucy desserts got our taste buds abounding – inspiring times. (Oh, yes and some great smooth Jazzy tunes – don’t forget those.)

Birthday Carignan

6th June 2020


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).

This Chilean Valle Central from Aldi at £4.99 is reminiscent of mulberry and blackberry, fruity and dry while still maintaining a soft mellow finish. 13.5%, so medium to deep – offering up a tasty splash of sunshine on the palate. Highly recommended. We enjoyed a homemade basil potato salad and pizza wedges with it but would be also so good with Felicity’s Charcuterie, Al’s seasoned lamb chops or indeed Paulette’s raisin cookies and cinnamon apple tart as dessert.

Classy Claret

23rd May 2020


Thought we’d bring a little class to our show so enjoyed a really good Claret from Bordeaux – Aldi’s at £4.99. 13.5% so well deep, yet mellow and so smooooth despite being really dry. Hints of hedgerow, blackberry and sharp dark fruit. Excellent, pair with cheeses, ripe stilton, a nice camembert or a good old-fashioned hard cheddar. Failing that perhaps Cumberland and Lincolnshire sausages with red wine gravy. Tantalising. Here it is nestling in a BSJ Quilt - curtesy of Quilter Sally, a regular listener – snuggled and secure.

Chapter & Verse

9th May 2020


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.

Wine of Australia

2nd May 2020


A tasty blend is always a good idea and this Australian Banrock Station Reserve 2019 didn’t disappoint. Full of deep dark fruits, blackberry, blackcurrant, plum and sweet cherry, this soft combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz had just the right hint of spice yet was also silky and delicate. At 14% it offered an understated temperate elegance that would be great paired with lamb or beef dishes, a ratatouille or a perhaps a rich bowl of pasta – heavy on the tomatoes. £4.99 from Aldi, so as ever a good price for a great wine. The Riverland vineyards and defended wetlands reflect their passion for good wine and remain dedicated in protecting the environment. Good earth, fine wine, that’s what you get.

Easter Parade

11th April 2020


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.

So, moved swiftly onto Malbec N0. 2. Grapevine’s offering from Aldi at £3.79. I wondered in last show’s scribing whether Grapevine would launch a Malbec or a Pinot Noir within their range. They must have read it because, there upon my supermarket shelf (after considerable time queueing 2 metres apart in the carpark prior to entering the store) was this Malbec from Argentina. Mellow and dry but full bodied and juicy, hints of bramble and also a touch earthy. Liked it very much. Of the 3 though, (Grapevine’s Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Malbec) the Shiraz remains my favourite. Hoppy Easter, stay safe.

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!