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 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. . . . .
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. . . .