15th December 2014
Sainsbury's Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Drinker Rating 91

There's a celebration this week as my favourite niece is turning 18, and one of the great thinbgs about this is that she can now buy Uncle Pete a pint. But better still she works for the good folk at Sainsbury's so she can now use her staff discount to buy Uncle Pete a bottle of his favourite supermarket Champagne.

I've loved this wine for a couple of years now, it's ripe and full and complex. Beautifully made and priced really well.

Happy birthday lovely Sarah!


8th December 2014
Les Pionniers Vintage Chamopagne 2004
The Co-operative £24.99
Drinker Rating 91

So it's party time and when we have a celebration we love a drop of fizz. So what better than 'World Champion Supermarket Vintage Champagne'? Well possibly'World Champion Greatest Value Champagne'? Or even 'World Champion Vintage Brut Blend'?

Luckily you can have all three in this fab drop from the Co-op. Yes this is a triple award winner in 2014 and rightly so, fresh green apple, hint of peach, soft in the mouth with great depth.
And you get your Divvy too! Good old Co-op.


1st December 2014
John Lemon
Very limited availability £probably not a lot
Drinker Rating 90

Bit of an odd one and more a cry for help than a recommendation. I had this brilliant rhubarb flavoured soft drink in Poland last summer, refreshing and not too sweet and a real livener for non-alcos or kids with interesting tastes.

The problem is it seems totally unavailable in the UK. There does seem to be an Irish distributor and a few outlets in London appear to sell it occasionally but I can't find it anywhere and it's bloody brilliant.

Please get in touch if you know where I can get it.


24th November 2014
Innis and Gunn Canadian Cherrywood
ALDI £1.49
Drinker Rating 91

So this is the first in my little selection of Christmas gifts. This is a little cracker just right for Dad, not only is it a lovley beer but it also comes in its own pretty box making it look classy (and easy to wrap).

Made by the fine folk of Innis and Gunn who wood mature their beers this Canadian Cherrywood has a lovely toasty maple note, great body and Aldi are banging it out at a brilliant price.


17th November 2014
Castella della Paneretta Chianti Classico Riserva
Marks and Spencer £13.99
Drinker Rating 92

It's not often that I grade a wine in the 90s but this is a belter - and I'm not a big fan of Chianti.

It's a full on wine, herbal and fruity, beautiful warm and inviting with lovely rounded tannins. My notes included words like incense, redcurrant, leather, aniseed, cherry and mocha. I know it's a good 'un when it sends me into raptures like this and I write a lot of wino guff - but take my word, this is world class stuff and a bargain at the price


10th November 2014
Taste the Difference South African Pinotage
Sainsbury's £6.00
Drinker Rating 86

The reputation of South African wine, their trademark variety, pinotage and the brand Fairtrade has shot up in recent years.

Gone are the days of overcooked rubberised reds, belligerent and sour. Here are bright well made and well chosen wines, like this little beauty, all blackcurrant and pencil box. Just right for this time of year, and look at the price!


5th November 2014
Finest Carmenere
Tesco £7.99
Drinker Rating 89

When it gets cold and smoky as it will this week you need a wine that matches the elements. This carmenere has oodles of ripe red cherry and redcurrant with a back note of spicy cinnamon and szechuan pepper. Fruity, intense, full of beans.

A fab wine for the price and a great wine for a bonfire night drink outdoors.


27th October 2014
Extra Special Chianti Classico Riserva
ASDA £7.50
Drinker Rating 90

Like all of the supermarkets ASDA are very careful about the wines that they brand with their own 'high end label'. They all have them, Finest, Taste the Difference, Exquisite, and ASDA's is Extra Special. They really can't be seen to be putting their name to a second rate product.

Of all the supermarkets I think ASDA's Extra Special is the most reliable range. This Chianti is such great value for such a good wine, spice and smoke support a generous black cherry backbone. Great Halloween wine.


20th October 2014
Signature White Douro
Morrisons £7.99
Drinker Rating 89

Morrisons have really upped their game in the wine department. It's been a tough time for supermarkets - poor dears, but none have had it harder than Morrisons with a rough merger and delays in getting the delivery service up and running.

But credit where it's due, the wines have improved immeasurably, they show great value and depth particularly in their 'Signature' range. They aren't overtly branded so you'll have to seek them out.

This is a lovely fresh green fruit white, hints of elderflower and grape and a great price too.


13th October 2014
Freeman's Bay Pinot Gris
Aldi £5.89
Drinker Rating 89

Hey, it's National Curry Week! Let's all get down the Raj and order a vindaloo!

Most folk, including me, will always plump for a beer with a curry, bit I think I've found a little belter in this Kiwi Pinot Gris.

It has just enough sweetness to work with spices, the sugar giving an extra bit of body and there's a good flavour of tropical fruit, melon and mango, to work well with a curry.

And what's more it's from the guys at Aldi who always manage to turn miracles for such brilliant prices.


6th October 2014
Mister Shiraz
Majestic £9.99 (£7.49 offer price)
Drinker Rating 89

A surprising number of people buy wines on the label alone and this is just silly, but we're all susceptible to a well designed label or good looking bottle. But if this was the case I'd never have tried this lovely Chilean Shiraz as I think it's got a lousy looking label - but that's just me.

As a wine it has hints of eucalyptus, bags of intense deep black fruit and a little development on the nose. Bags of wine for the money, this is Chile doing what it does best (wine not labels).


29th September 2014
Chapel Down Vintage Reserve
Waitrose Cellar £14.99
Drinker Rating 90

This is a late Drink of the Week as it appears babies don't always arrive on time. It's something to do with the Stork not wanting to work Saturdays or something.

Anyway we say a big warm welcome to my new nephew and as he is every inch the Englishman I chose some world class English fizz to wet his head.

This Chapel Down is upright and structured, lovely creamy notes, and lots of hedgerow and nettle aromas. The perfect drop to welcome Leofwin into the world.

Here's to you little'un


22nd September 2014
Finest Amontillado
Tesco £6.00
Drinker Rating 90

I will keep banging on about sherry until you're all convinced. As a category sherry is still a bit down in the dumps, sales are a bit sluggish, the Cream Sherry brigade are slowly dropping off and apart from a few 'trendies' in London it's not really picking up.

But on the plus side you can pick up these world class wines at very affordable prices. And I would categorise Tesco Finest Amontillado as world class. It has a deep nut and fig aroma, it's dry and intense. Everything a good Amontillado should be.


15th September 2014
Winemakers Selection Marlborough Chardonnay
Sainsburys £7.00
Drinker Rating 89

At a recent tasting I was giving two people told me that they NEVER drank chardonnay. 'Horrid, horrid stuff, eurgh, I think I'm going to be sick etc.' or words to that effect. My response is, saying you don't like chardonnay is a bit like saying you don't like bread. It is so versatile and comes in all forms there is bound to be one in there for you. Austere and stony, green apple, tropical, oaky.

This is a proper new world chardonnay, a good dollop of oak, but very well judged and not over powering, a good white pepper and fruity mouthful.

Go on, try an old friend who's changedfor nthe better.


8th September 2014
Mineralstein Riesling
Marks and Spencer £8.99
Drinker Rating 89

Here's another great wine that really matches autumn. Riesling is always about to be 'the next big thing', as are wines of Germany, well this is a German classic, dry but with lovely floral aromas and flavours of peach and spice.

This is a lovely wine to sit in the garden with enjoying the last of the year's sunshine. So there, a lovely review of a German wine with not a mention of the football or the Scottish referendum.

Wine of the season.


1st September 2014
Wishbone Pinot Noir
ASDA £8.48
Drinker Rating 91

Ah, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, yep, autumn is upon us and what better than a lovely red, ripe summer fruits, a hint of cedar, cigar box and forest floor. I could get all poetic about this smashing vino.

The Kiwis keep on doing this sort of thing, great pinot noir at a really fab price.

Wine of the season.


25th August 2014
Luis Felipe Edwards Selection Especial Malbec 2013
Majestic £7.49
Drinker Rating 89

So with the last Bank Holiday of the year we'll    be thinking of one last barbeque to eek the very last drops of sunshine out of the summer.

This is a little belter, good body and depth which would match grilled meats well and a lovely savoury smokiness, all bonfire and tobacco.

A brilliant drop at a great price.


11th August 2014
Montes Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
Tesco £7.49
Drinker Rating 91

Another question I get a lot is 'are big commercial wines always bland and boring?' And the answer is no. Big brand wines are always always well made, they might be a bit dull, over sweet, over alcoholic, but they are big brannds for a reason and that is consistency.

Montes is not a massive brand, but big enough to supply a few major retailers and thier Reserva Cabernet is a little belter. Firm and fruity, good interesting spice and a nice structure - and only £7.49.
Great stuff.


4th August 2014
Bellingham The Bernard Series Rousanne
Sainsbury's £10.99
Drinker Rating 90

As a wine writer the main questions I get asked are around cost and value. Is a £500 bottle of wine 100 times better than a £5 bottle? Always difficult to answer but there is often a definite step up from £ to £10 plus and please remember that cheap doesn't always mean good value.

This wine for example is not what I'd call cheap but it is great value, you get great depth and a real sense of quality winemaking in this fab little rousanne.

A lovely drop.


14th July 2014
Karl Heinz Johner Enselberg Pinot Noir
Waitrose £19.99
Drinker Rating 91

I can't let the passing of the World Cup and Germany's victories against both Brazil and Argentina go without mention.

To celebrate this magnificent achievement my Drink of the Week is a brilliant and complex wine which matches the German team. It's intense and concentrated, has great depth and elegance, good structure and dynamic fruity notes. Not cheap but very much worth every pfennig.

Good work Karl Heinz.


7th July 2014
Harry Brompton's London Ice Tea
Waitrose, Ocado, Sainsbury and others £1.90
Drinker Rating 91

I was lucky enough to meet the creator of this brilliant little refresher last week, Harry Brompton himself (real name Ian). A lovely chap full of inspirational stories of the creation of his baby a sensational 4% ice tea.

It has a real smoky, old fashioned tea flavour, not too sweet and as such it's really refreshing. It also makes a great cocktail with gin and cucumber or vodka and mint.

This is the drink of the summer.


30th June 2014
Chateau de Saye 2011
Marks and Spencer £9.99
Drinker Rating 89

The French seem to be getting there. A stuttering start with the potential for great development - the football team I mean, but the same applies to this wine.

Pepper, plum and damson dominate, good tannic structure which will mellow with another couple of years in the bottle. I'm slowly falling back in love with France, the football, the wine and the country. This is complex and capable of much more to come.


23rd June 2014
La Moneda Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2012
ASDA £4.00
Drinker Rating 89

It's the surprise package of the Chileans that gets my tip this week. Who'd have thought that the underdogs could achieve such greatness? Beating Spain and qualifying second in the group as well as producing well made, great value wines like this.

This is a light zesty sauvignon, fruity but not blousey like the Kiwis make. It's an interesting  and very well priced wine for sipping in the sunshine. Up the Chileans!


16th June 2014
Primitivo di Manduria Archidamo 2012
The Wine Society £9.50
Drinker Rating 90

So with a nod to the events of Saturday night here's a classy little Italian. Just like the little maestro Pirlo this has a bit of age about it but is still supple and bright.

Primitivo is a much neglected grape variety (it's the Italian name for Zinfandel) and doesn't get the credit it deserves. This has loads of black fruit character, a slight hint of tar and a good oaky backbone.

Let's hope that this time next week I'm not recommending a Uruguayan tannat.


9th June 2014
Revisionist Belgian Saison Beer
Tesco £1.79
Drinker Rating 91

A beer is my drink of the week just in time for the start of the World Cup. Many peoples' top tip for the world's biggest sports event are Belgium, a team of consistent under achievers with bags of talent this time round. Personally I reckon they've no chance and should stick to the brewing.

So that's why I've gone for this little cracker from the Low Countries, the Belgians have been making fantastic quality beer for centuries and this is no exception. A light and fruity saison beer with a lovely malty finish. Sadly it's only available in 291 Tesco stores so you might have to hunt about a bit to track it down.


2nd June 2014
Pied Tanque Rosé
Majestic £5.49 (offer price)
Drinker Rating 89

At a recent tasting i had to endure 28 consecutive rosés, all much of a muchness, some slightly pinker or sweeter than the others but with no real depth and all way too expensive.

This is a little beauty from Majestic which has just earned its place at the Turner house rosé of the summer. It's dry with a lovely raspberry palate and a pleasing hint of confection about it - and look at the price £5.49 - go buy six and enjoy the sun.


26th May 2014
Waitrose Australian Shiraz
Waitrose £7.49
Drinker Rating 89

In the last of my May features celebrating Aussie Wine Month here's a fantastically priced shiraz untypical of the traditional Australian style.

This is a lighter wine than you might expect for an Aussie Shiraz, but it has enough black pepper, black fruit and complexity to it. There's a good level of solid tannins giving structure and a hint of coffee, so it's an interesting wine at a great price.


19th May 2014
The Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling
Aldi £6.99
Drinker Rating 90

This is a beautifully made riesling, a lovely perfumed nose, floral and honeyed with refreshing acidity and a dry, zesty palate.

The wines of the Clare Valley in Aus continue to provide great quality and value, enjoy this sitting under a tree on a warm late spring afternoon.


12th May 2014
Taste the Difference Hunter Valley Semillion
Sainsbury's £10.00
Drinker Rating 89

Continuing the celebration of Australian Wine Month, here's a little belter from Sainsbury's. Hunter Valley is the Aussie home of semillon and it comes in a variety of styles.

This one has a pithy minerality and good fresh acidity, hints of melon and citrus on the palate, really interesting and very well priced.


5th May 2014
The Society's Exhibition Victoria Shiraz
The Wine Society £17.50
Drinker Rating 89

It turns out that May is Australian Wine Month - who knew? Well we do now and looking back it appears that I don't recommend nearly enough Aussie wines, so I've decided to dedicate my next four Drink of the Weeks to Australia reflecting their variety and value.

So to kick us off why not try this fab upper end wine from Victoria, concentrated, complex and deep, good restrained use of oak, this is a real belter. Aussie Shiraz as it should be.


28th April 2014
Winemakers' Selection White Cotes du Rhone
Sainsbury's £7.00
Drinker Rating 90

I'm fed up with reds, they seem to be coming at me fifteen at a time - that's the World Snooker Championships for you. So lots of late nights coming up to the final on Monday.

So what to drink withy all those reds, well a white of course, but a white that you might think is a red - does any of this make sense? What I'm getting at is Cotes Du Rhone produces white wine as well as red, and this is a perky little number , all white blossom and stone fruit.

Snooker loopy...


21st April 2014
Finest Awatere Pinot Grigio 2012
Tesco £7.99
Drinker Rating 88

Sadly when wines get fashionable and all the producers jump on the bandwagon the quality usually suffers. This has been the case down the years with trends in chardonnay, prosecco and sauvignon blanc. They all got popular very quickly, there was over production and then they slumped as fast as they rose.

So what to do with pinot grigio - the Bridget Jones of wines? Well if youlike a PG and want to step to the next level I suggest Pinot Gris (same grape) from Alsace or try this little belter from NZ. Fresh and lively but with more character than the run of the mill PGs out there.


14th April 2014
Vignobles Rousellet Pinot Noir
ALDI £4.49
Drinker Rating 90

So we've Easter coming up, that's the one where the Easter Bunny gives birth to a chocolate egg from which emerges a crucified baby Christ Jesus right? Never been too sure about these pagan celebrations -  but whatever happens I'm sure to get a card from my Nan.

So what to drink with your leg of lamb? Well you could do a lot worse than this little belter, lovely red fruit and good use of oak a real candidate for Spring House Red in my gaff. A beauty and just look at the price!


7th April 2014
Cowrie Bay Chardonnay
Waitrose £6.99
Drinker Rating 89

Last week I actually met someone who still says 'in terms of wine I'm an ABC', for the uninitiated ABC is Anything But Chardonnay. These are people who think they're being clever by dissing the grape which produces wines of such variety, such depth and elegance on the basis that in the 80s and 90s there was a lot of dull over oaked dishwater.

Saying you don't like chardonnay is like saying you don't like music. This is a fine example, it's got generous helpings of topical fruit, lime, nectarine and melon and it won't break the bank. A perfect summer House White.


31st March 2014
Les Estivales Ros
ASDA £6.75
Drinker Rating 88

Is it too early to crack open the rosé yet? No, not too early in the day, I mean too early in the year. It's a commonly known fact among wine retailers that rosé sales (in tandem with cider sales strangely) drop right off in the winter months and then revive every spring.

Well, to welcome in the new season, now the clocks have changed, why not try this little beauty, good forward fruit and some nice fresh acidity. Here comes the sun...


24th March 2014
Recanati Shiraz, Petite Syrah, Carignan
Marks and Spencer £9.99
Drinker Rating 92

I'm not entirely sure that I should be recommending an Israeli wine, I remember back in the 80s pouring bottles of South African wine down the sink at a party - what a po-faced little  upstart. So if you can forgive pretty shoddy human rights, the occupation of another territory and refusal to recognise a sovereign state (no worse than Britain over the years I suppose), then this could be the wine for you.

M&S seem to be actively seeking out new wine regions and this is a little belter at under a tenner, it has a good, solid fruity backbone with a spicy, cedary complexity and is an awful lot of wine for the price.


17th March 2014
The Society's Saar Riesling
The Wine Society £9.50
Drinker Rating 89

Just like last week with the amontillado I really think it's that time of year for something interesting. Something fresh and sharp, like the weather but bursting with the promise of sweetness and summer.

This is that wine, hints of tropicality, flinty minerality and a good dose of sweetness, erring toward medium. This has lovely fresh acidity to balance the sweetness and is intriguing, like an old lady's handbag.

Great value.

10th March 2014
Finest Amontillado
Tesco £6.40 50cl
Drinker Rating 90

It's that time of year, it's warm, it's cold, it's dry, it's crisp. Springtime is here and I always feel that the spring is the perfect time for a good sherry.

This is a dry amontillado but bursting with figgy nuttiness. It's deep and intense and extremely good value.

This is the wine I shall be drinking this week as I pick my winners for the next day's racing at Cheltenham. Happy Christmas everyone.


3rd March 2014
Sixpoint Brewery 'The Crisp'
Wetherspoons £2.89 per can £5 for 2
Drinker Rating 89

Apparently cans are in right now, at least in the USA, canned beer in pubs is definitely on trend. So that's why Wetherspoons is launching a range of three cool American beers from the Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn from Wed 5th March.

Having tasted all three of their new range my vote goes to The Crisp, a pilsner style beer that, as the name suggests is crisp, clean and refreshing. Sweet Action is  bitter sweet brew with hints of wheat and Bengal Tiger completes the range as a stronger citrus inspired craft beer.

Not cheap but definitely worth a try next time your in Wetherspoons.


24th February 2014
Rioja Crianza Gran Vendema 2010
Majestic £5.99 (on offer when buying 2)
Drinker Rating 89

It's all about bargains at the moment. The average price paid for a bottle of wine in the UK right now is £5.04 but you don't always get good wines at that price. I'm not one for supermarket discounts but this is a little belter that I'd happily pay top price (£9.99) for, and for the rest of February you can get it from Majestic at only £5.99.

Soft, supple and elegant, good oaky nose and a lovely savoury mouthful. Stock up now!


17th February 2014
Boschendal Jean Garde Chardonnay
Sainsbury's £6.00 (on offer)
Drinker Rating 89

Do you ever buy wine based solely on the look of the bottle? On my recent cider course I learnt that 'packaging is the product' and you'd be surprised how we all buy on look in one way or another.

So here's a well packaged product, a lovely looking bottle and a lovely little wine, green apple and flint with good deep body. Get this at only £6 currently on offer. Bargain.


10th February 2014
Dr Wagner Riesling
Waitrose £8.99
Drinker Rating 88

So it's bloody Valentine's Day again this week. This means that I as a wine writer am obliged to recommend pink fizz - it's the law. Well sod that for a game of larks,Valentine's is a con, designed for fourteen year old schoolkids.

Anyhow, nothing says I love you more than the beauteous perfume of a good riesling, this has it all, elegance, fragrance, orange blossom and a lovely dollop of sweetness. The full ticket. Love it.


27th January 2014
Busby Estate Shiraz
ASDA £4.00
Drinker Rating 89

So after a stinker of an Olympics and a couple of terrible seasons for the rugby team the Aussies have finally come good again by thumping England's men in the cricket. So to celebrate Australia Day (26th Jan if you need to know), here's a well priced little Aussie number.

James Busby is often referred to as the father of Australian wine and this little cracker is all bubblegum and cinamon, good body and at only £4 it's a bargain. Fair dinkum.


20th January 2014
Cornish Orchards Heritage Cider
Cornish Orchards Online
Drinker Rating 89

After an intense week of cider making I am now a world expert in the subject, ask me anything about dabinet, kingston black or brown snout and I will amaze and astound you with my technical knowledge.

While on the course I met two of the team responsible for the great range of ciders made by Cornish Orchards. Their Heritage Cider is my absolute fave, bright and dry with just the right amount of tannin to show complexity.

I just wish I could make stuff like this.


13th January 2014
Finest Camenere
Tesco £8.99
Drinker Rating 89

I really love this wine, full on black fruit but with a really interesting spicy backbone, it's all cinnamon and szechuan pepper. This is a real winter warmer and it's great value too.

I also have to add that for quality and affordability you still can't beat Chile.

Get in.


6th January 2014
Toro Loco Rosé
Aldi £3.69
Drinker Rating 88

Yes.I know it's not the right time of year or ros
é and that sales of the pink stuff drop right off in the winter. However it is the right time of year for a bargain and this is just the ticket.

Aldi continue to offer some really interesting wines and at great prices, this is one such and while you're in there have a look at their range of drinks. I always use their vodka and gin for sloe infusions.

Great stuff.