THE DRINKER
EAT - DRINK - BE MERRY
PAST DRINKS OF THE WEEK

2015

2014

2013 JUL TO DEC

2013 JAN TO JUN

2012 JULY TO DEC

2012 JAN TO JUNE

2011 JAN TO JUNE

2010 JULY TO DEC

2010 JAN TO JUNE

2009







DRINK OF THE WEEK
14th December 2015
Bacchus Cherry Beer (375ml)
Morrisons £2.48
Drinker Rating 92

I imagine you'll be up to your eyes in wine recommendations right now what with the big push by the supermarkets to shift some units before the holiday begins - so to buck the trend why not try a lovely flavoured beer?

This is a Belgian beauty flavoured with cherries, not too sweet and the beer element really holds sway. It's beautifully presented in a paper wrapped half Champagne bottle so would make a lovely present or little treat to kick off a party.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

30th November 2015
Sherry Trifle Irish Cream
Marks and Spencer £8.00
Drinker Rating 92

I am making no apologies for a second Irish Cream in two weeks. Come on, it's Christmas.

This is a little pearl of a drink,it contains all the elements of a sherry trifle in Irish Cream form. It has a hint of jammy fruit, vanilla custard, boudoir biscuit and of course a lovely cream sherry hit.

And look it's only £8 a bottle, perfect office party fare!

Go on! You know you want to!


DRINK OF THE WEEK

23rd November 2015
Finest Salted Caramel Cream Liqueur
Tesco £8.00 (offer price - usually £12)
Drinker Rating 92

Yes, I know, I know, it's very easy to mock drinks like this - they seem to be the reserve of young ladies crying on the stairs at a teenage party - way below the realm of connoisseurs like you. But I implore you to stop being such a snob.

This award winning cream liqueur is a cracker, wonderful creamy sweetness and a good salty tang backed up by a real hit of alcohol (it's a decent 17%). Not a session ale in any sense but a lovely treat nonetheless.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

16th November 2015
Brouilly Vieilles Vignes 2014 Jean-Claude Lapalu
Lay and Wheeler £16.26
Drinker Rating 92

It's always healthy to challenge your prejudices, for example I can't stand Beaujolais - sure, I know a good one when I taste it but I'm really not a fan - probably put off by far too much Nouveau in the 80s.

Well that, of course was until I tasted this little belter - an all together different class. It is layered and complex, red cherry giving way to tobacco, soft blueberry and cedar. It's a properly classy wine, one of the very best I've tasted this year.

So there you go - I'm so happy to say I was wrong.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

9th November 2015
Cave de Tain Hermitage 2011
Waitrose (Waitrose Cellar) £25.99
Drinker Rating 92

There are two ways to approach the supermarket 25% off wine deals, either buy lots of cheap stuff to load up your stocks for winter or get some really great stuff in for the festive period.

This is one of the really great bottles, it's deep and inky to look at, the nose is wonderfully savoury and earthy and the palate is full on black fruit. It has layers and is rich and complex, a real Christmas Eve supper wine. Remember Waitrose currently have 25% off when you buy any six bottles and that brings the price of this fab Hermitage down to £19.49 - proper bargain.

Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK

19th October 2015
Wine Atlas Carmenere 2014
ASDA £4.97
Drinker Rating 90

This is the time of year that I begin to make a shortlist of house wines for the winter. These need to be affordable, quaffable and most important interesting. Wines that I can happily have sitting on the rack ready to crack open if friends drop by or I need a drinkable drop with a Wednesday bolognese.

This is right up there on my list. Affordable - check, under a fiver, quaffable - check, good forward fruit carmenere, interesting, double check, lovely spicy peppery nose, full rich oak.

Definitely one for the list.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK

12th October 2015
Notte Rossa Primitivo di Manduria 2013
Marks and Spencer £10.00
Drinker Rating 92

This is what the season needs, something hearty and powerful. This is a lovely primitivo, bags of character, pepper and violet on the nose, something earthy and medicinal on the palate with a long, revealing finish.

This is the kind of big but complex wine that I like for this time of year, perfect with comforting dishes like bolognese or a good old lamb stew.

Top class stuff and at a great price.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

5th October 2015
Ttuly Irresistible Chablis
Co-operative £9.99
Drinker Rating 91

Happy Birthday to me! Well not to me really but this website is now six years old. My first ever Drink of the Week was The Co-op's own Chablis and tasting their newly branded Truly Irresistible Chablis at their recent tasting I was really taken with the depth and quality at such a good price.

Six years ago it was a touch over seven pounds it's now just under a tenner and is exceptional value (truth be told all of their French whites were very good indeed). This has all the hallmarks of a decent Chablis, some nice mineral notes, good crisp apple and fresh acidity.



DRINK OF THE WEEK

21st September 2015
Waitrose Californian Chardonnay
Waitrose £6.49
Drinker Rating 92

It feels like autumn has come upon us very quickly this year, no easy days of an Indian summer but simply bank, leaves off, drizzle and wind. But I'm not one of these folk who only drink red in the cold months and white in the summer, the right drink at the right time is always my philosophy.

So for those of you brave enough to endure a white in the rain I'd recommend this voluptuous, fruity, refreshing chardonnay. A lovely dollop of Californian sun to cheer up the dreary weather.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK

14th September 2015
Winemakers' Selection South African Shiraz Cabernet
Sainsburys £6.00
Drinker Rating 90

This is a real beauty, full on juicy ripe black fruit with lovely velvet tannins and more's the point my original tasting notes stated 'a miraculous price'. Yes this is an absolute bargain at only six quid and a real little warmer with a good 14.5 % alcohol.

This red is well on the way to being my autumn house red.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK

7th September 2015
Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache
Tesco £9.99 offer price to 15/09/15
Drinker Rating 90

'Season of mists and mellow friutfulness, close bosomed friend of the maturing sun...' So autumn is with us officially and what better to go with the season than a lovely savoury, smoky, spicy red. Lots of hedgerow fruit, a hint of leather, this is a real cracker of a wine and it's on offer for the next week.

Cheers

Drink of the Week 24/08/15
Hay Shed Hill -Margaret River
The Wine Society £13.50
Drinker Rating 90

Can I say 'with Christmas on the horizon' yet? I know it's still August but I start thinking about the festivities about this time, anyhow, I think there could be nothing finer for the wine lover in your life than a membership of the Wine Society. For only £40 you can buy a share in this long standing, esteemed non-profit organisation. And the non-profit bit is the key to getting brilliant wines at great prices.

One such is this beaut from Margaret River, intense casis, a hint of eucalyptus, deep and complex with the potential to age. Expensive for The Drinker but great value.



DRINK OF THE WEEK

17th August 2015
Valdepomares Blanco Rioja
Marks and Spencer £8.00
Drinker Rating 90

I've always been very sceptical about white Rioja, I'm not always convinced that red Rioja does the business. It's one of those wines that we buy or order as we think we're familiar with the style - however Rioja is made by a huge number of producers in a massive region so quality can vary greatly.

This is a little belter however, green apple, fresh grass and a lovely tropical note, good fresh acidity and lovely weight. I'd buy this.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

10th August 2015
Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling
ALDI £6.99
Drinker Rating 89

So with the massive collapse of the poor old Australian cricket team it's yet another excuse to crack open a celebratory bottle from Down Under.

Clare and Eden Valleys in Aussie are making really top notch riesling at great prices and this is a great example. Dry and fresh, steely and fruity, really interesting wine at only seven quid - I was trying to get one at £6 a bottle and then I could do a line about it being 60 for 10 - which is a badly constructed topical cricket joke. Ho hum.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

3rd August 2015
Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
Waitrose £6.49
Drinker Rating 90

It's a tough time of year for the bigger red wines, this is supposed to be the season of rose and light crisp whites. But every now and then you need a deeper, fuller wine and that time is now -wet barbecue season.

This is a belter at the price, good spicy rich black fruit and very well structured, would match barbecued - charred pork, possibly sweet and sour. Lovely stuff to be drunk with brolly in hand.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

27th June 2015
Primitivo Natale Verga 2014
Majestic £5.99 (offer price)
Drinker Rating 90

As we are now approaching either winter of the onset of the next ice age this week's drink is a lovely warming red wine from Italy.

Primitivo (known as Zinfandel in some parts of the world) is a lovely grape but not often treated with due respect. This one is medium bodied, with a palate like a spiced fruit compote, with hints of black pepper and violet.

A real beauty for a rainy and cool summer.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

20th June 2015
Cotswold Gin
Majestic (and others) £35
Drinker Rating 91

As I write the leaders of the Open Golf Championship are striding out and I always associate golf with whisky. But my hunch is that we won't have a Scottish winner this year so the Scotch is on hold. It could be an American - so a nice Bourbon, an Irishman, Aussie or South African and they all do a drop of the good stuff, but my bet is for an Englishman, Luke Donald.

Yes I know we make whisky in England but I'm recommending a gin to toast Luke's victory. Cotswold Distillery make this classy, smooth, juniper driven gin, it's a beauty.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

13th June 2015
Winemakers' Selection Limestone Coast Chardonnay
Sainsbury's £6.00
Drinker Rating 89

Well after the first test we're all feeling really sorry for the poor old Aussies. So to cheer them up how about a lovley little Chardonnay from back home? This would make a great wine for a barbie, grassy and zesty, uncomplex but really well made and a great price.

I guess after the second test I may not be feeling so charitable toward the Antipodeans so get ready for an English ale next week.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

6th June 2015
Cave de Lugny
ASDA £7.35
Drinker Rating 89

Sometimes food and drink tastes better because of memories and emotional attachments we have. For example I still yearn for the butter-scotch Angel Delight of my youth, I have it every now and then and it really takes me back to my childhood.

This wine is just the same, many years ago myself and lady-friend travelled through France and stopping off one night asked for a bottle of something local to go with dinner, the bottle was the grown up elder brother of this little gem, but this wine still has the power to take me back there. Citrus, apple and peach and the memory of youth and innocence.



DRINK OF THE WEEK

29th June 2015
Morrisons Vintage Cava
Morrisons £6.99
Drinker Rating 90

After years of terrible wine, caused in the main by over production, Cava is finally coming back into the fold and the quality is returning.

Not only quality, again due to over production the price has fallen like a stone, so you get brilliant value like this. Only £6.99 for this fab vintage Cava. It's got a lovely yeasty nose and is all red apple and peach on the palate. Oh yes, and it's an additional 25%off at Morrisons this week.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

22nd June 2015
Exquisite Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Aldi £7.99
Drinker Rating 90

Two confessions from the listof things wine writers never do. First, this is a review of a wine I bought (yes, bought) by mistake. A mistake because I really don't like New Zealand sauvignon blanc. There, I've gone and said it, it's a big weight off.

I shouldn't say I don't like a particular style, you rely on me to put personal preference aside for professional guidance on quality. Well this isn't your ordinary Kiwi sauvignon, not nearly over the top enough, instead it's nicely restrained, lovely tropical fruit and fresh acidity. Perfectly made.

I'd go as far as to say I'd buy it myself.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

15th June 2015
Innis and Gunn Original
Tesco (among others) £1.64
Drinker Rating 91

So it's Father's Day coming up and what to get the Old Man? There are some great offers out there, Majestic are doing a fab Father's Day Charity Case at £59.19 with a fiver on each purchase going to Prostate Cancer UK. It's a 6 bottle selection and there's not a single wine in it I don't like.

For those with a more modest budget you can't really beat the excellent  Innis & Gunn Original. Beer aged in whisky barrels, a wonderful buiscuity, creamy brew, and it comnes in a lovely little box so looks like a nice posh pressie.

Cheers Old Fella.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

8th June 2015
Scala dei Prior
Waitrose £19.99
Drinker Rating 91

There are still a couple of days left on the Waitrose 25% off when buying 6 offer so why not stock up and treat yourself to this little smasher?

I don't usually recommend wines at this price but believe me this is a belter. Generous, yet subtle, elegant and focused, complex floral, oak and mineral on the nose, intense, deep and long lasting. Beautiful.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

1st June 2015
Hey Malbec!
Majestic £14.99 (offer price £9.99)
Drinker Rating 90

Argentina has taken ownership of malbec, it's now the country's signature grape, and boy are they making good wines with it!

This is a little belter, aromas of tobacco and black pepper with spice and black fruit on the palate, intense but elegant. A lot of wine for the money.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

26th May 2015
Winemakers' Selection Vinho Verde
Sainsbury's £5.00
Drinker Rating 89

Vinho Verde has really had a drive in popularity in recent years and why ever not? We have a taste for lower alcohol, easy drinking whites, many have a refreshing spritz and a tiny hint of sweetness. Uncomplicated but really lovely to drink - and very well priced.

This is one such green wine, brilliantly made and cheap as chips, just right for an evening in the sun after work.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

18th May 2015
HRB Chardonnay 2014
ASDA & Majestic £17.99
Drinker Rating 90

It's International Chardonnay Day on Saturday! Who knew? Well, I did and in order to celebrate the most versatile of all grapes and the most maligned, why not try this little beauty?

It's a bit more expensive than I'd usually recommend but it's well worth it - especially as it's a Bank Holiday. It's one of the fuller bodied, tropical styles and with a good dollop of well judged oak a real pleaser.

You know 4467 bottles of Chardonnay are sold every hour, go on, make it 4468.




DRINK OF THE WEEK

11 May 2015
Seltz 1 Euro
Catania, Sicily
Drinker Rating 92

Sicily's a funny old place. I wouldn't like to own a car there for sure, the driving's a nightmare.The people are lovely, even in early May when they're all wrapped up in coats and hats - and I'm in shorts!

On the streets of Catania you get these little kiosks that sell many refreshments but their speciality is the seltz. About 1/3 pint of soda water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the juice of a lemon (they do lemons very well). Sounds a bit challenging and is at first but when you get a taste for it, as I did, it becomes the most refreshing thing you've ever tasted.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

27th April 2015
Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc £7.99
Waitrose
Drinker Rating 89

So the weather's sunny but fresh, and what better wine than this little sauvignon to reflect the sky?

This is wonderfully zesty,with a good full fruity palate, but not overdone, balanced and  easy. 

Cheers.

PLEASE NOTE NO DRINK OF THE WEEK W/C 04/05 AS IM AWAY ON HOLIDAY.



DRINK OF THE WEEK

20th April 2015
Finest Swartland Malbec £7.99
Tesco
Drinker Rating 89

Keeping with my trend of being right up to the minute I have a wine to celebrate Malbec World Day - which was back on 17th April.

This is a little belter, aniseed and spice, good fruity backbone all for under 8 quid. I don't know how Tesco do it at the price, surely at some point their bubble will burst - until then get some of this fab malbec in.

Cheers.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

13th April 2015
Signature Vintage Cider  (3 for £5)
Graham Beck Game Reserve Rosť £7.49
Morrisons
Drinker Rating 89

So it's the summer and ewhat do all of us drink more of at this time of year? That's right, cider with rosť. I can't believe no one's ever done that joke before.

A lovely couple of drinks from Morrisons who are really raising their game in terms of both quality and price. These two should be staples for home drinking in the sun.

Cheers.


DRINK OF THE WEEK
7th April 2015
Extra Special Rueda Verdejo 2012
ASDA £5.00
Drinker Rating 89

Well my hay fever has started so it's got to be very nearly summer. That leads us to lovely affordable Wednesday night whites for sipping in the garden as the sun goes down.

This is a classy little number from Asda, very affordable and really drinkable, lots of lovely fresh acidity a good palate full of green fruit, just right for this time of year.

Great sun-downer.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

23rd March 2015
Silver Ghost Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Majestic £5.99
Drinker Rating 89

The problem with sauvignon blanc is that where it's classically done in France it can sometimes be a little bit buttoned up, restrained and austere, but where it's allowed its head, in New Zealand mainly, it can be far too over the top and blousey.

So the answer comes from Chile where the grapes can ripen but benefit from some cooler weather and the wine makers aren't too showy. This wine has just the right balance of gooseberry and apple fruit with enough earthy minerality and sharp acidity to  make it a winner.

Classy.



DRINK OF THE WEEK

18th March 2015
Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut NV
Aldi £11.99
Drinker Rating 90

Quite simply the best value Champagne on the market right now. That's all. It's a very decent drop - very well priced.

If you're having a wedding later this year get a load of this in, perfect, the right amount of autolytic yeastiness, rich, deep and generous.

I am honestly blown away by this brilliant fizz.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

9th March 2015
Taste the Difference Gewertztraminer
Sainsbury's £8.00
Drinker Rating 89

I was thinking of trying to match a wine to the characteristics of my Mum what with Mothers' Day coming up. But I don't think she'd be too chuffed with some of the descriptors us wine ponces use, words such as 'full bodied', 'easy', 'cheap', 'austere' and 'over alcoholic'. I don't suppose she'd mind 'elegant', 'classy', 'well made' or even 'fruity' though.

So, treading carefully, it's a gewertztraminer, perfumed, deep, interesting and a little sweet.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

2nd March 2015
Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay
ALDI £5.99
Drinker Rating 89

We all really need to start loving chardonnay again. This is the most versatile of all the grapes and capable of making world class wines as well as good old fashioned reliable workhorses like this one.

This is from a cooler part of Australia, and as it's un-oaked it retains a really fresh, lovely floral and peachy character. It has good body and is very intense on the palate. A real pleaser at an astonishing price.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

23rd February 2015
Torre del Falco Nero di Troia
Waitrose £7.99
Drinker Rating 90

So it's a new year and nearly the spring, so it's the perfect time to try new things. Remember your first olive, first kiss or first job? Well it's time to rekindle that feeling of nervous expectation - and I'm starting with this red wine.

Nero di Troia is a new grape for me and a real revelation, this is open and fruity, earthy and sweet, floral and spice. Great stuff.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

16th February 2015
Finest Carmenere
Tesco £7.99 (2 for 12 until 17/02/15)
Drinker Rating 89

This is a full on hearty Chilean carmenere, ballsy, spicy, warming and generous, just the  right kind of wine for dreary, cold and damp winter days.

It has loads of red and black fruit character with a really pleasing herbaceous edge, I got cinamon and szechuan pepper at a recent tasting. This is the kind of wine for sitting in front of the fire and will be a match for a beefy Bolognese. 



DRINK OF THE WEEK

9th February 2015
Piper Heidseik Brut NV
The Co-operative £20 (to 24 Feb)
Drinker Rating 90

Oh bloody hell, it's poxy Valentine's coming up and I have to do pink fizz. Well no, not this year, if I absolutely must I'll do a fizz - but not because it's Valentine's but because it's a nice drop and it's on offer.

The Co-op are Ethical Drinks Retailer of the Year for the 2nd year running, so why not reward their do-goodery by getting some of this solid, big label Champers at only £20 a pop. Brioche with a hint of citrus, a properly made mid range fizz to fall in love with.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

2nd February 2015
La Bodegas de los Altos Malbec
Morrisons £4.99
Drinker Rating 90

The snow is falling as I write this so I need to snuggle up in front of the fire with a big, hearty, generous glass of red.

New World Malbec has been dominated by the Argentinians and true to form this is a real belter. Oak, spice, wood smoke and tobacco make this a real winter comforter.

A dose of much needed sunshine in a glass.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

26th January 2015
Leopards Leap Shiraz Viognier
ASDA £7.98
Drinker Rating 90

So it's snow-mageddon on the Eastern Seaboard and with the cold to take a firm grip of the UK from Wednesday it's time for a real winter warmer.

What we're after is a full bodied red, bags of spice and good alcohol hit. This little number from South Africa is just the ticket, liquorice and clove, red currant and a big ballsy full body.

Bring on the cold.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

19th January 2015
Arbelour 10 Year Old Malt Whisky
Co-op £21 (on offer to 3rd Feb)
Drinker Rating 90

I do love Burns Night, at last a chance to crack open a bottle of good after another failed attempt at January abstinence.

I love Arbelour, the whiskies of Speyside are right up my street. This expression is all sweet spice, fruitcake and nuts - not the best whisky in the world but a right belter at only £21 (normally £32.99 at the Co-op).

Och aye the booze!


DRINK OF THE WEEK

12th January 2015
Edna Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Majestic £8.66 (when buying 2)
Drinker Rating 90

Good Californian pinot noir is rarely cheap but I think I've found a beauty here and at a very reasonable price.

This wine is all tobacco and smoke with a solid summer fruit backbone. It is complex, full and elegant and just right for this time of year with a whopping 14.5% alcohol for added warmth.

On offer until 2nd Feb.


DRINK OF THE WEEK

5th January 2015
Angostura 1919 Premium Rum
Waitrose £26.00
Drinker Rating 91

When your birthday is in January, as mine is,it's kind of impossible to give up the booze for the month. Instead why not opt for February, it's shorter after all?

So why not crack open the rum, I think dark rum suits winter and this is a little belter from Trinidad and Tobago. It's all warm and complex spices, full on vanilla and oak, just right for the dark nights.