THE DRINKER
EAT - DRINK - BE MERRY




PAST DRINKS OF THE WEEK

2017

2016

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
3rd December 2018
Duvel Degustation Box
Amazon, Beer Hawk, The Belgian Beer Co. £12.99
Drinker Rating 91

It's December so I'll be featuring a few gift ideas in the next couple of weeks.

This is a perfect pressie for any awkward uncle, difficult dad or bothersome brother - or if you're feeling extremely generous it'd make a splendid Secret Santa for Kevin in Accounts.

Duvel are the masters of Belgian beer and this pack provides a cance to taste their classic Speciaalbier and their more modern and dare I say trendy Tripel Hop. These are very classy beers but be careful they are deceptively strong at 9.5% and 8.5% respectively.

They both come in 330ml bottles packaged up with a very stylish Duvel branded galss. Whoever you're buying it for they won't be able to get them in the fridge fast enough on Christmas morning.


DRINK OF THE WEEK
26th November 2018
Valpolicella Ripasso Classico
Lidl £8.49
Drinker Rating 91

At this time of year, all grey and rainy, we need a good hearty, full bodied red. Ripasso wines are made with a proportion of dried grapes and this helps add depth, body and a little ripe fruit sweetness

This is a cracker of a wine that really fits the bill right now. Bold black fruit tannins, black cherry, black currant and stewed plum notes to the fore. The tannins are soft and integrated, it's a big bold wine full on and generous.

Proper winter warmer.

Cheers.



DRINK OF THE WEEK
19th November 2018
Cotswold Single Malt
Waitrose (and others) £45.00
Drinker Rating 94

Whisky is really beginning to stretch its legs across Britain now and it's not soley the gift of the Scots and Irish. There are some fantastic producers and for my recommendation it was a toss up between this and the fantastic Adnams Single Malt.

This wonderful thing is the dreation of the Cotswolds Distillery and has only been on the market a year or so. It's a bountiful 46% but has masses of fruit notes, peach and apricot along with some wonderful marzipan nuttiness. The reason for its complexity is pot distillation followed by time in ex-bourbon casks and then ex-red wine barrels.

Super super stuff.

Cheers.


DRINK OF THE WEEK
12th November 2018
Makaraka Sauvignon BLanc
Aldi £5.29
Drinker Rating 90

Overwhelmingly, among accomplished wine drinkers in the UK, sauvignon blanc is the favoured white grape. Particulalry if it comes from New Zealand.The Kiwi's have been making this stuff in their own style for decades and it's really caught on.

Possibly it's a fovourite because, unlike many European whites, it actually tastes of something, usually it's bursting with tropical flavours, gooseberry, lychee, mango and the like, rather that the light dry neutral whites of say Italy.

This wine is a cracker at the price as New Zealand wines are generally on the steep side. Dry, full and zesty - it's just a pity that their rugby team does so well over here too!

Cheers


DRINK OF THE WEEK
5th November 2018
Burra Brook Merlot
Marks and Spencer £7.00
Drinker Rating 89

Sometimes we just want a simple, easy drinking wine for a rainy night in. It is possible that this uncomplicated little number is also versatile enough to make a great party wine too and this is the case here.

M&S stock three Burra Brook wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Shiraz and this, the Merlot. This is a very solid example of new world Merlot, bags of ripe black fruit and some lovely peppery backnotes supported by bold but not intrusive tannins.

Smashing autumnal easy drinking at a great price.


Cheers.

DRINK OF THE WEEK
29th October 2018
De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Shiraz
ASDA £7.50
Drinker Rating 91

Now that Haloween and Bonfire Night are such big players in the party calendar it makes sense for me to recommend a wine to perfectly match the season.

As the name suggests this shiraz runs deep with wood-smoke, pleasing charcoal and oaky character. This smoky element marries really well with the ripe autumnal fruit palate, all damson, sloe and blackberry.

It makes a perfect accompaniment for outdoor fun, the 14.5% alcohol will warm you and the wine compliment the bonfire and burnt sausages.


Cheers.




DRINK OF THE WEEK
22nd October 2018
Wiaru Cove Pinot Grigio
Tesco £7.00
Drinker Rating 90

There's a lot of very average pinot grigio about right now - this is what happens when a grape variety becomes fashionable, in an attempt to cash in far too much is produced and the quality suffers.

This however is a belter of a wine, delicious white stone fruit aromas and a lovely subtle note of pear and apricot on the palate. It's very well priced for a New Zealand wine and with an additional 25% off if you buy 6 or more that brings the price down to £5.25 it would make a very solid house white for autumn.

Cheers.



DRINK OF THE WEEK
15th October 2018
Chateau Jouanin Castillion 2014
Co-op £9.00
Drinker Rating 91

There's a lot of quite ropey Bordeaux out there - I have a feeling that it's a bit like the Emperor's New Clothes and no one dare call them out. (there is a bit of an unwritten wine writer's rule that we simply don't write about the poor wines).

Bit this Bordeaux is a cracker, you'll see it's got a bit of age to it and that shows in its lovely brick red colour and earthy nose. There's still a decent amount of spicy blackberry on the palate and some maturing tannins which give structure but don't dominate. At nine quid this is a lovely Sunday roast wine - Sante!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
8th October 2018
Corbello Cataratto Chardonnay
Waitrose currently on offer £5.99
Drinker Rating 90

Sometimes you need a lower alcohol wine to enjoy without knocking your head off. This is just the ticket, at only 11.5% it's really well balanced with a decent amount of acidity to match the generous pear and peach character.

Sicily is now the largest producing region of Italy, which in itself is the largest wine producer in the world - but here with the quantity also comes quality. Look for Inzolia, Cataratto for Sicilian whites and Nero D'Avola in red. A wonderful island with so many great wines.




DRINK OF THE WEEK
1st October 2018
The Best Vintage Cava Brut
Morrisons £8.25
Drinker Rating 91

I bet you've not had a glass of Cava for at least a couple of years. I bet you really got into it before the Prosecco Revolution, but soon found it too harsh and acidic - despite rock bottom prices.

So everyone went off to simpler, easier Prosecco and in fairness why not? For a while there was far too much Cava on the market and the quality sank - but the good news is it's back!

This typifies the style, complex yeasty aromas, red apple and a touch of white peach on the palate. As dry as you like but with a good fruity palate to provide balance. This is a little treat and time to fall back in love with this fab Spanish fizz.


Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
24th September 2018
Morgon - Chateau de Pizay
Majestic £9.99 mix 6 price
Drinker Rating 91

So it's mists and mellow fruitfulness you're after as we cross the Autumnal equinox? If so this is the wine for you a wine that shows the classier end of Beaujolais.

It's got lovely ripe cherry and raspberry fruit along with some really beautiful savoury notes, forest floor and new leather. Supporting this are some delicate but firm tannins providing enough structure but without being over bearing.

This is a little on the expensive side for a Drinker wine but hey, it's payday coming and you deserve a treat.



DRINK OF THE WEEK
17th September 2018
Contralto Chianti
Sainsbury's £5.75
Drinker Rating 90

So the weather and the light seem distinctly autumnal now and we switch form fresh and zesty to warming and savoury wines.

I've really taken to Chianti in recent years, I think the general standard has improved no end and the prices are extremely competitive.

This is an absolute bargain from Sainsbury's,  it's fruit driven, bags of blackberry and ripe black cherry a hint of warming pepper spice and some nice toasty oak. Mists and mellow fruitfulness in a glass.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
10th September 2018
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
Co-op £5.99
Drinker Rating 90

I got this note from the Co-op's website that Verdicchio is "the wine lover's alternative to pinot grigio". That's spot on for this wine, a good fresh, zesty Italian white but it's a cut above bog-standard PG.

This one has a lively open pear and peach palate, fresh and limey, in fact a lot of wine for the money.

Great value wine for those wanting to take a step up from pinot grigio..


Cheers

DRINK OF THE WEEK
3rd September 2018
Orange Natural Wine
Aldi £5.99
Drinker Rating 90


Well every other bugger is recommending this wine so why shouldn't I jump on the bandwagon?

This is an Orange wine, which I'm sure you know has nothing to do with oranges, it's made from white grapes and the juice gets a bit longer contact with the skins in pressing giving the wine an orange appearance.

It's also a 'natural' wine, which for me is a bit of anathema. Natural wines are made with minimum preservativers and additives - particularly sulphur dioxide, so in my experience you often have to hold your nose to drink them as they can have a horrible off cider note.

Happily this wine is perfect, drink it soon mind you - it's dry with a lovely confected peach palate and happily a lovely orange blossom nose.

Decent wine but more than that hats off to Aldi for putting out such an interesting style.


Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
27th August 2018
The Hedonist Shiraz
Waitrose £14.49
Drinker Rating 91


Yes, I know it's a bit steep but Waitrose have got 25% off when you buy 6 right now so go stock up on some easier priced wines such as:

Moncaro Verdicchio Classico £5.99
Cuvee Pecheur £5.49
Montgravet Cinsault Rose £5.99
Sous le Soleil du Midi Merlot £5.99
Valle de Viento Old Vine Carrignan £6.49

Then treat yourself to this little beauty and the whole lot will cost you less than £33.50.

The hedonist is all you'd expect from the name, big, silky, oaky, juicy Aussie shiraz. Beautiful even at full price.


Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
20th August 2018
Whitely Neil Dry Gin
Widely available around £26
Drinker Rating 92


The last Bank Holiday until Christmas. It's a long old schlep from now to December so how best to make the most of the August Bank Hol? Well getting yourself started off early with a G&T is my advice.

The problem with gin right now is there are far too many of them, they're all turned up to eleven on the aromatics and the quality is variable.

I like a good strong gin, big on juniper but with some flavour components to keep me interested and not dominate - I like Schweppes tonic, it tends to complement not fight with the gin and I like lemon and not lime - OLD SKOOL!

Whitely Neil has been around long enough for us to trust it and it ticks all my boxes, good on the juniper and a lovely floral note - apparently that's the Baobab fruit. The only gripe I have with it is that the opaque bottle prevents you from seeing how much is left!

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
13th August 2018
Vanita Grillo
Co-op £6.99
Drinker Rating 89


Sicilian wine is all the go right now. Some lovely mineral driven reds from Etna, ballsy Nero D'Avola from all over the island and for whites they've made Grillo their very own.

Grillo is a grape that can deal with very high temperatures and still produce wines with fresh acidity - it's the main variety used in Marsala.

This wine is vibrant and crisp, it has a nose of light peach and a palate dominated by white stone fruit, peach, apricot and pear dominate. Fresh and lively, it's an easy and uncomplicated drinking wine.

Hopefully the next big trend in Sicilian wine will see us all reaching for the Marsala as a drink rather than an ingredient.

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
6th August 2018
Scheurebe Riesling
Lidl £4.99
Drinker Rating 89

Yesterday I was at the Great British Beer Festival and I sampled a beer at a whopping 12% alcohol. Today I'm recommending a wine at 11.5%.

The beer was Greene King's 5X a massive brew made to be blended into their other beers and very rarely available. The wine, like the beer is bold, flavoursome and has a hint of sweetness about it.

This is a wonderful German wine, perfect for sipping under a tree hiding from the sun. It's a  blend riesling which most of us are familiar with and scheurebe, which is a hybrid grape gaining popularity in Gwemany and Austria.

Both are aromatic and this wine has elements of peach, orange blossom and white flowers. It also carries a little sweetness which sadly is not to everyone's taste but is perfect with lightly spiced Asian dishes or just on its own. At only £4.99 it's real value for money too.

Cheers!





DRINK OF THE WEEK
30th July 2018
Bellemente Pinot Grigio Blush
Morrisons £4.75
Drinker Rating 89

OK so last year I had a big shout about how you should never really pay more than seven quid for a bottle of rosé. As far as I can see the rules of the game have not changed this year and to prove it here's a super little pink wine for under a fiver - yes - UNDER A FIVER!

This Moldovan wine is light, dry and fairly simple, but it has enough about it to catch your attention. The nose is simple red berry with cranberry freshness on the palate. Rosé  as it should be.

If you feel you need to pay a little more in Morrisons you could try Workshop Bench Blend from Australia at £5.75 or if you really want to splash out go for Vitis Nostra Pinot Noir Rosé and Italian pink that'll knock your socks off for a massive £7!

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
25th July 2018
Finest Saint Chinian
Tesco £7.50
Drinker Rating 91

With BBQ season in full swing we'll need a good honest red, well priced, unpretentious and easy drinking but robust enough to cope with heat, charred meat and smoke.

There's a wonderful herbal spiciness about many of the wines of Saint Chinian and this Finest from Tesco typifies this style. It has a sold fruity backbone of bramble and blackcurrant with a rosemary and woodsmoke nose - perfect for grilled meats on the barbie.

Looking at the quality and style of this little belter it comes it an amazing £7.50 however this is on offer (if delivered) at only £5.20!

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
16th July 2018
Blood Orange Wheat Beer
Marks and Spencer £2.00
Drinker Rating 91

I approached this beer with trepidation thinking it was going to be all bitter citrus peel and new world hops - however I was really surprised! This is a little beauty, part of a really well packaged range of beers and ciders in cans by M&S.

You don't get a lot of obvious orange on the nose but you do get a lovely spicy white pepper note, for a canned beer there's good body and the palate is all malt with a lovely marmalade finish.

Made by Adnams this was always going to be a solid brew and it's on a 4 for the price of 3 offer right now so get some in!

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
9th July 2018
Parcel Series English Fizz
Majestic £22.48 mix 6 price
Drinker Rating 91


It's not such a surprise that the English are producing good sparkling wine, we've all known as much for over 15 years - what is a surprise is that England is producing such good football. So yes, I know I'm tempting fate by recommending a brilliant English wine to celebrate what could be a remarkable week for English football.

This Parcel Series English Fizz has way too frivolous a name for such an amazing wine. It runs deep with green apple and brioche, it is elegant and persistent.

A real English beauty and love's got the world in motion.

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
25th June 2018
Wine Atlas Negroamaro
Asda £5.68
Drinker Rating 890


We're fully in the swing of a barbecue summer and what we need are wines full on and brutish enough to cope with char-grilled, spiced meats.

Negroamaro doesn't get enough coverage as it often produces big, powerful wines that are surprisingly supple rather than objectionably rustic.

This is a fantastic example from the deep south of Italy where it gets really hot. This is packed with flavour, intense plum and concentrated damson with some lovely liquorice spice.

It's a big mouthful and great value for money. Go on, fire up the barbie!


Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
18th June 2018
Les Richoises Rosé
Morrisons £5.00
Drinker Rating 89


I know we all need a bargain in the mid/end of month period, when pay day seems a bit too far away to splash out on a wine. So how about a cracking little ros
é to help us see the solstice in?

This is French, well priced and perfectly acceptable. It's hard to find world changing rosé at any price so why not settle for perfectly decent and very affordable?

Morrisons keep on going from strength to strength with their wines and it's bottles like this that typify their range.

Oh, it's dry and raspberry scented.




DRINK OF THE WEEK
11th June 2018
Lebegés Grüner Veltliner
Aldi £4.99
Drinker Rating 89


At the Aldi press tasting back in March I wrote some good notes about this wine, fresh as a daisy, soft white pepper and citrus notes etc. What I also wrote was 'ooh, Grüner Veltliner that's deeply unfashionable'.

I then went on to taste a huge number of Grüner Veltliners at all of the orther press tastings in the spring. So what do I know about fashion, they're all doing it right now and I'm the last to cotton on.

Of all the supermarket Grüners out there this is by far the msot affordable and is such great value probably because it comes from Hungary rather than its homeland Austria.

Lovely light white, perfect for a summer's day.


Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
4th June 2018
Taste The Difference Bordeaux Rose
Sainsbury's £7.50
Drinker Rating 89


You're bound to see this wine in the news, it's the talk of the town! The calim is that this wine has less sugar than brocoli. A litre of this rose contains 0.2grams of sugar whereas a cup of brocoli contains 1.5 grams.

Have you ever heard such a load of misleading marketing bollocks in all your life? Naturally, as is the way in these things, it's a lot more complicated than that.

Either way this rose has been on my list of recommendations from Sainsbury's for some time as it's a lovely rose petal scented drop, dry (obviously) but well balanced and refreshing. Great price too.

Sugar my arse!

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
28th May 2018
Voyages au Sud Vermentino
Waitrose (67 stores and Waitrose Cellar)
£6.49
Drinker Rating 89


This wine is a bit limited in distribution - only 67 Waitrose stores but is available through Waitrose Cellar (click the link above).

This is a new wine for Waitrose and is a great example of how they of things differently in the Languedoc. There's a rebellious streak about htis lovely little part of Southern France, they grow odd grapes and make wines their way.

This classic Italian white grape grows well here and this wine shows craft and care in the growing and producing. It is vibrant and fresh, lots of green fruit notes and a touch of peach lifts it above its pay grade. A perfect summer wine - if you can get hold of it!

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
21st May 2018
Taste the Difference Bordeaux Rosé
Sainsbury's £6.50 (on offer)
Drinker Rating 90


The rosé revolution continues, in the old days a decent amount was sold in the summer but volumes have ballooned in recent years and show no signs of stopping - even sales in winter are growing.

Bordeaux has been producing decent pink for aeons and this is a belter - particulary when looking at the current offer price.

This is all it should be, straightforward but with a lovely hint of rose petal on the nose, in the mouth it's bursting with fresh cranberry acidity and vibrant raspberry - this is a cracker for your Bank Holiday BBQ.

Cheers
!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
14th May 2018
Tapada de Villar Vinho Verde
Majestic £9.00
Drinker Rating 90


Riding on the back of National Eat What You Like Day it's now National Vegetarian Week and to bring it in a really wonderful seasonal wine.

Many wines are made using animal - particularly fish products generally used in the clarification process. There are plenty of really good vegetarian alternatives and I wonder why all wines aren't made this way -  and this wine is in fact vegan!

This is a green and fresh vinho, as it should it has a lovely spritz in the mouth, crisp acidity and hints of green apple,and citrus - a really springlike wine.

Cracking stuff.

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
7th May 2018
Nettie Viognier
Majestic £6.00 (offer & Mix Six price)
Drinker Rating 90

.
I love this wine and as I was working out my Drink of the Week I found out it is on offer - this week only!

This is a belter of a wine, bursting with tropical fruit and believe me it's all fruit and NO OAK! For those of you convinced that all American wine is oaky chardonnay this is the antidote.

I have happily bought this wine in the past and at this price I'll be getting a couple of cases to make it my spring house white.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
30th April 2018
Ken Forrester Workhorse Chenin Blanc
Marks and Spencer £8.00
Drinker Rating 90

.
In anticipation of National Vegetarian Week (14-20 May) here's a veggie wine.

This is a smasher, full on complex nose, all pear, honey,  green grass and floral. On the palate it's wonderfully fruity, think a tropical fruit salad, mango, melon and lychee. A really refreshing drop just begging for a sunny bank holiday weekend.

A bit more pricey than most you'll see on The Drinker, but it's great value at eight quid, this is a lot of wine for your money.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
23rd April 2018
Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rosé
Tesco £6.75
Drinker Rating 89

.
Last year I wrote that if you pay more than about £7 for a bottle of rosé  that you really need your head testing. As I embark on the season of Spring wine tastings where all of the supermarkets will be pushing this Summer's wines I anticipate writing much the same again.

Let's not take rosé too seriously, the producers certainly don't. What we're after is something light and refreshing, simple but with enough red berry character to keep us interested - oh yes, and as dry as you like. If it's also got a pretty bottle like this one does then all the better.

La vie en rosé

DRINK OF THE WEEK
16th April 2018
Camden Hells Lager
Available pretty much everywhere on and off sales about £5 a pint
Drinker Rating 90

So this is a curious one, I know my Drink of the Week is usually a wine, this week it's a beer simply because it's what I'm drinking right now as I update my website at Luton Airport. Isn't technology wonderful?

I'm off to Barcelona, so this really should be Sangria, Cava or a deep inky red from Penedes. But hey, it's opening time Sunday lunch so it's a pint of lager.

I've liked beers from Camden Town Brewery for a while and this Hells is still a pretty solid pint even now they've been bought out by SABInBev for £85 million.

I am available for similar rates. Alegries!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
9th April 2018
Morande M Chardonnay (Casablanca - Chile)
Majestic  £6.99 mix 6 price
Drinker Rating 90

If you think that you don't like chardonnay then you probably haven't tasted enough. In my mind the world's most versatile grape is much maligned simply on the grounds that there was masses of very over-oaked stuff made in the 80's and 90's and it dominated the market.

Go buy yourself some Chablis, a blanc de blanc fizz or even get this little number to try to open your mind. This is a dry, fruit driven wine, all tropical pineapple, citrus, pear and apple. It's a very solid wine at a tremendous price.


Go on, time to change your mind.

DRINK OF THE WEEK
2nd April 2018
Visigodo Rueda Verdejo
Lidl  £4.99
Drinker Rating 90


I'm assured that summer is due to start any day now - I bloody hope so as I need to get my tomatoes out! When i do finally get them into the greenhouse I will celebrate with this little bargain from Lidl.

This is a perfectly lovely springlike wine, aromas of blossom, fresh and zippy and with a light sparkle in the mouth. At under five quid you cannot go wrong here a lovely looking bottle and a cracking little wine.

Like the sun I am waiting for Visigodo!


Happy Easter!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
26th March 2018
Ara Single Vineyard Pinot Noir
Waitrose £11.99
Drinker Rating 90


It's a slightly more costly wine this week than I usually recommend on The Drinker. But Easter is a bit of a special time, we're off work and might need something to distract us from intensive time with the family.

Kiwi Pinot Noir is pretty reliable, particularly at this price point - in fact this is the cheaper end for the really good stuff. This has all the lovely red fruit you'd want from a pinot, redcurrant and red cherry with good use of oak, complex, balanced integrated, perfect for roast lamb or turkey. Classy stuff.

Happy Easter!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
19th March 2018
Les Riochoises Colombard/Sauvignon
Morrisons £4.75
Drinker Rating 89


It's all about price isn't it? Well, sadly, yes it is. The real good stuff will cost you, certainly more than six quid and in all probability over a tenner. But wines at the entry level are not generally bad, the problem is sorting the average from the poor.

Occasionally a real bargain turns up and this is one, colombard and sauvignon blanc blend well providing a decent primary fruit palate, peach, pinepple and lime. It's easy drinking and uncomplex but certainly value for money.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
12th March 2018
Exquisite Collection South Western Australia Sauvignon Blanc
Aldi £5.99
Drinker Rating 90

The biggest stories in wine right now are the unstoppable rise of both rose and prosecco - but there's another phenomena that's been growing for a number of years and it's sauvignon blanc.

I think we can thank the New Zealanders for this as they make big, flowery, blousey sauvignons. These appeal to wine drinkers because they actually taste of something - in contrast to say pinot grigio.

So here's one from Australia, not as aggressively aromatic as the Kiwi version, lightly perfumed, soft and very drinkable.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
5th March 2018
Finest Saint Mont
Tesco £6.00
Drinker Rating 91

I love the onset of spring and I like a wine to match the season. This Saint Mont is crisp and dry with a lovely hint of tropical peach about it, it makes me think that the weather is warmer than it is.

This is just the right wine to sip in the brief moments of sunshine we have right now - it's fresh and promises of warmth to come. There's a lot to like about this bottle, great value and decent quality, enough wine to keep you interested.

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
26th February 2018
Atkins Farm Shiraz
Waitrose £9.99
Drinker Rating 91

There's been some talk in the wine pages lately about the price at which quality really kicks in, the general consensus being around a tenner. I think you'll find some really good wines on The Drinker at much more reasonable prices but ten pounds is a pretty good benchmark for quality right now.

So on that mark, or a penny below it, here's a brilliant Aussie Shiraz that's a cut above. It has quite delicate berry fruit notes, cherry and raspberry with some fine herbal tones, the tannins are soft but give good structure and it's all you'll need at a tenner. This is the price point at which subtlety, balance and length really kick in.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
20th February 2018
Contralto Chianti
Sainsbury's £5.75
Drinker Rating 90


Is it me or has Chianti rather gone out of fashion in the last few years? I don't know why, I blame Hannibal Lector.

There is always a time and a place for Chianti, this one would be perfect with a bolognese and in fact would do rather well on its own due to a good black fruit approachability.

Lovely wine, classic stuff and look at the price!

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
12th February 2018
The Best Gavi
Morrisons £7.00
Drinker Rating 90



I make no apology that my wines of the moment are from Italy, particularly Northern Italy and in particular Piedmont. I say 'wines of the moment' they are in fact an obsession and have been for years.

So Gavi, white wine made from the Cortese grape in Piedmont and it's recommended that they are drunk young. This is by no means a gauge of their quality, they are more expressive when young and the best are lightly aromatic, floral, peachy and, well, pretty.

This Gavi from Morrisons is an amazing price and is light, easy and very very pretty.

A lovely midweek drinker and not a mention of Valentine's.

Cheers!

DRINK OF THE WEEK
5th February 2018
La Fortezza Merlot
Marks and Spencer £7.50
Drinker Rating 90

Sicily is really the place to be for innovative, solid quality and affordable wines. The sun soaked island has rally kicked on in recent years not only with its local grape varieties, Nero D'Avola and Cataratto but also with some of the more recognisable international varieties.

So here's a fruity, juicy merlot, all plum and damson but with a wonderful herbal edge, think thyme and black pepper. This is spot on at the price, well balanced, extremely food friendly and approachable.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
29th January 2018
Kakapo Reisling/Sauvignon/Chardonnay
ASDA £6.98
Drinker Rating 91



So we've all been paid now right? So time for a really expensive bottle and we all seem happy to pay a few quid more for wines from New Zealand. Well as this is The Drinker you'll see you won't need a mortgage to buy this Kiwi stunner.

At under seven quid this wine is remarkable value. It's a complex blend of three grape varieties you don't often see together, but in this case they work really well delivering green lime and tropical notes along with body and fresh acidity. And what's-more there's a lovely label a vibrant green cute Kakapo, a flightless bird on the verge of extinction only a few years ago now thriving.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK  -
22nd January 2018
Queen Margot 8yo Blended Scotch Whisky
Lidl £12.99
Drinker Rating 90

With Burns Night this week it has to be a Scotch. When I sampled this at a tasting before Christmas my notes read "as good a blended whisky as is on the market right now". Believe me this is a right little belter, and just look at the price.

This is a perfect drop, lovely notes of honey, orange peel and vanilla and perfectly priced to enjoy on its own or with a mixer while toasting your haggis.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK  -
15th January 2018
Vignobles Roussellet Sauvignon Blanc
Aldi £4.49
Drinker Rating 88
Another brilliant cheapie this week. The rise and rise of Sauvignon Blanc continues as drinkers exploring wine find a white grape that actually tastes of something!
This wine is not like the big New Zealand Sauvignons, it's a bit more restrained but still has a good measure of lime, gooseberry and tropical fruit. But the first impression of this wine on the nose and in the mouth is fresh cut grass, a perfect reminder of the summer while we languish under grey skies.
Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK  -

8th January 2018
Tesco Chilean Merlot
Tesco £4.25
Drinker Rating 89

As it's early Jan and seemingly miles from payday here's another great value wine for this time of year.
Coming in at only £4.25 this typifies the great value wines you generally get from Chile. It's generous with black fruit, think plum and blackberry, with nicely judged vanilla oak support and as it's a merlot is velvet smooth in the mouth. At 12% it won't knock your head off and at a miraculous £4.25 is a real winter treat.
If you're feeling adventurous look at the other Chilean merlots, pinot noirs and sauvignons (particularly wines by Cono Sur) for amazing value for money.
Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK  -

1st January 2018
Pinot Grigio Neszmely (Hungary)
Lidl £3.89
Drinker Rating 91


Well a happy new year to one and all. I hope none of us are silly enough to be trying a detox or Dryanuary? If you're in possession of a functioning liver and at least one kidney you can trust the old body to do all that for you. What you will be in need of after the gorging season has past is a few more affordable options for some well earned winter cheer.

So cost in mind get this little charmer at only£3.89 from the good folk at Lidl. It's a pinot grigio that actually tastes of something. The Hungarians are doing a lot of this interesting entry level wine right now and Lidl specialise in wined from that part of the world.

This pocket pleaser is all white blossom and peach with a dry, fresh finish. They've certainly saved on the label, all it says is 'Pinot Grigio, dry and crisp with fruity notes'.

Does the job in January.

Cheers!








2018 Past Drinks of The Week

DRINK OF THE WEEK
10th December 2018
Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5%
Tesco £1.30 500ml (spoons on draft)
Drinker Rating 91

In Party Season there's often a need to water the designated driver. This (virtually) alcohol free version of Ghost Ship is a bit of a miracle for the teetotal beer lover.

Like proper Ghost Ship it has enough of a hoppy finish and balance in the palate but with no alcohol it is a little lacking in body. However I'd be perfectly happy to knock this back if I had to forego the sauce, really properly made stuff from a brewer you can trust.

For gin lovers try Marks and Spencers' Alcohol Free G&T (£2.50) which is truly wonderful and for fizz get to Aldi for their Zero Point Zero Rose fizz (£2.49). Both very satisfying replacements for the hard stuff.


Cheers.