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

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2013 JUL TO DEC

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2012 JULY TO DEC

2012 JAN TO JUNE

2011 JAN TO JUNE

2010 JULY TO DEC

2010 JAN TO JUNE

2009

2020 Past Drinks of The Week


DRINK OF THE WEEK
12th October 2020
Tesco Chianti
Tesco £5.25
Drinker Rating 89

It's amazing how wines go an and out of fashion. Chianti was all the rage in the 80's, you couldn't pass an Italian restaurant without seeing an old Chianti bottle with a candle stuck in the top of it - and this was long before Hanibal Lecter and his fava beans came on the scene.

Like many wines going in and out of favour inevitably it has to do with the quality of the liquid. Fashionable wines get over-produced and the quality often slumps. But in the last couple of years Chianti has made a comeback.

Still best with food it has generous black cherry and violet notes but these days with a little extra support from a touch of oaky sweetness. This one from Tesco is a pearler at only £5.25 and their Finest version is worth a sniff too.


Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
5th October 2020
Adnams Triple Malt Whisky
Master of Malt £36.95
Drinker Rating 92

Regular readers will know that I have a lot of love for the new wave of English whisky being produced right now and that runs paralle to my absolute adoration of Adnams who as a brewery/distillery/pub co seem to be able to do everything right.

This whisky is a delight and has an interesting provenance, it's called Triple Malt as it's made from a blend of malted barley, oats and wheat, this gives a lovely viscosity and a malt rich spirit given structure from five years ageing in new American oak.

At 47% it's a big 'un but the warmth of the alcohol is balanced by chocolate, vanilla and Christmas spice flavours.

For more info on English whisky check out The English Whisky Society's Virtual Festival 16/17 October, exploring 14 distillers, cocktails and production methods.


Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
28th September 2020
Animus Douro
Aldi £5.29
Drinker Rating 90

Did a big Aldi tasting earlier this month and there were some belters at totally astonishing prices - this is one of them all bramble and black pepper, for me it's a bit of a winter wine, but the cold is creeping in now so we're allowed.

Look out for the great new range at Aldi launching in November and also for their brilliant on-line only wines, well worth looking up. Oh yes, they do free delivery on wine too so no excuses to not stock up.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
14th September 2020
Classics No. 39 Sauvignon Blanc
Marks and Spencer £8.00
Drinker Rating 90

It's really pleasing to see that New Zealand Sauvignons have been coming down in price in the last 18 months - it's also noticeable that the M&S wine range has taken a turn for the more affordable too.

The new Classics range is really solid all the way through and with wines in the 'around a tenner' bracket in particular.

This Marlborough Sauvignon is all that you'd expect, fresh and dry, lots of gooseberry and a touch of elderflower with just a hint toward a tropical fruit salad - and at only £8 it's proper value for money.

Super autumn sipper!

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
7th September 2020
The Project Sauvignon Blanc
Aldi £5.99
Drinker Rating 90

Continuing my one man drive to support South African wine at a terrible time of need for them here's a wonderful fresh, tropical fruit white..

If you like your Marlborough sauvignons then this will be right up your street. Green grass, gooseberry, lychee, mango, it's a right kitchen sink job this. It's dry as a bone and fresh as a daisy with a line of brilliant acidity supporting all that fruit.

At only £5.99 this is a real bargain, so much wine for your money.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
31st August 2020
The Best Pinot Gris
Morrisons £7.50
Drinker Rating 90

OK so pinot gris is the same grape variety as pinot grigio but you can tell when it's called the former it is in an entirely different class to the bulk of the latter.

Wines labeled as pinot gris are gernerally more characterful, with a slightly fuller body and occasionally a touch of sweetness. This one is dry but certainly has the requisite character and body. It's round and supple in the mouth and has notes of peach and lime about it. It's a lovely dry fresh number, easy acidity, perfect to enjoy in the last of the summer sunshine.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
24th August 2020
Devil's Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Majestic £7.49 (mix Six price)
Drinker Rating 90

So the summer's sort of ground to a halt and all the ideas of BBQs and patio drinking are all to pot as we approach the Bank Holiday weekend.

Never mind, let's console ourselves in a lovely drop of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This one is surprising restrained for a Marlborough Sauvignon, it's still got plenty of sharp gooseberry and green grass character but isn't as blousey as many from this part of the world.

On top of that it's a real snip for a decent Kiwi wine at only £7.49 (mix Six price) - the more you sup the more you save.

Have a lovely long weekend and pray for the sun.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
10th August 2020
House Pinot Grigio Blush
Sainsbury's £4.50
Drinker Rating 89

Phew, what a scorcher. Hot isn't it? Glass of rosé? Ooh, don't mind if I do. Light and fresh and very very cold. You do know if you chill wine right down to fridge temp or below it deadens the flavour - but you can use that to your advantage when you have quite cheap wines (like this one).

At only £4.50 you get what you see with this wine, it's simple and easy going, perfect for chilling well and enjoying in the shade in this heat - why not mix it 50-50 with soda water and lots of ice?

Super simple wine for summer.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
3rd August 2020
Winemaker's Selection Paarl Chenin Blanc
Lidl £4.79
Drinker Rating 89

Well there's value ad there's value and t less than a fiver this chenin blanc is a real bargain. At this level wines will generally not set the world alight but this little beauty is just spot on at the price point.

It has just the right amount of chenin character (peachy, honey notes) to raise it above the boring old light, dry, neutral zone, fresh acidity backs up the floral palate and chilled well will be a lovely patio wine - or, as I like it in a 50/50 mix with soda water over lots of ice.

A perfect summer white.


Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
27th July 2020
Classics No 14 Albariño
Marks and Spencer £10.00
Drinker Rating 90

It's really good to see M&S developing their 'own brand' range with the launch of the Classics series. Like most big retailers they'd be reluctant to put their own name to a product that doesn't really hit the mark and this selection of wines is no different.

Across the Classics range, which are all reasonably priced the wines give good typicity of style and terrior and this Albariño is spot on. It's dry wit a mouthwatering acidity and there's enough light apricot and white blossom character about it to keep a drinker interested to the end of the bottle.

It's well worth picking up a few from this range, you won't be disappointed - super wines at just the right price.


Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
20th July 2020
Taste the Difference Fairtrade Pinotage
Sainsbury's £7.50
Drinker Rating 90

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: BUY SOUTH AFRICAN WINE NOW!!!!!

The South African government in their wisdom have banned all domestic alcohol sales due to Coronavirus. The pandemic is bad enough for all South Africans and their economy but this will really damage the wine business.

So no surprise that this week's Drink of the Week is from SA - it's their signature grape, pinotage and this one is made under the Fairtade banner by  the good folk at Stellenrust, who always make good wine.

This is packed with spice and intense bramble fruit, great wine for a BBQ steak I'd say and at only £7.50 is amazing value.

Do the right thing.


Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
13th July 2020
Macon Villages Elodie Dupres
Majestic £8.99 (Mix Six price)
Drinker Rating 90

Two reasons to buy this wine this week: first wines of the Macon, I go back to these time and time again and they rarely disappoint - it's classic wine making country, producing usually affordable and wonderfully constructed whites.

Second, Majestic stores are back open again. Go there and go often, remember, compared to the supermarkets, the skill and experience that Majestic have in buying great wines. This is all they do, they don't have to worry about the price of cornflakes or washing powder, all they do is booze - and they're really good at it.

This little lovely is forward with the fruit with  solid vein of minerality all the way through. Fresh and slightly tropical it would be great on a patio in some summer sunshine.


Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
6th July 2020
Extra Special Pinot Noir Valle de Leyda
Asda £6.50
Drinker Rating 90

Pinot noir is a difficult grape to get right, thin skinned and sensitive, easily spoiled, it needs just the right amount of good weather to turn out well. Too hot it becomes jammy, to cool it can be thin and empty.

But when it's good, it's really good - but due its nature it's often not cheap. But here's a wine that really confounds. Perfectly balanced fruit and acidity with light tannin an easy drinking pinot noir which won't dent your purse.

I keep goning back to an old missive that if you're looking for something reliable and affordable across the board go for Chile and go for big supermarket 'quality' own-brands - this is both.


Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
29th June 2020
Yalumba Organic Viognier
Waitrose £9.99 (25% off when buying 6)
Drinker Rating 92

So last week's Drink of the Week was a 'perfectly acceptable' rosé from Tesco at £4.50 and this week we go a bit the other way with a wine that usually retails at £9.99, I know, an expensive one for The Drinker.

Bear in mind that Waitrose currently has a 25% off when you buy six of any wine over a fiver, that brings this wine down to £7.50.

So it's a really well made viognier, and this grape is particularly fashionable right now. You can expect a lovely, almost floral nose developing into honeysuckle, citrus and herbal notes on the palate. It's dry with fresh acidity and is a real winner - personally I'd buy 6 of these at this price to see me through the start of summer.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK

22nd June 2020
Tesco Italian Rosé Blush
Tesco £4.50
Drinker Rating 88

So this is my annual rant about rosé. Let's start by asking what exactly are you looking for in a pink wine? Complexity? Length? Intensity? I'd suggest none of these, I think what we're looking for is something that's pretty, easy going company and not in the least bit challenging - I'm thinking the Holly Willoughby and Pip Schofield of wine.

Something that's perfectly easy to drink on a hot summer's day without all the hassle of analysis. A hot summer glugger.

So here it is, a perfectly adequate wine, sure there's a little hint of cranberry about it but fundamentally it's very acceptable. As another plus it's a fashionable lighter pink, Provence in colour but Italian in origin.

You spend more than £9.99 for a rosé and I think you're being mugged - this is £4.50.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
8th June 2020
Cepa Lebrel Rioja Blanco
Lidl £4.99
Drinker Rating 88

When we think of Rioja we generally think of reds and these wines there's a massive variance in style and quality which is no real surprise when you're looking at such a massive wine producing region and with such mixed traditions.

The whites of Rioja are much over-looked, and in the main for good reason. You think there's variance in the quality of the reds? It's nothing compared to the whites, which were in the main seen as a bit of an afterthought.

Increasingly however there's been a broad improvement in white Rioja. When a little care is taken in the winery they can be really quite lovely. This one, from Lidl is just the ticket. Dry and fresh with hits of pear and green apple it's simple, light and elegant and under a fiver.


Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
1st June 2020
Exquisite Clare Valley Riesling
Aldi £6.99
Drinker Rating 90

Lots of folk miss out on the loveliness of riesling. As a grape variety it's always just about to be the 'next big thing' and never really finds the limelight. I think, in part, this is due to its reputation as the backbone of German bulk wines like Hock and Liebfraumilch and those toward the medium and sweeter end of the spectrum.

These wines still sell well but they're not as popular as they used to be and the trend is now toward drier styles of riesling. There are some fantastic wine producing regions making cool climate wines in New York State, New Zealand and this one from Australia.

This is steely and mineral but does have a little tropical fruit lift on the palate and only 11.5% in alcohol.

I dare you to give it a go.

Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
25th May 2020
Waitrose Vintage Cider
Waitrose £2.09 (500ml)
Drinker Rating 90

When the weather gets much warmer there are two things that British drinkers reach for - sales of cider and rosé shoot through the roof.

When it comes to cider there is a massive choice with all the bog standard big brands, the super-strong stuff for drinking with your chums on a park bench and then there are those that are a cut above.

This vintage cider from Waitrose is made by Westons from a batch of apples of the same year.It has a very lovely appley depth, a fantastic balance of sweetness and acidity and undercutting that lovely structure from just the right amount of tannin.

Sit in the shade and serve very cold.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
18th May 2020
Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay
Waitrose £9.99
Drinker Rating 90

This Thursday, 21st May is International Chardonnay Day! And I'm recommending a fab example of Aussie excellence in this much maligned grape.

In fairness I can see why folk turned off chardonnay as it became really fashionable, the quality dropped and there was an over reliance on quite brutal oak. This is now really a thing of the past and there's a bit more subtlty around Australia's most widely grow grape now.

This wine is from Margaret River in Western Aus, by far the country's most consistently high quality region, it's full with tropical fruit and, yes, a good dollop of oak but it's really well balanced and quite elegant all in all.

Happy International Chardonnay Day!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
11th May 2020
Camden Heroes
Camden Brewery £2 per can 6 for £10
Drinker Rating 90

Got to be time for some good news so here's a chance to enjoy a smashing beer while supporting the NHS.

Camden Brewery have re-branded their excellent Helles beer to Heroes beer for a limited time. Not only will all proceeds go to charities supporting our healthcare heroes but also NHS staff can claim a free six pack by signing up to the Camden Brewery Webstore on this link using their NHS email address.

Oh, and the beer? It's beautifully balanced and very refreshing suitable for vegans too!


Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
4th May 2020
The Best Fleurie
Morrisons £8.50
Drinker Rating 90

I often associate drinks with seasons, we know that folk drink more rosé and cider in the summer and more port in the winter - for spring I really like Beaujolais. There's something about the turning of the seasons that suits the lighter reds. There's also the wonder that Beaujolais is sometimes best chilled, so if you have a warmer spring day as we will this week get a bottle and bang it in the fridge.

This The Best Fleurie from Morrisons is a wonder in that it's a little darker than most in its style but carries a wonderful bright red fruit banner and has easy tannins. Perfect for spring whatever the weather.

Get it in the fridge - I dare you!

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
20th April 2020
Finest Pignoletto
Tesco £8.50
Drinker Rating 89

Pignoletto might not be as well known as its bossy cousin Prosecco but it's taking a growing share of the Italian sparkling market.

Similar in production method and style but made from Grechetto Gentile rather than Prosecco's Glera grape it's an easy drinking fizz from central Italy.

This one from Tesco has a decent amount of orange blossom and peach aromatics, the bubbles are soft and not too aggressive and it's a real easy drinker.

OK so we can't get out and celebrate just yet but there's no reason we can't pop a cork at home in the sun.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
13th April 2020
Burra Brook Chardonnay
Marks and Spencer £7.00
Drinker Rating 89

Sometimes you need a real crowd pleaser of a wine - not that any of us have crowds to please right now - but you know what I mean - a wine that's easy drinking but with enough character to keep you interested.

This is a cracker and has been on the M&S list for some years now, it's properly ripe chardonnay from Australia, bursting with  tropical fruit, mango, lychee and pineapple but with enough restrained oak to balance.

It's light and fresh and really pleasing at only seven quid!

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
6th April 2020
Chateau Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2006
Majestic £9.99 (mix Six Price)
Drinker Rating 92

In honesty I'm a bit of a Bordeaux non-believer, I know this makes me sound silly and unsophisticated but you've got to remember that I taste a lot of supermarket wine and concentrate mainly on wines under a tenner - and from Bordeaux there's very little of any quality or value there in my opinion.

This is a good-un however, not only good but a really brilliant example of how Bordeaux ages well. It's still got enough vibrant black berry flavour but has overtones of old leather and cigar box on the nose to elevate it above the run of the mill.

This fab wine's full price is £19.99 so get it on the mix-six offer at £9.99. For other Majestic lovelies to fill up your trolley click on their logo on the left of this page.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
30th March 2020
Junge Winzel Grauburgunder
Lidl £7.99
Drinker Rating 90

Most of you will know that pinot grigio is also called pinot gris, right? Well here's another super fact to amaze your friends at parties (when we can have parties again) pinot gris/grigio is also known as grauburgunder - doesn't sound as exciting or poetic as pinot grigio does it? That's because this is the German name for it.

This wine from the new range at Lidl is extremely poetic however. Just the look of it is enticing, it has a lovely pinkish hue, it's dry with fresh acidity and has touches of spiced peach on the palate. A really interesting drop, fantastically priced - all we need now is a party!

Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
23rd March 2020
Magic Rock Dark Arts Hazlenut Stout
Sainsbury's £2.60
Drinker Rating 91

I had a bit of a downer on all these Craft Beers that keep being released - I'm a craft unbeliever. Too many beers that seem to be produced for novelty value rather than quality, many of them heavily flavoured and lacking any sort of subtlety.

So when I was sent a batch of 6 from Sainsbury's I was a bit wary. But there's change afoot, these beers were on the whole balanced, flavourful and not over-bearing.

My favourite of this new range is Dark Arts Hazlenut Stout from Magic Rock in Huddersfield it's generous in flavour with lots of chocolatey nuttiness, like a dark chocolate Snickers bar and a good alcohol backbone (6%).

Honorable mentions also to Yeastie Boys Digital  IPA and Tiny Rebel's Mango Vermont IPA. It's great to see Sainsbury's expanding their range and these are really well chosen beers - look them out.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
9th March 2020
Fire Tree Sicillian Nero D'Avola
Aldi £4.49
Drinker Rating 90

I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to recommend decent wines at under a fiver. Unless the Chancellor pulls out some interesting rabbits in the budget on Wednesday I can only see wines, particularly those from Europe, going up in price.

So get panic buying now is my advice, never mind toilet paper and hand sanitiser, get the wine in!

This is a cracker at the price, generous plum and cherry flavour backed with some nice supporting vanilla a sort of spicy fruit compote - and look it's even under £4.50!

Get it now before the prices shoot up.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
2nd March 2020
Waitrose Chilean Boxed White Wine
Waitrose £14.95
Drinker Rating 90

The words 'Vibrant and Grassy' adorn this wonderful Chilean white from Waitrose. Saves me a job, it does exactly what it says on the box. It's a lovely straightforward fresh white, incisive acidity, lovely green fruit notes easy drinking and fantastic value.

The box holds 2.25 litres which translates to exactly 3 standard bottles which if sold individually would be under a fiver a time.

I love a box of wine and this is just the ticket to get us in the mood for spring, the only worry is fitting it in the fridge.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
24th February 2020
Extra Special Selection Bordeaux Blanc
ASDA £7.00
Drinker Rating 90

There's a little prejudice going on in the wine world from those folk who simply don't believe sauvignon blanc can work well with oak. I see the reasoning, SB can be big and tropical, flowery and herbaceous so the addition of toasty, vanilla oak could seem jarring.

If you're in this camp let me try to persuade you that it can work with this little smasher at only £7. Asda do wines at this price extremely well and this is interesting enough to keep you entertained.

Lots of tropical notes, pineapple and grapefruit but with the most delicate well judged oak edge. Go on - give it a go!

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
17th February 2020
Taste the Difference Gaillac Rouge
Sainsbury's £8.00 currently on offer at £6.75
Drinker Rating 91

Hands up if you've heard of the grape variety Bruacol? No? Let me help you out, it's also know as Fer Servadou? No, me neither. I've been in this game for decades and got exams and all sorts and I've never heard of Bruacol - sounds more like an indigestion remedy than a grape.

Any road-up, Bruacol makes up over 50% of this brilliant wine from Gaillac in south central France. This is full on bramble fruit, casis and smoky black pepper, it is layered and complex and frankly a miracle at £6.75.

Buy lots of this, it'll keep until Christmas if you can resist it.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
10th February 2020
Daniel's Drift Cabernet Shiraz
Marks and Spencer £6.00
Drinker Rating 90

The bitter winds of winter are still blowing in across the Atlantic and as we recover from the ravages of Storm Ciara we'll need a heart-warming red to warm the soul.

This is a cracker from South Africa, full on and fruit driven, hefty dollops of black currant and black cherry with a pleasing back-note of tobacco smoke.

Lots to like in this at an amazing price.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
3rd February 2020
The Best Single Vineyard Pinot Noir
Morrisons £9.00
Drinker Rating 90

Pinot noir is a difficult grape, it has a thin skin (don't we all) that makes it susceptible to all sorts of infections in the vineyard. In addition it does much better in cooler conditions, too much sun and it get all jammy.

This is a little belter made for Morrisons by Errazuriz in Chile. The cool breezes from the pacific help slow down ripening and this adds complexity to the wine. It's fruit and oak driven but it holds its own really well and is properly balanced.

£9 is a lot for a wine recommended on here but it's worth every penny.

Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
27th January 2020
Mas Querido Field Blend
Majestic £6.99 (mix six price)
Drinker Rating 89

A whole bunch of bunches of grapes all thrown in together - well arien and macabeo predominantly, giving a wonderfully tropical nose of passion friut, lime and mango.

Sometimes these big old fruit driven wines are just what we need as an antidote to the plain light. Dry neutral offerings of Northern Italy.

Fresh, fruity and staightforward and none the worse for that.

Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
20th January 2020
Morrison's Red Burgundy
Morrisons £9.25
Drinker Rating 90

Blue Monday my arse. Apart from anything else the concept was dreamt up in 2004/5 by a psychologist charged with working out when's the best time for a holiday company to sell holidays.

And what's to be blue about when you've got cracking wines like this at under a tenner. It's not possible to get decent burgundy at this price? Well maybe not the top end stuff but for something very sip-able with a bright redcurrant backbone you can't do better.

Get this in and cheer yourself right up.

Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
13th January 2020
Tesco Vinho Verde
Tesco £5.25
Drinker Rating 90

You know the feeling when yu get to this time of year and you're still full up from Christmas Day, still finishing off the last of the cake, biscuits, shortbread and chocolate and your body says to you, "please, give me salad!"?

Well it can be the same with booze and that's why so many folk are on the Dry January kick - no chance of that for me as my Birthday's this month.

So what to go for if you're after a lighter, simpler and lower alcohol wine - try vinho verde.

This is a really pretty little wine, simple fruit on the palate with just a touch of effervescence and at only 10.5% it's a real pleaser if you want something lighter  and more affordable right now.

Cheers!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
6th January 2020
Daniels's Drift Chenin Blanc
Marks and Spencer £5.50
Drinker Rating 90

Back to work then - all that stuff about dry January and the most depressing day of the year will come out in the next week or so. In order to combat this we need a little drop of simple sunshine in a glass that's sympathetically priced.

This Chenin Blanc from M&S will never been seen as a wine of great depth and complexity, but its simplicity is really pleasing. I wouldn't go as far as to day it's one dimensional but it does have an easy apricot and lime peel palate that's not too demanding.

It's also not too demanding on the wallet either at only £5.50 a pop it should help us out on the finance front.

Cheers!