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

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2009

2022 Past Drinks of The Week

DRINK OF THE WEEK
27th June 2022
Sous le Soleil Merlot
Waitrose £5.99
Drinker Rating 90

This is a wine that's been on my recommendation list for Waitrose since the Old King died and it's still fabulous and it's still under six quid.

Merlot got very unfashionable (thanks to the film Sideways) but peoples' disdain of it is totally unjustified. As a grape it works really well in blends (Bordeaux and the blends of Margaret River for example) but it also holds it's own as the star of the show too.

This is quite light and simple, red rather than black fruit on the nose, but is full of ripe  bramble in the mouth.

A lovely wine from Waitrose and at a discount price too.



DRINK OF THE WEEK
20th June 2022
The Men In White Coats Viognier
Majestic £6.99
Drinker Rating 91

So if you didn't know (or frankly aren't interested) the cricket season is upon us and England are currently thumping New Zeaand in the Tests and walloping Netherlands in the one day game - so it's full steam ahead for leather upon willow action.

Interestingly Majestic now sell a lovely cricket related wine, The Men In White Coats - a lively viognier from South Africa. The men referred to are cricket umpires so all good there.

The wine is a crackerjack of a bargain at under seven quid and is bursting with peach and apricot with a floral honeysuckle back-note, dry, refreshing and great value.



DRINK OF THE WEEK
13th June 2022
Extra Special Pinot Grigio Rosť
Asda £6.00
Drinker Rating 89


With the HOT weather coming what we're after is a lovely house cooler to refresh in the sunshine and enjoy as the sun goes down.

This pinot grigio is a perfect multi use pink, cool, dry and refreshing with a hint of crushed raspberry about the nose, it would also make a perfect pink spritzer - chunks of ice, half and half with soda water in a tall glass and a strawberry to dress.

Perfect summer sophistication!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
23rd May 2022
The Best Rueda
Morrisons £7.75
Drinker Rating 89

I'm still keeping a beady eye on the price of the wines I recommend this season and for that matter going into the forseeable future - prices are creeping up everywhere but many wine retailers are doing their damnedest to keep a lid on wine inflation.

Morrisons has always been competitive price-wise and has turned out a good number of keenly priced well made wines over the years. Here's another to add to the list, it's 100% verdejo from Rueda in north-central Spain. Light and refreshing but with a lovely lemon streak running through it, perfect for the BBQ, drinks well with food or on its own.

Cheers!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
16th May 2022
Valle Hermoso Chilean Pais
Aldi £7.99 (currenly on offer at £6.99)
Drinker Rating 90

As we hurtle towards Barbecue Season we'll be looking for wines to suit a variety of challenges - robust enough to win a fight with a burnt sausage, supple enough to be drunk in the open air and flexible enough to drink with a variety of dishes - while also ticking the boxes of affordability ad simply being interesting to drink.

This is a great contender, you might not be familiar with pais as a grape variety well know in Chile and Spain, it's thin skinned and used for a lot of rose but seems to be coming into it's own as a red.

This one has enough tannic structure to work well with food and it supports a lovely complex nose of violet and smoke and a palate of bramble and black pepper.

First class BBQ wine and on offer right now at Aldi.




DRINK OF THE WEEK
9th May 2022
Winemakers Selection Fairtade Chenin Blanc
Lidl £5.49
Drinker Rating 89

Here's a beauty for when the sun comes out, all lemon drop and grapefruit freshness and lovely mouth-watering acidity. This would make a great party wine, interesting, affordable and really really well made.

Check out all the Winemaker's Selection range from Lidl - they're great across the piece and so well priced you'll wonder why you went anywhere else for your vino.


DRINK OF THE WEEK
25th April 2022
Finest Saint Mont
Tesco £6.50 (£6.00 with a Club Card)
Drinker Rating 90

This is just the wine for springtime, light and quite simple but with enough citrus character to carry it through to the right side of interesting.

Coming from South Western France this is a zippy, fresh and easy wine with peach notes on the nose and fresh acidity on the palate. At only £6 if you have a Tesco Club Card it's exceptional value and well worth considering for your house spring white.

Great value lovely wine.


DRINK OF THE WEEK
18th April 2022
Luis Felipe Edwards Merlot Gran Reserva
Majestic £7.99 mix 6 price
Drinker Rating 90

In these reviews I'm going to start focussing on some of the producers that I really like, these will be mid-range winemakers, not the massive multi-national conglomerates and on the garigistas either but those big enough to supply our bigger retailers while retaining their own character and identity.

First up Luis Felipe Edwards one of the most consistent and progressive producers in Chile founded in 1976. Making reds whites and roses.

This Merlot from Majestic is a fab entry level wine, is't quite big and generous (14.5% alcohol) and is all casis and black cherry on the palate with enough tannic structure to support the wine but not be over-bearing and astringent.

Proper bargain at £7.99


DRINK OF THE WEEK
11th April 2022
Extra Special Carmenere
Asda £6.00
Drinker Rating 90

Easter weekend coming up and you'll need a good multi-purpose red to see off lamb, chocolate, kippers and simnell cake. So here's one for you - a bright and ballsy carmenere, spice, black fruit, vanilla - it's got the works, a perfect example of a workhorse Chillean red.

Oh yes and it's on offer down from £6.50 to only £6.00. And oh yes, Asda currently have 25% off when you buy any six bottles of wine - check out my seasonal review of the best from their list at up to £10 by clicking the link below.




DRINK OF THE WEEK
21st March 2022
La Cascata Passivento
Marks and Spencer £9.00
Drinker Rating 91

This is my kind of wine - i love these Italian reds made from partially dried grapes, they give so much opulence and generosity in the mouth feel and this one is so bit it hasn't had the need for oak ageing, so you get full on unadulterated powerful fruit.

Like the wines of this style it has an alcohol level to match the magnitude of the palate (it says 14% on the bottle but I'd expect it's a touch higher) and this gives a nice warming finish to the wine.

I love this as it's all figs, damson, dried fruits and black cherry - lots and lots of wine for the money.

Cheers!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
14th March 2022
The Best Marques de los Rios Garnacha
Morrisons £8.50
Drinker Rating 90

I need a complex wine for such a changeable time of the year, something that reminds me of the summer but also has a spicy, ceadary colder months character to it - and this garnacha is just the ticket.

This has enough red berry character to make me think of summer pudding and again enough warming spice to make me think of Christmas. Super wine and it's on offer right now - buy 2 and get 35% off - takes a bottle to under £6.50!

Super multi-purpose wine, buy lots!


DRINK OF THE WEEK
7th March 2022
Specially Selected Roussanne
Aldi £6.99 
Drinker Rating 90

You know there's been a bit of sun in the sky this week and so it might be tempting fate to recommend a perfect springtime white - but what the hell!

This wine is what Aldi do SO well - it's all about the balance of quality and affordability - in short the standard that this wine sets for the price is an impossibility. This has a wonderful touch of almond blossom with a lifted lemon acidity on the palate - amazing stuff, classy looking and classy in the glass.

Now bring on the sun!




DRINK OF THE WEEK
28th February 2022
Cimarosa Pinotage
Lidl £3.89 
Drinker Rating 89

Cost of living worries getting to you? Interest rates going up, petrol prices through the roof, National Insurance rise soon to kick in and that's before the energy price rises - so we need to start being a bit more frugal with our wine outlay.

The solution is getting yourself down to Lidl and to start us off here's a banger of a South African red, it's all black currant and wood-smoke on the nose with a warming 14% alcohol, bags of character at a really pleasing price - UNDER FOUR QUID!

Amazing, get down there and stock up!



DRINK OF THE WEEK
14th February 2022
Taste the Difference Primitivo
Sainsbury £7.00
Drinker Rating 90

Everyone seems to be doing a primitvo these days - interesting grape variety usually bold and full, lots of spicy bramble and black cherry and often with a hefty dollop of alcohol. In California it's known as Zinfandel but there do seem to be more labelled up as primitivo right now and not only from Italy, many are now made in Australia and South Africa.

This one is from Italy however (puglia in fact) where the grapes ripen fully and provide a really opulent wine, enhanced by the use of some spicy oak. On the Sainsbury's website it's currently listed at £6 - which is an incredible bargain.

Buy lots! Cheers!



7th February 2022
Finest Stellenbosch Pinotage
Tesco £7.50
Drinker Rating 90

Wines from South Africa continue to impress with both quality and value improving year on year. Pinotage is their signature grape variety - a hybrid of pinot noir and cinsaut which seems to thrive in the long ripening period of the Cape.

This wine is made in Stellenbosch by the family owned Stellenrust winery, a fab producer making consistently good wines since the 1920s.

It has a great deal to offer in ripe black fruit character backed up with a complex coffee and chocolate finish. I love this wine and at only £7.50 is a cracker for a cold winter's night.



DRINK OF THE WEEK
31st January 2022
Behind Closed Doors Reserva Red
Majestic £7.99 Mix Six price
Drinker Rating 89

Still pretty cold and stormy out there isn't it? Well I suppose it is still mid-winter so what would I expect? So what we need is a real deep, ripe fruity, hearty wine to warm those toes.

This Portuguese red bland is a belter, it's full on plum and damson with a rich vein of vanilla supporting the fruit - at 14.5% it's a bit of a whopper but just what's needed to keep the cold out - and perfect for a stew, bolognese or moussaka.

There are some crackers at Majestic - particularly in the sub £10 bracket - get yourself off down there  and stock up on the good stuff.





DRINK OF THE WEEK
24th January 2022
Wine Atlas Feteasca Regala
Asda £5.00
Drinker Rating 89

Mid-winter, bit of a miserable old time, I don't subscribe to Blue Monday or any of that old bollocks - in my experience depression doesn't tend to follow a calendar.

But how about a little glass of Romanian sunshine - I often think of wine as time capsules of long summers past. Romania is often under-rated when it comes to its wines - and that's great for us as we can leave our prejudice at the supermarket door and pile in for some well made, great value vino.

This has been on my list for a very long time - super value at only a fiver and it shows such class from the wine-maker, clean, precise, fresh and sunny.Just what we need right now.



DRINK OF THE WEEK
17th January 2022
Heredad Del Rey
Waitrose £6.99
Drinker Rating 90


Cold isn't it? What you need is a lovely generous, warming wine - it doesn't need to blow your head off alcohol wise, but it odes need winter spice and body.

This is just the ticket, think cinnamon, bramble, oak and smoke - a velvet smooth wine, real mouth filler with body and depth.

Waitrose is really getting bck into stride now and this is one that's well worth looking out - and look, it's under seven quid!

Amazing wine.


DRINK OF THE WEEK
10th January 2022
Sheppy's Low Alcohol Cider
Generally available approx £1.30 500ml bottle
Drinker Rating 90

Continuing with the low/no alcohol recommendations I really rate this brilliant cider from Sheppy's - it says low alcohol but it's 0.5% - about the same alcohol as you would get in a ripe banana - can we just say 'virtually alcohol free'. So if you're havign a month off the booze I still think this is ok for you.

It's very much like Sheppy's Classic Draught Cider in it's toward medium in sweetness but that's balanced with a really refreshing acidity which makes is bright and mouthwatering - really like biting into a crisp green apple.

Perfect if you're scaling back on the sauce.




DRINK OF THE WEEK
3rd January 2022
Guinness 0.0%
Generally available £4.00 for 4x440ml cans
Drinker Rating 90

I don't do Dry January - it's my birthday month for a start off - bu I know many folk do try to cut down at this time of year and if that's you then you're in for a treat.

On the YouTube link below you'll see a little round-up of my best picks of the no/low alcohol beers and my two faves from this list are Luck Saint - a pilsner style lager at 0.5% (the same as a ripe banana) and Guinness 0.0%.

Guinness is a real feat as it's not jsut recreating a zero alcohol version of a beer - with this one there's so much more to it - the look and mouthfeel have to be spot on too and by god they've cracked it. It's magnificent.