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Wolf Blass Wines is one of Australia’s greatest success stories. From a humble tin shed in the legendary Barossa Valley in 1966, Wolf Blass has grown to become one of Australia’s most successful and awarded winemakers. I have a lot of affection for this brand – but had read recently that the winery was on the verge of bankruptcy. The two grapes Semillon and Chardonnay are fermented and matured separately; the Chardonnay spends six months on French oak while the Semillon spends six months on lees.

Tasting notes: Pale yellow colour. Not subtle. ‘New-World’ but rather ‘old-fashioned’. Not overly oaky, and has a little complexity from the blend. Reasonable value.

Region of Origin – South Australia.
Wine Colour – White
Price – £7
Where do I get it from? Sainsburys – very widely available
Current Vintage – 2017
Producer – Wolf Blass
Grape – Chardonnay/Semillon Blend
Country – Australia
Points – 88

Food Pairing: Grilled chicken dishes.

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This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc  again has that characteristic ‘New World’ taste to it – I guess from fermentation at relatively low temperatures. The winemakers are Peter Yealands Estate and this wine tasted indistinguishable from their sauvignon Blanc reviewed here The difference is therefore only the label – as both wines cost £8.

Tasting notes: Pale straw colour. Notes of herb and tropical fruit. Long, crisp mineral finish. Good summer drinking, fairly priced.

Wine Colour – White
Price – £8
Where do I get it from? Sainsburys
Current Vintage – 2017
Producer – Yealands Estate
Grape – 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Region/Country – Marlborough/New Zealand
Points – 90

Food Pairing: This would go well with the usual white meats/seafood

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Picpoul used to be cheap, and unusual to find outside France until a few years ago when it cropped up more frequently, particularly on gastro-pub wine lists. Prices rose as it became more popular. My most read article of all time with hundreds of views, is Sainsbury’s Baron de Guers Picpoul de Pinet which is identical to Waitrose offering and Tesco’s This is better – the 2016 vintage was awarded a Gold medal at the Concours des Grands Vins de France a Macon, 2017. Picpoul is an old variety and is also used in the manufacture of Noilly Prat vermouth.

Tasting notes: This is the 10th Picpoul de Pinet I’ve reviewed in the last eighteen months. Unlike the others it’s not from the behemoth Les Costieres de Pomerols co-operative! Ormarine produce 8 different Picpoul wines including the best Picpoul I’ve tasted. Picpoul should be relatively acidic – its name alludes to it being a ‘lip-smacker’ or ‘lip-stinger’ and in France it is the perfect accompaniment to the local oysters. This is fresh, zingy wine.

Wine Colour – White
Price – £8
Where do I get it from? – Majestic
Current Vintage – 2016
Type of Closure – Natural cork
Bottle size – 750ml
Grape – 100% Picpoul
Region/Country – Languedoc-Roussillon/France
Points – 91

Food Pairings: Went very well with a Cromer crab salad. Good with roast chicken. A good summer aperitif.

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My most read review of the last year was for a Pinot Grigio. This review has had hundreds of hits, from all over the world. This shows that people may be a little unsure about this wine, and google it whilst in the supermarket to see if it’s any good. This isn’t surprising as Sainsbury has a range of about 30 different Pinot Grigios from around the world. and the variation in price is only £2 – so which one to pick? This is from Sicily; I’ve been there twice and can honestly say that I’ve never had a bad bottle of Sicilian wine -this was good value at £5.50 and better than many others at this price point.

Tasting notes: Straw colour. Initially some mineral notes. Hints of citrus.

Wine Colour – White
Price – £5.50
Where do I get it from? Sainsbury
Current Vintage – 2017
Producer – Sainsbury
Grape – 100% Pinot Grigio
Region/Country – Sicily/Italy
Points – 89

Food Pairing: This would go well with fish dishes, pasta etc.

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My most read review of the last year was for Rocca Murer Pinot Grigio 2016. This review has had hundreds of hits, from all over the world. If you type Rocca Murer Pinot Grigio into Google, the top hit is for my review.  This shows the global reach of Cavit wines. I think it also shows that people may be a little unsure about this wine, and google it whilst in the supermarket to see if it’s any good! Well it’s from Trentino – one of the regions synonymous with Pinot Grigio. In its tall bottle, it’s rather distinctive. Cavit are a co-operative of farmers, who put their outputs together; the result could be described as ‘homogenous’ – I thought it was good, slightly different to the majority of Pinot Grigios; it had an interesting initial taste and a little complexity – good value at £7 although at this price point it is one of Sainsburys most expensive Pinot Grigios – this is comparable with Comuna Pinot Grigio and better than Yellow Tail.

Tasting notes: Straw colour. Initially some mineral notes. Hints of peach and apple. 

Wine Colour – White
Price – £7
Where do I get it from? Sainsbury
Current Vintage – 2017
Producer – Rocca Murer/Cavit
Grape – 100% Pinot Grigio
Region/Country – Trentino/Italy
Points – 90

Food Pairing: This would go well with fish dishes, pasta etc.

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This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is the first this year to elicit a ‘Wow’ from me. It has that characteristic ‘New World’ taste to it – and would definitely appeal to lovers of ‘The Ned’ & Cloudy Bay (one of the winemakers used to work for Cloudy Bay). I guess that the fermentation took place at relatively low temperatures.  The winemakers employed the ‘reductive method’ (very New World) in which extra steps are taken to carry out the winemaking process in the (relative) absence of oxygen. It may sound far fetched (because air is everywhere), but by using stainless steel tanks and inert gases, a winemaker can greatly reduce the exposure a wine has to oxygen. The intent of reductive winemaking is to maximize the fresh fruit flavours in a wine.

Tasting notes: Distinctly New World. This is filled with intense flavours. At the risk of coming across as pretentious, the initial aroma was petrol/flint – which reminded me of a Zippo lighter. One of the flavours I got was nettle; I’m sure of this, even though I’ve never actually tasted nettle. Good acidity. An intriguing sauvignon with a long, complex finish.

Wine Colour – White
Price – £17.95
Where do I get it from? Berry Bros, The Wine Society, et al.
Current Vintage – 2017
Producer – Dog Point Vineyard
Grape – 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Region/Country – Marlborough/New Zealand
Points – 92

Food Pairing: This would go well with the usual white meats/seafood

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We had our annual booking at ‘Rocky Bottoms’, a good lobster/crab place near Sherringham, and they allow you to bring your own wine for a £2.50 pp corkage charge. I often resent the mark up on a bottle of wine in pubs/restaurants, so was grateful of a chance to select a decent bottle to go with Weybourne lobster. I resisted the temptation to go for Chablis – and went with a Sancerre from the ‘epicentre’ of Sauvignon Blanc. This went really well – and is currently my top Sauvignon Blanc of the year.

Tasting notes: Distinctly ‘Old World’ – and I really liked it! This is filled with white fruit hints and has a lovely purity of mineral flavours. Good acidity. Excellent Sauvignon Blanc with a long, refreshing finish. 

Wine Colour – White
Price – £16.79
Where do I get it from? Waitrose
Current Vintage – 2017
Producer – Hubert Brochard
Grape – 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Region/Country – Loire Valley/France
Points – 92

Food Pairing: This would go well with the usual white meats/seafood – we had it with lobster and it went brilliantly.

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A Time for Wine by Atimeforwine - 7M ago

Prosecco sales in the UK went up by 75% in 2014 alone; this year sales overtook champagne and 1 in 3 bottles of sparkling wine sold today will be Prosecco. But will this wine strip your teeth of enamel…? This is OK sparkling wine at £9, but we quickly used it to make Aperol Spritz.

Tasting notes: Lively, crisp, aromatic. Fresh with lemon, pear and apple flavours and a floral hint. It has a dry finish and a fine persistent mousse. This prosecco is a blend – it’s 85% Glera, 15% ‘white wine’ – seems vague, I know, but is permissible under Prosecco DOC rules…

Wine Colour – White
Price – £9
Where do I get it from? – Tesco
Current Vintage – 2016
Type of Closure – Natural Cork
Bottle size – 750ml
Grape – 85% Glera, 15% ‘white wine’
Country – Italy
Points – 88

Food Pairings: Nibbles, canapes.

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Invivo co-founders Tim Lightbourne and winemaker Rob Cameron travelled over 20,000 kilometres to Norton’s summer location – County Cork, Ireland (complete with their precious cargo of six distinctive Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc pressings). Then, over a reportedly riotous afternoon blending session the trio created Graham’s 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, like South African Chenin Blanc, has a distinct ‘New World’ taste to it. Invariably this is of tropical, exotic fruit – and is achieved by fermenting it at lower temperatures than in the ‘Old World’ (ie France)... 

Tasting notes: Distinctly New World – and again I like it! This is filled with pleasant tropical/lime zest flavours. Good acidity. An appealing sauvignon with a long, refreshing finish.

Wine Colour – White
Price – £9.50
Where do I get it from? Widely available (Tesco stocks it)
Current Vintage – 2016
Producer – Invivio Wines
Grape – 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Region/Country – Marlborough/New Zealand
Points – 90

Food Pairing: This would go well with the usual white meats – we had it with pork loin steaks in a creamy mustard sauce – and it went brilliantly.

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A Time for Wine by Atimeforwine - 7M ago

I have had this wine twice in recent weeks, as we are in the midst of an actual summer in England, with sunshine and everything, and it’s been very good.  I’m a fan of Zuccardi wines, following a trip to Mendoza. The fact that Mendoza produces any wine is pretty miraculous – it’s in the middle of treeless desert. Man has had to conquer the landscape to make it productive – thank goodness it happened; the wine is awesome…

https://atimeforwine.blog/2017/09/12/santa-julia-chardonnay

https://atimeforwine.blog/2017/12/23/santa-julia-reserve-malbec

https://atimeforwine.blog/2017/08/28/santa-julia-malbec

https://wordpress.com/post/atimeforwine.blog/2622

Tasting notes: This is full bodied, punchy rosé from Malbec grown at altitudes up to 1,000 metres. Red fruit and cherry nose. The finish is juicy. Good summer drinking.


Wine Colour – Rose
Price – £7.50
Where do I get it from? Sainsburys
Current Vintage – 2017
Producer – Zuccardi
Grape – 100% Malbec
Region/Country – Mendoza/Argentina
Points – 90

Food Pairing: This wine should be dunk in the sunshine – very well chilled, no food needed.

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