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 A Couple of Friday Treats and News of Temporary Changes.

September is not only the beginning of autumn but it also starts a period of domestic disruption for yours truly.

We commence a process that culminates in our moving to a smaller house in the garden of the current one.

Meanwhile, though, we must move into one (and, potentially, two) temporary homes until building work is complete – probably in the New Year.

“What has this to do with me?” I hear you ask.

Well, moving house reduces the time available for other things and, consequently, this first re-shuffle will cut the number of weekly posts from two to one for most of September.

That will be the normal Top Tip feature but it will appear on Thursdays not Mondays for the next fortnight or so.

Normal Thursday (more detailed) posts should resume on 28 September with a look at the re-modelled Lidl Wine Tour expected to start on that day.

Monday Top Tips should resume three days earlier – on 25 September.

Fear not though, the quest for optimal value selections will continue with the usual gusto throughout the month.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of “Friday Night Treat” options to help quench thirsts as we shuffle, probably reluctantly, into the new season.

As is normal here, pictures and hyperlinks are provided where possible to guide you straight to the right wine on shelf or web page.

Starting in Eastern Europe

2022 Dragon Hills Pinot Noir (£10.99 at Virgin Wines and 12.5% abv):

In summertime, we often enjoy pinot noir as a major component of rosé.

Now the variety appears in an orthodox format in this example from the consistently impressive vineyards of Romania.

Light in body with little tannin, it is from a top producer there and provides nutty plum, cherry and raspberry flavours that are just perfect for drinking with lighter meals.

That fruity foundation is ably supported here by good acidity and hints of chocolate, mint and baking spice.

Then heading north-west

2021 50 Degrees Dry Riesling (£10.95 at Slurp and 12%):

Germany’s Rheingau region (with so many famous wine villages) claims to be the birthplace of riesling and, nowadays, is an important producer of dry versions like this.

Riesling’s classic kerosene aromas appear briefly here but melt away completely before reaching the palate.

In their place come orchard fruit components supported by a prickle of zesty lime acidity.

To round things off nicely, you can also detect a trace of the slate minerality that Northern German vineyards do well.

Call in again next Thursday when, as I have explained, the spotlight falls on Top Tips – focussing, as ever, on options at a store near you that represent especially good value.

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David Neil Mitchell

Hope the move goes well.

Brian Elliott

Thank you David. Helped by the good weather, it all feels like being on holiday at the moment.

Julian Cowburn

Thanks for letting us know of the temporary disruption which is quite understandable. Best wishes for the move and your new home.

Brian Elliott

Thanks Julian and for your understanding over the temporary changes. Normality feels a distant paradise at the moment

Paul Davies

Great to see a Riesling highlighted in your post.The Wine Society’s own label Austrian Riesling 2022 £9.95 is a drier style but with scintillating purity and a lemon/lime splash.Won Decanter Gold and is terrific value.Subdued aromatics and a Riesling that would win over many nay sayers.Good luck with the house move.

Brian Elliott

Thanks for the good wishes over the house move, Paul. Never an easy task. As for riesling, you hit on a good point. The task is not to select a good example (and there are plenty) but to overcome the “naysayers” as you describe them. Here riesling does not help us because those initial kerosene aromas can be off-putting. Slowly versions are emerging that do minimise it, but patience is important because the wine’s flavours and versatility are so worth waiting for.

Brian Elliott

Incidentally, next Thursday’s post commends an inexpensive High Street option that showcases what riesling does well.


Hope the move runs smoothly.
On another topic I see that Tesco have changed their ‘finest’ prosecco.
It’s the same winemaker but it’s not Valdobbiadene any more. It’s now Finest Prosecco DOC. The important G has gone!

Brian Elliott

Thank for your good wishes over the house move. As for the Prosecco, that is exactly the type of tip that the site needs; thank you. It enables me to sample the new version to see how it compares with its predecessor.
As you imply, the Garantita part is important since examples from the hillier Conegliano Valdobbiadene region tend, on average, to shine that little bit more brightly.

Bob Johnson

I’m in sunny Spain just now and am enjoying some lovely Rioja as you would expect. The Glorioso is a favourite which is also available at the Wine Society. I hope that the building work and move goes well for you.

Brian Elliott

As you say, Bob, Glorioso is indeed “glorious” Rioja which the Co-op used to list as well. Enjoy the sun and the wine – not necessarily in that order.


Your impending move does add even more interest to your posts. Hope it goes well. Enjoy the benefits when it’s all done.

Brian Elliott

Thanks Tony. The benefits should indeed be worth the wait – not least to see the improvements modern insulation bring. I will try to keep subscribers updated – without over-doing it.

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