Last week’s decision not to identify one wine that was less than successful, divided opinion.
“People should be warned about something likely to disappoint”, was one response.
Others felt that praise for successful wines should be balanced by candour when things have not worked out.
That, they suggest, gives the good candidates even greater credibility.
I get that and understand the points being made.
However, I take a different view.
Caustic, over-the-top, critical judgements can amuse writer and reader alike, but they merely suggest what not to buy.
Knowing that never puts a decent drop in anyone’s glass.
Empty glasses are, surely, the very opposite of what sites like this are all about.
In short, my aim is to provide a recommendation facility not an appraisal service – there are already many good examples of those.
There are practical factors too.
I may just have had a defective bottle or been sent one from an earlier, tired-out vintage.
So, my primary focus for subscribers will remain on wines I think you should try – although I shall continue providing feedback to suppliers when something falls short.
On a positive note, here are two that certainly do not fall short in any respect and which I can recommend with confidence.
In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.
Superb Fairtrade Blend
2020 Bosman Adama Fairtrade Red (£10.50 at the Co-op and 14% abv):
- A brilliant eight grape blend.
- From a gifted South African producer.
- Has smooth cherry and loganberry flavours.
- Only limited tannin but firm acidity.
- Also provides clove, chocolate and herbal hints.
Fairtrade fortnight may have just ended but that is no reason not to celebrate this excellent blend from a South African fairtrade producer.
90% of the wine is a GSM blend – but with cinsault added and shiraz (not grenache) in the lead.
No fewer than four grapes make up the last 10%, – tempranillo, primitivo, nero d’avola and viognier.
Perfumed and brilliantly integrated, the result delivers smooth cherry, loganberry and plum flavours with firm acidity (but only limited tannin).
Secondary flavours here include suggestions of vanilla, clove, chocolate and oregano.
NB:- The Co-op confirm the in-store price shown here even though their website shows a different one.
Back to Europe Now
2021 Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Branco (£11.95 at Slurp and 13%):
- Uses a zippy Portuguese white grape.
- Melon and red apple flavours lead the parade.
- Herbal and spice undercurrents.
- Grapefruit acidity provides real verve.
- Works well with fish.
Great wine on its own but food matchers should note that this classy white is an ideal companion for fish.
It is produced from the zingy arinto grape in Portugal’s Douro Valley – an area better known for its red wines and port but don’t let that inhibit you.
Herbal, yet underpinned by clean citrus aromas, this guy brings us fresh red apple and ripe melon flavours.
Those components are admirably supported by firm and zesty grapefruit acidity and a mace centred depth.
Eddie “the Eagle Eyed” Alert.
I have been expecting a ”Sainsbury's Buy 6 and save 25% on selected bottles” promotion but be careful, if you blink, you may miss it.
It started yesterday and only runs until Mothers Day on Sunday the 19th!
However, it does contain some rather decent bottles of bubbles to celebrate with mum.
A good use of the double-dip in price could be Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire Rosé, (was £12 but now £10.50 and £7.88 when you buy 6) and Taste the Difference Crémant d’Alsace, (was £12, now £10.50 and £7.88 when you buy 6).
For a fruity, flavourful and fragrant red from the Italian Dolomites, Taste The Difference Marzemino Trentino, was £9. now £7 and £5.25 when you buy 6.
This could hit the spot for adventurous types happy to try something of tremendous value and a little rarer to most of the big supermarkets, but delightful all the same, to accompany the Sunday lunch roast, especially Spring lamb.
Restrictions often apply to these promotions to exclude certain locations, types of stores or bottles under a certain price. Do check websites or instore information for details
In this particular case with Sainsbury's, the exclusions seem to be bottles of wine under £5, bottles 200ml and under, all ‘Sainsbury's House Wine range, all fortified wine, boxed wine and gift sets.[Thanks Eddie, really helpful stuff … Editor]
Tune in again on Monday when value at budget price points is the central theme of my latest Top Tips post.
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