28 November 2015

How do you review wine in 140 characters?

I was recently lucky enough to be asked to join the Aldi Wine Club. I say ask. I begged and they accepted. 

If you haven't heard of the Aldi Wine Club, it's basically a club for amateur tasters to review some of the wines the supermarket has on their shelves. The deal is, they send me wine every month and I have to write a review on Twitter.

Which means writing a review on a bottle of wine in 140 characters. And, using the #AldiWineClub hashtag.

So, I was delighted when my first batch of wines turned up this week. A bottle of Prosecco and a Chardonnay. 

At first, I was quite excited because I'd received two wines I wouldn't generally buy. 

I like white wine, but I'd usually buy a Sauvignon Blanc rather than a Chardonnay. So the Chardonnay Pays D'oc wouldn't be something I would generally buy. And, I love Prosecco, but it's the sort of thing I would choose for a special occasion and would probably splash out. So the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante DOCG retailing at £7.49 wouldn't be something that would end up in my basket.

But I love to try new wines, and I was super excited to receive something different to the usual. Plus, I could tell friends and family I was a wine taster for Aldi. Recognise.

However, my initial excitement quickly turned to panic. How do I review a bottle of wine in 140 characters? 140 characters is nothing! And, I'm opening the first bottle this weekend, so any advice would be gratefully received!

20 November 2015

I went to Majestic to buy a bottle of wine.... And bought 2!

Yes, that's right, I went to Majestic and didn't have to buy six bottles of wine. 

Majestic has recently merged with Naked Wines and new CEO, Gormley, is making a whole load of changes at the wine retailer. The first of which is to scrap the ridiculous rule where you have to buy six bottles of wine

Anyone who reads my blog will know that I am a big fan of Naked Wines. If you are interested in them, you can read all about them here. So, if I'm going to buy in bulk, then I generally buy them from Naked Wines.

But, I really like some of the wines in Majestic and I'd much rather buy from there than a supermarket. Which is why I am absolutely delighted that they've ditched their six bottle rule.

So, I went into the Salisbury branch of Majestic today. It's perfect for me because it's on my usual afternoon dog walk and they let me come in with the dog (and the baby!)

I think the store helpers all thought I was a bit mental because I must have said about five times how excited I was that I could now buy single wines. But, there are very few places to buy wine in Salisbury (outside of supermarkets) and I'm nearly always on foot with the dog and six bottles is too many to lug around. And, it was a silly rule anyway.

The great thing about Majestic is that they always have a selection of wines open to try. And, you can come in and help yourself. No pressure, no hard sell. The dog and the baby love it.
The tasting counter at Majestic Salisbury

You can look on the website for your local branch and it will tell you what wines they have on the tasting counter. This week, they had a selection of Malbecs (as well as some white wines, a whisky, a rum and a brandy) that I was really keen to try. 

When I walked in, the trainee manager, Luis, welcomed me. He was really friendly and explained to me about the new pricing structure. Basically, you can buy individual bottles, but you only get discounts if you buy six. They call it "mix six" and it basically means that you'll get at least 10% off if you buy six or more bottles.

The labels are a bit confusing because they display the individual price and the "mix six" price. So they explained it to me three times when I was in the store. But I guess it is new and people will get used to it. 

I really like Malbecs and they had four on tasting. The Definition Malbec 2014, the Marcelo Pelleriti Malbec 2014 Valle De Uco, Mendoza, the Argento Malbec 2014 Mendoza and the Villa Nueva Malbec 2014 Mendoza.
The Malbecs that I tasted today

My favourite was definitely the Definition Malbec. The Definition range is Majestic's new own label range which they launched in September. But, it's certainly not a cheap white label. To give you an idea of the price, it costs £11.99 a bottle of £7.99 a bottle if you buy six. 

The Definition Malbec is from Argentina and is rich, plummy and chocolatey and easily my favourite from the day. I also bought a bottle of the Villa Nueva Malbec which was also lovely, but perhaps less punchy. I intend to do a blind taste testing with my husband tonight to establish whether I really did make the right decision or if my eyes were swayed by price.

I'll let you know the results.

14 November 2015

What I drank this weekend: Pinot Noir (of course)

I was once told that the best Pinot Noir comes from either Burgundy in France or Marlborough in New Zealand. This is due to the climate and soil as Pinot Noir tends to like cool climates.

And since then, I've been a bit of a snob about it and tend to only buy my beloved red from those regions. The same with Sauvignon Blanc.

However, recently I have started to stray into trying different regions. Don't get me wrong, I love the light and earthy taste of a Marlborough Pinot Noir, but lately I've been trying some from South East Australia and Oregon.

Oregon is cooler than most Pinot sites in California and so tends to produce a lighter wine more similar to the Burgundy and less fruity and punchy than those from Sonoma. I have particularly enjoyed drinking the Underwood Pinot Noir from Marks and Spencer. At £13 a bottle it isn't cheap, but I think worth every penny. It doesn't have the smoky, mushroomy taste of some Pinots but its fruity and full of ripe cherries and raspberries and of course violets.

Now, when it comes to Australia, I'd generally be inclined to buy a Shiraz or a Cabernet. However, the South Eastern region can be cooler and I've recently become a fan of the Telegraph Station Pinot Noir. Made exclusively for Tesco it is half the price of the Marks and Spencer Pinot Noir at £6 a bottle. And it is delicious. Again, not mushroomy like the Burgundies but bright and fresh and full of raspberry and black cherry. In fact, it has recently been awarded a  International Wine & Spirit Competition Quality Award IWSC Bronze award.

So, if you're coming to visit me over my birthday or Christmas, feel free to bring either of these two reds. They are both great, but I think the Marks and Spencer wine is the winner. So, I'd be especially pleased if you brought this.

Slurrp sensibly and that :)