Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Laithwaites Experts' Choice Part 2

Hello again. Welcome to the 2nd part of the Laithwaites Experts' Choice case review. If you're not familiar with the Blog then please read my welcome notice here:  and see my other posts over on the right and down a bit!

Bit of a departure from tradition this week - 4 reds on the trot! The final 4 whites will be covered next time around. Also, only one was served blind as my memory had a slight renaissance and I remembered that there was an Italian Negroamaro in the case along with an Aussie Shiraz and Argie Malbec so I didn't think it was fair.

Anyway, enough of that, let's get on with it....

La Pompadour, Corbieres, France, 2007

A juicy Corbieres from the largest appelation in the Languedoc-Roussillon area of Southern France. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre et al. 14.5% alcohol.

The Look: Dark, almost opaque purple, lightening to a burgundy at the rim.

The Smell: The initial smell is like cherry, liquorice and cloves, not dissimilar to mulled wine. More blackberry and spice as time went on.

The Taste: Big. Cherry, blackberry, spice, something sweet like almonds or vanilla. Tannic. Oaky. Alcohol is powerful, maybe slightly overpowering. Like the smell, blackberry came out on top after a while.

The Score: Good, but not quite balanced. Alcohol a little overpowering burning the mouth slightly. 6.5/10 

VFM: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets a reasonable VFM = 0.73.


Masseria Cavallo, Negroamaro, Puglia, Italy, 2008

A beauty from Puglia in South-East Italy. Negroamaro is known for its perfume and "earthiness", whatever that is! 13.5% alcohol. Let's see...

The Look: Quite a dark red with purple tinges. Almost completely seethrough and white at the rim so not a big one this...

The Smell: Smells beautiful. Strawberries, flowers (violets maybe?) and something savoury.

The Taste: Very smooth, smoky strawberries. Very Pinot Noir like. More spicy red berries on the finish. Went great with our Domino's Pizza and tasted great after it. Lots of fruit and tannin.

The Score: Very good. Like a good Pinot but with a difference. 7.5/10 Recommended.

VFM: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets a pretty good VFM = 0.84, BUT, pick this one up on its own for £6.99 giving a much better value of VFM = 1.07.


Three Bridges,  Show-Reserve Shiraz, Riverina, Australia, 2007

Something potentially very special here. A show-reserve Shiraz with only 150 cases produced. From the Riverina area of New South Wales and made by Ex-Boxer Bill Calabria. 14.5 % alcohol. Let's take a look...

The Look: Super dark purple turning to violet at the rim. Opaque.

The Smell: Bluberries and menthol. Mint. I got a distinct "toothpaste" hint. Lovely.

The Taste: Bramble fruit, black plums, maybe mint or menthol. Spicy and tannic, will age well. Oaky. Ripe. Slightly overpowering alcohol not quite balanced yet. Finish is not very long.

The Score: Good, but not quite balanced. Alcohol a little overpowering and the finish is gone in 10 seconds. Needs time to develop complexity and balance out maybe? 7.5/10 Recommended - On the basis that you put this away in your cellars (or in your wardrobe like me, if you don't have one!) for a year or two and revisit it. It will probably be worthy of the 7.5 then, or better. For drinking now? Maybe not. 6.5 to 7/10 at the moment.

VFM: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets a pretty good VFM = 0.84, but this is £10.99 separately so get it in a mixed case.


Fabre Montmayou, Malbec Gran Reserva, Argentina, 2008

Coming out of Mendoza, Argentina, this Gran Reserva has been aged in 100% French Oak barrels for 12 months. Big at 14.5%. I hope this is good...

The Look: A deep, inky, iodine-like purple. Lip, teeth and even glass-staining!

The Smell: Boosh! You get hit with blackberries, smoke, sweetness and hints of leather-jacket-smell. Intoxicating. D says "Blackberry crumble!".

The Taste: Smoky, spicy blackberries, maybe plums and cherries too. Tannic but smooth. Went great with peppered steaks and just got better as the bottle was devoured. More and more blackberry fruit developed.  If I was being very critical I'd say the acidity is still a bit harsh and needs time to mellow. This will be absolutely superb after another couple of years in the bottle.

The Score: This is very good indeed, with the potential to be amazing with time. 8/10 Recommended - now, BUT, should get even better with time!

VFM: at the case price of £8.92 a bottle it gets a good VFM = 0.90, but this is £12.99 separately so get it in a mixed case. Although, even for £12.99 I think this might be worth it.

So there you go. Not a bad finish to the reds of the laithwaites case - 3 recommendations. For value, get the Negroamaro on its own. For a potential great wine, get the Malbec. And if you fancy putting one away for a while to see if it gets better then maybe the Shiraz.


Next time, back to the usual 2 reds & 2 whites, from the Tesco case and after that, I'll finish up the Laithwaites case with the 4 remaining whites - all blind - (I haven't got a clue what's left in there! LOL. Should be a laugh, I'm even worse at blind-tasting whites than reds!)


Speak to you soon.






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