A sparkling wine from New Zealand, made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Non-Vintage (NV). Embarassingly, I forgot to note the alcohol level, but sparklers tend to be around the 12% mark.
The Look: A huge suprise actually - it's PINK!!! I was expecting this to be a sparkling white (which it still is, kind of). An almost Rosé-like salmon pink. Some skin contact with the Pinot grapes has coloured this with a pink blush.
The Smell: Lovely smell of sweet biscuits or more accurately perhaps, "crumble mix".
The Taste: Strawberries and pink-lady apples! Very nice. Good acidity. Good bubbles. Neither of which were too aggressive.
The Score: Great stuff. Reasonably priced to celebrate any occassion and won't break the bank. 7.5/10. Recommended.
VFM: This normally goes for £11.99, making it good value when priced against Rosé champagne and gives a reasonable VFM = 0.63. However, I only paid £8.14 a bottle on-average after discount so the VFM increases to 0.92. Great value for money.
The 2008 was a Gold Medal winner at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards but they'd run out of that so I settled for the 2009. Actually 97% Malbec with 3% Cabernet Franc added to the mix. 13.5% alcohol.
The Look: A dense, dark, opaque purple with a violet rim. Also came with the most bonkers cork I've ever seen (see pic below main pic) - Bright fluorescent orange plastic. Certainly distinctive!
The Smell: Initial smell is smoky, leathery, black cherries, blackcurrant and almost Bordeaux-like hints (no doubt coming from the Cab Franc which I didn't realise was blended in until writing this). After a while, more fruit was dispalyed especially blackberry.
The Taste: Spicy, plummy and black cherry-like taste. Warming i.e. warms the chest! Balanced acidity. Not too harsh but fresh. Some tannin present. And a decently long finish. After an hour or so, much more blackberry and sweet black fruit was evident.
The Score: The more we had the better it became. Developed into a stunner 8/10. Recommended
VFM: Normal price of £9.99 yields a VFM of 0.80 but at the case average price VFM = 0.98. Very good value, either way.
This one was actually off (volatile acidity). I swear that it changed in front of my eyes, fine one minute, faulty the next! But more than likely, my palate didn't immediately pick up on it. A shame, we were looking forward to German Pinot (or Spätburgunder as they sometimes call it, which translates to "Late Burgundian".No score unfortunatley.
Craggy Range, Block 14 Syrah, Gimblett Gravels, 2008
Ever so slightly pissed off that I ordered the 2007 but the 2008 came. 2007 was superb for the Hawke's Bay area of NZ. 2008, in all honesty, I know nothing about. Anyway, this is from the Gimblett Gravels area, the spiritual home for New Zealand Syrah (never called Shiraz here for some reason). 13.4%
The Look: The bottle is majestic! Class oozes from the label and colour scheme. The wine itself a super-dense, completely opaque purple. Only a very slight lightening at the rim to a violet colour.
The Smell: Straight from opening it exudes a peppery, spicy scent mixed with dark fruits such as blackberry, blueberry, plum and something floral like violets or lavender. D says "Soap and sweetcorn" - I agree with the "soap" possbily coming from the lavender/violets but "sweetcorn" I couldn't smell! :)
The Taste: Right this bugger wasn't cheap so I was determined to write as detailed an account as possible. The bottle was left open for an hour before tasting:
The first thing you notice is a striking, vibrant acidity.
This then flourishes into black fruit across your tongue - blackberry, blackcurrant and slight hints of blueberry.
Then it delivers a spicy, peppery after-kick.
Mouth-feel is very smooth. Some tannin evident.
Lovely long finish.
There are hints of Aussie Shiraz at the fruit end, but more complexity and the peppery-ness (if that's even a word) sets it apart. Absolute class. After an hour or so even more fruit, aroma and spice came out.
Still a bit young. With time, the remaining tannin will integrate seamlessly and the vibrancy of the acidity should fade slightly giving even more pleasure. The bottle says it's capable of being aged up to 7 years from bottling date (so 2015 effectivley). I'd say in 2 years it'll be at its peak, but hey, I'm no expert!
The Score: Absolute class. Delicious. Damned expensive. 9/10. Highly Recommended if you've got 20 sheets burning a hole in your pocket! If this was £12 a bottle I'd be out robbing Grannies to pay for a case. At £18.99 is it worth it? Phooo, tough decision. I'd like to say yes, and I think I'm going to...Yes it is worth it, but not very often. Once a year treat I think.
VFM: Normal price of £18.99 yields a VFM of 0.47 which is immaterial really, this is a treat, not value for money drinking. The case price averaging out to £8.14 eases the pain a little giving VFM = a whopping 1.11.
So, that's the first part of the Oddbins case done. 3 out of 4 recommended (one highly) and one faulty. Not a bad start at all. We'll be getting stuck into some whites this week, so as ever...
Speak to you soon.