Monday, 4 October 2010

Virgin Wines - Part 1

Right, so we ordered a case from Virgin Wines, handpicked following my rules, and using the £40 off voucher. I've posted previously what we bought (here:). I must say, my first impressions were not great! Eight days went by between ordering and delivery (which apparently isn't their norm). Then I find out that the Ridgeview 2006 was substituted for the 2007 without notice and one of the "single vineyard" wines was actually "single valley" i.e. a regional wine on the bottle. Hmmmm. However, one email later and they were quick to redeem themselves with a refund for the Ridgeview and free delivery next time.

Anyway, regardless, we tucked in...

Chateau du Seuil, Bordeaux Rosé, 2008

A Welsh connection here - this Chateau was bought by a Welsh couple in the 80s and is now run by their daughter and her husband. The bottle is adorned with a beautiful Welsh Dragon. 13.5%

The Look: Lovely colour on this one, a deep raspberry red and ruby.

The Smell: Smells great - strawberry jam, spun sugar, toffe apples and caramel.

The Taste: The first thing you get is sweet, honeyed fruit and then and then the hit of the alcohol. There's an odd sweet/acid balance - the sweetness gives way to a dry acidity. Alcohol is too noticeable.

The Score: Not bad, not superb. Quite run of the mill Rosé. 6.5/10

VFM: This was £7.57 (based on the average bottle price of the case after discount) giving pretty good VFM = 0.86. £8.99 separately so use your discounts wisely.


Vinzelo, Vinho Tinto, Douro DOC, Portugal, 2008

From the "up and coming" appellation of Douro in Portugal. Not sure what grapes are in this exactly but it's more than likely a blend of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz among others.  13%

The Look: This is a dark opaque purple turing to violet at the rim.

The Smell: Smoky blackcurrant and cherry. A bit of leather. Like left bank Bordeaux. Slight smell of cork taint initially but it was clean.

The Taste: Plenty of fruit, acidity and tannin. Alcohol is a little "hot". Long finish. Tastes of cassis/blackcurrant, some black cherry and mellowed to a plummy taste after an hour or so. Acidity was a little off balance and a little overdone the same as the alcohol. This might be better with food.

The Score: A bit off-balance. Too much acidity, too much alcohol. Might mellow in a few years or might turn really nasty. Hard to say.  6.5/10

VFM: Again, based on the average bottle price (£7.57) VFM = 0.86. Good value, but not really a recommendation. Actually cheaper on its own at £6.99.

Ridgeview Cuveé Merret, Grosvenor, Blanc de Blancs, 2007

English "Champagne" in all but name. Blanc de Blancs using 100% Chardonnay grapes from their Surrey vineyard and done in the Traditional Method (i.e. the way Champagne is made). 12%

The Look: A pale mid-yellow. Aggressive bubbles.

The Smell: Smells of orchard fruit, apples and pears. Some baked bread smells as well.

The Taste: Very similar to the smell, orchard fruit with some tropical hints and maybe something citrusy like grapefruit. A "fine mousse" as they say, lots of bubbles. Super-dry. Probably not to everyones' liking.

The Score: Dissapointingly, the 2007 turned up instead of the recent Decanter International Trophy winning 2006, but still, not bad at all at 7/10. Recommended, purely because it is from Britain and needs to be tried. Try and get hold of the '06 though, it's supposed to be superb!

VFM: Well at the case price of £7.57 it gets a very good value for money of VFM = 0.92, but it is £18.99 normally so use your discounts wisely, or one for special occasions only!

San Felice, Chianti Classico, Italy, 2006

The blurb says "A cut above the rest". I beg to differ... 12.5%

The Look: Brick-red with some brown tinges and an almost blood-red rim.

The Smell: A bit like a Rioja. Spicy, oaky, red fruit and cherry. Slight smell of oxidation but clean.

The Taste: At first a hit of red fruit but then an overpowering acidity followed by tannin. The bright red fruit is nice for a milli-second but then spoilt by overly harsh, horrible sourness. "Refreshing acidity" my arse - badly made wine more like.

The Score: Not good. I didn't want to finish the bottle. I even left it open for 24hrs to see if it had cooled down the following day. Still too harsh and less fruit. A poor  4/10

VFM: At the case-average price of £7.57 it gets a mediocre VFM = 0.59 but here's the joke; this is £11.99 a bottle normally. I've had better wine from a box! Total crap. Avoid. In their defence, Virgin Wines did also refund me for this bottle. The money-back guarantee says that any bottle not enjoyed will be refunded.

So, there's the first four. Distinctly average I guess. I hope the other 8 are better. We'll find out soon enough...

Speak to you soon.





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