Anyway, regardless, we tucked in...
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.
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.
é 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!
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.