Sunday, 10 October 2010

Virgin Wines - Part 2

Welcome to the second part of the Virgin Wines case, handpicked mixed-12 according to my rules. We really were hoping for better things after the first four. Nevertheless, we plundered into the next four. One red and three whites is how it rolled this week...

Beneficio, Single Vineyard Shiraz-Viognier, McLaren Vale 2008

The famous blend of Cote-Rotie, Shiraz Viognier. McLaren Vale in South Australia produces some superb Shiraz. The Viognier is meant to give it a "lift". This is £16.49 normally. I can't help but be excited opening this... 14.5%

The Look: A deep, dense, dark purple almost to the rim.

The Smell: Spicy, plummy, blackberry, blueberry.

The Taste: Much the same - peppery black fruit with some blueberry. Not much complexity. Can't detect any "lift" from the Viognier. Sadly, no real identity apart from fruity Aussie Shiraz - and you can get that in abundance (and even better than this) for £7.99 almost anywhere.

The Score: Don't get me wrong - it's good, but for the price its very disappointing. Seriously, £7.99 in most wine selling establishment could beat this. Would have been great for a Fiver but £16.49...!? Nah. 6.5/10

VFM: At full price this would get a paltry VFM = 0.39. As it is, this was £7.57 (based on the average bottle price of the case after discount) giving pretty good VFM = 0.86. If you can get a good discount try it, otherwise avoid: check out McPherson Wines; Andrew's Shiraz 2009, or The Full Fifteen 2008 instead. Much better. Much cheaper.


Vina Leyda, Reserve Riesling, Chile, 2008

Leyda Valley is a cool-climate sub region of the San Antonio Valley. Just 10 miles in off the Pacific coast and 55 miles west of the capital; Santiago. 12.5%

The Look: Not quite golden, but a lemonny mid-yellow.

The Smell: Citrus, grapefruits and a herby/minerally characteristic too. Lovely.

The Taste: This is great. Really fresh with a zingy acidity. I could pick out pink grapefruit, lime and exotic fruits or pomegranate on the finish. It has that herby/minerally edge to it as well which brings a bit of complexity. Stonking stuff.

The Score:  This confirms that Chile really is up there in terms of value for money. Superb.  8.5/10 Highly Recommended.

VFM: This goes for £9.99 normally (well worth it) giving a good value for money score of VFM = 0.85, but even better at the case average price (after discount) of £7.57, giving VFM = 1.12. I am going to try to seek out more of this producer's wines. They do a Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Ones to watch.

Chibet, Chardonnay, Vin Pays d'Oc, 2006

From the Languedoc region of southern France. The sun should give this more ripe fruitiness and less minerality than a Chablis or white Burgundy. Let's have a try... 12%

The Look: A real golden yellow this one. Makes a change after all the pale whites recently. Robust-looking.

The Smell: Smells of honeyed fruit, apple, citrus, spice and oak.

The Taste: Smooth, buttery, slight citrus tang with something like fruitcake or cinammon on the finish. Very nice. Oak is not overdone, neither is the acidity. Well balanced.

The Score: A good, tasty white with plenty of fruit and some complexity. You can't really ask for more for £6.99. 7/10. Recommended.

VFM: Great value here at its normal price, VFM = 1.0.

The Devil's Peak, Limited Edition Chenin Blanc, Western Cape, 2008

There is a LOT of Chenin Blanc coming out of the Cape region of South Africa, the two are almost synonymous. Can it distinguish itself...? 11.5%

The Look: Pale lemonny yellow.

The Smell: Very restrained. Not giving away a lot initially. Apple, bit of citrus and maybe some honey.

The Taste: Green apples, tangy citrus and slight honey and spice. Very drinkable and food friendly (we had it with a creamy pasta sauce). Not amazing by any stretch, but not bad either.

The Score:  A decent drop.  6.5/10

VFM: At the case-average price of £7.57 it gets a pretty good VFM = 0.86 but it's ever-so-slightly more expensive normally at £7.99 giving VFM = 0.81.

So, there's the second four! Not bad, two recommendations on the whites (one great wine), one decent drop with good value but a poor value Shiraz. Only 3 wines to go now before the case is finished (I forgot that one has to be cellared so can't be reviewed!). I'm looking forward already...

Speak to you soon.



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