Monthly Archives: August 2011

La Capilla Merlot rosé, 2009

I’m slowly working my way through the case of rosés, but with the temperamental British weather that we’ve had over the last few weeks, I have been more drawn to warming red wines than icy cold pinks!

Bottle 4 of our Tesco Case was opened when my sister and her boyfriend came round for dinner. We were planning on a barbeque but, surprise surprise, the rain prevented us from dining outside! Despite the weather, we were determined to power through so the rosé was chilled, and the burgers, sausages and chicken skewers were cooked under the grill.

This deep pink rosé made from the Merlot grape in the La Mancha region of Spain is bursting with strawberry flavours. Slightly lacking in body and texture, yet medium-dry and refreshing, I could imagine it pairing well with salty flavours, or as an aperitif with a bowl of juicy green olives on the side.

It is available for around £5-6 from most major retailers, so why not give it a try this bank holiday weekend?


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Holiday Bargain

After a Great British family holiday last week, I returned home last night to be reunited with my laptop, a phone signal and an internet connection…. Hurrah!

For those evenings that we didn’t spend sipping Magners in a beer garden next to the Norfolk Broads, we stocked up on some Tesco Finest white wines to enjoy with our summer evening meals. On offer for just £10 for 2 bottles, we simply couldn’t resist these two…

The 2011 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc was delicious – crisp and fruity with a lingering citrus and gooseberry finish. Since this wine is usually priced at £8.99, if you are a Sav fan, this is definitely worth snapping up while you can!

The real star of the show, however, was the 2010 Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc region of France. I have never (to my knowledge) tasted a wine made from the Picpoul grape, so I was excited to give it a try.

With enticing flavours of crisp British apples, a hint of lemon, and a dry yet creamy aftertaste, this was the perfect summer refresher! Need a second opinion? Watch Tom Cannavan’s review of this wine here. I would certainly agree with him in comparing this to a refreshing Muscadet.

This wine was fantastic on its own, but if you fancy pairing it with food, try it alongside delicate chicken or seafood dishes.

Usually priced at £7.29 (entirely worth it in my opinion), at the moment, not only can you purchase 2 bottles for £10 in Tesco stores, but you can also grab a case of 6 for just £21.36 (that’s only £3.56 per bottle) over at Tesco Wines.

I’ll be buying in bulk for some late summer al fresco dining.

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Conde de Valdemar ‘Finca Alto Cantabria’ Fermentado en Barrica Blanco 2010

It is no secret that I love Spanish wine, and given that Wines from Rioja is a key client at Phipps PR where I work, it should come as no surprise that I tend to get rather excited whenever I spot a bottle of Rioja in shops or on a restaurant menu.

Over the last few months, I have learnt that Rioja is home to a whole variety of wines- many of which are white or rosé. Rioja does not just mean ‘red’ as many people (including me a year or so ago) believe.

Recently I came across this barrel-fermented white wine from Rioja…

The 2009 bottle is available for £12.95 from – and while this is double what I might usually pay for a bottle of wine (I still have the student mindset), this wine is, in my opinion, completely worth it!

Golden yellow in colour with a greenish tint, this wine is incredibly fruity on the nose with apple and melon flavours. Intensely oaky and full bodied, it gives way to rounded peach flavours in the tasting.

I loved this wine, however, given that it is oaked, I would say it is definitely one to pair with food. In our case, we partnered it with mozzarella stuffed chicken wrapped in Parma ham (not very Spanish I know!) The salty flavours of the ham complimented the oakiness of this wine perfectly, although I would perhaps opt for a goat’s cheese over mozzarella next time.

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Sainsbury’s Pinot Noir

Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s added to their extensive range of House wines taking the total up to 21. I have already reviewed and raved about their House Sauvignon Blanc, and last week, while browsing the wine aisle, I came across a new addition – the Pinot Noir, priced at just £4.49 a bottle.

Interestingly, this wine is sourced from Romania, a country which until recently, for most UK consumers, has pretty much gone unnoticed in the world of wine.

Granted, the standard Sainsbury’s bottle isn’t entirely inspiring, but it is clear and concise for all those looking to know the important details without having the connoisseur blurb attached!

I detected a slightly mulled scent with this wine as well as spiced cherry flavours in the tasting. As the bottle states, it has a ‘smooth and mellow’ finish – for me, an ultimate easy- drinking red.

Since the weather has taken a turn for the worst, alongside this wine, we enjoyed some rather wintry dishes – a starter of beetroot, goat’s cheese, orange and pine nut salad (a great companion to Pinot Noir according to Olly Smith) followed by a rich, but simple beef stroganoff (see recipe below – adapted from Olly Smith’s Eat & Drink).

Beef stroganoff – serves 2

250g rump steak
10g flour
10g butter
1tbsp olive oil
150g mushrooms, sliced
½ onion, sliced
1tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Juice of ½ lemon
60g plain yoghurt or crème fraiche
Black pepper
½ handful chopped parsley
Rice or crusty bread, to serve

1. Trim the fat from the meat and cut into small chunks. Coat in the flour
2. Cook the onion and mushrooms in a frying pan with the melted butter for 3 minutes or until softened
3. In another pan, heat up the olive oil and brown the meat
4. Add the onions and mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and tomato puree. Cook for 5- 10 minutes
5. Season with salt and pepper, and add the yoghurt. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes
6. Serve with rice or crusty bread plus a sprinkling of chopped parsley

Luke enjoyed it!

What I love about the Sainsbury’s House range is that it pulls no punches, makes no extravagant claims, and allows you to experiment with different grape varietals without breaking the bank.

On the back of every bottle there is even an ‘if you like this’ tip. In the case of the Pinot Noir, ‘if you like this… We’ve grouped together other wines in the same aisle so look for ‘smooth and mellow’ on the label and you’ll be sure to enjoy it’ – perfect if you aren’t too confident in making those tricky wine choices!


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An Unimpressive Aperitif!

Just a short post today to say that bottle 3 of our 6 rosés was incredibly disappointing.

On Sunday evening, since we were going out for an Indian meal, I was rifling through the Tesco case looking for a suitable aperitif or for something that paired well with spicy food. This rosé professed to do just that…

(excuse the poor camera skills!)

Ever the sophisticated diner, my pre- dinner nibbles consisted of some spicy Bombay mix and chilli cashew nuts. Before tainting my taste buds with those, I had a sip of this pale amber wine.

Despite claiming to contain ‘subtle notes of pomegranate, grapefruit and raspberry on the nose’, I found it entirely lacking in aroma (too subtle for me I’m afraid), and on the palate, it was not ‘crisp and refreshing’, but highly acidic with an unpleasant alcoholic aftertaste (not too dissimilar to the taste left in your mouth after one too many vodkas on a night out!)

I did try to find something positive to say about it, but even with a mouthful of Bombay mix, I just couldn’t bring myself to drink it!

So far, only one of the 3 rosés has come up trumps – I’ll keep you posted on the rest!

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