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The Grapevine

A blog from the team at Great Western Wine

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Souson, Ailala Ribeiros Do Avia 2014

    Ailala Souson

    Souson is known for its bracing acidity which is smoothed off here with judicious use of oak – around 4 months in barrel. It’s vividly fruity – with plum skin, blueberry, cherry and raspberry. Incredibly fresh and a great red for the summer!

    Was £12.75
    Now £11.50 

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles
    Prices are valid until 31.01.16

  • Patrick Recommends

    Patrick Recommends

    Caggiano Greco di Tufo 'Devon'

    Caggiano Greco di Tufo
    'Devon' 2014

    "This wine exudes class. It is rare to get such
    texture in a white wine without overt use
    of oak. Great acidity accompanies the
    richness of texture creating a beautiful
    balanced wine."

    Tasting Note:

    Fantastic aroma of peach, lemon, fresh herbs and pear, becoming increasingly honeyed as it sits in the glass. Lovely rounded texture, cut-across with lively acidity. Distinctive - fresh, yet gentler and richer-textured than Riesling while crisper and livelier than white Burgundy - just plain delicious.

    Click here to find out more

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Bertani, Soave DOC, Sereole 2014

    Alan's Wine of the Week

    The nose opens up with sweet scent of elder and pear blossom and develops into apricot, pineapple and melon. In the mouth it is deep, mellow and very harmonious with a full body, soft and round mouthfeel and a note of spice and oak on the finish.

    Was £11.50
    Now £9.95 

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles
    Prices are valid until 31.01.16

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon Valle de Uco Mendoza, 2012

    Tomero Cabernet Sauvignon

    Crisp, intense red with violet highlights. Strong notes of spices and red fruits, such as strawberry and raspberry. Delicate touches of toasted vanilla and coconut introduced by the oak. Well structured with lively fruit flavours and recognisable tannins. The resulting wine is alive with red fruit and easy to drink.

    Was £10.95 
    Now £9.50 

    (Prices valid until 29.01.16)
    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Sticky Cinnamon Figs

    Recommended with Höpler, Trockenbeerenauslese.

    Complex tones that treat the nose and palate to hints of nutmeg, clove, honey, apricot and citrus.

    Sticky Figs with Hopler Trockenbeerenauslese

    Buy the Hopler, Trockenbeerenauslese here

  • Perfect Pair

    Once we understand the wine style, we can start to pair it with food. The perfect pairing will enable us to taste both the food and wine equally without one overpowering the other. Of course wines are lovely on their own, but when you get that perfect pairing it can be a memorable moment. The key to food and wine pairing is balance.

    Perfect Pair

  • Alan's Wine of the Week

    Fontanafredda, Moscato d'Asti 'Moncucco' DOCG (50cl) 2014

    Alan's Wine of the Week Fontanafredda

    Attractive bright golden yellow in the glass, with an intensely aromatic nose of white petals, ripe peaches and lightly spiced pears. Medium bodied with a delicious honeyed richness of concentrated grapey fruit flavours, delicately balanced with cleansing acidity and a youthful, lively petillance that lifts the palate and keeps the wine refreshing and dangerously easy to drink!

    £9.25   £7.95
    Price valid until midnight 12/01/2016

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Wine Style Guide

    To accompany our previous post on how to taste wine, we've put together a handy style guide for you to use when tasting.  The printable guide below can help when choosing what style of wine to buy too, based on your likes/dislikes in flavour.

    Wine Style Guide

  • How to taste wine.. like a professional!

    If you're keen to become a bit of a wine buff then this step by step guide for how to taste wine is a great way to start.  Print this guide out and see if you can fill a few tasting notes out yourself, or even better you could host a tasting at home and compare notes with friends.

    How to taste wine like a professional

  • Festive Fizz

    The countdown is on, and corks are popping all over the country, as the festive season peaks. But with millions of shiny bottles of Champagne and sparkling wines stacked high in wine shops and supermarkets, and a vast selection on offer, the questions are, what to buy, and what to drink when?

    Champagne Taittinger, Brut RéserveBest for gifts……the Great Western Wine Champagne and sparkling wine range covers just about every gift occasion and budget, however, for a loved one, especially close family,  a beautifully packaged gift box of Taittinger Champagne will always deliver.  Choose either the traditional Taittinger Champagne Brut Reserve NV, in its shiny, white and metallic box -  an ethereal, elegant Champagne, subtle and charming , with Chardonnay dominating the blend. Crisp and stylish. If the budget will allow, go for even more impact with a magnum of the same.

    Best for Bling… There’s only one bottle for this – the red carpet, disco ball glitz that is Taittinger Champagne Nocturne NV  - you can’t miss this  delightful diva,  glittering in her sparkly purple dress, and nestled in a similarly ‘bling’ shimmering box.  Nocturne is a Champagne, which is just slightly off dry – not sweet, but not quite as dry as the Brut Reserve; it’s a fabulous Champagne to go with food, and I love to serve it with spicy style canapés.

    Champagne J-M Gobillard, Brut Grande Réserve Premier CruBest for Christmas Day….. Champagne has to be on the list for the main event; it’s the day the family comes together to celebrate and indulge. The average family spends a small fortune both on presents, but also on ensuring there is a feast on the table – so Champagne should be the order of the day, but you don’t have to fork out on many of the big brands, when there are delicious, lesser-known, and far more exciting gems to be found ; I’ve written about this before – Gobillard Champagne Premier Cru Grande Reserve NV is outstanding; rich, creamy, with hints of toast and roasted hazelnuts, and bold red fruit. It’s made by a small family grower, rather than one of the big Champagne houses, and at the moment is simply unbelievable value with £10 off at £19.50.

    Here’s my tip – Champagne always benefits from a little more ageing, it add complexity and richness. Based on this phenomenal deal, for this award winner, buy 2 cases – drink one this Christmas and stash the other one away until next Christamas; then drink the one you’re going to buy this weekend at Christmas 2016, and buy your Christmas 2017 case of Champagne at Christmas 2016 – confused? Don’t be . just keep a case in stock with a year to age for each festive season. Trust me . It works.

    Best for impressing guests…. Let’s face it, however relaxed, we like to appear when entertaining, we secretly always like to impress friends and neighbours, be it with home made canapés, perfectly styled and themed decorations,  or bespoke cocktails. So add to the wow factor, by serving your fizz in magnums this year ( one big, heavy bottle that holds the content of 2 normal bottles). It looks impressive, stylish, and certainly makes a statement.  If you want Champagne, then the glorious Gobillard Premier Cru Grande Reserve NV, also comes in a handy sized magnum! … and by the way Champagne ages more slowly in magnums, due to the ‘wine to bottle’ ratio, so that’s even more of a reason to hide a couple of cases away for the next year or two.

    Ruggeri, Prosecco Brut Quartese DOCG MagnumIf you want a better value alternative for fizz, but still want the ‘wow’ effect, why not try a top notch Prosecco Ruggeri Brut Quartese NV DOCG (1.5lt)? it’s bright, perky, with real personality, and style, coming from one of the top producers, and the best vineyard sites in the Prosecco region. Creamy, and floral, it has great character, is a big step up from standard Prosecco, with its lovely orchard fruit flavours, but won’t break the bank.

    Best for parties…. Keep ahead of the pack by setting a new trend; Prosecco is so ‘last season’ darling, instead impress your guests with your cutting edge choices and  show off your style and knowledge by serving Cleto Chiarli Pignoletto Brut NV, a delightfully fresh, and similarly  crisp, frothy fizz, from north eastern Italy, close to Parma and Modena.  In an imposing bottle, it’s not dissimilar to Prosecco, but made from the Pignoletto grape, and is a tad livelier and richer, with bright russet apple fruit, elderflower and peaches – you’ll get top marks for innovation.

    Best for Bucks Fizz and Bellinis…. One of my rules is never to waste Champagne or top quality Sparkling wine on Bucks fizz or cocktails – what’s the point of serving a beautiful bottle of fizz, if the flavour is changed totally by the addition of orange juice or peach nectar.  This is where you can cut a few corners and save a few pennies – don’t buy any nasty or green, but opt for simple, approachable, and great value styles of fizz, such as the lively, fruity Stelle d’Italia Prosecco.

    Peller Ice Cuvée Sparkling (Vidal Dosage)Best for mince pies….. the sweet, scented intensity of mince pies doesn’t work with very  dry wines, so indulge in a bottle of the gloriously fragranced and sumptuously rich Peller Ice Cuvee Sparkling NV ( Vidal Dosage), a delectable delight of a wine, full of golden promise – lively, fruity, and top class, with hints of apricots and ripe peaches, and a seamless silkiness, which comes from the addition of a small amount of the liquid nectar called ice wine, made in tiny quantities from the droplets of juice from grapes frozen on the vine in Canada. Also perfect with rich pates, and smoked hams, and spicy canapés.

    Best for Christmas pudding… after all the richness of the Christmas feast, I often crave a glass of something light, refreshing, and palate cleansing when the Christmas pudding arrives; a great favourite is Fontanafredda Moscato d’Asti Moncucco, served in a handy 50cl bottle, and with a refreshingly low 5.5% alcohol, which is sometimes what is needed at the end of Christmas lunch. It perks up the taste buds with its joyous, grapey freshness and lively, sherbet mousse. Bright, gently sweet, with  aromas of wild flowers, jasmine and freshy crushed grapes, it has a delightful freshness and citrusy lift, which provides a welcome lift and cuts through all the richness of the food.

    Best for Christmas Eve…. This is the time when neighbours and friends often pop round for a lunchtime drink, then family congregate in the early hours of the evening. I have 2 strategies for party fizz here…. Serve either  a top quality Prosecco, such as the Prosecco Ruggeri Brut Quartese NV, or make a statement with an equally good, but different fizz from Spain – Torello Cava Brut  Reserva NV Special Edition, is bold, bright, and full of lively, apple and pear fruit, with a creamy edge and a citrus twist. The bottle alone is a talking point, with its black and white, funky packaging.

    Ferrari Maximum BrutLater in the evening, with close family around you, bring out a true international award-winner, Ferrari Brut Maximum NV,       Ferrari ( nothing to do with the car, but on a similar level in terms of style, recently won ‘sparkling producer of the year’, in the 2015 Champagne and sparkling wine World Championships. Made in the traditional method from the Chardonnay grape, it’s the epitome of elegance, with rich, ripe, brioche, roasted hazelnut- infused aromas and flavours – warming, moreish, stylish and far better value than many cheap Champagnes.

    Best for Boxing Day buffet parties….. this is the day, when the festivities continue, often with wider family and friends joining in; but everyone’s still feeling replete from the Christmas Day food marathon. This is the time for the freshest, crispest, liveliest of dry sparklers, so try Chateau Rives-Blanches Blanquette de Limoux 2012, a great, and chat-worthy alternative to many other fizzes, and about as zesty and bright as they go. It’s made in the high hills of Limoux in southern France from the little known, and local, Mauzac grape. Fresh as a daisy, uplifting, zesty and perky, it’s a perfect Boxing Day fizz with crunchy apple, zingy lemon and tangy grapefruit character. Guaranteed to lift jaded palates.

    Ridgeview, Grosvenor Cuvée Merret (Blanc de Blancs)Best for a romantic Christmas proposal…..  It just has to be Rose! Do this in style with either Taittinger Brut Rose NV, full of gloriously elegant raspberry and strawberry cream flavours, enchanting in colour, delicacy and style; or impress with a point of difference – Gobillard Champagne Brut Rose NV is a a pretty, peach-hued and strawberry scented rose, with delicate wafts of red fruit, cream, and toasted hazelnuts… how could she resist?

    Best for New Year…. If it’s a big party, opt for Prosecco, or Blanquette de Limoux; however there is a continuing trend towards houseparties and more relaxed, intimate dinners. If that’s the case, welcome the New Year in, with a bit of British heritage – Ridgeview Grosvenor Cuvee Merret 2011 (Blanc de blancs) is one of the leading, and most award-winning English Sparkling wines in the UK ( and the world). English Sparkling wines are now world class, and frequently beat Champagnes at their own game in blind tastings.  From the Chardonnay grape, its accolades say it all – rich, creamy , textured, sophisticated, with warm, buttery, baked apple fruit, layers of cream, and a deep, complex style – lingering and unforgettable – certainly a wine to remember as we move into 2016.

    By Angela Mount

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