Another year, another 700 bottles to get through - all in the line of duty
ANOTHER bibulous 12 months bite the dust . . . with another dozen stretching ahead. What vinous delights await us in 2006, I wonder?
Last year, I opened in the region of 650-700 bottles while sitting reviewing at my kitchen table, and as we still seem to be enmeshed in a vibrant hotbed of wine-discounting in virtually all the supermarkets I can't see that becoming any less frenetic a task.
The supermarkets are still conjuring up cartloads of discounts, with Sainsbury's to the fore with 31 offers on until January 10, and a further ten running until January 24.
Until the 10th of the month, look out for Wolf Blass Yellow Label (5.49), Chablis Laroche (6.99) and Rosemount Estate Show Reserve Chardonnay (7.99). Until January 24, there is 3 off three-litre wine boxes of Hardy's VR Chardonnay and Shiraz, Kumala's are down 1 to 3.99, as are Jacob's Creek Semillon Sauvignon and Grenache Shiraz.
This week's offerings: Vernaccia di San Gimignano A Passoni (6.99, Majestic; 5.99 when you buy two) comes from Tuscany, smells of honey and has crisp, rounded, creamy fruit and not too dry a finish. Ham, veal, or grilled tuna dishes would be perfect.
Tariquet Famille Grassa Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (6.99, Somerfield) is beautifully floral and so spring-like you'll hear bees a buzzin'. A delicious white with minerally characteristics and lemon-edged acidity. Elegant and refined.
Tariquet Famille Grassa's Rose (5.89, Somerfield) smells of raspberry jelly and in the mouth delivers gentle raspberry flavours among dollops of sweet fruit. Apart from raspberries? Well, it'll makes a fabby aperitif if you like raspberries.
Trapiche Falling Star Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (3.99, Morrisons). The pear flavours shot through this Argentinian blend will make it a crowd-pleaser, with its acidity standing up manfully to dressed salads. Good value.
Chileno Gold Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (5.99, Somerfield) was a well-deserved trophy winner in Decanter magazine. Its gooseberry, white pepper, more gooseberries and sweet fruit are totally captivating, as is its long, lingering finish. Blisteringly-good value, served with herby sausages, onion and mash.
The overwhelming smell from Dumsani Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2005 (3.72, Asda, or three for 10) is pear drop sweets. And how. Aromatic and very well-fruited, this florally white will be more than perfect with Chinese dishes. Good value, if you are into such flighty aromas. Meanwhile, Premius Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc (5.99, Tesco) is quite understated for a sauvignon, with none of the aggressive New World gooseberry "greenness" we've come to expect. Nutty and appley, with gentle, aromatic fruit and a good length.
As dark as a glass of port, the fruit positively leaps from Buckingham Estate Reserve Shiraz 2003 (7.99, Morrisons). There's a massively complex miasma of smells, with dates, dark chocolate and liquorice showing well. Try it as an accompaniment to calves' liver or pork casserole. Mmm . . .
BARGAIN OF THE WEEK
Sassaiolo Rosso Piceno Superiore 2003, Monte Schiavo (5.99, Majestic; 4.99 when you buy two in a case) is a sweet concoction of black cherry, plum, leather and prunes to gladden the heart on even the dreichest of January days. Its montepulciano and sangiovese grapes combine to give it a deliciously dry finish.
BOTTLE OF THE WEEK
Frosted bottles give me the willies (like nails on blackboards), but I make an exception for Robert Mondavi 2003 Napa Valley Fume Blanc (12.99, Majestic; 10.99, when you buy two in a case).
From its vanilla, mineral smoke and crushed nettle aromas to its pear and white pepper-stashed fruit, this is stunning.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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