Cheltenham Wine Festival
Wines we tasted
1. Philippe Herard Blanc de Blanc Carte Noir NV Sparkling, France £10.99
Showing green fruit, brioche and notes of buttery creaminess.
Really popular, most who tasted it felt it was better than some of the champagnes in the room. When you consider that's it's made by a Champagne producer, it shouldn't come as a surprise. A great alternative, and a fantastic price.
2. Le Contesse Prosecco NV Treviso Veneto Italy £7.95
Hints of green apple on the palate with balancing acidity followed by a nice dry aftertaste.
Prosecco is still a favourite! Visitors liked the softer bubbles, still a mouth full of bubbles though! They liked the fruit, but appreciated the dryness. Felt it was one to drink all night, rather than just as an aperitif.
3. Origini Bianco 2014, Veneto Italy £6.50
Lively and crisp, with hints of honey and almond. A zingy lime citrus fruit in the finish
One of the Italian Native Varietal wines. Verdict : Soft gentle fruits, very smooth and rounded in the mouth. An easy drinking wine that would be a safe bet when pleasing many different guests - so a great Party Wine!
4. Origini Pinot Grigio 2014, Friuli Veneto Italy £6.95
Dry, crisp Pinot Grigio with lemony fruit leading to clean, fine & refreshing acidity.
Drier than the Bianco of this range, sharper acidity. Tasters started imagining hot summer days, chilled white wine - cold meat platters, seafood. This wine really got the juices flowing. Again, people thought this would suit many palates - so another easy drinker with friends.
5. Origini Nero d’Avola 2014, Sicily, Italy £6.99
Cherries, sweet plums & peppers with smooth round tannins.
One of the wines most marked by people to come and find! The Nero d'Avola grape has really hit the spot with people. The black grape from Avola. Verdict : Sweet fruit, rounded mouth feel, soft tannins - people just got it! They couldn't believe the price and the quality being delivered. Excellent value. A real crowd pleaser.
6. Origini Primitivo 2014, Puglia Italy £6.99
Young tannins, sweet flavours of blackberry, anise & peppers ripenned by the southern Italian sun.
Our most asked for wine! Primitivo has made a big statement this year, people came looking for it - wanting to know what the hype is all about. Verdict : Worth the hunt. They liked the lightness, the sweet fruits with almost liquorish hints, and lovely soft vanilla oak. A big seller on the day.
7. Origini Rosso 2014, Veneto Italy £6.50
Sweet dark fruits,robust tannins deliver flavours through texture & layering. Very easy drinking
A blend of Merlot & Cabernet from the Veneto region. Hot days & chilly nights, perfect for maintaining balance of sugar & acidity. Verdict : people were intrigued to find out what Rosso meant. Italian wines & wine labels can be very confusing!! They loved the flavours, saying they were getting one layer after another. Again people thought the price was excellent.
8. Origini Montepulciano 2014, Abruzzo Italy £6.99
Medium bodied dry red wine packed with dark red berry fruits
Once it was established that the wine was 100% Montepulciano grapes rather than from Montepulciano d'Ambruzzo and not made from Sangiovese grapes - people thought the wine more rounded the if a Sangiovese, everything being denser - colour, aroma & taste. This was a big hit. Visitors wanted to discover things.
9. Duc de Morny Picpoul de Pinet 2014, Languedoc France £8.20
White flower aromas, a palate of pear drops & salty minerality. Fine & elegant with long finish
This wine has been a firm favourite in the bars & restaurants we supply for several years. Visitors when browsing the table, would all suddenly discover the Picpoul and want to try. It is a wine that has made a huge impression. The name helps - waiters remember it, drinkers remember it! Verdict : Excellent. People were happily planning their food matches / menus - imagining themselves somewhere hot with salty seafood.
10. Bodegas Tamaral Tempranillo 2013, Ribere del Duero Spain £10.69
Robust fruity. Wild berries, hints of vanilla oak with a distinct spicy, and liquorice flavour
Once tasted, people were rushing off to find friends, drag them back to also taste! Yes, this was a big hit! A wine with soo much going on : Sweet & sharp wild berries, spice, vanilla. They loved the lively mouth feel, felt each flavour managed to stand out. Compliments kept coming for this wine - between a lot of lip smacking!!
11. Gravel & Loam Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 New Zealand £8.99
A lovely bright Sauvignon Blanc that shows gooseberry, elderflower & pear
Lighter than most people were used for a Marlborough Sauv Blanc, but felt the taste or flavours were finer, more elegant. People talked about some NZ Sauv Blanc's being so strongly flavoured that they get throat ache after two glasses - rather reminded us of those over produced, over oaked Aussie chardonnay's of the 1980's. Verdict : A big hit! And several orders online this week for the Special Offer of a Case of 12 for £96.00
12. Simonsvlei Premier Selection Pinotage, 2013 South Africa £7.25
A well balanced wine, boasting ripe plum, berry and coffee flavours
Pinotage is a wine that seems to attract people - they know that Pinotage suffered from over production, winemakers struggled to get to grips with this wine. But also know things have changed. Simonsvlei Pinotage is what everyone was looking for. Delicious dark fruit flavours with sweet smoke on the finish. Verdict : Perfect Pinotage from people who know what they're doing. And a good price at £7.25
13. Simonsvlei Premier Selection Chenin Blanc 2014 South Africa £7.25
Dry white wine, with explosive tropical fruits and zesty lemon finish
When chatting to visitors, some asked for a white wine, fuller bodied, dry but not chardonnay - we suggested this Chenin Blanc. People who like big flavours, lots of fruit, but not sweet, found this a refreshing alternative to chardonnay. Verdict : A wine of substance with good aroma & palate. People wondered why they weren't directed to this grape more often. Who knows...but at least they've found it now.
14. Inacayal Malbec 2014, Mendoza Argentina £8.50
Plums, berries & chocolate with hints of cocoa & vanilla. Intense concentration of flavours
Everybody loves a Malbec - don't they? This was on most people's list to try. Verdict : Difficult not to like it! Juicy fruits, text book velvety smooth, vanilla & cocoa - everything there! Well, being from one of the highest vineyards in the world (3280ft), it has the benefit of long hot sunny days and cool nights. Some would like to try it cooled (not chilled). Great value.
15. Aromo Carmenere 2014 Maule Valley Chile £6.90
Brimming with spices & pepper tones intertwined with hints of black fruit. Rounded & smooth
We had to suggest to most people that they try this wine, happily nearly everyone liked it! We served this at Chelt Lit Fest 2015 wine tasting that Oz Clarke led - so if he liked it, we felt confident to recommend. Verdict : An alternative to Merlot, more Sangiovese like - people were trying to put it in it's box - but couldn't. But they were close. Some had been put off by high prices often found with Carmenere's - so were pleasantly surprised at £6.90.
We were told again & again by visitors, that our wines were excellent value and excellent quality. It was a conscious decision to bring wines that are wonderful to drink without breaking the bank. Okay we can't offer 3 for a tenner - but then, who can now. Our wines for this event ranged from £6.50 to £10.99 - Great tasting wine, at great value prices!
The Cheltenham Wine Festival was well organised - from start to finish. Following this years' success, 2017 has already been planned. To avoid disappointment, as happened to soo many this year - register with Cheltenham Wine Festival 2017 to get Early Bird notifications.
We will be holding Wine Tastings throughout the year at our Wine Warehouse. More information to follow very soon.