Ugaba Stellenbosch 2006

Sounding like a Vic Reeves’ Shooting Stars comedic expletive is not normally a criterion by which I evaluate whether to buy a wine, but somehow this just grabbed my attention on a recent visit to Majestic, Leeds.

South Africa is a bit of a blind spot in my wine rack and I occasionally have to remind myself that good wine comes from English speaking zones, as well and French and Spanish.

Iranu?  Uvavu!

This wine is made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in proportions 42:32:26 and spends 10 months in French oak.

On opening there was faint Hydrogen Sulphide but this quickly dissipated and left a passable impression of a decent claret.  At first it smelt deep, moody and just a tad yeasty with a raspberry rush.  First sip was raspberry, violet, and vanilla.  Far from being spoilt, it was bright, fresh and almost as exciting as a freshly powdered slope (snow I mean, not cocaine).

Eranu or Uvavu?  Ugaba Stellenbosch 2006 is £11.99 at Majestic and this represents good value.  ERANU!

Hardy’s Varietal Range Chardonnay 2007

It is all too easy to be sniffy about the major wine brands when you’ve had your nose in the books of Parker and Robinson.  But have you tried anything from Chilean producer Concha y Toro lately?  Or the sub brands Cono Sur and Casillero del Diablo?  Interesting stuff and generally high quality, but in the UK, I remember the Australians as being first in the queue to bring wine to the proletariat via supermarket and pub alike.

Aside from the ubiquitous Jacob’s Creek, I recall Hardy’s as being a brand leader. So when my neighbour, Peter, brought a bottle of Varietal Range Chardonnay round to my barbie, I was first insulted, then dismissive and finally intrigued.  Obviously, in Peter’s presence I sniffed at it, parked it in the corner and turned to open a bottle of something exclusive and French (albeit cheap and ropey).

John Holmes discovered, there is nothing wrong with possessing only one dimension as long as you make that one count in spades…

Time to drop the major brand prejudice and simply focus on whether or not you enjoy the wine, eh?

You can get this at most supermarkets for just over a fiver.