OMG 2011

I have to concede that I wouldn't voluntarily buy a wine that called itself OMG.  It's been quite a while since I was a 14 year old girl so I tend not to say or type OMG terribly often.  I'm not quite sure that the message is meant to be.  The wine makers are O'Connells so they're playing on the 'O' thing, but it's not working for me.  I got a bottle as part of a mixed case, so I didn't choose it, and the label made me think "party wine" rather than "nice bottle".

That said, the wine isn't as tacky as the name suggests.  It's thick and dark and purple.  It's fairly lively straight out of the bottle and benefited from a half hour's rest.  It smells of blackcurrants and pepper.  There's a good hit of acid, again, softened after a little time to relax in a decanter.  It's spicy and has quite a mouthfeel.  It felt a little bigger than the 14% on the label.  It's certainly not a light easy drinking wine, there's plenty fighting for attention between the fruit, alcohol acid and spice.

For me it was a bit too much, those elements were all muscling each other around at the same time and didn't really settle into one integrated drink.

It costs about £8 from Naked Wines, look out for Naked Wines' Latest Offer.
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OMG 2011

I have to concede that I wouldn't voluntarily buy a wine that called itself OMG.  It's been quite a while since I was a 14 year old girl so I tend not to say or type OMG terribly often.  I'm not quite sure that the message is meant to be.  The wine makers are O'Connells so they're playing on the 'O' thing, but it's not working for me.  I got a bottle as part of a mixed case, so I didn't choose it, and the label made me think "party wine" rather than "nice bottle".

That said, the wine isn't as tacky as the name suggests.  It's thick and dark and purple.  It's fairly lively straight out of the bottle and benefited from a half hour's rest.  It smells of blackcurrants and pepper.  There's a good hit of acid, again, softened after a little time to relax in a decanter.  It's spicy and has quite a mouthfeel.  It felt a little bigger than the 14% on the label.  It's certainly not a light easy drinking wine, there's plenty fighting for attention between the fruit, alcohol acid and spice.

For me it was a bit too much, those elements were all muscling each other around at the same time and didn't really settle into one integrated drink.

It costs about £8 from Naked Wines, look out for Naked Wines' Latest Offer.
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Murganheira Superior Reserve Brut 2006

I just spent a few days in Lisbon, Portugal.  I recommend you do too, it's a great city that really underplays its hand.  There's oodles of history, fantastic galleries, cool people, great bars and the most divine seafood.  There's plenty of fabulous wine too.

Vinho Verde was everywhere, at all sorts of price points, and it was good.

It's always tricky to fairly assess any wine you drink on holiday, when you're drinking wines in the country or region in which they're made, when you're relaxed and having a good time.  All of that holiday feeling goes into the wine, and some that taste fantastic in a little family restaurant on a European hillside are just plain weird when drunk at home.

We had some Murganheira Superior Reserve Brut 2006.  I'm not normally one for drinking wine in a hotel on holiday, because there's too much world out there to explore, but the good people at the Hotel Avenida Palace had left a lovely note in our room inviting us to enjoy half a bottle on them, so we did.

I didn't expect much from a freebie, and I'll be honest, I'd never tried a Portugese sparkling wine before, and I never find that half bottles taste as good as a full bottle, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one.  It was nutty and crisp and a tad more-ish, which was a shame with a half bottle.  It had a Champagne style of flavour, but with just a bit more of a savoury character if such a thing is possible.  I'll look out for it again to give it a fairer comparison on a dull and drizzly day in the suburbs.
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Patriot Merlot 2012

This wine has a silly label.  Not normally a good sign, it looks like it's designed to appeal to people who don't much care for wine but want something to serve at a 4th of July barbecue.  That said, they could be on to something, as that wouldn't be a bad place for this wine to end its days.

It's a bold purple colour fresh out of the bottle, and it has an interesting smell.  There's plum, and a little cherry, along with something of the forest floor, a bit of kicked around leaves if tat's a real smell.  The first taste is arresting.  It's rather sharp, a little too acidic for the body of the wine to carry, with a mix of firm ripe tannins and some that haven't quite made the journey to ripe.

Left aside for half an hour to relax, breathe and give itself a good talking to, it's a much better wine.  Maybe my evening was getting better, but it felt like it had pulled itself together a little.  The acid wasn't as noticeable and the flavour seemed more robust.  There was fruit, but the curious sharpness seemed to settle into more of a warming spiciness.  Still more chilli than pepper, it all seemed to work together much better.

I'd have this wine again, but next time I'd probably decant it.  Not something I'll do regularly for an everyday wine choice, but I think the uplift in flavour for this one it's worth it.
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Aldi Henri de Lorgère Mâcon-Villages 2012

Here's the thing, there isn't a nearby Aldi where I live, but I'd heard interesting things.  People told me that Aldi had great Italian cheeses at absurdly low prices, easily available bottled cherries, canned pumpkin and fish pates.

Whilst Aldi have been advertising that you can get all of the products you can buy in a traditional supermarket, but at lower prices if you don't mind unfamiliar brands, they'd forgotten to advertise to me.  I don't much like supermarkets, so the chance to go to a smaller, busier one with bargain hunters didn't appeal, however, when I heard people describing what sounded like a great European deli, with a cheap line in staples I gave it a go.

I behaved irrationally.  I bought all sorts of oddities.  The single serve Camembert in breadcrumbs seemed like a good idea at the time, the strange packaged cous cous really was a good idea.  The Greek seasoning mix hasn't yet been samples, but the bottled cherries and tomatoes were a hit.

I was baffled by the booze aisle.  There was some fairly grim looking stuff, but up on the higher shelves, looking alarmingly dusty, was an interesting looking selection, with Fleurie, Champagne, Bordeaux and what looked like an array of Languedoc wines which could have gone either way.

I thought I'd ease in gently and try a Macon Villages for under a fiver.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was good, at least as good as wines that cost 50% more.  It smelled rich and creamy, and it had a good hit of lemony acidity, it was drinkable to a distinctly more-ish degree.

Next time I'm passing I'll stop in and try some other wines, and if they work as well, I may even make a detour to shop there on purpose.
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Dominic Hentall Fiano Puglia 2012

A curious thing has been happening in England over the last month.  It's been sunny, not just sunshine and showers, but so sunny it's been too hot.  Temperatures in the 30's, day after day, with little rain, and that coming only in short sharp bursts.  It's very odd, we British don't know what to make of it.

I suspect the Italians are more used to this sort of weather, particularly those down in Puglia, the "heel" of Italy, so they've had more of a chance to think about how to behave, and what to serve under such circumstances.  They've had time to grow these Fiano grapes and turn them into wine for just such sultry evenings.

This is a fresh and excitable variation on Fiano, no careful aging here, it almost tastes of grapes.There's a bit of peach blossom, and lots of squishy soft fruit, but with something that may even be a mineral zip to keep it from feeling flabby.

Resist the temptation to chill it til it hurts, as that will chill the flavour clean out of it.  Do put a second bottle straight into the fridge when you take one out, you may want another real soon as it's dangerously gluggable.

Get a half price Naked taster case.





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Gypsy Lee Rose White Zinfandel 2012

I'll admit I'm not a White Zinfandel fan.  It strikes me as a waste of good Zinfandel.  It seems a shame that the UK imports lots of cheap, sweet, thin White Zinfandel and next to no scrummy fruity proper Zinfandel.  Never mind, we can get Primitivo from Italy, so we're OK.

This White Zinfandel runs the risk of being extra horrid because it has both a silly name and a comedy label, usually two sure fire routes to disaster, but it was actually pretty good.  I say that with some caveats, but compared to your average American Pinko, I rather liked it.  Maybe the sun is getting to me.

It's a cheery pink, but it smells of actual strawberries and redcurrants, rather than a 1970's Angel Delight candified re-imagining of what fruit might taste like if it was possible to create it in a factory. It's not offensively sweet, and whilst no-one would accuse it of being acidic, it does have enough acid to carry the fruit.

If you're looking for a cheerful summer pink, that has some fun factor, and isn't horrible, this could be the wine for you.
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