(2019) You will find plenty of special offers on this wine I suspect, but judging it on its headline price of £11.00 or so, it walks down the middle of the Prosecco road. There's decent bubbles and a pear, icing sugar and baking soda aroma, then on the palate a play between sweetness, that soda-stream character and a slightly bittering lemon acidity.
(2018) How to judge a wine like this is an interesting conundrum: little is revealed about grape varieties or the exact provenance of the wine, except that it is made in Germany and goes through a post-fermentation process to remove the alcohol. How do the bubbles get there? Again there is no information but I could only guess by adding CO2 before bottling. It is lightly effervescent, and has a pleasant pear and citrus aroma, before a palate that clearly lacks complexity and texture, but which has a lightly grassy herbal character, some mid-palate peachy sweetness and a dry finish, a little sherbetty, and clean. I try to score wines on an absolute scale, not relative to price or style, and this is a good effort and a pleasant drink, and could be appealing to the Prosecco drinker looking to avoid alcohol, or as summer in the garden grown-up soft drink. Look out for deals - £3.30 in Asda at time of review.
(2018) Shop around for this wine, as it is widely available and at time of review prices ranged from a promotional £25.00 to well over £30.00 in different stores. It's a crisp, relatively straightforward rosé, just a touch of Chardonnay blended with the two Pinots. Small red berries- redcurrant and raspberry - notes, dry onto the palate, the mousse crisp and fine, and although forward and crowd-pleasing in its straightforward way, there is a good acid core and decent length. A good buy at the promotional price.
(2018) Made from Muscat, Glera and Brachetto, this is an off-dry fizz with only 8% alcohol, so in the same idiom as the Asti from Martini. There's an added strawberry character joining the icing sugar and lemony fruit, the pale pink colour is appealing and it slips down very easily in a summer-in-the-garden style.
(2018) There's something just a bit too confected about this 12% alcohol pink from Hawke's Bay. Varieties are unidentified, but the blend of slightly sweet fruit and slightly green acidity isn't entirely successful, though well-chilled it is probably an acceptable quaffer.
(2018) Made from the Moscato grapes with fermentation stopped so that plenty of sweetness remains, this is a frothy, fun, not too serious low-alcohol wine that's the perfect antidote to too much Christmas indulgence: with only 7.5% alcohol it is light as a feather, and though a mass-produced version of a style made in various guises by top artisan producers of the Asti area in Piedmont, this version from the giant Martini label is really very good. It hits all the icing sugar and peachy fruit notes well, aromatic with elderflower and fresh grapes, the frothy mousse is lively, and it has just enough acidity to counter the full-on sweetness. To sip on its own, with delicate desserts, or even to finish off the mince pies it might just work well.
(2017) Pinot Noir remains something of a holy grail for both wine lovers, and winemakers, the grape requiring specific growing conditions and a delicate hand from the winemaker to give of its best. While the top red wines of Burgundy represent the pinnacle of Pinot perfection, it's always nice to find a good example at a modest price that is widely available. From Marlborough, this wears cooler climate credentials with a birary, truffle and twig character on the nose, small, dry red berries like redcurrant and cherry, and a wisp of smoke. In the mouth it is delicate and light, those truffly characters matched by more of that pert cherry fruit, a line of tannin and more of that smokiness to balance nicely. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) The giant, family-owned Torres company produces an excellent range of wines, from cheap and cheerful, to serious fine wines. The popular Viña Sol brand is always good value, and this rosé is a good summer choice. It's not in the fashionably pale, Provence style, but a rather deeper and more red-fruited wine, with ripe and welcoming notes of cherry and soft summer berries, and a delicate floral touch. In the mouth it has sweet and ripe red fruits, but finishes dry, a clean citrus acidity and touch of spice giving gastronomic as well as sipping-in-the-garden credentials. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2016) Leyda is a coastal vineyard area in Chile, part of a move away from the original central valleys, as producers seek a range of cooler growing areas, using elevation, latitude, and proximity to the ocean as the tools to do so. This has a really fragrant appeal, loads of high, tomato leaf and cherry character, herbs and flowers, and a gamy and peppery quality that speaks of cool climate Syrah. In the mouth it is beautifully black-fruited, with the fleshy density of black plums, but also the tartness of the fresh acidity and tannin, just supported nicely by creamy oak. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2016) From the second-tier Zalze range, and down to £5.99 in Waitrose until 27th July 2016, this green-apple Chenin has loads of punch and just a rounding note of custard, before a crisp but sweet-fruited palate that stays focused, lively and bright to the finish.