(2021) The original and classic Spanish red, in production since the 1950s and still with a small plastic bull attached (though these days it's an eco-friendly plastic). It's a blend of mostly Grenache with Carignan. A little darker in colour than Running with Bulls, there's a plum jam note on the nose, perhaps also a little darker in character, a little leather baked in there too. Equally sweet fruited on the palate, the style is remarkably similar really with copious ripe fruits, creamy background tannins and soft acidity for crowd-pleasing appeal.
(2021) Another example of the currently trending breed of lower alocohol wines from Marlborough, with 9% abv, the canopy managed so that fruit could be picked early, at lower potential alcohol. Less overtly herbaceous than the Villa Maria version also tasted, more elderflower and fruity. In the mouth obvious sweetness again and a sense of some dilution, but I do think the finish merges the fruit, sugar and acid a little more successfully.
(2021) From Villa Maria's vineyards in the slightly warmer sub-region of the Wairau Valley, there's a lightly candied, toffeed note on the nose here and a nice depth of lightly smoky mango and lychee fruit. Some oily green bean and leafy green herb character in the background. On the palate a full, generous wine, abundant fruitin a ripe tropical spectrum, and cleansing lime and lemon acidity into the reasonably long finish.
(2020) An absolute classic, made by the Torres family in Spain since the 1950s and yes, don't worry, still with a small eco-friendly plastic bull attached, despite the fact this is now under screwcap and thoroughly modern in style. It's a blend of 65% Grenache with 35% Carignan, and has a enjoyale blend of copious, sweet, buoyant red and black fruits that really brough a smile to my face, along with a bit of rustic grip adding some lovely mouthfeel and food friendliness. There's a litte spice, and little briarwood but it finishes balanced and fruity. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2020) Simple compared to the older wines of course, but developing the nutty and toffee character over the still vibrant fruit. Really very elegant, relatively light, and delicious. Regular price is round £22, but stocked by several supermarkets so look out for a deal.
(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.