(2019) Around the mouth of the River Loire, the slate and granite soils of Muscadet produce wines prized for their freshness and tang. I don't come across too many sub-£6 wines that I can recommend these days, but this is one: it is not a Muscadet 'Sur Lie' so misses some of that yeasty, more saline character, but the fruit is bright and clear, all dry apple and lemon with an apple core bite of dryness to the acidity of the finish making it very seafood and sushi friendly. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) Made for Sainsbury's by Cecchi, this white wine comes from the volcanic soils of San Gimignano in Tuscany, and is 100% Vernaccia. Pure, fresh and vibrant, there is a touch of pear drop in this very young wine, but beyond that a dazzling lemon freshness, some delicate summer blossom notes, and cool orchard fruits. In the mouth it is dry and expressively salts and citrus, a mouth-watering style that's comparatively lean, focused and balanced into the finish. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) What hellish thing is this I have before me? A pink Sauvignon Blanc from Malrborough, bottled in Alsace for an Australian drinks brand. I can only guess the colour comes from blending in a little Pinot Noir or other variety local to Marborough. Quite pale and delicate in hue, it's exactly what you might expect: pungently and vivdly Marlborough Sauvignon, but with a little added dimension of red berry fruit. In the mouth plenty of lemon and lime punch, a little grassiness, a little sweetness too, a pulpy strawberry touch just in the finish that is otherwise dry.  If you accept that it is a totally manufactured artefact, cynically fusing together the two crazes for Sauvingnon and rosé, then I cannot deny it is punter-friendly, has unusual personality for a pink, and the total not as dreadful as the sum of its parts.
(2019) This is a Vin de France wine (so fruit can come from various regions) and is also non-vintage, and at a lowly £6.00 per bottle did not promise much. It did, however, deliver a pleasant surprise: a pale Provence lookalike, even down to its curvy bottle shape, it is dry and nicely balanced, a blend of 75% Grenache with Syrah, Cinsault and Caladoc. Summer fruity with good acidity, it is the epitome of easy-drinking, but sometimes that's all you need.
(2019) Striking packaging for this, entirely wrapped in a a thick grey paper, with all of the front and back label information printed in gold, and a hand-tied extra label round the neck with string. It's a collboration between two very good Port and still-wine families of the Douro, Barros and Van Zeller, and the wine is aged in ex-vintage Port barrels for 12 months, a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. Dark, bold purple/black, it has cherry and vine fruit aromas, a nice tobacco and spice touch too. In the mouth it's a real charmer, with lots of upfront ripe black fruits, but there is a fine, sophisticated background of spices and a polished, graphite character, smooth and chocolatey tannins, and pert cherry acidity to complete a really nice, refined but completely approachable picture. Slightly gimmicky packaging? Well, the wine world is a bit short of imagination in that respect and inside is a really rather nice wine. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) Named in homage to Max Schubert, the Cabernet is sourced from three regions of South Australia: Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra, and the wine aged in French and American oak, only around 7% new. It's a bold, luxurious style of Cabernet, fully ripe, licked with tobacco and smokiness, bursting with black fruit and yet with a hint of cedar and blueberry cool precision. In the mouth it has substantial presence with its 14.5% alcohol, no shortage of ripeness and plummy weight, but the smooth tannins and balanced cherry-skin acidity is very well handled. A fitting partner to the Max's Chardonnay. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) Cheap rosé in a 250ml ringpull can, a French wine but packaged in Germany. Should we even bother to taste it? Well, the 'single serve' wine and convenience markets are apparently booming with more and more such wines finding shelf space, so although I find the whole presenation particularly dodgy - a lounging, pubescent-looking girl in short shorts adorns the pink can - I decided this is one to be approached with an open mind. The stuff inside is Grenache I believe, and the aromas are gently summery, with berries and light grassiness. The palate is dry and nicely balanced, and in truth the wine is a good quality quaffing rosé. So, with this concept apparently popular, if it works for you, it can be recommeded. Price for the 250ml can. For more information please watch the video.
(2019) Masterminded by David Hohnen, this wine was made for Sainsbury's using the combined output of eight wineries in Western Australia. It's a big (14.5% abv) and bold style, a touch meaty to dense black fruit on the nose, but not hugely aromatic. There's more sweetness from the black fruit on the palate, but it all seems a touch over-extracted to me, the finish a little tart and abrupt. Not a favourite wine from a producer I hold in high regard, but I guess it was designed to a price-point.
(2019) A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Grolleau, from vines planted on chalky limestone of the Saumur region, this is both elegant and fun. It's a traditional method sparkling wine majoring on fruit and delicacy, perhaps a halfway-house between Prosecco and a more yeasty, leesy Champagne style. It is crammed with raspberry and reducurrant aromas, just a hint of toastiness in the background, then the palate delivers up a plateful of strawberries and cream cut with a slice of lemon. Not too dry (though it is Brut with 11g/l of dosage), this is an excellent quality Crémant made for Sainsbury's by the well-respected house of Ladubay. £9.00 on offer at time of review.
(2018) Sourced from the Limestone Coast of South Australia, the back label peels off to reveal a recipe for an Aussie beef barbecue which is a neat touch. In the bottle, a fairly deeply-coloured crimson wine with nicely buoyant aromas of white pepper and cherry, and a gamy and earthy background which is pleasing. On the palate it is a very juicy style, the 14.5% alcohol adding a touch of heat to the finish, but the peppery and spicy black fruit pushing through to the finish, which is roughened nicely by a plum-skin rasp of tannin.