(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.
(2018) From the same vineyards as 'Pure' this elegantly packaged, pale wine is also a similar blend so presumably a selection of the better plots or tanks. There's a delightful icing sugar-dusted confectionery character, fruity and fresh, with a hint of raspberry and small whitecurrants. In the mouth it's pretty much bone dry again, and once more has that saline lick to the lemony acidity, the fruit quite savoury but hinting at peach and rosy red apple. Handsomely packaged, it's another lovely and delicate wine.
(2018) A very attractive bottle for this wine, a lacey rose pattern screen printed in white over the pale pink/peach wines is very attractive. And so is the stuff inside: a blend of Provençal varieties, gently floral with small firm red berry fruits, good acidity and a long finish with pert acidity giving it a brisk and savoury appeal whilst still being fruit-forward.
(2018) Yealands of Marlborough has become a well-known name in recent years, especially for Sauvignon Blanc, and there's a fun extra incentive to try this wine: buy a bottle before May 28th 2018 and you will find a unique code on a special neck collar. Enter that into the Yealands web site and you might just be one of four lucky people to win a trip for two to New Zealand, worth £10,000. That's all well and good, but what's the wine like? The answer, is really rather good. The requisite pea-shoot freshness is there, along with mango and lychee, but the tropicality is cut by lime. On the palate it presses all the Kiwi Sauvignon buttons, vibrant and juicy, loads of peach juice fruit and a sweep of acidity that gives this real zip and mouthwatering clarity too. It's a fine example showing a tad of restraint but no lack of personality. Watch the video for more details and food-matching ideas. Currently on offer at just £6.75 in Sainsbury's. Please note: the video lists Morrisons among the stockists, but that is incorrect. Also in some independent merchants.
(2017) This Yellow label release is a 2013 base along with reserves from 2012, 2011 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 3% from 1999 making up almost 50% of the blend. It's always great to stop and think about such a familiar wine as Veuve yellow label, and realise just what a good wine it is. This has delightful autolysis, a touch of biscuit and light floral notes, which move elegantly on to a palate that's beautifully orangey and fresh, those nutty notes still there, a creamy but light mousse and fabulous clarity of acidity. Drinking beautifully. Widely available at around £40 - £45.
(2016) Named in hounour of Warwick's founder and winemaker Norma Ratcliffe, this is a Cape Cabernet Sauvignon that walks a very nice line between easy-drinking approachability and a bit of seriousness. Flooded with cherry and plum fruit it also has a nice smooth tannin background and balanced acidity. Intelligently done. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.