(2023) This pink Rioja seems to get paler and paler each vintage. A blend of the red Garnacha (Grenache) and white Viura, the bottle is also 40g lighter than previously, which is good for the planet in terms of shipping weights. It's open and attractive on teh nose, with peach and a hint of mango, a lightly smoky/spicy nuance. In the mouth it has plenty of fruit sweetness, maybe just a touch residual sugar, but all about peach with a lemony core of acid giving good balance. Nicely done.
(2023) I tasted this shortly after tasting a £25 Oregon Chardonnay which is very unfair, but then it does say 'Chardonnay' on the front label, and that it is made by 'carefully selecting parcels of the best grapes,' on the back label, so... It has a very generic alcohol-free character on the nose - hard to describe, but a a vague and herbal, appley character that to me is common in these wines, whichever grape they are made from. The process here has stripped the character one might expect from an inexpensive Hardy's Chardonnay, to leave a thin, basically dry, and unremarkable alcohol-free alternative. Also in Morrisons and Ocado.
(2023) I'm on record as saying that previous vintages of this are about the best of the de-alcoholised zero percent 'wines', and this 2021 reinforces that opinion. It's off dry and has a light, dilute character, but the pungency of the Muscat character makes it through aromatically and to an extent on the zippy palate, where fresh lemon is offset by a hint of sweetness.
(2022) Tempranillo, aged in American oak casks for 14 months, this is deep in colour and aroma, with plenty of sweet vanilla fudge and tobacco spice over ripe, black fruit. It's a crowd-pleaser this, the palate polished and core of oak-smoothed fruit barely ruffled by sandy fine tannins and negligible acidity. You could certainly accuse this of being a bit obvious, of being a melange of ripe fruit and oak with no particular terroir character, but that would kind of miss the point of an inexpensive (and no doubt regularly discounted) supermarket red.
(2022) Interesting to see a 2017 Chardonnay on the shelves of two big supermarkets. Petaluma was established by legendary Australian winemaker Brian Croser, but passed out of his hands many years ago. This wine coming from the elevated vineyards of the Adelaide Hills, fermented in barriques and larger hogshead barrels, seeing only partial malolactic fermentation to retain more of its crisp acidity. It has an appealing nose melding stone fruits and lemon with creamy oatmeal notes. On the palate there's an initial sweetness, a juiciness of peach and good acids, just hinting at a flinty character. It's a middle of the road style to be fair, but stylishly done and food friendly for sure.
(2022) A familiar wine in eye-catching special packaging, this is the usual delightful blend of Moscatel and Gewürztraminer, but for every bottle sold Torres will fund the removal of the equivalent of 10 plastic bottles from the seas around the Mediterranean coast. Miguel Torres and his family are serious about ecology and sustainability, so enjoy this exotically-scented, off-dry white whilst helping do some good. As always the jasmine and peach of the nose are echoed on the palate, but the juicy citrus acid balances the little hint of sweetness very successfully. This is exclusive to Tesco, but the standard 2021 is available elsewhere too, and will be exactly the same stuff in the bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2022) A label of the Hill-Smith Family, who are also behind Yalumba and Pewsey Vale among other brands, I enjoyed the previous vintage of this in its forthright style. This follows on very successfully. Rioja's great grape interpreted without oak influence and fermented with wild yeasts indigenous to the vineyards, it has a touch of coal dust and Indian ink on the nose, over cranberry, cinnamon and black cherry. In the mouth there's good balance between the fruit, grippy tannins and acidity for a fine barbecue staple at £8 in Tesco, £9 in the Co-op at time of review. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) The giant French company behind this product (which I believe is made in Spain) failed to have 'Nosecco' accepted as a brand name, but the intention is surely obvious. It's an alcohol free fizz, or as the label so appealingly puts it, an 'aerated flavoured drink based on de-alcoholised wine'. I have no idea what grapes are used, but that really is unimportant in a product like this, a neutral base sparged with CO2 and flavoured with who knows what. It smells floral and herbal, reminding me of other alcohol free wines flavoured with elderflower and green tea for example, and the considerable sweetness - which I think might be as high as 50g/l of residual sugar - offset by decent levels of acidity to leave it refreshing enough. So why is a serious wine site recommending this? Well it's the start of 'Sober October' for some people looking to have a month without alcohol, and as long as you don't take it - or yourself - too seriously, it does its job well enough at a giveaway price - as low as £2.50 occasionally. Very widely available. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) It's 80 years since the iconic Mateus brand was founded by Portuguese producer, Sogrape. To mark the occasion, the wine has been bottled with three new liveries, each reflecting a style of music: Portugal's own 'Fado', rock and dance music. It's unclear to me why these specific genres were chosen, but the colorful, cartoon-adorned bottles might appeal. The wine inside is the standard Mateus, which means it is gently effervescent, with just a slight spritz, a little bit of sugar making it off-dry, and filled with a summer berries and confectionery, easy-drinking fruitiness. It is a perfectly pleasant, summer in the garden sipper with only 11% alcohol. The musical-themed limited edition is in most major supermarkets.
(2022) Ramon Bilbao has cracked the secret of making a commercially attractive Provence-style pink from Tempranillo, clearly including early picking with its 12.5% alcohol. A sweetie, rose-hip and cherry lips character leads on to a fruity and fresh palate, a touch of residual sugar (I think) adding to the easy-drinking, summer in the garden pleasure.