(2020) There's a really interesting story behind this wine, from canned wine specialist Nice Drinks: an Argentinian Malbec originally intended to be sold in 25cl cans for the summer festival season, Covid obviously spoiled that plan, so instead it has been bottled in regular 75cl bottles, with all proceeds going to NHS charities. Nurse Ella is pictured on the label of the re-branded wine: "Wine for Heroes". I won't lie to you and say it is the best Malbec I've every tasted, but it is a perfectly quaffable example that pushes the Malbec buttons of being fruity and creamy, sweet and ripe on the mid-palate, with enough acidity and soft tannin to balance. The most important thing about the wine is the cause of course: nice-drinks.co.uk/heroes. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Central Otago has emerged as New Zealand's premier Pinot Noir region, with high quality producers and suitably premium pricing. Having toured there just before lockdown I still can't give clues to the actual producer of this wine (Outlook Bay is a Lidl brand, not a specific producer) but at £9.99 it's as cheap as Otago Pinot gets. Nicely pale and transluscent in colour, there's a huge perfume of truffle and beetroot, all those vegetal Pinot aromatics, smokiness and a hint of something floral or like wild herbs. In the mouth sweet and juicy fruit, with a nicely rustic nip of tannin and plenty of spiciness, sweet mid-palate fruit giving way to a peppery, spicy clove finish. The 14.5% alcohol adds a touch of heat, but it's a nice and authentic Otago Pinot.
(2020) Mourvèdre labelled as coming from the coastal region of South African viticulture, which covers many well-known wine regions, though the Lidl website says Stellenbosch specifically. At £5.99 what do you expect? Well in this case a delicious gluggable spicy and fruity red, dark bramble and pepper aromas leading on to a smooth palate with plum and ripe blackberry fruit, not a lot of tannin to speak of, but enough grip to give it some savoury and barbecue-friendly appeal for sure.
(2020) From vines that are over 70 years old, farmed organically at altitude in the Bekaa Valley, Domaine de Tourelles adopt a very much 'hands off' approach with this wine, fermenting with indigenous yeasts in their traditional concrete vats, the wine not seeing any oak. That makes for a deep crimson purple wine with an explosively aromatic nose of crushed black berries, truffle and pepper, the sleek vinous quality also suggesting concentration. In the mouth that holds true: the intensity matched by the ripe cherry, plum and blackberry depth of sweet fruit, tannins like silk and the acid balancing in a very natural and gastronomic way. A lovely wine this, available in many independents - use our wine-searcher link. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Cono Sur produced some of the first Chilean Pinot Noir that I ever came across, with my first tasting note from the 2000 vintage. Then the wine came from Casabanca, and was not organic certified like this 2018 vintage, so things have changed. Grapes come from San Antonio and Chimbarongo in Colchagua, home to the first Pinot Noir plantings in Chile. 70% was aged in oak barrels for eight months. It's a Pinot in the earthy, smoky and vegetal mould, aromas of beetroot to the fore, with a little rhubarb. That's a totally legitimate profile for Pinot, though a sweet cherry fruit character comes through nicely on the palate, the texture quite creamy, and the finish juicy and appetising. Note the price is down to £7.50 in Sainbury's until the start of July 2020. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) The blend here is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah and 2% Mourvèdre, fermented in oak vats like the Lady Severine, but spending 24 months in barrique. In many ways it's a more 'serious' wine than the Lady S, certainly more dusty, concentrated intense Cabernet Sauvignon tannins and dark fruit. Aromatically there is plushness and a depth of black berry fruit, on the palate that is fat and juicy on the mid-palate, then those tannins, a stripe of acidity and a toasty touch of charry barrel kick in. As I say, a more serious style and would benefit from decanting. Price if bought by the case of six falls to £21.60
(2020) South African born Manfred Ing has been at the winemaking helm of this biodynamic estate for many years, in that time further refining their already exquisite wines, red and white. From an excellent year, this is Sangiovese from vineyards in Greve, Radda and Gaiole, and it spent 14 months in barriques and larger barrels, all French oak, with 5% new. I love the refinement and distinction of the nose here, that reminded me very much of a fine Pauillac, with graphite and a touch of cedar and black olive over pert, but ripe black fruits. In the mouth it is beautifully balanced: racy and alert thanks to the finesse and juiciness of the tannins and acidity, and the keen cherry and raspberry edge to the black fruits adding even more precision. Fabulous and cellar-worthy.
(2020) This Tuscan red sees Sangiovese blended with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, grown in the coastal Maremma, with only around 10% spending time in oak. It's something of a fruit-bomb this - not at all overblown, but filled with a buoyant, creamy blast of ripe, fleshy cherries and blackcurrant that soars from the glass, backed up with just a hint of pencil-shaving finesse. In the mouth that joyous explosion of ripe but nicely savoury fruit comes through, all supple and smooth black fruit flavours, but a chocolaty tannin and bright cherry skin acid axis offers a lovely counterpoint. Approachable, delicious, and it put a warm smile on my face.
(2020) This is a classic Primitivo from Salento in Puglia, and a particularly bold and juicy example emphasising the exuberant dark fruit profile of the wine. Spices, damson plum and blackcurrant on the nose suggests a certain plushness, and that's borne out on the palate, where a creamy weight of black fruit and supple texture fill the mouth, great sweetness to the fruit, but a very nicely sour and savoury edge of bittersweetness: plum skins and tangy orange acids, the chocolaty tannins and six months in oak barrels adding even more smoothness to the finish. Great value here.
(2020) From one of the biggest names of Barolo and Barbaresco, but here turning his hand to the more humble Docletto, but still a serious interpretation that spends 12 Months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Really vibrant, deep purple in colour, the nose is highly aromatic, lifted, violet-touched and elegant, but with a core of juicy blueberry and ripe plum, a hint of Amarena cherries and some depth of cocoa too. In the mouth it is smooth, ripe and full of wonderfully bittersweet flavours, the agile acidity and taut tannins giving a bit of authority, but the sweet-fruited joy of the wine always threatening to break free. Given the heritage I am sure this will cellar for a few years too.