Monday, 12 December 2011

Slovenian wine from Lidl

An excellent high quality wine from Lidl.
Try finding a better Chardonnay for £6.49! It can't be done!

The vineyard of Collio crosses the border between Italy and Slovenia.
Limestone and sandstone soils provide excellent growing conditions and
the grapes are picked by hand and traditionally fermented. A
proportion is fermented in small oak barrels which give it the lovely

Chardonnay Collio DOC 2010
Corte del Drago

Aromas of pine and eucalyptus.... Sorry that's the Christmas tree in the room!

It is a vivid straw colour with
aromas of pineapple and a lovely lemongrass fragrance.
The legs stick strongly to the sides and the wine is medium bodied
with a nice fleshy texture.
On the palate you can detect peaches and cream and butter which is
excellent. It finishes with an elegant and super long nutty

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Extreme├▒o: Es Tremendo

This is my first post in a while, inspired by a trip to the cellar that produced a bottle of Extremaduran red that I'd bought whilst visiting during Easter.

We stayed in Carcabosso, a village not to far from Plasencia, about 3 hours west of Madrid.  The village was fairly humble, as you can see from the photo of the neighbours' house above...

There was a great tradition of 'los vinos' there, whereby families would go round all the local bars having a glass or two of wine as they went, enjoying a free tapa into the bargain.

The local produce of the region is listed on this board snapped in Caceres: paprika, strong sloppy cheese, honey, cherry jam, biscuits, wine and liquors.

Here's a wine we bought, then.  It's not from a D.O., but don't let that lead you to believe there's anything lacking.  Its fruity and well-rounded nose was as vibrant as a young wine, and was an immensely satifying blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet, which brought red fruits and rich texture and lengthy finish to the plate respectively.  Great with the strong flavours of the region's products.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Drinking Blood at Halloween

Blood... Red Wine... Halloween Booze
Errazuriz Estate Merlot 2010
Grown in the Valle de Aconcagua, Chile.
The 2010 vintage was excellent in this region.
The grapes were slowly and evenly ripened, hand picked, fermented and then aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels to round out the wine and add toasty sweetness.

Ruby red and crimson coloured.
On the nose there are aromas of blueberry and blackberry fruit with roasted coffee and Parker fountain pen also being in there.
Smooth on the palate with a medium body, the wine tastes soft and fruity with an initial sweet richness which is nicely balanced by a bit of raspberry acidity and an excellent rounded finish.

£8.99 from Supermarkets, Majestic Wine and other off licences.

This wine was provided as a sample for review from the distributors.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


This is an outstanding Sauterne wine from the Semillon grape variety, produced by De Bortoli in Australia 2006
I tasted this wine on the Intermediate WSET Course ( Wine,Spirit & Education Trust) . On this course we use a Systematic approach to the tasting of each wine.
It is deep gold in appearance & produces a pronounced nose of dried fruits and hints of vanilla.I blogged this wine due to its long length of flavour on the Palate, which really stood out for me.
On the palate its well rounded packing a full body of long lengthed honey notes with subtle oak, which would make it a great accomplice to a dessert or cheese, but personally I could drink this as a dessert of its own!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Shawsgate Bacchus

We attended a superb wine tasting evening at the residence of Gordon
Pocket aka Tom Cullingford.
We tasted several wines including an unusual sparkling red from the
Loire and several English wines.
This Bacchus wine from Shawsgate winery in Suffolk! was the star of the night.

The Bacchus grape is typically grown in England as the climate here
particularly suits the grape. If the conditions were any warmer, the
Bacchus grapes would get too ripe and the wine loses balance.
Rich in texture with dry honey and tropical fruits on the palate.
Balanced acidity and a clean finish show a well poised wine that would
stand up well to an Alsatian wine. I actually researched this grape
variety later and found out that it is a Riesling cross which would
support this comment!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Live Rioja Blog

Live blog from Grenoside.

Strong enough to stand up to Pizza supper.
Spud Summery with a good balance of tannins.
Will. Sweet fruit intense aromatic aroma with refreshing red fruit on
the palate.
Spud. Quite a fresh aroma like a fruit basket on a cliff top.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Worst Wine Label

In a fit of uncharacteristic lateral thinking I reckoned that any wine with a label this bad had to be good to sell! I was right; an eye catching pale ruby into the glass easy drinking Pinot with raspberry and vanilla notes. We enjoyed it with a chunk of halibut with cuban seasoning, new potatoes and asparagus. 6.99 dollars! (less than a fiver), From Safeway in Sedona Arizona. Hopefully not available in the UK!
Neil Wilson

Monday, 4 July 2011

ViJazz: Our Weekend Away In Photos

We rented out a country house for the weekend just gone, that of ViJazz.  We filled it with city slickers who descended on the town of Vilafranca de Penedes for the three days that the festival was on.

The house was lovely, highly recommended for a stay, you can check it out here.

A few photos of how we did:

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Blackcurrant Leaf

I have often seen this used as a tasting description on some red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon in particular is known for this characteristic smell. Today was the blackcurrant harvest at our house. While there I remembered about this wine fact and gave the leaf a smell!
Guess what? It smells of delicious blackcurrants!

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Vitiano Falesco 2009 Umbria
An elegant and gorgeous Italian blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and
Cabernet. This is a balanced blend that really works well. It has the
lean but flavoursome Sangiovese character but given more tannin by the
Cabernet and rounded out with the fleshy Merlot body.
The wine required a bit of airing due to the very closed nose on
opening it and there was also a noticeable amount of sediment present.
Once poured from the decanter, it turned out to be extraordinary!
Perfumed and aromatic on the lovely nose with sweet liquorice and
caramel characteristics. On the palate delicate strawberry fruits with
excellent tannins. The texture is just right and it enhances the wines
flavour. A medium length finish asks for more- the bottle won't last

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Sangiovese is a favourite of mine from the simple Italian table wines
up to the aged Chiantis it is wine that really appeals to me in a
similar way to Pinot Noir.
This bottle seemed to be very good value from Asda online. Indeed even
just a cursory glance at any major wine retailer will demonstrate that
a Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 is usually worth in excess of £20.
Chianti Classico is a DOCG denominated region and is a sub region of
Chianti and must display the black rooster( Gallo Nero!)The DOCG is
governed by strict principles that the wines must adhere to. This
makes them extremely good quality wines.

Add Chianti Classico Riserva 2004
Aged for 38 months in barrels this is a perfumed and elegant wine with
tarry tobacco savoury notes with an aromatic sandalwood effect.
On the palate it is light, balanced and smooth with cherry fruit
flavours and a long long finish.
Highly recommended
£8.99 from Asda supermarket

Monday, 23 May 2011


Homemade honey wine.

3.5lbs of honey
1 tsp brewers yeast
1tsp yeast nutrient
1 gallon of water.

Put ingredients in a Demi John.
Leave in a cool place for several weeks until it has stopped bubbling.
You will see a yeasty froth rise to the surface. Don't stir this as it
gives the fermenting juice extra complex flavour!
After several weeks ( when bubbling has stopped signalling the end of
fermentation) the must is supposed to settle at the bottom and clear.
At this point you can rack the wine off it's lees and bottle it in wine bottles.
Mead is at it's best after 1 years aging in bottle but give it a taste
as you might like to drink it earlier!
Here's to a bit of experimenting!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Infamous Types

This is my first post in a while, and is dedicated to a little nook we stumbled upon in Madrid whilst looking for things to occupy our time with.

Tipos Infames is a wine & book shop full of the least infamous types I have ever laid eyes on, but let that bother you not.  What you have there is a comfortable, central & well-stocked wine joint that has good quality words to read all about the place, and wi-fi to do your whatever you needed to do.

We ordered, and were not disappointed by, a couple of house verdejos, whose origin was lost in the ether, but the product is not really the point of this post.

There are all sorts of bottles to take away, and books too; non in English I should add, but you can always pick up a bit of Castillian from the friendly barkeeps.

Be sure to pay them a visit next time you're in the Spanish capital!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

White Cotes

Caves Saint-Pierre 2009 white Cotes-du-Rhone produced by the Skalli family.
Tasty bottle of wine! Very smooth with a really long finish, savoury and a tiny bit sweet at the same time like honeydew melon but starts with a bit of a lemony tang. Does that make sense? Really going down well either way!
£7.49 from Tesco.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Steelwine Live Blog

First Steelwine team liveblog of the summer.
We are busy in the kitchen with a masterchef syle cookup but we took a break out in the garden to appreciate this lovely bottle of Cotes du Rhone fetched by Spud.

Domaine La Fond Roc Epine
Cotes Du Rhone 2009
We decanted the wine which was a good idea as it really opened up and changed character- mellowing out over time.
A delicate and light wine with initial savoury aromas of mushroom and undergrowth, probably influences from the time the wine spent in barrel. On the palate there was an aromatic fruitiness of red fruits with a perfect balance of tannins and a long delicious finish.
We highly rated the wine and are going to continue our Cotes Du Rhone adventures by exploring other wines from the region.
more news soon!
Will and Spud.

£9.49 from Bargain Booze

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


When is the last time you shattered a bottle of wine? Well ive done it
quite a few times myself- dropped in supermarkets, drunkenly opening
outside, even smashed a bottle by dropping my bag down an escalator
once! But for most people I think breaking wine bottles is a fairly
rare occurrence! This full sized plastic wine bottle innovation from
Marks and Spencer is a bit of a solution for a problem that doesn't
exist! but still it's very light in weight so you could easily put a
couple in your bag for travelling.

I recommend the French Sauvignon Blanc at £4.99.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Thanks to Dale for this adaptation of a famous wine label that we both
know and love. Respect to him having this as his wedding wine last

Thursday, 17 March 2011


I fell asleep tonight in my coat and with my shoes on. Must have been
the product of a lot of hard work this week including a night shift
for an implementation I am working on.
When Anna woke me up and dragged me downstairs for supper she had
opened a bottle of Chenin Blanc from the fridge which was really
lovely and it woke me up!

Vanderburg Chenin Blanc Chardonnay
South Africa. 2009

From Breedekloof on the Western Cape of South Africa this wine has a
nice rich pineapple body but is nicely crisp and has an excellent
appley citrus finish.
Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted grape in South Africa. It is
grown with great success and many different styles of wine are made.
This wine is blended with Chardonnay to give it a rounded body, has
been fermented at 12 degrees (quite low to bring out the aroma) and
has had extended contact with the grape skins and lees which again
brings to bring out the flavour. Chenin Blanc grapes tolerate this
treatment well in the winemaking process.

I highly recommend this wine and it is definitely a steal at the
price. £3.99 from Co-Op.

This tasting sample was provided by Co-Op.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Value Shiraz

Cheap Shiraz from Morrisons.
At £4.29 this is excellent value everyday drinking.

Although this does not have the full rich ripeness or alcohol level of the typical Australian Shiraz, it is still fruity with blackberry flavours and touch of roasted coffee to give it a bit of body. It is well rounded and faultless for the price!

£4.29 from Morrisons.
This was a sample provided from Morrisons Plc.
Will Wilson

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Steelwine Rendezvous in Wales

We are having a Steelwine meetup.
Good friends, good wines and good times.
Mumbles peninsular is the venue, we have come to visit Joe and Anna.
Today we walked along the cliff path to a surf beach and walked back via a bistro wine bar, The Park pub and Mumbles fine wines shop.

Sophie has gone to bed and we have started hitting the wines.

Urban uco,Cafayete
Torrontes 2009
Salta, Argentina
Mumbles Fine Wines. £7.99

Wow its unusual its kind of floral
Its kind of sweeet and yeah definitely flowers what is that like elderflowers or something?
Aromatic on the nose, fruity and ROses, pineapple and tropical fruit.
It has a flavour that doesnt diminish
Yeah its got a very long finish.

Our Argentinian wine guide (Christopher Fielden) states the following about this unusual drop.
"It gives wine with a distinctive flavour marrying Muscat flavours to dryness"

Love it.

Tenuta Pule
Amarone, Lidl
Toasted on the nose and smoky tinge. Black in colour and very full bodied.
Very concentrated flavour but not heavy on the tongue.
Amarone is a special wine made by drying Valpolicella grapes on straw mats!
This is an excellent wine and represents extremely good value for money.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wine Gang Returns!

We're organising another wine presentation at a local bar in Barcelona.  Here's the flyer and below is the description.  I'll let you know how we get on!

A selection of five wines from Tarragona presented in English by David Simms (

The price is €10 in advance, or €12 on the door.

The wines will be available at wholesale prices during and after the session.

Reservations must be made in advance via

20 pax minimum.


1 - Las Colinas Del Ebro 100% Grenache - 2009 - Terra Alta
2 - Dardell blanca 70% Grenache 30% Viogner - 2010 - Terr Alta
3 - Sola Fred Tinto 90% Carinena 10% Grenache - 2009 - Montsant
4 - Primicia Tinto 80% Grenache 20% Syrah (aged) - 2007 - Terra Alta
5 - Castell de Pinyeres 40% Carinena 40% Grenache 20% various (aged) - 2007 - Montsant

Betty Ford's, Joaquin Costa 56 
1st March, 19-21H.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Faustino VII

Faustino VII
A great historical Rioja from a large brand and a bloke with a long beard!
This is classic Rioja, aged in French oak barrels for several years.
It has developed a lot of flavour from the wood and has a robust tarry flavour.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Coonawarra Expedition

An excellent post from Adrian the Australian Adventurer.

Dear Steelwine,

Your indefatigable investigators have been sampling Coonawara wines today.

Coonawara in South Australia had its first vintage in 1895. The cool climate and soil of limestone enriched with clays, provides an ideal location for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. However, Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay are also grown together with a small quantity of other grape varieties.

The vignerons of Coonawara have set themselves the task of producing the best red wine in the world! Hubris? Your investigators have been finding out.

Following the recommendations of James Halliday we visited Balnaves and Majella Wines. Both export wine to specialist stockists in UK.

At Majella we tasted their best selling Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz blend, The Musician 08. With an intensity of colour and overwhelming aroma of ripe fruits, the wine, although rich in fruit lacked complexity to the palate and did not linger. But, good drinking wine for 16AUD.

Next the Merlot 08, which failed to impress.

Then Shiraz 08, which lacked the nose of The Musician, hit with 15% alcohol and lingered nicely in the mouth. Good, but no cigar.

Cabernet Sauvignon 08 followed. Intensely coloured, with a fine nose and complexity on the palate, tannins distinctly present, but not too pronounced and lingering fruit flavours. A star turn.

Finally the prestige Malleea 08. Similar intensity of colour and fine nose with a hint of oak and caramel. The high tannin in this young wine tended to obscure its undoubted elegance. What will a few years in bottle reveal?

The 08 Cabernet Sauvignon from Balnaves (14.5%) similarly impressed with its intensity of colour, oaky nose, moderate tannins and complex fruit flavours. Supplied in corked bottles, I suspect it will improve with keeping.

From the field research team.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Night With English Radio, Swedish Cooking & Spanish Wine


Here's my first tasting notes for a while.

Last night we broadcast a live set on a friend's show, and were treated to a lovely dinner from our Swedish Scot host, who served up mussels as a starter, with a fish/cheese meatball-style main.  Mmmmmm.

To accompany, a couple of wines worthy of writing home about:

A traditional Spanish aperitif: crisps and cockles, with a quality white: Mantel Blanco, 2010 verdejo from Rueda.  Clean and pale to look at, it was really savoury to smell, more herbal (elderflower) than fruity.  The texture was creamy, contrasting with a nicely balanced acidity and citrus flavour.  Good one.

With the cheesy fishballs, then, this number from a D.O. I'd never heard of before, Manchuela.  This wine is 100% bobal, which would generate a few laughs in South Yorks but is, in fact, quite an interesting red variety native to Spain.  It had a caramel nose, quite thin in the mouth but nicely spiced, with a satisfying tannic shadow.

Finally, from the great-value Montsant region, Diaro 2008.  A mix of garnaxa, syrah and tempranillo, it was a curious customer alright.  Smelling of wet cardboard, it again had quite a light refreshing texture and tasted of boiled game and herbs.  Not sure what to make of that.

Bit hungover when the cats came to say good morning.

Until next time wine pals,

Mark D.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Saturday, 8 January 2011


Lovely off dry Riesling from the German Mosel Valley.
Unusually for Riesling this was allowed to undergo Malo lactic
fermentation which adds a nice bit of body to the off dry sweet and
sour and refreshing style. Excellent balance on the palate and lovely
length. Quite a wine to savour.

Schieferterrassen 2007
Heymann Lowenstein

18 pounds from Green and Blue, Dulwich