Kangarilla Road, Montepulciano 2014, McLaren Vale, Australia, Majestic £10 (on offer)

For those of you who haven't yet sampled wines from Kangrilla Road, you just don't know what you're missing.

We are big fans of their Cabernet Sauvignon and their Shiraz, but their Montepulciano was recently given the nod by Decanter as one of the best value Majestic wines.

Montepulciano is more unusually grown in Italy than Australia (am sure the name gives this away) but this welcome immigrant works hard and delivers a delicious big and bouncy wine with dominant blackcurrant fruit that has a quirky mushroom like edge.

Perfect for curling up by the fire this is available from Majestic when you buy 3 or more bottles.

8/10

The Society Exhibition, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 2014, The Wine Society, £18

Anyone who reads out site, blog or tweets will know that we are big fans of the Wine Society, and with very good reason.

This latest offering that we have sampled is produced and bottled by the wonderful Frog's Leap winery In Rutherford, California. Personally these are one of our favourite producers for the quality of the wine and their wonderfully amusing history that you can read here: The Story of Frogs Leap

But back to the Wine Society wine! If you like a bigger, brazen wine style, this is lush. I appreciate that £18 might be a lot for a bottle but you get an awful lot for your money - this beats many Napa wines I've tasted priced well north of £50.

Cassis is definitely what comes to mind with aroma and flavour. It's also got lovely black fruit, a hint of spice and some vanilla. Rich and lush, it all comes together fantastically and put a highe smile on our faces. We will be drinking this again. And again.

9.5 / 10

Carlisle, Russian River Valley Zinfandel, 2010, USA, Noel Young Wines, £26

For those of you who have had Zinfandel before, you may have experienced wine which is sickly sweet and gloopy like a slightly watered down jar of blackcurrant jam, while having a kick like a mule with alcohol north of 15%. Elegant as an episode of Geordie Shore...

Well, for those of you who like a big wine but are find of the enamel on your teeth, here is a Zin which is big and bold and does have a bit of a kick (15.7% alcohol to be precise) but does have a lot more refinement than Donald Trump. This is rich with slightly sweet blackcurrant flavours balanced by a pleasant and gentle warm edge and well integrated tannins.

7 / 10 

The Ned, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, New Zealand, Majestic £11 (£7 on offer)

As far is Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs go, this is one of our favourites. What we love about the Kiwi Savvie Blancs are those gorgeous gooseberry aromas and flavours that blew our minds when New Zealand wine came on the scene all those years ago and we haven't got bored of them yet!

The Ned is an excellent example with plenty of gooseberry and lime in the glass that leaves your mouth watering and makes it hard not to go back for more.

The Ned has interesting secondary flavours of smoke and herbs that makes it more interesting than wines at this price point.

An absolute steal at sub £10.

9 / 10

Invivo, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, New Zealand, Majestic, £8

The latest offering from Majestic wines, usually our go-to wine folk, particularly for well priced New Zealand wines is... disappointing.

Dazzled by the shiney Wine Award sticker and a fan of the Awatere region of Marlborough, we expected a rich, limey glassful of deliciousness well balanced by juicy acidity leading to a happy ever after of an evening.

This started well with some passion fruit aromas, lemon / lime / melon flavours and an interesting floral thing going on. 

However, it was all over as bad blind date; the wine starts pretty well but then the flavours just disappear.... Definitely not an award winner for us.

5 / 10

Rogue Vine Granda Itata Blanco, Itata, Chile, £16.70, Honest Grapes

You may remember that we did a blog post on the relatively new online wine folk Honest Grapes recently where we tested out their Taste Lab as a way to get a better understanding of the wines you like. You can refresh your memory here:

Based on the results of our test, this is the first of the wines they recommended. What I love about this already is that this is not a wine I would have ever picked myself. Did they pick well?

In summary, most definitely yes. This is a really interesting wine that pulls together lots of the pieces that I like from other wines. The aroma is very floral and the wine is fresh on the palate with delicate and elegant citrus flavours followed by some peach and a very subtle touch of honey. All in all this is a delicious wine that reminds of of a cross between a New World rich Pinot Gris with a subtle ting of Sauvignon Blanc and a hint of New World Chardonnay complexity - a lot going on for this price point.

A great opening pick by Honest Grapes - would definitely buy this wine again.

8 / 10

Kangrilla Road Chardonnay, Australia, Majestic, £9.99

For those of you ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), please please please don't write this wine off! If you're anti-Chardonnay because you don't like the oily buttery flavours you think all Chardonnay's have, this is the wine for you!

This wine has gorgeous fresh pear and citrus flavours with a hint of tropical fruit and a lovely zing all in great balance.

This is a fabulous turkey wine but equally delicious all on its own.

9 / 10

Hedges CMS Washington State 2012, The Wine Society, £11.95

This was quite a delicious moorish Autumnal wine from the Wine Society.

This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz has gorgeous blackcurrant and blueberry fruit flavours, savoury and quite underpriced for a wine of this quality. This tasted more like a £15-20 bottle.

Soft and elegant this wine doesn't need any food; good company and a roaring fire will do. We will be buying more of this!

8 / 10.

Graham Norton's Own Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, Majestic, £11.99

What would a flamboyant Irish comedian know about wine anyway? Well, he may not have made it but he's put his name to a bloody good bottle of wine. With a narrow mind we didn't expect much from a celebrity endorsed wine but this was a wee gem.

This had really interesting vegetal blackcurrant leaf aromas which gave the typical gooseberry acidity interesting additional complexity.

8 / 10 

Definition, Rioja Reserva 2009, Spain, Majestic, £12.99 (offer £9.74)

Majestic own label wines strike again. This wine makes us happy that Autumn is upon us because we can see ourselves sprawled out by the fire with this and a decent box set.

Gorgeous heady aromas of blackcurrant and vanilla aromas and flavours, this rich chocolate laden mouthful is decadently wonderful.

At the £9.74 offer price, this is excellent value and great as a supporting role for any roast dinner.

9 / 10

Definition, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand, Majestic, £15.99 (offer £11.99)

Another example from Majestic's new own label wine offering, this is a lovely example of a rich and complex Kiwi wine.

Rather than the more common sour cherry style, this is silky with raspberry and dark cherry aromas. 

Rich and delicious, this was more savoury and complex than many other examples at a similar price point.

 

9 / 10

Definition, Chardonnay, France, 2014, Majestic, £12.99 (offer £9.74)

Part of Majestic's newly introduced own label wines, this is a Chardonnay that will turn the head of even the most militant ABC* drinker.

Rich without being too buttery, this has aromas of apple and brioche.

Favours of apple, pear and toast are pretty damn yummy and the flavour hangs around for some time. There is a little citrus bite which balances the richness well. 

8 / 10

* ABC - Anything But Chardonnay

Waitrose Douro Valley Reserva, Portugal, Waitrose, £10.79

Portugal must be one of the most under-rated regions there is. It regularly produces wines with complexity and character that offer exceptionally good value. This is particularly the case in the £8 - £15 price points where, pound for pound, it beats most others, particularly with its reds.

This offering from Waitrose is a good wine for Portuguese virgins. Douro reds tend to be very floral and savoury with well integrated tannins and this is a very approachable version.

Aromas of black fruits, followed by powerful savoury fruit flavours with great length supported by delicious tannins. Fabulous with a bit of red meat. 

8 / 10

Brancott Estate, Pinot Noir, Terroir Series, Ocado, £15

An interesting mid priced New Zealand Pinot Noir from Ocado. 

This is a premium end wine for this New Zealand producer. This range is focussed on trying to produce wines with a real expression of 'place' - highlighting the differences that can arise due to where the grapes are grown.

This ruby colour wine lacked the typcal sour cherry aromas and flavours typically found in Marlborough Pinot but instead had more cranberry and blackberry aromas. Flavour of red fruits with delicate vanilla on the finish.

7 / 10

Robert Oatley, Barossa Shiraz, Australia, Wine Society, £12.50

As cold, dark nights start to draw in, we find ourselves craving stodgy comfort food and big red wines. Barossa Shiraz is typically one of the biggest but this wine was a little different, more of an elegant wine than a big brute.

Nice purple colour with aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit with some spice, possibly a hint of mint.

Luscious flavours of slightly sweet black fruits, very silky and velvety. Think of all those Galaxy chocolate ads... Great with a bit of meat on a windy autumnal evening or on its own by the fire. Will be buying this again - very good value.

9 / 10

Quintay Grand Reserve Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir, Ocado, £9.50

We are always suspicious of sub £10 pinot noir (making good pinot is a difficult and expensive process!) but this is a good effort.

Ruby colour with cherry, blackberry and spice aromas.

On the palate this has flavours of juicy cherry, strawberry, black fruit and spice with nice length.

Very drinkable Pinot for the price.

8 / 10.

 

The Liberator Blood Brothers Red Label Stellenbosch, Wine Society, £11.99

This funky red from the Wine Society is one of a limited edition run of wines produced by some of South Africa's most exciting young winemakers.

When opening the bottle there were really interesting, almost feral, aromas of black and blue fruits with a tasty vanilla / biscuit like edge. The wine is rich and velvety with black fruit flavours upfront, mellowing to slightly sweeter red fruit flavours with some white pepper. Elegant tannins and great finish.

Excellent value for what is a very interesting wine.

9 / 10. 

Dourthe Reserve Montagne Saint Emilion, Waitrose, £8.40 (offer)

This rich French red is a great companion wine for hearty Autumnal grub.

Produced in Saint Emilion, which is one of the better red wine areas of Bordeaux in France where Merlot is generally the dominant red varietal.

This rich warming wine has blackberry and blueberry fruit flavours with some cedar and leather. Great value at this discounted price. 

8/10 

Saint Clair Pioneer Block Pinot Gris

A recent trip to New Zealand was an eye opener for us in relation to the diversification of grapes being grown there and the talents of the locals turning said grapes into yummy stuff.

Pinot Gris was a revelation for us and we were impressed with the massive variety of styles that varied across regions and producers.

The Saint Clai Pinot Gris is very aromatic with gorgeous pear and almond flavours. The wine is quite rich but is well balanced thanks to citrus / melon flavours offsetting the sweetness of the pear. 

This is an opulent wine and a great one to try for anyone overdosing on limey Sav Blancs.

 

9 / 10

 Shamelessly opulent.  

Shamelessly opulent.  

Saint Clair Pioneer Block Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, £15, Majestic

 Mouthwatering stuff. 

Mouthwatering stuff. 

Love this Kiwi Savvy Blanc. Has the typical gooseberry flavours you expect from the wonderful New Zealand wine makers, but this one tastes a bit more serious than cheaper wines.  

Passionfruit is in abundance but wonderfully matched with a dry steely minerality.  

Would suit folk who like a juicy white bursting with tropical fruits.  

Single bottle price at Majestic closer to £20 but well worth £15 when bought as part of their discount package.

8/10