Food alone is good; wine alone is good; but food and wine together is heaven!

Wine Tasting Notes

The notes below are just my personal opinion about the wines mentioned. I've actually tasted all these wines, and I've recorded what the vendor, or some other tasting authority has said and then my thoughts alongside.

In the far right column is my idea of a 'value for money' score. Using this, you must decide what your price bracket is and then use the VFM score to help you choose the best wine that's available in that price bracket.

Low Priced But Reasonably Good

Country Region, Grape Wine Name, Retailer, Price Vendor Comments Author Comments Quality, Price Scores VFM Score
Chile, Central Valley, Merlot, 2008 Own Label, ASDA, £3.28 Jam packed with berry flavours. Nose - fruity, raspberries. Palate - moderate acidity, tannins very moderate and fine, flavour - fresh fruit raspberries. 3, 10.0 30.0
Chile, Central Valley, Merlot, 2008 Concha y Toro, Sunrise, ASDA, £5.99 A fruit-forward wine, full of lovely cherry notes. This elegant Merlot presents a ruby red colour, and aromas of cherry, pepper and a soft touch ofcacao. Ruby, purple, fruity, cherry, low acidity, very mild fine grained tannins, quite smooth. 3.5, 9.7 33.95
Chile, Central Valley, Merlot, 2008 Concha y Toro, Casillero del Diablo, ASDA, £6.58 A smooth Merlot that perfectly combines plummy, herby flavours with smoky cedar wood. A fruity wine with a full well-structured texture and soft tannins. Ruby, purple, fruity, blackcurrants, mild acidity, fine grained tannins, not quite smooth, tart, herby, eucalyptus, smoky hints. 3.5, 9.5 33.25
Australia, Reynella, Shiraz, 2008 Anniversary, Hardy's, £7.99/75ml A full bodied wine with soft spicy raspeberrry, plum and cherry flavours complemented by vanillin oak and persistent, supple tannins. Partner it now with pasta or risotto, or alternatively cellar for up to 5 years. Tasted Nov 2009. The flavours are as described, and enjoyable, but the tannins are still young and a little too persistent. If keeping would soften and integrate the tannins then this wine would improve, but it will take 5 years to find out. 3.6, 9.3 33.5
France, Bordeaux Barsac, Sauternes, 2008 Sauternes, Château Cantegril, Le Vacherin, £6/75ml glass Perfumed nose, passion fruits, apricots, peaches and pineapples. Great acidity and a very long length. 64% Semillon, 34% Sauvignon, 1% Muscadelle. Avge. 30 yr. old vines. Intense lemons on the nose. Musty apricots characteristic of sauternes type. Also, lemons and pineapple. Lower sweetness and thinner, in a pleasant way, than some other vintage sauternes. Very enjoyable. Good value. 6.0, 6.3 37.8
France, Loire valley, Chenin Blanc, 2001 Coteaux du Layon, Domaine Bodineau, Savonnières, less than £9 / bottle Light amber colour and lemons on the nose. Moderate acidity, balanced with fairly intense sweetness, flavours of lemons and apples, perfectly smooth. Enjoyable and good value. 5.5, 9 49.5

Medium Priced But Very Good

Country Region, Grape Wine Name, Retailer, Price Vendor Comments Author Comments Quality, Price Scores VFM Score
France, Bordeaux, Côtes de Francs, 2004 Château Marsau, BBR £13.65 Burgundian style truffles, earth and a hint of spice vie for your attention on the nose, while the classic, plummy Merlot fruit brings you straight back to Bordeaux. Jancis score 16/20. I loved this wine and it is one of my favourites. At this price it's a bargain (as shown by the VFM score). 6.5, 8.7 56.5
France, Bordeaux, White, Sauternes, 1994, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Sémillon Barrone Mathilde, Phillipe de Rothschild, Hotel Gentiana, Tignes, France, €60 Rich, aromatic, complex. Kept by the hotelier for many years and never sold; the French residents didn't appreciate their own nation's treasures. Wonderful musty nose, classic of Sauternes. Not acid, velvety creamy palate. Fabulously smooth, virtually perfect. 8.5, 6.75 57.4
France, Bordeaux, Red, Pessac-Léognan, 2003 Château Haut Lagrange, Hotel Gentiana, Tignes, France, €48 Recommended by the hotelier (as better than the Pauillac they also listed). Beautiful nose of strawberries, velvety, smooth tannins. Fabulous wine. 8.0, 6.75 54
France, Bordeaux, White, Sauternes, 2003 Château Filhot, The Devonshire, £25 / half bottle The Wine Doctor, 17/20 I enjoyed this wine. A very good balance of musty, apricot, oranges, and sweetness. A very recommended, lighter, introduction to good sauternes, reflected in a high VFM score. 7.5, 6.75 50.6
France, Bordeaux, Pessac Léognan, 1998, Cabernet Sauvignon 59%, Merlot 41% Château Haut-Bailly, Petrus£155, BBR £47.95 Marvellous nose. Rich, fat, concentrated and luscious (Clive Coates, The Vine, 01-Apr-2000),BBR Score 17/20 Wonderful treat, but prices from BBR and restaurant show the kinds of markup wines suffer in restaurants. 8.5, 6.5 55.25

High Priced But Fabulous

Country Region, Grape Wine Name, Retailer, Price Vendor Comments Author Comments Quality, Price Scores VFM Score
France, Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé, 1985 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, Le Vacherin,£105 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot Dark opaque ruby with brick edges. Fruity on the nose, strawberries, light soft tannins, low gentle acidity, complex after aromas of tobacco, leather and spices. Very enjoyable. 7.5, 5.4 40.5
France, Bordeaux, White, Sauternes, Premier Cru Supérieur, 1999 Château d'Yquem, The Berkeley hotel,£205 1/2 bottle Château d'Yquem Fruity and musty on the nose. Gently sweet, but perfectly matched acidity, apricots, apples, complex, long after finish. Totally exquisite. Lifetime ambition to drink this world's number one sauternes. 10, 2 20

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