Recently we’ve been busy swirling, sniffing, spitting and selecting some really rather nice wines to add to our Wine Shop range and I thought I’d mark your cards as to my favourites from the list.

So here are some lovely summery wines to pop into your virtual wine case:

New and exciting wines

Gazzera Old Vines Catarratto £6
When I was in Sicily last Autumn I was struck by three things:

1. It’s a beautiful island
2. Nero d’Avola is awesome and should be celebrated
3. The whites, especially those from higher altitude vineyards, are fresh and lively and wonderful.

So here is Gazzera Old Vines Cataratto, a wine I created along with the winemaker that I’ve brought exclusively to the Wine Shop with not just a little pride and love. It smells wonderfully of mandarin oranges and tastes supple and fruit forward. Simply lovely with summery salads, fresh fish or lightly grilled chicken.

Musita Chardonnay £7.47
Another little gem from Sicily; this is a very fresh, elegant and pretty Chardonnay that the winemaker has cleverly allowed to speak for itself rather than covering his tracks with lots of winemakery tricks like lots of oak and stuff. If you love good wine, pure and simple, this is for you. Especially if you are having chicken or fish at all, any time, during the Summer. Perfect.

Losada Vinos de Finca El Pajaro Rojo 2013 £10.97
I am crazy about the Mencia grape – I think it is the new Malbec but bouncier and maybe a bit friendlier. This gorgeously fruity red from Castilla y Leon in Spain is puppyish in its jolly, juicy approachable fruit. Very trendy. Very New Wave. Very nice with barbecues.

In fact, The Wine Gang have just written it up in their monthly report giving it 87/100 and describing it as: “intensely cherryish on both the nose and palate with a sweet, almost opulent quality of black cherry fruit”. Which makes it sound quite serious. Which it isn’t really. It’s just good.

Gran Bajoz Tinta de Toro Vinas Viejas 2010 £7.98
So if you’re looking for a red that will stand up to blockbuster barbecued meats then this is the one for you. From the region of Toro in Spain, north-west of Madrid and close to the Portuguese border this oaky red is hugely impressive, choc-full of vanilla and rich, fruity flavours. Serious stuff.

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Posted by Philippa on 18 July 2014

I read somewhere that we are now officially in the wedding season and I thought I’d look through our Wine Shop range for some lovely wedding breakfast or evening party wines.

So for everyone who is planning or attending a wedding this summer – congratulations, have fun and here are my recommendations:

Fabulous fizz for toasting and crisp white wine for starters and fish

Fizz for the Reception and Toast

Piper Heidseick NV £30
If it’s Champagne you’re after then one of my favourite aperitif Grandes Marques is Piper Heidseick NV – lovely and fresh with apples and pears.

Filippo Sansovino Prosecco NV £6
What’s not too love about Prosecco – gorgeously fruity and not too dry – so that makes it the perfect choice to make everyone happy.

Crisp White for Starters and Fish

Koru New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc £6 IWC Gold, IWC Great Value Trophy
Fresh and nettly and a Gold Medal winner. Wow! Great quality, great value and a firm favourite.

Smooth white for salmon or chicken, rose for buffets, red for meat and low alcohol

Smooth White for Salmon or Chicken

Alba Signature Albarino 2012 £6 IWC Silver
Albarino is so hip now, it almost hurts. Catch the wave with this smooth yet minerally Spanish white.

Lovely Rose for Buffets

Torres Vina Sol Rose 2013 £5
A deliciously berried dry rose from Spain – great food wine but also very tasty on its own.

Easy Drinking Red for Meats

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 £8 IWSC Bronze
Some people reckon this is the best value Cabernet in the world – all I know is that the blackcurrant flavours are brilliant, it’s smooth and silky and it’s a fantastic match to red meats.

One for the Designated Drivers

Torres Natureo Low Alcohol £4
Refreshingly floral – dry and tasty.

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Posted by Philippa on 11 July 2014

York is brilliant this week with yellow bicycles, bunting and sunshiny flower beds and Leeds Station is criss-crossed with tyre tracks. It’s all because this weekend the World’s Greatest Cycle Race is coming to Britain’s (allegedly) Greatest County – that’s Yorkshire by the way – and by gum, we’re excited.

Members of my family are planning random visits to our house on Sunday (lovely to see them, but we do live within walking distance of the Minster…) and friends in Leeds are planning street parties.

Wines for the Tour De France

So why not wear some yellow, get into the party spirit and buy a few bottles of French wine. Vive La France!

Extra Special Chardonnay 2013 IWSC Silver, IWC Bronze £5
A refreshing Chardonnay from Southern France – perfect on a summer’s day with salads.

Costieres de Nimes 2013 IWC Silver, Decanter Commended £5
Chock full of brambly, peppery fruit flavours. A stonking buy for a fiver and fabulous with barbecues.

Provence Rose 2013 £6
New to the range with a taste of the warm South – dry but deliciously fruity this is a great choice with wraps, tuna steaks or picnic foods.

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Posted by Philippa on 04 July 2014

Yep, it’s inescapable and do you know what? I’m quite enjoying the footie. Not in a technical, understanding all the rules and finer points of play sort of way, but the sheer spectacle and scale of the tournament – plus the post match analysis is wondrous in its complexity. Like listening to Klingon for the non-Klingon speaker. Which is me.

Wines to watch the football with

So what will I be drinking? Well, Chile have knocked Spain out of the tournament, so a touch of Cono Sur won’t go amiss! Argentina are strong contenders (yes, someone told me that…) so let’s have a dash of Malbec, and Australia played out of their skins against Holland (I watched! I could tell!) so a glass of something from down under will do.

So here you go. Nice wines for whatever you’re up to this weekend.:

Cono Sur Bicycletta Pinot Noir £5
A smooth and silky South American classic and one of the best value New World Pinot Noirs around. If you can’t get your head round big, butch hearty reds in the summer and fancy a lighter style to go with chicken wraps, pizza or tuna salad, this is the answer. A wining combination of flair and finesse. Could almost be talking about The Beautiful Game!

Malbec £6
The iconic grape from Argentina and such an awesome match to meat. Extra Special Malbec. It’s full of bold, juicy fruit. It’s won medals. It’s great. Go for it.

Zilzie Pinot Grigio £4.98
My goodness, this is brilliant value for money –only £4.98! Thank you to our lovely buyer Jo for this bargain and thank you to the equally lovely Forbes family for making such great wines. The ultimate chilling in the garden kind of wine.

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Posted by Philippa on 20 June 2014

Well, it’s nearly here! Football frenzy is taking over the country and even if I wanted to escape I can’t! I sit near the beer buyers at work and my husband has marked every match on the kitchen calendar at home, so I’m just going to go for it and embrace the whole crazy seriousness of it. So, this Saturday (the first England match, they tell me) I’ll be drinking a glass or two of… Portuguese wine!

Nope, not Brazilian wine for me – I thought I’d take a left field approach along the lines of Think Brazil, Drink Portuguese (well, it is their main language after all).

World Cup wine blog

So here are my top picks of Portuguese wines from the Wine Shop – great for barbecues, friends round for supper and telly-watching.

Fossil 2012 Lisboa £8.50
A lovely fresh-as-a-daisy, lemony zesty white from close to the Atlantic coast. I can’t think of anything nicer with fish or seafood skewers or summery salads and picnics.

Conde de Vimioso £8.50
I’m a fan of this chunky, hunky, rich and fruity red. Gorgeous with sirloin steak, beef burgers or vegetarian chilli.

Extra Special Dao £5.48
A seriously chocolatey vanilla and big bowls of ripe fruits sort of red from the clever people at Falua. Roll out the pulled pork and settle in.

Tagus Creek Rose £4.50
This is lovely, dry, and refreshingly fruity and made from Shiraz (international) and Touriga Nacional (local) grape varieties so a very multi-cultural sort of wine. Lip-smackingly good. Especially with spicy chicken wraps or tomato bruschetta.

PS I nearly forgot (oops!) that it’s Father’s Day on Sunday. How about a 5* customer rated bottle? There’s lots of lovely stuff available for presents.

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Posted by Philippa on 13 June 2014