Sunday nights – you either love them or hate them. I love them. Yes, the anticpation of going back to work on Monday can seem terribly depressing, but equally you could see it as the celebration of a fantastic weekend. With the nights starting to draw in and the question on everyone’s lips ‘is it too early to put the heating on?’, Sundays are the cosy, relaxing end of the weekend. At 5 minutes to 4 yesterday we raced to Tesco and splashed out on deliciously decadent (for us!) Sirloin steak. As we rushed through to the till, we swung by the wine isle and grabbed a bottle of Artesano De Argento Malbec for £6.99.
Back at home, relaxed, and catching up on repeat episodes of Come Dine With Me, we cracked open the vino…
Deep violet purple colour with an exciting nose showing notes of plums,then black cherries and hints of rich, dark chocolate. Flavours on the palate of blackberry and blackcurrant with a sweet spice and a balanced acidity. Medium bodied with rounded tannins, and terribly easy to drink, it has a long smooth finish and I can vouch is absolutely spot on with steak!
I like the fact that Tesco now don’t make a song and dance about their Finest range when it comes to the labels on their wines – they blend in with the rest of the shelves and offer a good value, benchmark example of a wine that you can serve without feeling sheepish if you have a thing about supermarket own-labels (we don’t anyway, as it happens).
I also like that their Finest range incorporates wines that aren’t quite yet a household name but are super-tasty, such as their Fiano, Nero D’Avola and Torrontes.
Fiano in particularly is quickly beginning to rival Pinot Grigio, especially when it comes to value for money.
I picked up a bottle of their Finest Fiano as part of a meal-deal on Saturday night when all I needed was a quiet night in and a nice glass of white after a long, hectic week.
It went delightfully with the meal (chicken with crispy pancetta potatoes) as it didn’t overpower the flavours but didn’t wither away either, but it really came into its own when I sipped it in the garden. Fresh, peachy and aromatic with a delicious softness, it also has a nice round texture and a hint of almond-blossom.
It went down all too quickly, and was a steal at £6.99 per bottle.
I had a bout of healthy lifestyle inspiration on Friday, after watching The Hairy Bikers, Hairy Dieters , and rustled up their Skinny Beef Lasagne, which – deep breath – doesn’t actually contain pasta. Cunningly disguised as ‘pasta sheets’, blanched leeks form the layers between rich, tomatoey, delicious beef ragu. With a sprinkling of Parmesan reggiano on the top, there was no mistaking this looked like any normal lasagne. Of course, being the wine lover I am, I could not enjoy this experience without a snappy little Italian red. As I nipped into Tesco to gather ingredients, I stumbled on this little beauty Dino Sangiovese di Romagna DOC with a welcoming half price ticket. Now at it’s normal price of £9.99 I’m not sure I would have given it a second look, however at only £4.99 it was fantastic for the price. Light in the glass and at only 12% abv, it shines with red and dark fruits and a hint of spiciness. Made from the same grape as Chianti, this provides a lighter and cheaper alternative If you want an easy Italian red, then for me, this is perfect and a steal while it’s half price :-)
What better way to spend a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon than sitting in a pub garden, sun on your back, sipping a glass (or few!) of a deliciously summery white?
My visit to The White Horse, Burnham Green in Hertfordshire last weekend did not disappoint. A quick catch up with friends turned to a few hours, several glasses of wine, crusty bread, green olives and a baked camembert!
Juicy and peachy, with a zesty finish, the Spee’wah Crooked Mick Viognier 2011 perfectly suited my summery, laid back mood. Available from The Fine Wine Company, for just £49.46 for a case of six, this has enough body to feel juicy and round, with a snap of acidity to create great balance. Spee’wah has proffered an affordable summer white, a little of the beaten track.
As an aussie, I just can’t help but give this wine the caption ‘You beaut, juicy fruit’!
If you’re looking for a versatile wine, but something a little different to your standard whites, look no further than Vouvray, Les Coteaux Tuffiers, Demi Sec, 2010. The dominant grape is Chenin Blanc, but rather than a familiar South African, dry chenin, this is made as a demi sec, medium-dry, version. It’s clean, fresh, fruity and fantastic on it’s own or with food. With its little extra sweetness, it’s perfect with Oriental dishes, I had a glass (or two!) with a Thai Green Curry. It balances out the heat of the spice, but retains great acidity on the palate. Also try with hard cheeses such as Parmesan, pecorino or my new fave Lincolnshire Poacher, a fantastic english cheese from Waitrose which I cannot stop eating! At only £6.95 from The Wine Society, and so versatile, this white is one I continue to go back to time and time again. You do need to be a member of The Wine Society to purchase, however, at only £40 for a lifetime membership, it’s well worth it.