Walking Her Down the Supermarket Aisle

🇬🇧🇺🇸 The Royal Wedding

With London decked out in Union Jacks for the royal wedding I thought it was apt to pick up a British wine to celebrate the marriage of Harry the Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle. That, it seems, is not something the local supermarket chains thought I should be doing. Finding a British wine in Britain is like finding a long summer. I did see a concoction of fruit and alcohol labelled as British in one supermarket but the only association it seemed to have to wine was that it was in a bottle and in the same aisle as wine.

Regent Street, London. Copyright Maliphant Dee.

Regent Street, London

Not inclined to catch a train to Windsor, I had chosen to stay in London this weekend. The couple chose not to get married in London and I am not one to ignore a hint. Besides, Windsor is a small town and judging by the television coverage they already seemed to have more than their allocation of people wearing Union Jack hats and red, white and blue underwear. And I am not a fan of weddings, truth be told, not even when they are my own.

With a British Prince marrying a girl from California, and given the British royal family’s German roots, I suppose I could have chosen a Riesling from Mosel and a Californian Zinfandel. That would give the traditional red and white option on each table at the reception. A nice touch I first thought. But while I love the American Zinfandels, I went off Riesling about the time I was old enough to drink; or perhaps a few years prior.

Given the Queen is still the Head of State in New Zealand and Australia, I could have gone for an Hunter Valley Shiraz and a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. But then both those countries have spoken openly of ditching the royal family and replacing the Union Jack on their flags with a plant.

Finally I found a bottle of Chapel Down Bacchus in Waitrose. I had tasted their wines many years ago and had been impressed. It seemed an ideal choice for a summer wedding in Windsor. But then I noted the label: England. That would not have impressed my Welsh and Scottish friends one little bit.

It seemed whatever wine I chose I would offend someone. So I chose a wine from Romania, hopeful that I could now offend everyone.

I enjoyed my travels through Romania some decades ago and even survived a mugging in Bucharest. But I will leave the review of the Bradshaw Sauvignon Blanc for another day as I fear I have gone somewhat off topic again.

So pour yourself a glass of something you fancy – as long as it is wine – from a country you fancy and toast the happy couple. It was a rare and glorious day for a wedding in both Windsor and London today and my Romanian wine is now nicely chilled. I expect I will enjoy it more than my day in Bucharest.

Crowds gathered at Kensington Palace, London to watch the wedding. Copyright Maliphant Dee.

Crowds gathered at Kensington Palace, London to celebrate the wedding

An Argentine Tango

🇦🇷 Bodega Finca las Moras, Pinot Grigio 2015
8/10 – Nothing wrong with that

When I think of Argentina I think of steak. And when I think of steak I think of Malbec. So this was a change. It almost seemed a waste to be drinking white wine in Buenos Aires. So it wasn’t until I was back in London that I tried this Argentinian Pinot Grigio. London isn’t a city known for its summers, however sometimes the sun does come out and you feel like something cold that isn’t the weather.

Since the Argentinians have perfected French with their Malbecs there was no reason to believe they would struggle with learning Italian with a Pinot Grigio. And they haven’t.

This is a refreshing summer drink without any overpowering aromas. There is some citrus but there is no acid etching your palate. It is as crisp and clean as a well danced tango.

There’s not quite enough talent in the bottle for this wine to dance alone. So give it a partner. For me it went very well with green peppers and chicken.

UK £8.00 (US 11.00) 27/8/2016

Tango Dancers, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Copyright Maliphant Dee.

Watching Water, Drinking Wine

🇬🇷 Greek Wine Cellars, Agiorgitiko Nemea 2014
6/10 – Drinkable

Skopelos was the Greek Island location used in the movie Mamma Mia, along with Skiathos and Damouhari Pelio. I spotted this pretty island on route to Alonissos so returned there the following year and took a room up the hill which looked down on the harbour capital.

Even if you are not a fan of Abba you will be a fan of Skopelos. Though the choice of wines available here is limited, whatever you buy will seem twice as good once sat on your balcony watching the sun set behind the hills. Many an evening I was left to realise why so many Gods were Greek.

Skopelos Sunset. Copyright Maliphant Dee.

I found this Agiorgitiko from GWC in the local supermarket in Skopelos. It is, I understand, the most common grape now in Greece, though this example is some distance from the best Greek reds I have tried: a ferry and two buses at least. The wine is a bit thin and weak both in the glass and out of it. And it is a bit sour on the palate. It is certainly drinkable, though it will do little to add to you mood, as good as that will be on a warm summer evening on the island of Skopelos. There is a hint of berry on the nose but not enough to make a pie. Still it is good enough value. When the location is added you might consider it a bargain.

I reminisce further on my Greek obsession of watching water and drinking wine in Liquid.

Greek Supermarket €4.98 (£4.50, US $6.00)

Skopelos. Copyright Maliphant Dee.

An Easy Choice

🇺🇸 Barefoot, Shiraz 2014
8/10 – Nothing Wrong with That

I have drunk more than my fair share of Barefoot over the years. They are the Côtes du Rhône of American wines: always good value, if never exceptional. The labels are consistent too if somewhat boring, which makes them easy to spot on the supermarket shelf. I tasted the 2014 here but the wines change as little as the labels from year to year so expect something similar till 2017 at least.

This is a smooth, understated Shiraz. With enough berry and pepper to get by and a touch of vanilla on the way through.

Asda £5.50 (US $7.50)

Cream Cakes in the Fridge

🇮🇱 Barkan, Special Addition Chardonnay 2015
7/10 – Just Keeps Getting Better

This wine has a very nice nose: grassy and fresh like the start of summer. And with pineapple and peach. It was not as oily as I like at first and it was lacking any cream, but there is no bitter citrus to finish. There were long tears in the glass and it was the colour of straw with a tinge of green as if still in the bottle.

I drank this with seafood one night and quite enjoyed it. With no other drinkers in sight I put a stopper on the top and slipped it back in the fridge. The next night I sat down to write my weekly Formula 1 review. Wine always helps me express myself – I expect I can blame the Irish side of my family for that – so I poured myself a glass. Like a cream cake left in the fridge, it had actually improved overnight. It was now more oily and even a little buttery. Perhaps I had placed it too close to the Anchor.

I thought this wine was slightly overpriced in the Tel Aviv Airport duty free. Certainly in Britain the supermarket competition means I seldom buy wine at the airport. Or anything in fact, apart from a flight. But at just £7 this is a very good value Chardonnay.

It takes a strong wine to survive without food, and tasted alone this now stood up for itself without pause or regret. I now wish I had picked up a few more bottles of Barkan Chardonnay on my way home from Israel. I hope I return there one day.

Tel Aviv Duty Free, US $9.90 (£7.30)

Tel Aviv seafront from Gordon Beach. Copyright Maliphant Dee.

Tel Aviv seafront from Gordon Beach

Angle in the Woods

🇪🇸 Castillo Montanez, Reserva Tempranillo Carinena 2013
8/10 – Nothing wrong with that

With the Spanish Grand Prix on in Barcelona this weekend I thought it only right to be drinking an old favourite from Aragon.

My review of Qualifying today in Incessant Formula 1 took on a fashion theme as all the teams tarted themselves up for the first European race of the year. So this Spanish beauty is the ideal accompaniment.

This wine is full of slippery berries. It is like walking barefoot in the woods. And with the nose of an angle, this Spaniard is sweet, refined and lipstick red. And the perfect age for taking out. There’s nothing not to like about this. Especially the price.

Asda £5.00/$7.00

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Copyright Maliphant Dee.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

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