I've been called upon to hold online wine tastings with family and friends over the past few weeks of lockdown, and of course been happy to oblige. I've also been pleasantly surprised by finding three new favourite wines, which I'd like to share with you.
Wine One - San Marzano Talo Primitivo, £15.95.
I was drawn into DaPaolo Italian Deli on Commercial Road in Swindon by the lure of a Limoncello panettone (yet to try it, but sounds delicious!). The wine shelves distracted me and in order to support our local independent shops, I purchased a bottle of San Marzano Talo Primitivo.
San Marzano is a small village in the centre of the Primitivo di Manduria DOC region, a strip of land kissed by two seas: the Ionian and the Adriatic. In 1962, 19 winemakers came together to follow a dream and founded Cantine San Marzano.
The Primitivo grape (which is the same as the Zinfandel grape in the USA) is a bold grape that loves the sun, full of rich, juicy flavours of cherries and plums, with pleasant notes of cocoa and vanilla that comes from 6 months ageing in French and American oak barriques. This wine impressed me greatly; it's a wine with a remarkable structure, softened by the soothing warmth of the Primitivo grape.
If you can't get to the Italian Deli in Swindon Town Centre, it is possible to buy this online at The Drink Shop.
Wine Two - Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon, Tesco £12
For a France vs California wine tasting, I found - yet again - that the majority favoured the Californian wines over the more formal Bordeaux offerings.
One stood out more than the others, and that was the Bonterra Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, which can be found in Tesco at £12. The grapes for this wine are sourced from California's finest organic vineyards, located in Mendocino County, just north of Sonoma County in northern California.
The hot days and cool nights of the area, lead to dark fruit flavours of ripe blueberry, blackcurrant and plum, with complex layers of tobacco and leather. It is aged for 12 months in oak barrels, softening the tannin structure and giving it a glorious dark ruby red hue.
Everyone loved this wine - let's hope you do too!
Wine Three - Paul Mas Reserve Pinot Noir, Morrisons, £8.25
In an Old World vs New World tasting, we pitted Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Malbec in a head to head between Old World (in these instances, France) and New World.
Paul Mas Réserve Single Vineyard Collection wines come from Jean-Claude Mas's vineyards in the Languedoc in the south of France (the vineyard lies near Limoux, at the foothills of the Pyrenées mountains)
Pinot Noir is a fickle grape that loves a cool climate, and adapts wonderfully to the Limoux climate and soils. This wine offers delicate aromas of red fruits, morello cherries and raspberries, yet unlike some thin pinots, it is full-bodied and generous on the palate with soft tannins. This wine is my bargain of the week, as it is currently reduced in Morrisons to £6.50 (until New Year's Day).