Food goes with Wine but which food and which wine?

The eternal question – you are throwing a dinner party or it might be a special occasion and you want to make it special! I have some idea what foods to pair with some wines but I I don’t always have the courage of my convictions – sound familiar? Well I came across this handy guide that helps me to decide and I think that you might find it useful too:-


Perhaps you are not serving food but want to choose according to the characteristics of the wine – it helps there too. It will get you started any way.

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Cuvée Prestige Vin de France.

This sort of wine doesn’t usually get a review I would imagine as it would normally fall below the radar; regarded as not worthy, but I think that it deserves a mention. I think that wines should suit the occasion and the occasion that this wine suits is when you want something ordinary and low(ish) in alcohol “on a school night” – this is a wine for occasions when there is no special occasion. It is good for having with food or snacks – sort of a glorified “Vin de Table” – it is pleasant, it is drinkable  and at £4.80 it is value for money and affordable even when it is not a special occasion:-

Cuvee Prestige VDF

Cuvée Presige Vin de France.

Price: £4.80

Retail Source: Tesco (Bottled for Tesco)

Vintage: Non – Vintage.

Winemaker: Marie Julian

Producer: Val D’orbieu

Bottled at: Jardin du Languedoc

Alcohol content %:11.5 (ABV)

Grape varieties: Val D’orbieu is Frances biggest still wine co-operatives with over 2500 members – A mixed blend for consistent results – most likely predominately the grapes of the Languedoc – Carignan, Mouvèdre, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cinsaut – I guess!

Region: Maureillian, Languedoc, France.

Colour:  Deep red with a very slight brick red.

Bouquet/nose/smell: “Rhubarb and Custard sweets!” – then red berries.

Taste/Palate: Ripe Cherries/Plums, soft light tannins, smooth.

Finish: Soft smooth fruity finish of medium longevity.

Remarks: This is the sort of wine and wine price bracket that I would have normally walked past – after all, you get what you pay for with wine, right? Most of the price of the wine goes to the exchequer/Taxman, right? Well, a little while ago I was out to source wines that we a little lighter in alcohol than my usual Aussie or French reds (- which are getting stronger by the way – Global warming?) and I took a chance on this one. I was very pleasantly surprised. It is a nice if not great wine for easy, “everyday” drinking (- no, I don’t drink wine everyday but you know what I mean!) It is well worth the £4.80 that Tesco charge for it, for when it is not a special occasion 😉

Cheap and cheerful!

To see what Tesco say about it.



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Peter Lehmann Portrait Dry Riesling 2015.

I must have known that we were going to be in for some hot weather – it has been uncommonly warm here with temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius in some parts of Britain because when seeking to find a suitably refreshing wine, I remembered that I had bought this Peter Lehmann Portrait Dry Riesling 2015 on that now well documented trip to Majestic:-

Lehman Riesling

I have experienced an earlier vintage of this “marque” a few years ago. In common with other Australian Riesling it was dry, citrussy, light and refreshing. This 2015 version lived up to my expectations and it was just what was needed in the heat!

Peter Lehmann Portrait Dry Riesling.

Price:£7.99 (with six bottle + discount – Full price £8.99)

Bought at: Majestic Wines


Vintage: 2015

Area/Region/Country: Eden Valley, Tanunda, Barossa, South Australia.

Alcohol content: 11% (ABV)

Colour:Very pale yellow.

Nose/smell/bouquet: Vanilla, Oak, Gooseberries

Taste/palate:Lime, Grapefruit, Citrus with mouth watering acidity – fresh

Finish: Very dry and refreshing on the palate

Comments: A very dry and refreshing wine which was perfect for the end of a warm day. Served chilled, it can be drank on it’s own, as an aperitif or is particularly suited to oily fish and shellfish – being able to hold it’s own when paired with these foods due to the acidity cutting through (wine tip from Majestic). I just found it to be a very pleasant mouthful and if I was looking for this style of wine, Peter Lehmann Portrait Dry Riesling would be at the top of my list at £7.99/bottle.

Peter Lehmann Portrait Dry Riesling



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Beyerskloof Pinotage 2015.

I reviewed a South African Pinotage a little while ago, that was a very different, exciting  and yet polarising wine (I didn’t think that everyone would like it – I loved it) and I was rather hoping for a similar experience with this one – same grape, same country, same price band. While this wine was very pleasant and almost certainly a better known brand for South African wines including Pinotage, I didn’t think that it was quite as exciting; ironically, it would probably register well on more peoples “acceptability” scale than the other but it did not have the same character as the previous “subject”.

Beyerskloof Pinotage 2015.


Price: £6.25 (currently – including £0.75 discount).

Bought at Sainsbury.

Bottled in the U.K. at W1743 (same as yesterday’s review wine – Cheshire although Sainsbury website says bottled in a place in Norfolk.

Vintage: 2015

Area/Region/Country: Koelenhof, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa.

Alcohol Content: 14% (ABV)

Grape: Pinotage (Uniquely found in South Africa – a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut)

Colour: Deep red to Brick red.

Bouquet/nose/smell: Alcohol astringent on nose then cherries.

Taste/Palate: Grassy, very slight smoke, rich red fruits including cherry.

Medium length finish.

Overall, a very pleasant undemanding wine – easy drinking with a good structure – I liked it. Can be drunk on it’s own or with food. It will stand up well to hard cheese, Red meats and even blue cheese. Not as exciting as the Barista that I reviewed recently but good none the less. I think that I did alright at £6.25 – well worth the money. Sainsbury advise drinking young for fruity flavours but that it will develop over the next five years for smooth rich notes – can be drunk now or can be laid down, your choice. If I was laying a wine down it would need to be a bit more distinctive than this but it will “mature and develop” if you chose to do so.

Sainsbury Beyerkloof Pinotage page.

Geniet! (enjoy!)

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The Parcel series Old Vine Zinfandel

Zinfandel is an interesting grape – also known as Primitivo, it is a variety of black-skinned wine grape. The variety is grown in over 10 percent of Californian Vineyards.  DNA analysis has revealed that it is genetically equivalent to the Croatian grapes Crljenak Kaštelanski and Tribidrag, as well as to the Primitivo variety traditionally grown in Apulia (the “heel” of Italy), where it was introduced in the 18th century.The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century, where it became known by variations of the name “Zinfandel”, a name which is probably of Austrian origin.

I have only ever known it to come from the United States of America (and as Zinfandel that is probably true). It is a bit of an underrated grape in some quarters but I quite like it. Knowing that the best wines often come from old established vines, I was keen to try this one – “The Parcel Series Old Vine Zinfandel” from Majestic at £6.99 with six bottle mixed case discount – full price £9.99:

Parcel Zinfandel

The Parcel Series Old Vines Zinfandel.

Price: £6.99 including mixed case discount (full £9.99).

Vintage: 2012.

Region/Country: California, U.S.A.

Bottled in U.K. as so many wines are these days! W1743 – apparently, a place in Cheshire.

Alcohol content: 13.5%

Colour: Brick Red with “legs”

Nose/Bouquet/smell: Reminiscent of “Rose hip Syrup”

Palate/Taste:Rose Hip Syrup,  prunes and oak – quite pleasant but may well be past it’s best.

(Majestic say: Full bodied flavours of ripe plum and cherry with notes of liquorice, toast and spicy oak)

Finish: very nice smooth medium finish.

Overall, a very pleasant wine but it may well need drinking now. Still a bargain at £6.99

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Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône 2013

Côtes du Rhône has become synonymous with holidays in the French Region of Provence – ever since we holidayed (vacation) there a few years ago. I had tried it some years ago and hadn’t really liked it – the stuff that the supermarket had been importing at the time (maybe ten years ago) was quite harsh and unpalatable in my opinion so I didn’t bother with Côtes du Rhône for a while. On that holiday we decided to give it another chance for two reasons – firstly, it was the local produce and we were keen to indulge, and secondly, it has been our experience that they keep the best wines back for themselves – and why not?

I have been drinking Côtes du Rhône fairly regularly since then; I found that the quality had improved dramatically. Much of the supermarkets offerings have all been from the same producer – Celliers de Dauphins – even the supermarket “own brands” although, you need good glasses to see it on the label. So, I was now a big fan of Côtes du Rhône again. I was quite excited to find this one, partly because it wasn’t “Celliers du Dauphins” nice as it is. It turns out that Famille Perrin is quite an established name in Côtes du Rhône circles so I had fallen on my feet with this one!

I purchased this one from Majestic – we are working our way through my Majestic purchases at the moment, as you may have gathered, and it was priced at £7.99 (as usual, this is the six + mixed case price – full price £11.99):

Perrin et Fils

Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Reserve 2013.

Price: £7.99 (as part of mixed six)

Vintage: 2013

Area/Region/Country: Beaucastel, Orange, Provence, France.

Alcohol Content: 13.5%

Grapes: Grenache, Syrah

Colour: Purple (probably a little young).

Bouquet/Nose/Smell: “Plums and Custard” , Cherries.

Taste/Palate: Cherries, ripe red berries, Tannins, spices – Majestic tasting notes also suggest peppermint and vanilla.

Finish: Rich and long  – very pleasant.

Famille Perrin say:

This 2013 Reserve has a great minerality with abundant freshness. Primarily made from Grenache, it is the Syrah variety that dominates this vintage. Nice aromas of red and black fruit, with a strong aromatic concentration. The mouth is fresh and full-­‐bodied. The tannins are soft and give a long aromatic finish.

I say – well worth the money – better than my usual 😉


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The Elms Shiraz – Yering Station.

I do like a nice Australian Shiraz, and this one caught my eye on my recent trip to Majestic. (I had also mistaken it for “Yarra Yering” which I had read about in one of Oz Clark’s books some years ago and thought – that must be alright – I’m only human!). I had made a mistake, but I wasn’t disappointed:-

Yering - the Elms Shiraz

We opened this one on the 8th of July.

Yering Station (Yarra Valley) 2013 The Elms.

Price: £9.99 ( as part of 6+ bottles offer – full price = £11.99)

Vintage: 2013

Area/Region/State/Country: Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia.

Alcohol Content: 14% (ABV).

Grapes: Shiraz

Colour: Rich Red to Slight Brick Red.

Nose/Bouquet/Smell: It reminded my wife, Jane of furniture polish at first, I got a touch of cloves leading to ripe red berries (plums, damsons, blackberries in combination).

Taste/Palate: Red Berries and black pepper. The alcohol content was noticeable, but then at 14% that was not surprising.

Finish:  The finish was quite long,  had a strong alcohol residue and peppery.

Comments: This was a very pleasant bottle of wine and at £9.99 ( if you bought six mixed bottles – full price £11.99) I think that it was priced quite reasonably – I might have baulked at full price. I wouldn’t make a bee-line for it but I would consider it amongst others if I wanted this style of wine.

Link to Majestics “The Elms” page.

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The 11 things you need to know about wine from Alsace

This gallery contains 15 photos.

Originally posted on The Wine Wankers:
I was originally going to call this article – ‘Alsace wine region needs to get on Tinder!’  Crazy title, but after visiting Alsace in June, I observed a lack confidence.  The winemakers knew their…

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Barista 2015 Pinotage.

I have always been at best ambivalent about South African wines. I have had some good ones and I have had some that weren’t so nice. I avoided them for many years as I always managed to find other wines, usually from France or Australia that attracted me more at wine buying time, but in the spirit of adventure and really to make up a sufficient value to “spend” my Majestic voucher, I picked this one up. At £8.99 (£6.99 as I was buying more than six bottles) I wasn’t risking much if I didn’t like it right?

Well, I apologise to the producers here and now that I had such low expectations for this wine; what a revelation! My wife and I (she always insists on helping with my research) both loved it. Now, before I go off waxing lyrical about how I have just discovered the nectar of the gods for less than £7.00, I have to say that although we loved it, it doesn’t meet with universal approval. It has strong a barbecue, hickory smoke  nose and palate which according to the reviews on Majestic’s website isn’t everyones cup-of-tea. As well the smoke, there are the aromas of Coffee, chocolate, plum and mulberries all intermingled to create a wonderful experience. I shall buy more of this without a doubt.


Producer: Val de Vie wine estate.

Jan Van Riebeck

Winemaker: Bertus Fourie.

Country/region: South Africa/Western Cape.

Vintage: 2015.

Alcohol Content by volume:13%

Colour: Red/Purple

Bouquet/nose: Smoked “Bavarian” sausage, Barbecue “Hickory” smoke, Ripe red berries, Coffee and chocolate.

Taste/Palate: Barbecued steak, Ripe red berries (Cherry/Mulberry/Plum) Coffee and Chocolate – very complex and intense.

Finish: long and lingering – the smooth chocolate, the coffee and the smokey taste stay with you for some time in a very pleasant combination. This is not a wine that you would want to or even feel the need to hurry.

According to Majestic, it can be enjoyed on its own or with red meat dishes, whereas the winemaker, Bertus recommends “a blue-cheese-filled brandy snap with chocolate and roasted coffee beans” although, I think that he is really describing the flavours in the wine!

This is a very different and very pleasant wine which we enjoyed immensely. It is certainly worth a punt at £6.99 to £8.00 (depending on whether you buy six bottles – mixed – at a time). It will be one of my collection of purchases next visit.

You can see the Majestic Wine “Barista” page together with reviews from other customers here:

Barista 2015 on Majestic Wines site.


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Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Merlot Blend 2013.

Those very nice people at Majestic Wine sent me a voucher for money off my next purchase. It had been a while since I had visited Majestic and this was an offer I couldn’t resist. I bought eight bottles of wine in total. I like majestic as they generally have better quality wines than I can get on my supermarket ventures, but of course you generally get what you pay for with wine so they also tend to be more expensive, and I can resist anything but temptation; Majestic tempts me to spend more than I should.

I was excited by what I saw and I was particularly excited at the chance to buy a Vasse Felix wine. I have often encountered the brand in wine books and magazines and was curious to see if the wine lived up to my expectations. I have always enjoyed the wines that I have had from Western Australia; they seem distinctly different from the usual fayre from South-East and South Australia – quite full and fruity, so I was expecting a treat.

The wine that I chose was their “Filius” Cabernet Merlot blend –  they also do a Chardonnay in the same range and price.

Filius Cab-Mer

Vintage 2013.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Blend.

Region: Margaret River, Western Australia.

Producer: Vasse Felix.

Alcohol %: 14.5

Colour: Dark purple/Red

Bouquet/Smell: Smokey (Oak), Black fruits – Blackcurrants and plums.

Taste/Palate: Rounded Blackcurrants, smokey with a hint of herbs.

Majestic say: “Perfumed and leafy aromas along with generous black fruits and berry fruit aromas. A palate rounded by oak, integrated and ripe tannins and warming layers of dark fruits. An integrated complex finish.”

Finish: Long, smooth and complex.

Majestic suggest that it is suited to Beef, Lamb and cured meats, I would suggest that it would cope with strong flavoured cheese too.

It is a great wine to enjoy now but Majestic suggest that it could be enjoyed consistently over the next 8-10 years and it does appear to have enough structure to support their claim.

At £15.99 (or even at the paid £11.99 because I bought six + mixed case) it is more than I would normally pay for a wine but the extra expense was well worth it. In this case the extra money buys you complexity, structure and depth that you just don’t get with less expensive wines. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine – I really ought to get a job that pays better! I enjoyed the rich fruits, the intricate blend of flavours and long finish. The 14.5% alcohol wasn’t noticeable to me – with some high alcohol wines, you really notice the alcohol, but with the rich flavours the alcohol added rather than detracted from the overall effect.

Christelle Guibert from Decanter Magazine wrote (May Issue):

“An elegant, textbook Bordeaux blend from a leading Margaret River producer. There’s a minty, dried-herb edge to the ripe blackcurrant fruit that is beautifully balanced by subtle oak, fresh acidity and super-fine tannins.”

Majestic “Filius” link

This wine could probably be regarded as Vasse Felix budget wine in the shadow of their Heytesbury “The Red” signature red wine at £60.00 (Majestic) but it is still an incredibly good quality wine and if what you are looking for is deep, structured and complex, then I can thoroughly recommend it.

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