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Best buys

 Wine of the week: Morande One to One Pais

Wine of the week: Morande One to One Pais

They say that the best wine is the bottle that’s empty at the end of the evening and so it proved with this light Chilean red which I shared with my neighbours the other night.

It’s made by Morandé from the widely planted pais (pronounced pye-eece) which has been disregarded for years but is now being used to make appealingly fresh tasting fruity reds that are just right for a warm summer’s evening.

Like Beaujolais, which it resembles, you can drink it lightly chilled with charcuterie, salads and other picnicky food or even with fish. It would be great with seared tuna for example.

And the best news of all? It’s available in Majestic for a very reasonable £6.99 on their mix six deal.

NB probably not for you if you’re a fan of full-bodied reds as I know many are, even during the summer months but I loved it.

Shackleton blended malt whisky

Shackleton blended malt whisky

I’m not a big fan of buying whisky for Father’s Day - it always seems a bit of a cliché - but this new blended malt from Whyte & Mackay is such a great bottle it’s an absolute must for any whisky-loving dad (or mum, come to that!)

Named after the explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton who led the Endurance expedition to the antarctic, the whisky is based on the Rare Old Mackinlay’s, that Shackleton took with him on his voyage. It’s comes in beautifully packaged bottle but the contents are really great too - it’s a rich, sweet, peaty dram laced with tropical fruit (mainly mango and roasted pineapple) flavours. Although it would be great on its own or on the rocks it would work well with a ginger ale and packs quite a punch for its 40% ABV

You can buy it for £34.95 from The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt and around £40 elsewhere.

Incidentally there’s a fascinating post on Shackleton, an extraordinary man, on the BBC website

Which foods pair best with whisky?

Best Waitrose wine buys - June 2017

Best Waitrose wine buys - June 2017

Waitrose has raised the bar in the discounting war by offering a 25% discount on three rather than six bottles or more. So what should you buy?

Here are what I rate as the best bargains (though make sure you buy the year I'm recommending. The website is still showing some older vintages.

The offer ends on Tuesday June 13th.

Reds

Georges Duboeuf Fleurie 2015 £8.24 down from £10.99

While I’m not a massive Georges Duboeuf fan 2015 was a great year for Beaujolais and fragrant, fruity Fleurie is delicious at this time of year especially with picnic food.

Romy Ferbras Ventoux 2016 £5.09 down from £6.79

This gorgeously gutsy red is a brilliant buy if you’re a Rhône fan. Snap it up at this price and drink with practically anything. Could be your new house red.

Reserve des Hospitaliers Cairanne Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015 £7.49 down from £9.99

Another big belter of a red from the Rhone to knock back with a steak frites.

Heredad del Rey Monastrell/Syrah Yecla 2016 13.5% £5.99 down from £7.99

Big ripe juicy red - typical of the excellent value that’s now coming out of Spain. You'll enjoy it if you like malbec. Good barbecue drinking.

Rustenberg John X Merriman Stellenbosch 2014 £11.24 down from £14.99

A wine I seem to end up recommending in every round-up like this. Great South African take on Bordeaux - smart, elegant with lovely dark blackcurrant fruit. One for roast lamb.

Whites

Waitrose Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2016 12% £5.24 down from £6.99

If you’re a sauvignon fan this crisp citrussy example from the Loire has your name on it. Bargain summer drinking with salads and seafood.

Puklavec & Friends Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio 2016, Slovenia 12% £5.99 down from £7.99

More sauvignon than pinot grigio but the combination works. A bright lively lemony summer white. Salads and seafood again.

Waitrose Vina Taboexa Albarino Rias Baixas 2016 12.5% £6.22 down from £8.29

Albarino has been getting progressively more expensive in recent years so take advantage of this chance to snap it up at a really good price. Drink with summer seafood like prawns and crab.

Cune Barrel Fermented Rioja 2016 £8.24 down from £10.99

Rejoice that white rioja is undervalued especially at this price. The 2016 is too young to reveal its full character (the '15 should be fine) but it's still an impressively full-bodied oaked white that could handle gutsy fish dishes such as hake with garlic as well as white meats like pork

Rustenberg On the QT Bin 5 Grenache Blanc, Simonsberg 2016 14% £10.49 down from £13.99. Waitrose Cellar only.

Spectacularly rich, textured South African white from an unknown source (a bit like lastminute.com's Top Secret hotels). Would be lovely with roast veal.

Clos de Mosny Montlouis Sec 2015 £15.74 down from £20.99

“Wait for 25% off deal” I wrote in my notes. Yes, I know it’s expensive but it’s worth it. A sumptuously peachy chenin blanc from one of the Loire’s most interesting winemakers, Jacky Blot. Enjoy with roast chicken.

Rosé

La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2016 Luberon 13% £5.99 down from £7.99. In selected branches though not showing online at the time of writing.

Crisp fresh dry rosé at a fraction of the price of neighbouring Provence. Stock up for summer (assuming we have one)

Fizz

Prince Alexandre Crémant de Loire Brut £9.74 down from £12.99

If you’re terminally bored by prosecco choose this attractive chenin-based fizz from the Loire as your summer sparkler.

Oh and don’t miss the chance to buy the relaunched Waitrose Solera range of sherries, normally on sale at £9.99 but £7.49 (a full bottle) on this promotion - I like the fino del Puerto, amontillado and dry oloroso best.

Colinas de Uruguay Albarino

Colinas de Uruguay Albarino

If you’re a fan of albarino, Spain’s iconic white wine, here’s a chance to get a cracking bottle from an unlikely source - Uruguay!

It’s called Colinas de Uruguay and is selling at Sainsbury’s for £6 this week if you take advantage of their current promotion of 25% off six bottles. Like Spanish albarino it's crisp, clean and a perfect match for fresh seafood such as clams, crab, prawns and simply grilled fish.

Also worth snapping up while you’re in there:

Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire, a pleasantly light creamy sparkling wine that would do for summer parties (it would make a great base for cocktails). That’s reduced from £11 to £9 and £6.75 if you buy six

Sainsbury’s Blanc de Blancs Brut
Always a winner. Reduced to £18 then £13.50 if you take advantage of the buy 6 deal. There isn’t a better champagne deal.

Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé a posh rosé which was jointly owned by Brangelina when they were an item (and apparently still is). While I wouldn’t pay the full price of £18 for it or even the £16 it’s currently reduced to it’s a definite cut above your average rosé and a good buy at £12 on the buy 6 deal

DV Catena Malbec - Catena is one of the top names in Argentina and this elegant Malbec is a pretty good buy at its promotional price of £10 and an absolute steal, if you’re a Malbec fan, at the buy six price of £7.50

See also my last selection of best buys from Sainsbury’s though some of the vintages and original prices may have changed.

The promotion lasts until June 4th though not in Scotland.

 Earth’s Essence Shiraz 2016

Earth’s Essence Shiraz 2016

If you’re someone who is sensitive to sulphur but not convinced by natural wines Earth’s Essence shiraz is for you.

It’s aged by a revolutionary process which has been developed by giant South African wine producer KWV using wood extracts from the native rooibos and honeybush plants. They possess naturally high levels of antioxidants, which preserve the wines from oxidation and spoilage and does away with the need for sulphur.

According to KWV "When the Rooibos and Honeybush plants become too old for further tea production (after five years), the leaves and stems are removed so that only the wooden stem remains. These are dried in the sun, finely milled and roasted, and placed into infusion bags which are inserted into the wine."

The grapes are sourced from Swartland, one of the best wine regions for shiraz.

The net result is an extraordinarily natural-tasting vibrantly fruity red wine which is selling for a highly affordable £6.99 at Aldi (though not currently online). It would be brilliant for summer barbecues, steaks and burgers.

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