Archive for the ‘Sparkling’ Category

How to get tip top value from Virgin Wines

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I must be honest and say that I don’t buy much wine from Virgin.  However, I have a legacy account which costs me £20 per month that I will probably never cancel and here is why.

Close your eyes and go and do your wine shopping at your favourite retailer (I like The Wine Society, Majestic, Naked Wines, BBR and a few others including independent shops both bricks and clicks).  A few months later, simply remember that you have been paying some dosh to Virgin and go and look at your account.

I just did this and discovered that I had £300!  This comprised £220 of my money plus £80 that Virgin had kindly added as part of their Wine Bank programme.

Next, click on the Champagne pages and you will find very reasonably priced branded champagne.  The prices even compare favourably with the supermarkets and that is before you account for the implicit 25% discount from the Wine Bank “interest”.

I selected a 12 bottle mix of Mumm, Taittinger, Roederer and my personal favourite brand, Perrier-Jouet.  They are arguably not going to set the world on fire but it makes quite a pleasant drink at about £18 per bottle and will impress your friends no end.

For friends you are not so keen on, maybe you should stock up with Freixenet.

Bollinger Grande Année 1999

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I am not the sort of person to waste money on a premium product unless I see real value.  Vintage Champagne is rarely, if ever, in my wine rack, but this is because I have never really thought it worth extra.  In January, I spotted a bottle of 1999 Bolly at only £58 and that included two free Riedel flutes.  At that price the value test was too tempting to miss, and maybe I reached a L’Oréal moment?

Bolly...and wood for some reason


Stonking January wine bargains

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

To pass the time during my New Year detox, I have been hoovering up wine bargains to stock up for the year ahead and to get my taste buds flowering in anticipation.

Two bargains stand out from the crowd, one from Costco, one from the Wine Society.  One Champagne, the other red wine but from a relatively close starting point.

Freebie-jeebies.  Nice glasses!


Champagne René Jardin Rosé

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

There are occasional tiny slivers, splinters of darkness in my life, that give me a sharp reminder of what I am giving up for my work.  It’s not that I resent it, entirely my own choice after all.  When I started the company in 2001, I went in with my eyes open.  I realised it would mean sacrifices.

This afternoon I took my 10 year old god-daughter to see Man City.  The look of delight on her face when City beat Spurs 2-1 was matched only by my relief at the end of an awful run of games that had put us on a snake track slithering down the league table.

Kellie came over from Dublin for the weekend with her sisters, Rebecca and Chloe – all gorgeous girls, well behaved, entertaining, polite, model children.  Kellie is obviously my favourite and she is the footie fan, tomboy, fitness fanatic, make-up-rejecting bundle of energy.

And now they have all gone and I am alone in the flat.  It’s strange how lonely you can feel when sudden mayhem is suddenly replaced by a sudden quantum of solace.

So to cheer me up, apart from consoling myself that City are back on the ladder of success, I have dragged out my notes from a bottle of Shampoo I sampled last weekend.

Opera North - and no phantom, but a bottle of René Jardin for some reason…


Waitrose Vintage Champagne 1999

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Tomorrow I have to place 44 candles on a birthday cake, light them and blow them out.  What will I wish for?  While I deliberate, my body decays albeit slowly, and I am enjoying a glass of fizz before heading out for dinner.

Wait a minute!

Scottish shortbread, grapefruit notes and possibly a little lime.  I find this a little too acidic to be truly memorable.

I have to admit that I know very little about champagne.  I enjoy drinking it but I need to learn more about what makes one better than another.  So whilst I did not get on greatly with Waitrose Vintage, this should not put you off trying it for yourself.

Have to dash – off to eat and yes, I am taking my notebook.

As for my birthday wish?  It won’t be for another bottle Waitrose Vintage Champagne.

Freixenet Vintage 2005

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

It is 15th January 2008 and I am at the end of my New Year detox.  I am not sure whether it is time to celebrate or commiserate.  Maybe I am a tad masochistic but I enjoyed it more than ever this year.

Nonetheless, this afternoon at a board meeting I had a large black coffee, and I would have eaten some chocolate biscuits had they been on offer.  For lunch I had a fat filled chicken mayonnaise sandwich.  Tonight, I felt I ought to complete a hat trick of poisons.  I felt obliged to sack my temporary tee-totalism.

I was ill over Xmas so didn’t drink much anyway.  However, on NY eve I got totally mullered on champagne and that is the last alcoholic drink that passed my lips.  So, to celebrate the end to my New Year dry period, I thought I might start again where I left off, and open some bubbly.

Fresher nett and a nice cushion….for some reason


The Spanish Cavaliers from Frisky Fresher-net

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Now, we already know that the Spanish football team is ever the under-achiever.  Possibly only England can compare to their dismal lack of success when matched against national expectation.  But what are they like at making wine?  In a wine competition, I suspect the English would contrive to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.  However, I think Spanish wine is pretty good on average, and maybe they finally have a sport to excel at.

Firstly let me clear up the fact that I am about to review a wine that claims it is from Spain but many would say it is made in Catalunia.  Without getting into Iberian politics perhaps I’ll move on to this rather nice Cava (pronounced more like cava in cavalier than “carver” as most people seem to say).  But that’s not the only pronunciation problem here since the Cava is named Freixenet and as best as I can establish that is pronounced like Fresher-net.

Still, I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition when I asked for the wine at my local Co-op supermarket. (more…)