Orlando blogs

Hello there wine lovers. Apologies for the lack of blogs. But hey that means I have more wine news to share with you. I have been able to partake a bit more in the open and pour aspect of the job recently.....

You may recall I picked up an injury in October. Frustratingly I am still very much injured. I pulled out of the Birmingham Half Marathon (just happens to be my favourite race of all) at the 2 mile stage and then last weekend wasn't able to take my place with the England Masters Cross Country team for the annual British and Irish International. Rather than running I am now cycling more than usual and cross training in the gym most days. Even in winter I would much rather be outdoors galavanting about, than spend extra time clock watching on a machine. Yawn.

Paul must be taking pity on me because I have had some ace samples to try out recently. Going to mention the 3 standouts which are now all fully online and ready to buy. With no punishing track and cross country sessions, I am now able to indulge in an extra glass, yippee.

First mention goes to La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2004. Ardanza 2004

What an absolute treat. I am slightly ashamed to confess I squealed like a baby presented with a new toy when Paul asked me to try it out. The 2001 version of this sold out in record time and is now impossible to get hold of (though I have 2 bottles stashed away under lock and key). Much like the 2001, the 2004 has an epic perfumed nose that filled the room when I opened the bottle. I decanted the wine, as I always do, an hour before I drank it. Decanting smoothed out the tannins (dry bitterness) and allowed the vanilla, fruit and spice to weave their magic. If you love Rioja, you will definitely adore this superior option. It is amazing. Ideal for special occasions, with a good roast like a Christmas lunch, hint hint!

What next, oh yes, how could I even momentarily forget, the Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from South Africa.

Rustenberg Sauvignon

The Western Cape of South Africa is a wondrous place that I have had the privilege of visiting many times. And guess what, I have even visited the Rustenberg estate near Stellenbosch, on my travels back in 2011. The estate is stunning, well worth a visit. They hold daily wine tastings and tours, just book in advance. I was on the dreaded driving duty when I visited. So tasting the wines on offer was all I could do. Boo hoo. Anyhow, when Paul asked me to sample this delightful Sauvignon last week I eagerly snatched the bottle from his hand and stuck it in my back pack before he changed his mind. This time, nothing was going to stop me "fully" enjoying the wine. I mean, I have only waited over 2 years. That is one long wait. Of course, it was completely worth it. Fresh, green aromas on the nose. The palate doesn't disappoint. A combination of gooseberry and exotic fruit with a crisp acidity. Not a blow your head off type gooseberry punch in the style of its famous Marlborough relative. Perhaps more a party pleaser and suitable for more tastes. The added touch of semillon adds body to the wine so it can handle a bit of richness and spice too.

Last, but not least, one of our wines was very recently voted, by readers of US wine-searcher.com, the number 1 value for money (in the 'around $10' category) wine in the entire world. That is some accolade. It already had won enough gold medals to rival Mo and Jess. When Paul suggested I try this wine in the name of research, I just couldn't refuse. Didn't want to upset him. And the wine? Rioja Cerro Añon Crianza Bodegas Olarra 2010.

Cerro Anon

OK, another Rioja but it has earned its place in this trilogy. This Crianza has all the hallmarks of a quality Rioja. Vanilla, deep fruit and spice. It is also exceptionally smooth and easy drinking. As enjoyable by itself as with a nice roast meal. Also, half the price per case as the Rioja Ardanza. You can see why those folk in the US love it so much. We are also looking forward to welcoming its slightly more refined brother, the Cerro Anon Reserva, into the fold soon. Not sure how the Ardanza will feel about it but I am sure Paul can sit them all down and have a word. 

Just click on any of the images to be taken to the product pages.

Thank you for reading. Off to drop some noisy hints to Paul. A boy needs inspiration for these blogs.