Barbera d’Asti, Araldica, 2009, Cantine di Castelboglione

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Classic Barbera – quality wine from the Castelvero co-op, from their vineyards in the Monferrato hills.

Lovely black and red fruits, meaty mouthfeel, earthy aftertaste – you can drink this with almost anything.

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Les Vignes de Bila-Haut, Cotes de Roussillon Villages, M. Charpoutier, 2009

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Really classy wine.

Michel Chapoutier was the first producer to braille his labels which shows an intense attention to detail.

This was a wonderful find and at €7 from Laura’s Wine Club, half Retail Price.

A big wine and strong at 14.5%. Maker’s tasting notes here

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Celeste, Crianza, 2009, Torres, Ribera del Douro

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I fried this on top of the radiator to get it up to operating temperature for the Wilks who were coming for a Bridge Dinner.So the first taste was warm with an explosion of fruit which soon gave way to a smoother refined dry taste. As the label says, it was as unique as the night sky in Ribera del Duoro. I’m a fan of Torres wines on both sides of the Atlantic but sometimes the hyperbole of the language used stretches the vine a bit.!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gTlyBfJydDRwN_S1dDA08Ts9BQXy9_Y4tQQ_3g1Dz9gmxHRQBkts_I/?WCM_PORTLET=PC_7_4DRMBB1A0GO070IHM1M7TK0434010457_WCM&WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/en/torres/secciones/vinosbrandies/vinos/celeste

€16.99 in O’Briens from €20.99

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Gran Sangre de Toro Reserva 2009. Miguel Torres. Catalunya

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I am a big fan of Miguel Torres and his wines and regularly buy Vina Sol and the Coronas table wines.

His Chilean Santa Digna offerings are pretty good too.

So I was a bit disappointed with this Reserva which I found in Dunnes and served at a dinner party.

Deep berry colour, fruity with a slight hint of spice but just didn’t have the complexity going the extra distance for a grand reserve.

60% Grenache with 25% Carignan (Mazuelo) and 15% Syrah

Dunnes: on offer at €12:20

2nd bottle served showed signs of slight oxidation so perhaps it’s approaching / passing its drink by.

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L’Ostal Cazes Estibals 2009

From the Languedoc, we gave this a shot as we liked their Rose. The embossed tactile gold, almost Patrick Scottesque, label appealed too.

So too this wine. Dark plum skin colour, slight whiff of oak, rich cherry fruit. slightly strong @ 14.5%. nice structure and mouth.

Estibals apparently refers to the Minervois plots where most of the grapes are plucked.

A layered blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Carignan.

Quality presentation and content but pricey at 16.99 from O’Briens.