Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm switching the blog to The Frugal Cook!

Five blogs - as anyone could have told me - are just too much to maintain and The Frugal Cook, my budget eating blog seems a logical home for this one. Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some unmissable wine buys at M & S

Marks & Spencer has a 25% off promotion across its in store* wine range if you buy 6 bottles for the next fortnight - great for credit crunch drinkers. Here are my top picks under £6

Los Nucos Chardonnay Viognier 2010 £5.49 down to £4.18
A light lush Chilean blend with an attractive peachy character that gives it an extra edge over basic Chardonnay. A good all rounder but especially good with creamy fish or chicken dishes and chicken salads. It’s sister (brother?) wine, the Los Nucos Carmenère Shiraz - a bright breezy red that would make excellent everyday drinking is also good (Same price, same deal) ***

Valdepomares Rioja Blanca 2010 £5.99 down to £4.49
A modern white Rioja made in a fresh, citrussy style but with plenty of complexity. Although not organic the grapes are grown without chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Try it with fishy tapas ****

Vermentino Lazio 2010 £6.99 down to £5.24
Grab the chance to buy this elegant Italian white for under £5 - it’s the best of a very good new range of Italian whites from M & S. Great with simply prepared fish, seafood risottos and pasta dishes and vegetable-based antipasti. (The Falanghina and Fiano are also good.) *****

Corriente del Bio Pinot Noir £7.99 down to £5.99
Really good value at its original price, an unmissable bargain with 25% off, this elegant Burgundian-style Chilean Pinot knocks spots off most of its New World rivals. Frankly you’d never get burgundy of this quality for this sort of money. Perfect with duck or seared salmon or tuna. *****

Garnacha Tinto Navarra 2010 £6.99 down to £5.24
This exuberantly fruity Garnacha-based wine is typical of Spain’s fantastically good value modern reds. Great with gutsy food like sausage and mash - or beans. It could take a fair amount of spice. ****

Negroamaro 2010 £5.99 down to £4.49
A rich, brambly southern Italian red that almost tastes of liquid blackberries. Great with duck, lamb and strong cheeses, especially blues. Would go with baked pasta dishes like lasagne too. ***

Côtes du Rhône Villages St Maurice 2009 £6.99 down to £5.24
A really good example of a Côtes du Rhône - warm, generous, spicy and delicious. Great drinking with rustic bistro-style and gastropub food ****

* So far as I can make out the offer doesn't seem to apply online unless you buy 2 cases which seems a bit odd. Maybe they want you to go into their stores and be tempted

Saturday, August 6, 2011

3 good buys from the Tesco Finest range

Tesco may not be exactly flavour of the month in some quarters but for those of you who do shop there there are some good bargains. Particularly from their own 'Finest' range which regularly features 2 for £10 offers on selected wines. Here are 3 that appeal to me:

Tesco Finest Picpoul de Pinet (normally £7.29)
My favourite holiday wine - a crisp dry white that's brilliantly good with fresh seafood
Rating: ***

Tesco Finest Douro Reserve 2008 (normally £7.29)
A big lush brambly red from the same area that produces port. I'd say lay in for winter drinking but it's almost cold enough to drink it now. One for stews, pies and roasts.
Rating: ****

Tesco Finest Touriga Nacional 2010 (normally £7.79)
Made by the same winery (and flying winemaker) as the above but from 100% Touriga Nacional. Even more warming and spicy. Would be great with roast lamb and stronger cheeses like mature cheddar and Stilton.
Rating: ****