When it comes to selecting wine, I’ve always been a firm believer in the notion that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get quality wine. You’ve simply got to know what you like and where to go.
I do believe, however, that you have to put some money into your bottle of choice. If your bottle of wine is the same price as a pint, I’d highly advise that you to reconsider. However, many of my friends have contested me on this, noting that they love a bargain wine – particularly those on offer at Tesco. Now, I wouldn’t normally buy wine from Tesco, not because I don’t think it’s good enough, but purely because I am a firm believer in supporting local wine merchants. But apparently Tesco’s selection and “value for money wines” would change my way of thinking, so off I marched ready to try something new.
After perusing through various “on offer deals” at Tesco, I settled on a bottle of Blaxland Estate 2011 Shiraz, from South Eastern Australia. The vintage did seem a tad young, but the delicious tasting notes on the label paired with the bargain price of £4.50 (reduced from £9.50, so I had some hope) intrigued me enough to give it a go.
Fast-forward a few hours and I’m at home cracking open my Blaxland Shiraz with a couple of friends. Upon pouring, my first impression was that of positivity due to the fantastic colour that engulfed my glass; an inky crimson with almost no transparency and heaps of body.
I gave it a little swirl and watched as the thick liquid enveloped the sides of the glass, leaving a rosy hue in its wake. It looked extremely rich and appetizing; a wine, I reckoned, that would go down well with a rack of lamb or a hearty steak. On the nose, however, things took a bit of a downturn. I took a couple of deep whiffs, but really struggled to pick out any noteworthy characteristics. It smelled sweet, perhaps a bit jammy like an overripe plum, but all of the wonderful “soft dark fruit” aromas, which the bottle promised, were noticeably absent.
On the palate, I found it to be much weaker in body and complexity than I would have expected. It was also overpoweringly sweet, almost to the point where I questioned whether I was actually drinking Ribena instead of wine. The high levels of tannin, which left my mouth feeling as if I had just eaten fistfuls of sand, were coupled with flavors of overpowering herbs and a gripe water finish that lingered on the tongue.
The aftertaste was almost too much to bear. I do love a herby, flavorsome wine, but this was far too intense. It was as if heaps of sage, chive, dill and sweet pickle had been dumped into the maturing barrel at the wine’s inception. I didn’t quite know whether I was supposed to be drinking or eating this substance, and on that note, whether it was my main or dessert. The mixture of the jammy sweetness and the savory herbs was confusing and disgusting and I wouldn’t recommend this bottle to anyone, unless perhaps, you’re out of herbs in the kitchen and you need a decent substitute to put in your marinara sauce.
On that note, I think it’s safe to say that this encounter was the last time I’ll be spending less than £5.00 on a bottle of wine. Perhaps Blaxland Estate wines are to some people’s liking, but for me, I’m happy to shell out a few extra coins for something worthwhile and palatable.
If you would, however, like to try this yourself, the Blaxland Estate Shiraz (as well as their Chardonnay variety) can be purchased at Tesco. It’s currently on offer for 4.50, but my parting advice would be that your hard earned cash would be much better spent on a pint of lager or a round of coca-colas at your local drinking establishment.