£13-15

This page lists reviews of wines from the above price range.

Some Young Punks, Passion has Red Lips, 2011

Should I resist the tired cliché, should I raise above the overused joke? Even if I were that strong and even if I were not secretly in love with clichés I still could not do it in this case. Even my wine merchant felt powerless against the buying-wine-by-the-label joke: "We bought it despite the label!", was her excuse. I didn't have any: I bought it because of the label. Because of the name. And because that day I had set out with a desire to buy something different.

Passion, on red bed linen of course

I trust that even after just a cursory glance at the Wine Rambler you will agree that I fulfilled that mission - but was it a success?

Tahbilk, Marsanne, 2002

Drinking aged wines can be a fun adventure, and it gets even better if the wine comes from an unusual vineyard and with a bit of history. This Marsanne, even though not yet terribly old, ticks all of these boxes, and so I am grateful for Karen who recently pointed me in its direction at Philglass and Swiggot's Clapham Junction branch. The Tahbilk Marsanne comes from one of the oldest wineries in Australia and from what may be the oldest planting of Marsanne in the world.

The Marsanne grape variety is most common in the Northern Rhône, but can also be found in Switzerland and a few other countries, including Spain. It seems to be a bit picky if planted in the wrong area: too cold and the wines can be bland, too hot and they turn out to be flabby.

torsten Friday, 12/11/2010

Carr Taylor, Brut, Sparkling Wine

For two weeks I have been agonising about whether to write this wine review or not. I knew that there was no way I could do this wine justice, but I also felt I had something that needed to be said. What makes for a very pompous start does actually come down to a simple lesson: if you are exhausted and have a cold, don't open a wine you want to write about. So, kind reader, take this review with an even bigger pinch of salt than you should take any tasting notes.

Maybe I can make up for the lack of being precise or fair in my description of the wine by giving it a little context. Regular readers of the Wine Rambler will know that we are on a mission to explore English wine. Some of our past exploits have been failures, some boring, some great successes. All were fun. So when I headed out to the Sussex coast earlier this year to visit Hastings with friends, we made a detour to the Carr Taylor winery. Back at home I found that mysteriously a bottle of an award winning sparkling wine had found its way into my rucksack.

Astrolabe, Discovery Awatere, Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Tasted blind, with surprising results, here.

Julian Thursday, 01/04/2010

Willamette Valley Vineyards, Oregon Riesling, Vintage Selection, 2006

Oregon is bad. Stop it if you can. Here it comes. Here it comes. Now it's after you. Flee to some place new. Run away. Run away. - For the Wine Rambler it was too late. Oregon got me. And if you want to find out how it all happened and what this has to do do with one half of a team of almost-giants, well, then it got you too. Don't be afraid, though, it will all be revealed. And make sense. Sort of. Either way, there will be wine!

Domaine Gresser, Brandhof Muscat D'Alsace, 2007

I really appreciate how a good sommelier can make an excellent dinner even more memorable. At a previous (and dare I say excellent) dining experience at Tom Aikens the sommelier recommended Rémy Gresser's Brandhof Muscat with fish.

While searching for a UK source for this wine I learned that I am apparently gifted with a special understanding of this kind of wine (or perhaps wine in general), as the wine merchant wrote to me: "The Muscat is essentially a restaurant wine, very few people understand dry Muscat, like you."

Van Volxem, Saar Riesling, 2005

So far wines from the Van Volxem winery have not let us down, so when I came across a bottle of the 2005 Riesling from the Saar river at my favourite Battersea wine merchant last year (the notes are from September) I had to take it home with me.

A wine of shiny golden colour and a nice nose of mineral, smoothed over with caramel-plum and herbs, with the addition of a little petrol. In the mouth, a rich, almost saturated experience, a Riesling with some complexity and also well rounded.