Pillastro Primitivo Negroamaro 2007

A fantastic wine and highly recommended this is deserving of the popularity it sustains and is one of my personal favourites. This is from the Puglia region of Italy.

With a dark appearance and medium body the delight really comes with the aroma – powerful fruits with blackcurrant in particular are present without dominating; the overall impression is of smoothness and balance.

On the palate those same tones of fruit along with nice hints of spice. Again, nothing dominates, but the flavours are balanced. Unlike some oak aged wines, the wooden barrels provide subtle notes that go well with the fruitiness.

This would go exceptionally well with roasted lamb, but other red meats would complement it well. Away from the meat, tomato based dishes with garlic and herbs will also work well.

Rating: ★★★★½

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The Black Stump 2011

A nice mixed grape red from Australia, The Black Stump goes well with a variety of foods, or just by itself as demonstrated by the popularity and awards. With an ABV of 14% this is easier to drink than some of the powerful reds available.

Once poured the wine has a dark colour, almost ink-like with the deep burgundy showing through with light. Both the aroma and taste are fruity with hints of berries, especially raspberry and other summer fruits. There’s also a hint of spice and, especially at this time of year, a nod towards the flavours of mulled wine. This is all nicely balanced with oak and the overall effect brings to mind liquorice root.

Definitely one to come back to!

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Legenda Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Legenda Cabernet Sauvignon 2007From the Cahul region of Moldova comes this surprisingly drinkable cabernet sauvignon. The label notes that the area is producing wines of increasing quality and this an improvement on most other wines from eastern Europe. It brings to mind reds from areas such as Austria or southern Germany with a slightly cooler climate than the traditional red producing countries.

The wine itself is almost black and pretty much opaque when held to light and is medium bodied. There are hints of blackcurrant within the sweet and fruity aroma, which retains a pleasant dryness.

The wine tastes smooth and tangy and it carries more hints of dark berries with very little bitterness making it much easier to drink than expected, which continues due to a relatively low ABV of 13%.

As with most reds, a red meat would accompany well, but will also support slightly stronger flavours and more meaty fish such as tuna.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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Le XV du President 2008

Presidente XV 2008This is not, at first, an easy to drink wine. The XV in the name refers to the alcohol percentage and it shows. I concur with the label description of “powerful”.

Once poured the wine has a rich and fruity aroma, but with a sourness that brings to mind raspberries. For such a strong wine it is thin bodied, but there’s still clinging to the glass (and later, the mouth).

The initial taste has a sharpness to it. The flavours are not strong and are dominated by the tannin and the alcohol. It almost evaporates in the mouth, not quite to the point of a brandy, but it is noticeable. There’s very little aftertaste, which makes it surprisingly easy to quaff. The expected weight just doesn’t arrive.

Not bad, but seems to be dominated by the alcohol.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Tittarelli Trophy Reserve Oak-Aged Malbec 2006

Tittarelli Malbec 2006With a deep ruby colour you may think this malbec is almost port like, but it does have a lighter body, which makes it very drinkable. It’s strong, but not overly so at 14% ABV.

The aroma is powerful and spicy, almost to being like a mulled wine, but this fades on the taste which is smooth and powerful with a complex set of flavours. The lighter body makes this much easier to drink than expected for something this dry, but it is still best served with food.

Red meat works well, but this is an excellent complement for game and venison in particular.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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