Top Wines of the Week

This has been quite the week for expanding my wine education. Having visited both the Sampler in Kensington and Vagabond Wines in Fulham this week, I can safely say that I am now highly skilled in using Enomatic machines and a little closer to spotting a Rousanne at a thousand paces. The only drawback of having credit-loaded wine cards is the vast amount of tasting notes it generates and the number of quality wines you feel you must blog, tweet and generally rave about to anyone who will listen.

To that end today’s blog entry will be a series of recommendations and tasting notes. What a joyous read! For the foodies who occasionally wander by Wine90, here is a photograph of a pizza I made from scratch. For those who think it may be terrific fun to make a pizza and have never made one before I have just one tip; be sure that your yeast grams are not fast-acting yeast grams. I used double the amount of yeast required for my dough and when I woke up in the morning, the remaining pizza dough had exploded out of its tin foil wrapping and taken over half of my fridge. No one wants to spend Saturday morning scraping cold hard dough off their appliances.


Remembering this is a wine blog… I managed to taste about 60 wines last week at the Sampler and Vagabond Wines. The very tip toppy best of which I’ve listed below in case you fancy trying them yourself or doing the old fashioned thing and actually buying a bottle!


Qupe Rousanne 2007 – £30

As an Italian wine blogger, I seem to have written an awful lot about this Californian producer. Qupe is renowned for quality wines at a fair price and offers many varietal wines. The Rousanne in 2007 is immense. I had no idea Rousanne was even capable of producing a wine like this without a splash and dash from its friends, but apparently so. I have a crush on this wine, not a healthy one either.

A beautiful golden vibrant colour, the wine offers a generous nose of spices, banana peel, pineapples, baked pears and a hit of hazelnut. On the palate this is as smooth and silky a white as you can imagine, luscious texture and a ripe fruit forward quality as well as good length on the finish and great acidity, perfectly in balance and harmonious. Was not expecting the wine to be this good.” 93 Points

Villadoria Barolo Sori Lazzarito 2006 – £24


Usually you see £24 and the word “Barolo” at a petrol garage or in a high street liquor chain that will, in a matter of hours, close their doors for the last time. This, like the Qupe, is another wine that took me by complete surprise. The Villadoria, made in the new skool Barolo style has less of the obvious tar and mushroom characteristics of traditional Barolo but it has one very important thing going for it… it can be drunk today!


If you have a thirst for Barolo, which I often do, you can find yourself looking longingly at your late 1990s stash of Giacosa’s & Voerzio’s and wishing your life away so as to have reasonable justification for popping them. So to find a £24 Barolo that you can drink today is a great way of stopping yourself from committing unforgivable acts of infanticide in these hard economic times. New skool Barolo is not without her charms and personally I’m a fan of their fruit forward, smooth tannins and early drinking window.


“A deep ruby red, the wine is aromatically generous and offers a trademark Barolo nose with a few extra notes of blackberry, marzipan, vanilla and liquorice. Grippy tannins on the palate and a smooth, “kind” mouthfeel contribute to a fair old Barolo hit and £24 well spent. Not complex, but tasty.” 90 Points


Fritz Haag Riesling Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Auslese – £30


One of the Mosel’s top producers and a wine from the greatest Riesling site in the world does constitute the £30 price tag and 2009 looks to be a terrific vintage for Weingut Fritz Haag.
“A pungent, sweet pear and stone nose. This wine has a terrific concentration of fruit and a good balance of acidity and sweetness. A delicious, more-ish, terrifically tasty wine and a fine example of the very best from the Mosel 93 Points

Allegrini Amarone 2006 – £52

Yet another appearance for Allegrini’s Amarone, vintage upon vintage (especially the last 3) Allegrini produces a top drawer Amarone. Leave the 2006 alone for another 5 years at least.
“Dark raisin, tar and spicy chocolate nose. Heavy almost ink-like mouthfeel as well as blocky tannins. This wine is far too young to drink and is a meal in a glass as opposed to a wine. Great concentration of fruit and a solid structure – tomorrow’s blockbuster”92 Points.

Bodegas Ponce Pino Bobal 2009 -£23
It’s great when a wine is terrific fun. If anybody has ever had this wine blind and pegged it then my hat is well and truly off. Ponce… Bobal… these were not wine words to me two weeks ago, now, they’re pretty much all I can talk about. Ponce is the king of Bobal if my twittering research is accurate and this wine seems to be a universal favourite. Still only £23 this wine is so wonderfully different it will make for a talking point at any party, wine themed or not.

“A fresh, fruity Spanish red with notes of sweet cherry and boysenberries. A touch beaujolaisesque on the palate, good acidity and a jammy midpalate this wine is well-made and uniquely interesting. I have a feeling that this wine will leave few on the fence, you’re either with Bobal or you’re against it. Luckily for me, I’m all over it” 90 Points

Weingut Gottardi Blauburgunder Mazzon 2007 – £25

Proof again, if proof be needed, that northern Italy can do the other Pinot to a tee. This Pinot Noir was one of only ten Pinots from last week that made the top 6. This wine is complex and delicious. I do so love it when Italian wines, with German names do a number on “French” grapes.

“Savoury notes intermingle with a distinct strawberries and cream sucky sweets nose. The palate holds fine acidity and subtle tannins in a union of Italian Pinot Noir perfection. Good price, great example and delicious to boot. 92 Points

All these wines can be bought from The Sampler or Vagabond Wines.

Leave a Comment:

Tried any of these wines? Have your own wine of the week? Recommend something to me!

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Roger Sleigh says:

    Enomatics are really great machines, particularly in a setting such as the Sampler. Try before you buy and from a retailers point of view you pay for the sample too. Great

  2. Jamie says:

    You are still holding onto those 1998 Barolo wines?

    They need to be drunk pretty soon. We will give you a hand.

  3. Hey Roger

    It's great from a consumer point of view and also fantastic for those in the WSET programme to get some extra tasting in on the cheap!

    You can taste 20-30 wines on a £20 card and these are not your bottom end wines, these are good quality, varietal showing wines. I think these places are really wonderful when great wines are priced so far out of the reach of your everyday wine fan.

    @Jamie – Robert Parker says HOLD so I hold. I can not make such an important decision alone!

  4. futronic says:

    I saw the 2006 Allegrini Amarone on shelves recently and couldn't believe the alcohol content. 17.2%! That's really up there, even for Amarone. I find that when wines get much past 16%, they tend to end up out of balance with age, since the fruit is no longer there to mask it.

  5. Maurice Casey says:

    Do you have any recommendations for wines under £10?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bobal is a really important grape in Spain and the Valencia region. There are a few more good producers to explore. Are you interested?

  7. sewa mobil says:

    Nice article, thanks for the information.

  8. British Wine says:

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  9. Sewa Mobil says:

    Thank you have writing this and allowing me to comment here, nice article and nice to know this blog too and i will keep reading

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