I’ve lost my Virgin Wines virginity, and you know what, it was all rather lovely. Here are my thoughts on five very different wines, from the ballsiness of South Australia to the light apple scents of southern France.
This full-bodied, fruity beauty from Chile’s Maule Valley is blackcurrant on the nose and mouth with bitter chocolate notes. The heat-soaked, aged vines provide dryness and great depth.
Old Vine is promoted as a taste of the real Chile, in which case I’m in for the full ticket. As is my mother-in-law, Jean, who declared: “I could get to like this far too much.” (To make sure she didn’t get too attached, I took the bottle away from her.)
Price: £14.99. Score: 8/10
Coorong Sounds Padthaway Viognier 2012
Lovely tropical fruits (big on the lychee and pineapple) are delivered via this delicious Aussie viognier. There’s an oily quality, hints of sauvignon blanc, and lovely long flavour.
It’s dry and at 14% it packs a punch. Restrained sugars. Bring on the lobster.
Price: £11.99. 7/10
This is a classic South Aussie big boy – big on the plums and damsons – and big on lingering depth. It is named after the bull ants that menace grape-pickers in the Langhorne Creek but there’s nothing nasty about this wine, just softness. The colour is as dark as deep red blood.
I’m not a fan of over-fruited and over-sweet reds but enjoyed this restrained muscleman. Perfect with a charred, rare steak.
Price: £17.99. Score: 7/10.
Hope Springs Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2013
A South African chenin blanc that speaks of green fruits, melons and summer picnics.
Crisp with good concentration, it’s crying out for some grilled fish. Far from lightweight.
Price: £9.99. Score: 6/10
Les Arbousiers Reserve Grenache Vermentino 2012
This apple-scented delight is from the lesser known Côtes de Thau, a small appellation near Sète in the South of France.
Refreshing with good acidity, it is tailored-made for prawns and oysters. Fruity and aromatic
Price: £9.99. Score: 6/10.