Enjoying a Tipple

He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.

Brains Original Stout. Wales. 4.1%

A big name from the welsh scene, but not one I’ve tried before.

A light stout and certainly not as stout-y as it’s common Irish and English counter parts. However it retains a clear stout quality, but without the bloat. Which is often something that turns me off the stout option.

In terms of flavour theres the caramels, chocolates and dark berries you’d expect, but with arguably more space to play due to it’s softer weight. 

Maybe not one for stout fans, but maybe one for the others.
Cornish Gribben. Cornish Hand Brewery. 4.1%

In taste more a heavy beer than an ale. Either way a lovely pint with a nice amber colour and a good bite, but without any bitter after taste.

Looking forward to trying the others from Cornish Hand.
Little willie. Piddle brewery. Dorset. 4.9%

Just the name of this local ale is enough entertainment to warrant giving it the thumbs up. Fortunately it’s backed up by a good, fruity, lightly hopped ale. Void of the acidic bite some it’s Piddle siblings can have. Resulting in an enjoyable drink, with mild caramel undertones. Letting it work well with slow cooked pork or alone.
Saam Mountain. Chenin Blanc. South Africa. 2010
South African Chenin Blancs are, in my experience, pretty indestructible. Even at the bottom end of the budget you can find an excellent bottle with all the flavour of something far more expensive. Saam Mountain unfortunately disproved that theory, and brought home a fairly characterless and at times unbalanced drink. My discontent was (maybe unfairly) enhanced by the inflated restaurant price. On review it retails at £6.99 which, whilst you can still find better at that price, is bordering acceptable. 
Tílía. Malbec. Mendoza, Argentina. 2009
Usually Argentinian Malbecs have a very distinctive smokey-ness to them. Embellishing on flavours found in the common place Asado (Argentinian BBQ). Where steaks are cooking over open wood fires. Often, to my palette, Malbecs can take this too far and create a red that can only be enjoyed properly in accompaniment with a Ribeye or Rump steak.
In the case of Tilia, there is a clear lack of the smokey-ness. Offering up a very simple, balanced vintage with dominate plum and berry flavours. Unfortunately for this bottle, I was at the time eating steak, so the classic flavours were desired. With this absence it presented a weak wine, especially in the face of many other strong Malbecs. 
Castillo La Paz. Tempranillo Syrah. Cosecha. 2009
Winner of multiple recent awards and stereotypically Spanish-ly branded. This bottle was a good alternative to most above average Riojas. Considering the combination of varieties this was surprisingly light on the palette, distancing itself from often over strong tones of plum and vanilla found in Tempranillo. I would suspect this a younger product, not barrelled for any length of time. 
I would definitely go for this again, as long it came in at the £7 or lower range.  Which, if I recall correctly, it was slightly above on this purchase.
Eidos de Padriñán Albariño. Spain. 2009
Fabulous bottle recommended again by our local wine merchant. With a light bouquet of apple and citrus, it has a light-to-medium bodied, balanced and crisp flavour that weighed well against the garlic and tomato from the Paella. Excellent choice, but again at the upper end of a usual bottle budget. Particularly worthy of note is the Albariño grape. Not something I’ve come across before but worth exploring.
Acustic. Monstant. Catalonia, Spain. 2009
A fine, lively yet elegant combination of Samsó and Grenache blends from Pendés, Catalonia. Recommended by our local wine merchant as an affordable accompaniment to Paella Valencia (chicken and duck). It proved an excellent choice, and whilst on the upper-end of our average budget, was well worth it.
Birra Moretti. Premium Lager. Italy. 4.5%
Often sold in “Italian Restaurants” as a premium choice to Peroni. In reality, it is a slightly better drink; not as carbonated, smoother with definitely less of the atypical larger/light beer chemical-ness. Suited my sunshine fuelled picnic and BBQ needs. 
The owning brewery was taken over by Heineken in 1996. I imagine since then the beer has tasted more and more like an atypical lager since then. Shame.
Marques de Alarcon, Tempranillo - Syrah. 2010
From the M&S range, brother to the more often reviewed Rosada (from the Castilla vineyard). This Tempranillo and Syrah mix was a lovely step away from a usual Rioja. Using the Tempranillo grape it unsuprisingly gave a deeper flavour than the usual Rioja (Tempranillo is in fact used to make aged-Riojas). With light fresh fruit tones and a decent, but maybe slightly lacking kick from the Syrah. Missing all the usual blackberry flavours from this grape.
Rebellion Red. Rebillion Beer
A dark amber ale with a mild nutty flavour and a lingering aftertaste, that’s maybe slightly acidic for my palette.
Cordillera. Chardonnay/Viognier. Chile. 2009
For me Chile is producing some of the most exciting and enjoyable whites of the moment. Along with South Africa, they seem to have the climate and rich soils that really bring out the fun in many standard varieties.   This bottle is no exception, and whilst is on the pricey side for a Chilean, was an excellent recommendation from the sommelier in La Trompette.  The Chardonnay was it’s almost playful side, with far more floral and fruity flavours coming through than a usual Chardonnay. With a little oak, but not too much. Then the Viognier added some depth and maturity, combining nicely in the 3 year vintage.   An excellent choice with White fish or seafood.
Baronnie de Sabran. Cotes de Rhone. France.
I believe a Syrah mix - my memory fails me. Mild, soft with a nod to dark fruits and cinnamon. Being a French option I don’t have much contrast but wasn’t hugely impressed. As always with French reds, it’s hard to distinguish the wheat from the chaff, without bankrupting my wallet.
Backsberg. Chenin Blanc. South Africa. 2010
Reasonable Chenin. Not the most affordable but as almost all SA Chenins are, still very drinkable.
La Marca. Prosecco. Italy.

Particularly good affordable Prosecco. Dry, crisp with a light fizz. Ever so slightly sweet. Leaves a fresh floral aftertaste. 

I’m not a big sparking wine/Champagne drinker but this does well for me.