Opinion

Eight Years of Frankly Wines: Passion Conquers Everything

Today – 2nd of July 2021 – marks eight years since the first post on Frankly Wines!

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Longevity

In May 2015 I corralled fellow members of DNS Wineclub and some fellow wine bloggers from Dublin into attending a public tasting at Honest 2 Goodness in Glasnevin, Dublin.  During a memorable evening of great wines and great company, Paddy from The vine Inspiration posited that not all of us present would still be writing in a year or two’s time.

From our original gang of five wine bloggers I am the only one to still be posting regularly.  Lots has happened in those eight years…life just takes over sometimes, including “proper” jobs and children (we have gone from a total of 3 kids between us in 2013 to now having 12!  Perhaps a parenting blog might have been more appropriate…)

Style

I try to strike a balance on Frankly Wines between information, entertainment and accessibility.  Where possible I like to use a map to explain where a particular wine region on winery is located because location is one of the key things to understanding most wines (plus I love maps…)

Above all they have been fun to write!  I never thought of myself as a writer before starting Frankly Wines, although I know my English is excellent [/humblebrag], but passion conquers everything.  One thing I try to do with every article is improve my knowledge with the research I do in advance of actually writing

Guest Posts

This is the 452nd post on Frankly Wines, but not all have been written by me.  I have had very generous guest posters for three different series:

  1. Valentines’ Day Wines (2015)
  2. Wines for Xmas (2017)
  3. Wine + Music Matching (2020)

Thanks again to all those who have contributed over the years.

Top Posts

Easily the most popular theme – in terms of views – across my posts has been wines from Supermarket Lidl.  This is undoubtedly due to the fact that they are an international outfit and so people search for reviews of their wines in many countries.  Of course, it helps that I have a good relationship with Lidl Ireland and receive plenty of samples from them to write about.

The second most popular theme is my (admittedly irregular) Top 10 posts; Top 10 Reds of the year, Top 10 Value Whites, etc.  While they might seem like clickbait, they are a genuine attempt to list wines (out of the hundreds or thousands that I might taste in a year) that most impressed me.

An older standalone post that has resurged in popularity over the past few years is Who’s The Dada, a post from 2017 which ended up being the most popular overall of 2020.  I don’t know why this post became so popular, though it is about a very commercial and high selling wine, but it appears as the #4 on Google results for “Dada Wine Review”.  For 2021, a new rival popular wine post has emerged: 19 Crimes Red.

Of course I would love for articles on wines from boutique and specialist importers to be more popular, but as the biggest source of views on my page is through search engines it is the popular wines that will tend to wine out.

My Favourite Posts

Above we’ve looked at the most popular posts, but which have been my favourite posts to write?  Here are a dozen I look back on with fond memories:

Thank You!

Thank you to all my readers, past, present and future.  Your views, likes and comments have inspired me to keep writing throughout the years.

Opinion

Wine Review: Sauvignon Blancs from SuperValu

What’s the best inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc from SuperValu?  Here are four Sauvignons from the current SuperValu sale, from four different countries: France, Australia, Chile and Argentina.

La Petite Perrière Sauvignon Blanc 2019: The minerally one

La Petite Perrière Sauvignon Blanc

It’s rather fitting that the producer of this wine is named after a stone quarry in Sancerre as it has a wonderful mineral streak through its core.  Yes there are plenty of citrus notes too – lemon, lime and grapefruit – but they are along for the journey rather than being the destination themselves.  This is a fresh style of Sauvignon Blanc that has more than a passing resemblance to a dry Alsace Riesling, which is obviously a positive in my book!

  • ABV: 12.5%
  • RRP: €11.99 down to €9.00 until 19th May 2021
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores and supervalu.ie
  • Source: media sample

19 Crimes Sauv Block 2020: The soft one

19 Crimes Sauv Block

“Sauv Block” is some sort of pun on Prison Block / Sauvignon Blanc, but it’s fairly weak (yes, this is  me saying this!)  I’ve already covered the 19 Crimes Red Wine and its unusual packaging, so this time we will just consider the wine inside.  It has some of the typical grapefruit and gooseberry notes on the nose but there are also more soft and tropical fruit aromas.  The palate reflects this, with melon and pineapple alongside the green fruits.

The 19 Crimes SB doesn’t have the zing and freshness of a typical SB.  I haven’t tasted enough Aussie single varietal Sauvignons to compare it to, but this wine seems almost like it’s made with a different grape variety – something like Godello – though I’m sure it’s not.  In short, this is a Sauvignon Blanc for people who don’t normally go for this variety as they find it too sharp – but there’s nothing wrong with that!  Well chilled it is fine for sipping in the sun.

  • ABV: 12.0%
  • RRP: €14.99 down to €10.00
  • Stockists: SuperValu and supervalu.ie
  • Source: media sample

Cepas Privadas Sauvignon Blanc 2019: The herby one

Cepas Privadas Sauvignon Blanc

Most wine drinkers will be familiar with Argentina’s signature black grape Malbec and the largest wine region in the country, Mendoza.  As Mendoza is principally a warm wine region it may surprise some to learn that it has cooler parts, cool enough to be suitable for Sauvignon Blanc.

The nose is initially all about green pepper and herbs, with touches of green fruits in the background.  The palate is fresh and zippy, with a core of minerality around which citrus and herbs are wrapped.  I don’t think this wine lives up to the normal RRP of €18, but for €8 it represents very good value.

  • ABV: 12.5%
  • RRP: €17.99 down to €8.00 until 19th May 2021
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores and supervalu.ie
  • Source: media sample

Aresti Estate Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2020: The grapefruity one

Aresti Estate Selection Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the key varieties for Chile, especially in Ireland where it is available in pretty much every supermarket, convenience store and off-licence.  Hailing from Curicó Valley, Aresti are a family business with several ranges within their portfolio; Estate Selection appears to be their entry level for the Irish market.

It ticks all the boxes you’d expect from an inexpensive SB, but it’s key attribute is drinkability.  It’s not going to challenge Sancerre or Marlborough but it’s a very pleasant drop for mid week or even the weekend.

  • ABV: 12.5%
  • RRP: €10.99 down to €8.00 until 19th May 2021
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores and supervalu.ie
  • Source: media sample

Conclusion

These are obviously inexpensive wines which are for everyday drinking rather than a special treat.  The 19 Crimes is noticeably different in style, but has its place.  The other three are quite similar and very reasonable wines for sipping outside on a warm summer’s day (if we see one this year in Ireland!) – it comes down to small differences in flavours, aromas and drinkability.  On that basis, my narrow favourite is the best all-rounded, the Aresti Estate Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2020.

Single Bottle Review

Wine Review: 19 Crimes 2020 Red Wine

19 Crimes is an Australian wine brand with a range of inexpensive, everyday wines that are available at supermarkets and other multiples.  This isn’t the normal type of wine that features on Frankly Wines, but as it’s so popular I thought it worth trying to see why so many people buy it.

I don’t know if the owners of 19 Crimes – Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) – set out to deliberately compete with the likes of Yellowtail and Barefoot, but that’s what they appear to be aiming at. The brand is built around the story of certain crimes which were punishable by deportation from Britain and Ireland to Australia in the late 18th and 19th century.

Each bottle is sealed with a cork – unusual for Aussie wine nowadays – with one of the 19 Crimes written on it. Encouragement to collect them all?  The front labels each feature a famous convict; eight from transportation times plus Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. aka Snoop Dogg in a celebrity tie-in.

19 Crimes cork

Also of note is the innovative use of a proprietary app which makes each label “come alive”. Fair enough, this might be something of a gimmick, but wine needs innovative packaging and marketing for the mass market.

.From 29th April to 19th May the 19 Crimes Red Wine and Sauvignon Block [sic] are included in SuperValu’s wine offers.  Here are my notes on the former:

19 Crimes South Eastern Australia Red Wine 2020

19 Crimes Red Wine
This Charming Man

So, enough about the label and branding, what’s the wine like? It pours a medium intensity cherry red, implying that this is no blockbuster red. One website I found listed the varieties as Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and it’s the middle two grapes which give it the lighter hue.

The nose initially hits you with sweet vanilla, under which blackberries and fudge compete for attention. The palate is rich, full of vanilla and toasty oak, cherries, chocolate, dark berries, spice and caramel. I don’t have a tech sheet but the richness is obviously partly due to a good dose of residual sugar.

Similar to the Dada Art Series 1 I reviewed back in 2017, this is a wine made for pleasure and designed to match what many people actually like drinking.  Most wine drinkers – especially in the Irish market – will swear blind that they only like dry wines, but if there’s an off-dry finish to a red wine like this they won’t complain if they’re not told and don’t notice themselves.

For my personal taste, this wine is a little too confected and clumsy. But I’m not the target market, and I suspect that most people who buy it will like it – which is exactly the point!

  • ABV: 13.5%
  • RRP: €14.99 down to €10 at SuperValu from 29th April to 19th May 2021
  • Source: Media sample