For a change of pace, I'm going to let a couple of established wine writers review two wines (from Tesco as it happens), then I'm going to try them myself and see if I agree, and if fore-knowledge of the wines makes any difference to my review. Both wines were priced €10, allegedly reduced from €19-99.
Martin Moran (MW) - @winerepublic (quote from here)
"In the hunt for vineyard-derived quality Australians have planted vineyards in cooler climate locations and at higher altitudes hoping for finer natural acidity. McWilliams Mount Pleasant Isabelle Chardonnay 2011 is from Tumbarumba in the Snowy Mountains on the New South Wales/Victoria border. Altitude is the key here and any oak used is very subtle leaving centre stage for its chalky mineral charged flavours of peach and pear. It knocks the average €8-10 big brand chardonnay for six. "
Update - Finally opened this tonight, apologies for the delay. This is a very well made wine. Alas, it's not a wine I particularly care for. A couple of years ago I had some very expensive Aussie chardonnays, which I also did not care for. For some reason I just don't dig this style of Chardonnay. This wine tasted quite like its more expensive cousins, so if you like this style of wine - fill your boots, lofty.
Jean Claude Fromont Crozes Hermitage 2010 - €10
David Whelehan - @Whelehanswines (quote from here)
"For those who love good Northern Rhone Syrah, this will not disappoint. Made 90% from Syrah, 10% from Marsanne & Rousanne. This could be most simply described as a dark berry brooding wine perfect for winter. The aromas are of black fruits with some spice and savoury notes. The palate is rich and round with an attractive spiciness and the finish is very impressive ending on some really ripe and generous black fruit flavours. Alc 13.5%"
Update - I have to agree with David W, this turned out to be delicious, although it did take a while. After a couple of hours in the decanter it was still a little rough and ready, but by the end of the night this developed into a nicely balanced, rich and juicy wine. Good value at €10, but I don't think I'd pay 20 notes for it.
Also - today is Day 4 of No Beer September (started on 2nd Sept) and so far so good. I will be sampling various ciders (craft and otherwise) over the next while and will update with the results.