South African, John Merriman, Stellenbosch Red Wine 2014


Stellenbosch, located just inland off the coast at Somerset West, where mountains surround this wine making region of South Africa. Overtime Stellenbosch has gained a reputation for producing top class wines, often made in a Bordeaux style. Blends of Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are showcased so it is no surprise that in blind tastings they can be mistaken for the very best of the Bordeaux blends.

This delightful wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and the bordeaux grape variety Petit Verdot which adds a little spice and depth of colour to this delicious red wine. Cask matured for twenty months, however is still relatively youthful. Stored in ideal conditions, this wine can go on to mature further. There are pronounced flavours, aromas of blackberry and plums, a fruit sweetness that’s mouth filling, tannins that are soft, acidity low, alcohol 14.5%VOL. Overall a delightful wine that gently opens up to reveal distinctive earthy, meaty undertones on the palate, it really is delicious. This South African red will complement most red meat dishes but can be enjoyed without food.

Purchased from Waitrose £15.99

TH HAUPAPA Pinot Noir 2016 NZ

What a find, this Pinot Noir from Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand where the climate is a little cooler than North Island. Summers can be very hot which accounts for the high levels of alcohol in the wines produced here.

The cooler maritime climate is perfect for the long and slow ripening of this grape, allowing this variety to showcase its fruit aromas and flavours of ripe cherries and berries. This Pinot Noir is so juicy and velvety with a heavenly softness to round it up. There are traces of wild herbs as it slowly opens, exposing hints of damp earth whilst retaining the fruitiness. The subtle tannins hold this wine in a perfect balance. I loved it and would happily drink this wine without food.

Purchased from Aldi and priced at £8.99. I recommend you try it now before they sell out! It really was an enjoyable wine.


Gewürztraminer Villa Maria, East Coast NZ

Do not be fooled into thinking this wine is sweet, loaded with perfumed aromas that may confuse your palate. The very best Gewürztraminers are dry unless its a sweet dessert wine. Gewurz means ‘spice’ in German and spice it most definitely has! With hints of roses, grapefruit, gingerbread, fruit-cocktail, lychees and sweet spice. There was a slight edge of bitterness on the finish. This New Zealand example was an ‘off dry’ well balanced wine with medium – low acidity. Gewürztraminer is the perfect choice with spicy foods such as Thai cuisine, Mexican or your favourite Curry dish.

 The very best Gewürztraminers are the French ones, they have concentrated aromas and flavours, are deep yellow, full-bodied wines. Italy also showcases high quality Gewürztraminers the best examples are from the region of Trentino Alto-Adige.

An interesting wine that I would recommend when serving spicy food. This New Zealand attempt most certainly impressed me and my guests.

Available to purchase from Waitrose,  priced at £10.00



SYLVA Deli and Bar


SYLVA, the name means wood or trees in Latin. New to Oakwood here in Leeds, where many locals and passers by have waited, watched and wondered what this unusual building was all about. Spread over two floors, its light and spacious, a modern space where breakfast is served from 8am. Light snacks, small plates, tea and coffee are served throughout the day, ingredients sourced from local producers.

SYLVA finally revealing itself in February 2017. Standing amongst the trees on the edge of Roundhay Park, a  modern twist on a gothic building. Blending beautifully with its surroundings, protected by the tall trees as close as the build would allow, fitting in as though it had always been there. What a transformation from what used to be ‘The Park Toilet Block’. Oakwood residents should be thrilled with the outcomes.

I have visited SYLVA now a couple times with friends, had a glass or two of Chardonnay ‘Little Rascal’ ( Australia), felt peckish so ordered from SYLVA’s night deli menu. A platter of continental meats together with an artisan cheese board, just the trick when only a nibble is required to enjoy the fine wines they serve here.

There are approximately twenty seven  wines featured. Wines to suite all palates, choose from Red, Whites, Rose, Sparklings. If you feel like being ‘waited on’ take a seat, sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere.

 A few of my favourites -Albarino (Spain), Sauvignon Blanc (Esk Valley, NZ), Viognier (Le Versant, France). Cabernet Sauvignon (South Africa), Pinot Noir (Esk Valley, NZ), Rioja Tempranillo (Hacienda Lopez de Haro, Spain).

Gin is trending everywhere right now, so many varieties available to choose from. SYLVA offer a wide range of perfect Gin & Tonics.

Inedit, the famous beer from Barcelona, the one you drink from a wine glass. Developed by one of Barcelona’s Michelin Star Chef’s Ferran Adria’.

SYLVA  is most definitely on the map here in leeds and well worth visiting, a fabulous venue for meeting up with friends or simply dropping by and having a coffee. I shall be checking out some of the events that are being planned for April and May …..




Douro Valley Reserva 2015

A wonderful blend of Portugal’s grape varieties traditionally used in port production. These native varieties blended together have created a fruit filled wine of immense intensity.

On tasting this wine the ripe black fruit aromas and flavours were so pronounced, sweet and juicy. On the palate were blackberry, black cherry, black current and so it went on and on… Mouthwatering, soft, ripe fruit flavours that were beautifully balanced.

Enjoy this wine with slow cooked red meat, a steak or any rustic meaty dish.

Purchased from Waitrose – £8



An old vine Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough, NZ


This wine was received from a family friend, a surprise gift. I then stored it in the fridge anticipating when I might taste it.

Here I am now writing my review, having tasted this delightful ‘old vine’ Sauvignon Blanc.  Mouthwatering tropical fruit bursts, limes, lemons and layer upon layer of stone fruit aromas, with acidity adding wonderful balance to this wine. Old vines most definitely bring intensity to this Sauvignon, some may agree that this adds body.

Comparing the Sunday Bay with a Cloudy Bay (another of my favoured Sauvignon’s) I would have to say the Sunday Bay brings overwelming pronounced flavours of fruit that continue to develop as I sip. This wine is recommended to pair with shellfish, creamy pasta dishes or enjoyed simply on its own.

This exciting and thoroughly enjoyable wine is available through most reputable online retailers in the UK. Ching Ching!