Economy vs Splurge – 1st April, 2017

Once again, it’s been a long time between wine nights! I was the lucky hostess for the latest and chose the theme of Economy vs Splurge for a few reasons. Economy because who isn’t on a tight budget these days?? I thought it would be great to find some lovely, affordable wines that we wouldn’t feel guilty about buying. Whereas for Splurge, who hasn’t looked at a pricey wine and thought, ‘oh, I’d love to try that one but just can’t justify it’; have you ever wondered if the price tag really means it’s a great wine? Well, tonight we found out.

Usually everyone would buy their own bottle and choose to spend an amount they are happy with. However, as there would be wines priced at different ends of the scale for this night we thought it best to pair up and split the costs.

We had an odd number of people tonight so Bron bought a sparkling to kick the night off while we sat down to starters of artichoke tapenade, pate and zucchini, haloumi & lemon fritters. The Riddler Sparkling Wine by Ad Hoc was fruity with hints of citrus, apples and pears on the nose and a freshness that lingered. Priced at $25 it was a lovely wine to start the night.

Paula and Lynsey bought a couple of Pinot Noirs for the night, but their ‘Splurge’ bottle wasn’t as expensive as they had expected so they also bought a bottle of bubbles for us to do a blind tasting. The downside with being host is that you spend a lot of time in the kitchen missing the comments about the wines. This is doubly bad when you are the blogger! I could hear lots of discussions through the window though and the girls really loved this one. The Run Free NV Serendipity (I just love that word!) Cuvee is a delicious sparkling from Singlefile Wines in WA’s Great Southern wine region. 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir, this wine is full of delicious bubbles. With fruity and floral aromas, it was fresh, long lasting and just yum. We all rated this highly and at $26 a bottle, we will all be buying this one again.

Now to the Economy vs Splurge wines –  first up was Chardonnay while we tucked into a delicious bolognese style mushroom ragu. The economy chardonnay was all the way from France, by JP Chenet. Priced at $9, we were all hoping for a surprisingly delicious cheapy. The online reviews for this wine really are fabulous, with people often thinking it’s a $40 bottle…how we ask? A few of us couldn’t get past the nose – with descriptions like manure, something organic and the inside of a green rubbish bin being thrown around it was clear my garden would be finishing this chardy off tonight. Save the $9 and put it towards something else! This wine isn’t worth watering the garden with.

The splurge bottle though…what a gorgeous wine. The Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay is perfection in a bottle and really, at $80 a bottle it bloody well should be. Full of flavour (hints of peach and pears), but smooth and long lasting on the palate it’s a really beautiful chardonnay. However, the price tag really would put a lot of us off buying it again.

Next up – Pinot Noir and cheese! In the end there wasn’t much of a price difference between the economy and splurge pinots. Both from the same winery – Harewood Estate in Denmark – the 2016 Pinot Noir was $21 and the F-Block Pinot Noir was $27.

The 2016 Pinot Noir is a blend of several blocks of pinot in Harewood’s vineyards. With cherry, mushroom and a hint of spice this was a lovely light wine.

The F-Block Pinot Noir has been produced from Harewood’s – yep, you guessed it – F-block 🙂 Personally, I’m not much of a pinot fan but I really enjoyed this one. In the glass it was a beautiful dark red/purple colour. On the palate, it was full of rich fruity flavour and had a hint of aniseed. A really lovely wine and at $27 I think it’s a bit of a bargain.

Dessert of White Chocolate and Kaffir Panna Cotta and some dessert wines.

The economy dessert wine was a huge (750ml) bottle of Commandaria by St Nicholas definitely a bargain at just $20. This was a really sweet wine made from sun-dried varieties of Xynisteri and Mavro. Definitely the preferred dessert wine for most of the girls.

St Stephan’s Crown Tokaji was the Splurge bottle. $50 for a tiny 375ml is quite pricey! A smooth dessert wine with a rich palate of cinnamon and apple. Not nearly as sweet as the Commandaria, this has a nice clean finish.

Wine nights will be picking up again now that Christmas is long gone and babies have been born. Personally, I look forward to these nights and catching up with my beautiful friends. We have seen each other through so many ups and downs and shared wonderful memories together. I was once told this quote and it’s as if it was written for our group:

‘Hold your glass by the stem and when you clink the glass, hold it to your ear and you will hear the song of good friendship, the sharing of stories, company and memories.’

As usual after tasting the wines we scored them and said if we would buy them again or not…results are below.

Overall scores and feedback for the night:

Wine Score Would We Buy Again?
Ad Hoc The Riddler Sparkling Wine 60% No
Singlefile Run Free NV Serendipity Cuvee 77% Yes
JP Chenet Chardonnay 25% No
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 88% No
Harewood Estate 2016 Pinot Noir 68% Yes
Harewood Estate F-Block Pinot Noir 70% Yes
St Nicholas Commandaria 65% Yes
St Stephan’s Crown Tokaji 62% No

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Love the theme of your wine night – I am always on the lookout for decent affordable wines. And I know what you mean about being stuck in the kitchen as a hostess. That’s one nice thing about the open concept kitchen I guess.
    I think you must have had a bad bottle of the JP Chenet though, or perhaps the mushroom ragu did funny things to it. I’ve always quite enjoyed it and find it’s got lots of stonefruit aromas:
    Happy wining, from Canada!


    1. Jenni says:

      Sorry for the late reply Mel! Thanks so much for being the first comment on our blog!
      I had read such wonderful things about the JP Chenet so wonder if it was the food or a dodgy bottle. At that price I don’t mind giving it a second chance 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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