Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Isla Negra Cabernet Sauvignon

I confess I don't even know what vintage this was - we drank the bottle then immediately disposed of it, and now that I've finally got around to posting about it I don't know all the details (is it a 'Reserva'?). It's the one that was just half price at Tesco. Not very professional, but hey, I'm not getting paid for this. Also, I suspect it doesn't really make a difference.

This wine tastes like it was made in a steel tank the size of a nuclear cooling tower. It's soft and easy drinking - great, but not what I look for in a Cabernet Sauvignon. I suppose I shouldn't expect any more than the unstructured raspberry juice that this is, so I shouldn't complain. But then again, if I was paying the full price of £9 for this, I would return the empty bottle in the form of a Molotov cocktail through Tesco's front windows.

If you like unchallenging red wine for quaffing, and if it's half price, then by all means go for it. I think it's inferior to say, Casellero del Diablo's Cabernet offering, but whatever floats your boat.

Cabernet Sauvignon
£4.49 (£8.99)


  1. I'd give it at least 2.5 on your scale mainly because it is actually drinkable and quite pleasant. Jane MacQuitty reviewed an earlier year a while back - 'Cheap reds are always more toothsome than cheap whites and this is no exception, with plenty of sweet, easy-glugging, curranty, cassis-laden 14 per cent alcohol fruit.'

    But there should be a law against this £8.99 and half price nonsense - this is not worth more than £4.99 at any time.

    A wine I'm about to open is a second bottle of a Portuguese red recommended by Oddbins at Oddbins (yes I know...) – Quinta de Bons-Ventos – also finished in steel tanks I see... but definitely better than these Tesco Chilean offers.

    Now I'm also a member of the Wine Society - I really need to buy a decent case or two from them.

  2. Hi Marc,

    I was just at a Wine Society Bordeaux tasting on Friday night. Unfortunately I was ill (and had a blocked nose), but went anyway because I paid £50 for the ticket, so I couldn't really recommend anything from it. It was 'proper' Bordeaux though - some big-name Chateaux were present, most of whose prices are out of my league...

    I think my next order will be from The Wine Society...I have some stuff queueing that I want to try. You can see my recommendations from them here:

    Do you plan to go to any of their tastings? I'm also going to the upcoming Alsace and SW France ones in London.

    That Portuguese red looks like a bargain - I'll see if my local Oddbins has it. PS I have nothing against steel tank fermentation - just that that Chilean stuff makes me think of those 'wine factories' that resemble an oil refinery than a winery.

  3. Tim, I'll see if wife and I can get along to the Alsace event - that's more like her sort of wine (actually, champagne is her sort of thing). I see the Rhone one is sold out. I'll take your WS reccs on board and let you know if I'll be at the June event.

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  5. Right you are. Cabs can't just stand to taste like steel. They need to have the sweet aromas, superb dark fruit, and ripe, chewy tannins allow wine lovers to find real personality in the wine – I find Cab to be the most consistently rewarding of the Bordeaux varieties, personally, especially when paired with the appropriate meal.

  6. A perfect example of a wine priced in preparation for a special offer.

  7. I think for £4.00 to £5.00 pound a bottle this is a great wine to drink value for money. It has bags of fruit, ripe cassis and raspberries. Half price from supermarkets, they put it on in one of their stores at £10.00 for a month and then they can say its half price at £5.00 hmmm. We are not that dumb! You can't compare it to a Premier Cru Bordeaux fetching £2500.00 a bottle but Isla is fantastic value buy...

    1. hey Bruce, nice to find someone who is perhaps not a wine connor sewer but just likes a pleasant drink at the right price. I'd love to see how some of these "expert" posters would fare in a blind tasting.