What to buy or avoid - March 2016 - I Blame The Wine
Chateauneuf Du Pape Lidl 2014

What to buy or avoid – March 2016

Is it just me who is totally dreading winters?

I am sitting here on a cozy sofa and wondering how people manage through these miserable, cold, rainy and windy winters? Yes you can make it better by inserting Christmas in the middle of it and sweetening it up with Valentine’s Day, but it is still cold and I am always concerned of catching a flu or developing a cold.

It is almost over and the temperatures are picking up slightly. My mind is totally set on healthy eating and incorporating wine into a balanced diet, pardon me, eating pattern (have a look at my previous post about healthy eating pattern and wine). On top of that, I would like to combine this urge to eat well with also saving some money along the way. People say that organic food and wine could be a bit expensive, but let me prove them wrong here!

Healthy eating is not expensive

Let me start with the food.

My own personal favourite in terms of organic groceries is Waitrose. If you simply go to their website, they organised it very clearly around their organic offering. I normally manage to snap one of their 3 for the price of 2 offers; on top of that I have ten of my favourite organic products in the ‘Pick Your Own Offers‘ promotion (you get 20% off on them and also can change it regularly). Sounds good.

It could be a bit ‘same old, same old’ though, don’t you think? We all need some variety and, dare I say, some element of surprise when it comes to vegetables to feel motivated to stay on the healthy track with them.

If you agree with the above statement, you should try my another favourite – Abel and Cole; they provide a truly remarkable service with their veg boxes. You can choose a size of your veg box – from small that feeds 2-3 and bigger ones, but also tailor it by choosing an exact type of a box, i.e. salad box. Another great option is to let them surprise you a bit – just select the produce you definitely definitely do not want there and let them put some unusual produce into it week after week, so you can get your creative juices flowing and decide how to cook that ‘weird’ thing next time. Have you cooked with salsify or romanesco broccoli that looks like a green cauliflower?

Did I mention the money saving here? Well, with Abel and Cole you are never short of options how to save some pounds (not just of your waistline by eating organic veg!)- they currently are running a promotion, so you can get 50% off your first and fourth weekly veg boxes, but also get £10 voucher to spend on their generous organic offering in the online store (have you tried non-pasteurised non-homogenised milk or the most amazing wild salmon that is the same price as line caught in some supermarkets?). On top of that you get some booklets with ideas and recipes, check out their ‘Inspire Me’ section, they will inspire you to get creative with veg!

Save money on wine

Let’s stay on our path to get even more value with your money and move on to wines.

It won’t be a big surprise to many of you to find out that one of our most popular wine reviews and posts about where to buy organic are those about Lidl.

I decide to make a quick stroll to the local Lidl and then buy a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Chateauneuf Du Pape Lidl 2014You can buy this bottle for less than £13, which is a damn great value for this renowned Rhone appellation.

As usual, let’s examine the wine based on its appearance, aromas and flavours.

I poured around 50 ml into a relatively large glass (slightly larger than ISO wine glass), but that is fine as long as you can swirl it easily and then sniff the aromas. It looks the name – rather rich ruby colour means it should be packed with flavours, but not overly aged. Well it is 2014.

The wine smells of dark and red fruit, which is a great sign and again very typical.

Flavour doesn’t disappoint much, but as opposed to the aromas it’s not typical Chateauneuf du Pape: it’s a bit thin, acidic and I find it too fresh for this relatively hot region. Freshness is not necessarily a bad thing when you’re looking for it in a given wine, but we all know how powerful Chateauneuf du Pape wines could be, so our expectations would be mismatched here. Flavours of dark fruit and complemented with ripe and fresh red berries.

It is a good wine when taken out of context, so feel free to enjoy it, but as CdP it definitely disappoints – you do not get that multi-layered complexity of rich fruit here.

Not sure you will decide to experiment yourselves with it, but I know for sure what could be an unmissable deal for you. IBlameTheWine.com teamed up with Naked Wines to offer an impressive £60 off your first order of £99.99 or more. Head to Naked Wines and enter the following: Code: IBTW6 Password: ASP32XYN.

Naked Wines will have a selection of wines that would match your expectations, but also some examples from artisan producers that will challenge your palate a bit. Isn’t that exciting?

Have you tried organic Bobal? This is one of Spain’s native varieties that shines through Paco Cotino’s (the winemaker) Riente, which is indeed organic and you can get it for £9.99 or £3 cheaper if you join Naked Wines as their Angel!

Just to reiterate why I think ‘organic is better’: you get some toxins with alcohol either way, but in case of organic wine you are not drinking any additional pesticides that are used to grow conventional non-organic grapes. If you want to know more, this wine community has a lot of resources on organic produce, head to Wines and Reviews section and also check out Organic FAQ. You are in good hands.

Watch out some crucial wine numbers

Finally, a word of caution regarding wine and health. Newly updated drinking guidelines suggest 14 units of alcohol intake for both men and women on a weekly basis. If you follow our recommendations of having at least two alcohol-free days a week that means you can get your regular glass of red with your dinner in a healthy way.

Yet there is a trick – the intake rapidly decreases when alcoholic strength of a wine increases. Logical, isn’t it?

Clos a Batllet Priorat 2006You probably already know that I adore Priorat wines, I like the style, minerality and expressive wood.

This bottle of Clos a Batllet 2006 from Gratallops, Priorat was bought as somewhat a treat, as it retails over £20, and I have opened it during Christmas celebrations.

Indeed you get typical to Priorat aromas and flavours, complexity and also… an incredibly strong and burning alcohol taste.

I have looked at the back and found out that these guys marketed a still red wine that you probably can classify as off-dry and it has a whopping 16.5% abv!

Admittedly, I was not able to drink it anymore, the alcohol simply overpowered fruit and other flavour sensations and I was a bit hard on myself for not paying attention to the strength before. Yet as they say, live and learn! I normally do look at the back, so need not to forget to do it!

This was own lesson on wine and health – I can get it right and balanced together with my heathy eating pattern, but should stay in the know what it is and in this case how strong it is.

Have a look at IBlameTheWine.com‘s extensive content on wine and health and alcohol units to learn more and don’t forget to share your own stories and experience on the Forum.


About The Author


Dimitri is passionate about wines, food to go with it, happy & healthy lifestyle, digital marketing, start-ups and entrepreneurship. www.IBlameTheWine.com is about new organic wines in the UK, what to buy or avoid on the retailer shelves; tips on healthy and happy wine lifestyle, but also provides reviews and rankings for organic wines. Get in touch please, I am always on a lookout for new ideas and connections! Cheers.