Posted by: Andy Kelly
My first supermarket wine in a while and a wine that comes highly recommended from our old friend Ned Halley. What could possibly go wrong?
“A proper oddity by enterprising Portuguese winery Falua, this bullish Alentejo blend unites Cabernet Sauvignon with local grapes Aragonez and Castelão to make a hearty, plummy dark food red with textbook notes of clove and cinnamon; 13.5% alcohol. I think it’s great; if the 2017 has been superseded by 2018 or even 2019, do try it”.
Right, I’m going to have the preface this review with an important point before we get started. I have been fortunate to drink some outstanding wine over the last year, none of which has come from the supermarkets. Being on full furlough with no travel or day to day expenses meant that I was pocketing an extra few quid each month. I was keen to support smaller merchants so I used this extra few quid to buy wine that is a cut above what you’d usually find in your local Asda or Sainsbury’s. I say this because maybe, just maybe, my dalliance with finer wine has clouded my palate, leaving little tolerance for cheaper, less complex counterparts.
Recently, I popped into my local Asda and, as is custom, I sauntered down the wine isle to take a look. I wasn’t armed with my trusty 2021 handbook but I knew that Bodacious Vinho 2017 featured prominently; in fact, it had featured in the 2020 handbook too so I was confident that it was going to be decent. I spotted it on the shelf and saw that the 2019 vintage was on offer for £6.50 down from £8 and I thought “bargain”!
The 2017 had also won bronze in the IWSC 2019 awards so the brand had pedigree and I was pleased with my purchase.
Falua is located approximately 70km north of Lisbon, producing in excess of 3 million bottles of wine a year. The winery is described as state of the art with sophisticated & modern equipment, producing wines from local grape varieties. They boast an array of wines, all of which look promising with eye catching labels and they appear to be well marketed. Falua’s website itself is slick, well put together and is easily navigable for someone with only a smattering of Portuguese. Before I knew it, I was browsing their catalogue and was quite taken by a couple of their whites.
But, guess what I couldn’t find any information about on their website…that’s right Bodacious.
“Okay, that’s a little worrying” I thought but it’s not the end of the world. A lot of wine brands in the supermarkets aren’t well marketed and some of those have been crackers.
And then I opened the bottle.
It was a promising start actually, my ritual of sniffing the cork and then inside the bottle yielded some nice plummy aromas so I poured myself a glass and looked forward to seeing what it had to offer.
It offered little. Very little. Being the 2019 vintage, it was purple in the glass but there was just no nose to speak of. It was almost as if it had given me everything it could the moment I pulled the cork out. The palate was a different experience entirely. The cherry notes were overwhelming and made for a very sticky, chewy, unpleasant experience. It tasted sweet, very sweet and it felt like the sugar had been added in after the fact. It tasted like 19 Crimes. No plums, no spice, no cloves, no cinnamon. Nothing. There was no body and I couldn’t really detect the tannins. Even on Vivino, people rave about how smooth it is and I couldn’t even get that. It was awful. I laboured through one and a half glasses and then it went down the drain. It was so poor that I refuse to even cook with it.
I should’ve known to be honest. If you can’t find anything about a wine on the winemakers’ own website then you know you’ve got problems. I can’t help but feel that the wine itself is an afterthought, produced from high yielding grapes and bulked up with sugar. I paid £6.50 for it and when you factor in labour, storage, bottling, marketing and transportation costs then actually how much wine are you getting for your £6.50?
Ned gives the 2017 a solid 8 in both of his editions. The 2019 gets a big fat 1 from me and a deserved place in “Wine Hell”.
There is truly nothing “Bodacious” about this wine. It is bloody awful.