Thursday, April 23, 2009

WINES OF THE WEEK, 24 April 2009

2008 Lagar de Cervera Albariño
The latest vintage of what is always one of the best albariños: textbook peach aromas and flavours with youthful tangy grapefruit notes and a mineral spine. Perfect with seafood. I’d drink it this summer or next, although some people like albariño when it’s developed a slighty fatter, nuttier character. I wish this wine was cheaper, but you’re never going to get really cheap albariño, partly because it’s fashionable, including in Spain where they haven’t got huge numbers of interesting white wines, but also because production costs are relatively high in the Rías Baixas region with its small, hilly vineyards. It’s also a bit of a one-off. Apart from godello, of which there is even less planted, there’s nothing else quite like it and little planted outside northwest Spain and over the border in Portugal. In fact, there’s even less worldwide than was thought now that the Australians have discovered that the variety they’d started planting as albariño is savagnin, which comes from the Jura region of France. Whoops! 12.5%.
£11.75-£15.49, Jeroboams; Laymont & Shaw

2006 Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine, Lirac
On the ‘if it’s easy to pronounce it’ll be popular in the UK’ principle, Lirac should be everywhere. Admittedly, it’s not a very big appellation, but even so I’m surprised not to see it more often, especially as it has such a famous neighbour, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This one is spot on: medium-full, with a peppery, spicy, stony character alongside the fragrant, crunchy red berry flavours. It’s not a wine to put away for a long time, but there’s no reason not to keep it three or four years – and by that time the stockist, Montrachet, might have a website. 13.5%.
£10.50, Montrachet Fine Wine Merchants

2006 Doña Dominga Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
Nobody could pretend that this red from Chile's Colchagua Valley is a little light luncheon wine at 14.5% alcohol, but for all its warmth, weight and flavour it has freshness. Together with the sweet, ripe cassis, the spicy sweet-earth, smoky black olive, and dark chocolate flavours and the supple tannins, there’s a refreshing note of currant leaf – enough to lift the wine without giving it a green edge. Good with duck, meaty casseroles, roasts and barbecues, and not bad with cheeses such as manchego and parmesan. 14.5%.
£9.99, Waitrose