WINES OF THE WEEK, 1 May 2009
2007 Chinon, Les Bernabés, Olga Raffault
The first of the summer’s Chinons and what a good start. It’s not that I stop drinking Chinon or other red Loires in the winter, it’s just that at this time of year they seem so full of the promise of the summer to come. OK, so it never arrived last year, but we live in hope. This tastes as authentic and true as wine can - with a vivid aroma of blackcurrants and raspberries and a juicy, supple palate with a gravelly-earthy character that seems to come straight from the soil. The scientists say, of course, that grapes can’t possibly take up flavours from the soil, so I suppose I should say it seems to come straight from cabernet franc grown in Chinon, but how much duller does that sound? 12.5%.
2006 Climbing Merlot
A rounded, medium-full merlot with red fruit flavours, a leafy freshness, lightly toasty vanilla-flavoured oak and a soft dry finish. I probably wouldn’t be making this a Wine of the Week at its full price of £9.99, but at £7.99 (when you buy two or more bottles - and you might as well, as Majestic’s minimum purchase is a mixed case), it’s a good buy. This merlot is all the more surprising because it comes from Australia, a country (indeed, a continent) that has always struggled with merlot. The key here is the location of the vineyards, high up - 600 metres - in the Orange region of New South Wales, where the days are bright and sunny, but the nights are (crucially) cool. 13.5%.
2006 Rully, Clos du Moulin à Vent, Domaine Anne-Sophie Debavelaere
At its best white Rully, from Burgundy’s Côte Chalonnaise, is a very handy cheaper alternative to Côte d’Or white burgundy, but this wine is much more than just a poor relation. It’s rich and nutty on the nose and palate, but also fine, mineral and long with a crisp apple and pear fruitiness. You can drink it now – hard not to, really – but there’s no rush to finish it this year or next, provided you’ve got somewhere relatively cool and dark to keep it. 12.5%.
£13.50, Private Cellar