2008 Mullineux Syrah
This syrah is from South Africa’s Swartland district, an area north of Cape Town which traditionally produced chunky, rather rustic reds. Not this one. It’s a northern Rhône style red, with perfumy, smoky, black pepper aromas, refined black fruit, smoke and herb flavours and a lovely silky texture. You can drink it now, but it’s not a wine that’s going to fall apart soon – not that I say that with knowledge of previous vintages, because there aren’t any. This is the debut vintage for Mullineux Family Vineyards, although Chris Mullineux is well-known as the winemaker who put Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards on the map. 13.5% alcohol. There’s a fine dry chenin-based white as well.
£16.50, Berry Bros & Rudd
2008 Cono Sur Gewürztraminer
This inexpensive gewürztraminer from Chile has all the good things about the gewürz grape and none of the off-putting ones – ie its flavours aren’t over-the-top in the perfume department and it isn’t oily, heavy or over-alcoholic. In fact, it’s great value, textbook with exotic spice and lemon on the nose, ginger and candied orange peel on the palate and delightful tangy freshness. It’s just off-dry and could be brought into service with lightly spicy food or as a summer garden party wine. Anorak background: most of the grapes (85%) are from Chile’s most southerly wine region, Bío Bío; the rest are from Casablanca Valley – further north, but also cool by Chilean standards. 13.5% alcohol.
£5.99, Sainsbury’s (more than two-thirds of branches)
2005 Château de la Guimonière Anjou Sec
This is dry, oak-matured, chenin blanc from the Loire Valley, with toast, honey and straw on the nose and oak, peppery spice and sweet citrus fruit on the palate It’s quite rich and toasty, but perfectly balanced by its sustained citrus freshness. It would go well with dishes in or with cream sauces (fish, seafood, chicken, mushrooms), because it’s got the richness, but also the fresh acidity to off-set it, but it would also be a treat with a lemony roast chicken, roast pork or herby grilled fish. I thought you’d also like to know that the soils are ‘silica, phtanite, shales and sandstone’. 13.5% alcohol.
£8.99 (or £5.99 if you buy 3 bottles), Wine Rack (www.winerack.co.uk has a store locator)