2005 Clos Lapeyre Vitatge Vielh Jurançon Sec
This is not the easiest dry Jurançon, but patience is rewarded. Give it time in the glass and drink it with food – preferably something with some richness and a salty, lemony tang (I had it recently with an organic chicken baked with olives and wafer-thin slices of unpeeled lemon). It has an enticing smell of honeysuckle and apricot with a touch of vanilla cream (from the oak used) and just a faint whiff of fino sherry. The flavours in the mouth are similar, but powerful, dry and dense with grapefruity acidity. Have I made that sound delicious? I hope so, because it is. It comes, incidentally, from a vineyard planted in the 1940s with the three grape varieties, gros manseng, petit manseng and courbu, mixed up (complantés). 13.5%.
£13.75, Les Caves de Pyrène
2008 Colle Stefano Verdicchio di Matelica
This is the kind of wine that often gets overlooked, or rather underestimated at a big tasting. It’s water-white and doesn’t give away much on the nose, although what there is – a delicate jasmine-like perfume – is worth having. The palate is both piercingly fresh and nicely rounded, with straw and pears, lemon and herbs. It’s not a wine that shouts, but you can’t ignore it either and you wouldn’t want to. Try it with fish, including shellfish. 13%.
£8.90, Les Caves de Pyrène
2007 Wirra Wirra Church Block
The first vintage of this Australian red was 1972 and it’s much loved on its home territory. If you think that means it must be full-bodied, richly fruity, oaky and high in alcohol, you’re dead right. But wait: there’s more to it. The blueberry fruit has a lovely brightness, the oak gives flavours of coffee and chocolate, but they don’t dominate, the tannins are unobtrusive and there’s a real freshness and cleanness to the finish, which they say is thanks to McLaren Vale’s cooling sea breezes. The blend is cabernet sauvignon (just over half) with shiraz and merlot. And it’s a winner with meat – beef, lamb, pork, liver, kidneys. Wheel it out as soon as you’ve warmed up the barbie. 14.5%.