Friday, May 8, 2009


2008 Pikes The White Mullet
2006 Pikes The Red Mullet

These two unsual blends from the Pike brothers’ operation in Clare Valley, Australia are on offer at a tempting £5.98 until 9 June, so I’m highlighting both together in plenty of time (on 10 June they revert to £9.99 for a single bottle or £6.66 each if you buy three). The white, a blend of riesling, viognier, sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc, has viognier’s heady, floral aromas and some of its creamy texture, combined with riesling’s citrus fruit and pithy lime acidity (12% abv).
The red, which rumour has it was originally called ‘red herring’, is a blend of shiraz, grenache, mourvedre and tempranillo (rumour also has it that the blend came about when the Pikes produced some lovely tempranillo grapes, but found that nobody was interested in Australian tempranillo). It has a perfumy nose of cherries and chocolate, ripe, plummy, red-fruit flavours with a touch of spice, and soft tannins – and it carries its 14.5% alcohol well. Delicious and easy to drink wines, but interesting, too.
£5.98, Wine Rack ( has a store locator).

2007 Taste the Difference Côtes du Rhône-Villages
The 2007 vintage was excellent in the southern Rhône. Inevitably that doesn’t mean absolutely everything is brilliant, but Sainsbury’s, or rather the producer Michel Chapoutier, has got this one right: lots of warm, sunny fruit flavours, lots of black pepper and spice, rounded tannins, and a stony mineral undertow which balances the sweetness of the fruit with dryness and freshness. A full-bodied, but balanced 14.5% alcohol.
£5.99, Sainsbury’s (about two-thirds of branches).