2008 Deakin Estate Viognier
I’m not a huge fan of viognier. Condrieu, yes, but not the vast majority of viogniers at under £20, let alone at under £10. But this unoaked Australian is delicious – not complex, but vibrant, fruity and balanced with lovely clarity of flavour (peach, grapefruit, passionfruit). It’s so clean and well-balanced - and probably because it’s got a tiny bit of residual sugar (3g/l) - it’s a good match for lightly spicy food and takes vinaigrette dressings in its stride. It even coped with a lemony, smoked salmon and crème fraiche pasta dish. It’s only available in six-bottle quantities, but drinking them won’t be a hardship. 13.5%.
£39.88 for 6 bottles, Bibendum Wine
2007 Ara Composite Sauvignon Blanc
It’s surprising to see a 2007 vintage of New Zealand Sauvignon still available. And in some ways it’s surprising it’s still good, but Ara, a relatively new wine-growing area in Marlborough (on an ancient river terrace) tends to produce a grassy, mineral style of sauvignon, rather than the riper, tropical fruit style which can fall apart quite quickly. This has some peach and candied peel fruit alongside the green grassy notes, but with age it’s also become more smoky and - dare I say it? – more Sancerre-like. Given current Sancerre prices, that makes it tempting. The nominal price is £9.99, but the £7.99 offer seems to be longterm. 13%.
2006 Château Plaisance, Fronton
The vineyards of Fronton were threatened with destruction by the re-siting of Toulouse airport a few years ago. Fortunately the French government saw sense: Toulouse airport hasn’t moved in and the rare red négrette grape has been saved. Négrette pops up in a couple of appellations in southwest France, but Fronton is it’s heartland. This is a textbook example – deep coloured with perfumed raspberry and elderberry fruit, typical tar and graphite notes, lightly toasty oak and gently chewy, velvety texture. Loves duck, red meat, game and sausages of all sorts.
£8.50, Les Caves de Pyrène