Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WINES OF THE WEEK, 10 July 2009

The eagle-eyed will spot that this week’s wines are being posted early. It’s a belt-and-braces approach because on Friday I shall be in a part of France from which internet connections, wifi etc are frequently absent. Some of you have already observed that Friday is a strange day of the week to do the weekly post anyway, so I’m trying to decide which is the best day. If you have any views on this, do email me.

2007 Mt Beautiful Riesling
2008 Mt Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc
2007 Mt Beautiful Pinot Noir

It seemed a waste to choose just one of these wines when I liked all three and they’re new to the UK. In fact, not just new wines, but a new region in New Zealand. The Cheviot Hills region is in North Canterbury which is on the east of the South Island, south of Marlborough (got that?). For the geographically-challenged, that’s well below Marlborough and to the left a bit. It’s slightly cooler than Marlborough down there.
The riesling is mouthwateringly fragrant with textbook smoky-petrol, lime, green-apple and peach aromas. The palate is fine-boned, racy and intense, with refreshing acidity and real persistence. It’s off-dry and 12% alcohol.
The sauvignon blanc has ripe tropical fruit (think mangoes) combined with steely herbal, mineral and smoky flavours. I also find a suggestion of green fig and coffee, which I like, but people always look blank whenever I say I can taste coffee in sauvignon (it being a flavour usually associated with oaked red wines), so feel free to ignore that. (For the record, I think it’s a reductive note.) The acidity is brisk and well-balanced and the alcohol is 13.5%.
And so to the pinot noir: fresh, juicy, cherry and cranberry aromas, together with a hint of roses. Medium-bodied, fresh and supple with subtle oak and a dry, delicately spicy finish. An elegant 12.5% alcohol. Well done, Genesis, for bringing these over.
£8.75 for the whites; £12.75 for the pinot noir, Genesis Wines

2008 Dourthe No 1 Sauvignon Blanc
I know what you’re thinking: you don’t need yet another sauvignon blanc. But it’s summer and you might - and this is a particularly good value one from Bordeaux. Dourthe No 1 is always dependable, but this recently released 2008 is another step up in quality. It has vivid grass and citrus notes filled out with some riper peach and tropical fruit, an attractively textured mid-palate and a lively, lingering finish. 12% alcohol.
£6.99, Waitrose, Booths; £8.99 (or three for the price of two), Wine Rack