Friday, January 29, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 29 January 2010

Two Cahors to convert the reluctant. Anyone who is a fan already (or becomes one) should consider laying down some of Château de Chambert’s excellent 2007 Grand Vin, even though owner Philippe Lejeune and consultant Stephane Derenoncourt say that the 2008 wines are better and the 2009s better again. The 2007 will easily keep another ten years.

2007 Château de Chambert Cahors Malbec
Ink-dark, dense and ripe, with a plum and blackberry perfume, light smoky oak, thick but ripe, velvety tannins and a mineral-fresh finish. Try it with confit de canard (a doddle to make, by the way) or a steak. Or cellar it for another five or more years. 13% abv.
£14.50-£14.99 Halifax Wine Co, Noble Rot Wine Warehouses, Cornelius Beer & Wine, Liberty Wine.

2007 Clos La Coutale Cahors
Various vintages of this have been my house-wine when I’ve been staying in the region over the years. It’s a softer, lighter, more approachable style than many, but light is a relative term in Cahors – and this is still unmistakeably Cahors. Spicy blackberry fruit, a soft, savoury graphite note and rounded tannins. 13% abv.
£7.25, The Wine Society; £8.45, or £7.60 by the case, Berry Bros & Rudd.

Domaine Aubert Vouvray Mousseux Brut
Snappy, fresh, yeasty and appley on the nose, with flavours of apricot and apple, a hint of honey and lemony acidity; appetising dry, not penitentially dry. I’d much rather drink this Loire fizz than most of the semi-sweet, banana-flavoured Prosecco that are on the shelves.
£11.95, Yapp Brothers

Friday, January 22, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 22 January 2010

2009 Greywacke Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Debut vintage under Kevin Judd’s own label after he’d made 25 vintages of Cloudy Bay. It’s as good as you would hope – aromatic and intense, full, tangy and sustained, with gooseberry, herb and mineral flavours, a hint of spice and a fine, chalky texture. The grapes come from several vineyards in the southern Marlborough valleys, including those with soils full of greywacke river stones, and the fermentation includes a small proportion in French barriques with wild yeasts.
£11.85-£12.99, Rannoch Scott Wines,, Noel Young Wines, Nebuchadnezzar Wines, The Halifax Wine Co, The VineYard.

2007 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley
I can’t remember when I last tasted a Mondavi Fumé Blanc (barrel-aged sauvignon blanc), but from memory this is a more polished wine than the last I tasted. It’s both smoky and fresh on the nose and full-bodied but lively and zesty on the palate, with flavours of lemon verbena, grass and melon edged with smoky oak. The alcohol, at 14.5% abv, is high, but actually it’s balanced.
£9.99 when you buy two (until February 1), Majestic, which is a good buy. (The full price, £14.99, is a bit steep.)

2007 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir, Carneros
Full-bodied, ripe and succulent with sweet raspberry fruit, coffee and toasty oak flavours and a smooth, clean finish. Not subtle, but crowd-pleasing, fleshy, pure pinot noir. 14.5% abv.
£9.99 when you buy two (until February 1), Majestic, which is a good buy. (Full price, £14.99.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010


2007 Tabalí Encantado Chardonnay Reserva, Limarí Valley
Stylish chardonnay from one of Chile’s new(ish) cool climate regions – citrus fruit, creamy texture, an underpinning of nutty oak and long, fresh, faintly salty, mineral finish. 14% abv.
£8.99, Waitrose

2008 Storks’ Tower Sauvignon Blanc/Verdejo, Castilla Y Leon
Impressive, modern, commercial white wine from Spain combining the international sauvignon blanc with the native verdejo grape. It has a ripe, nutty, lime-cordial nose, flavours of lime, herbs and smoky, orange marmalade and it’s fleshy and round, but with springy acidity and a soft, off-dry finish.
£34.86 for 6 (£5.81 per bottle),

2006 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre, IGT Rosso Veronese
This is a sort of mini Amarone della Valpolicella made by the talented Franco Allegrini using a combination of Ripasso and Amarone techniques. The result is plump, polished and velvety, nutty and chocolaty, with lovely fresh cherry and kirsch fruit. It’s not bone-dry and all the better for it. It would go well with all sorts of meaty dishes and hard cheeses. 14% abv.
£14.95-£15.49, Bennetts Fine Wines; Noel Young Wines; Quaff

Friday, January 8, 2010


Isn’t this weather great? I don’t even to have to put white and fizz in the fridge. I just leave them in the hall.

2006 Gapsted Victorian Alps Riesling, King Valley, Australia
Mouthwatering, textbook, lime-peel flavours and the beginnings of some minerally, petrolly bottle-age, together with a touch of riper peach-cum-apple on the finish. Medium-dry with refreshing acidity. Great as an aperitif or with food. Try it with some lightly spiced prawns, smoked meat or fish or some (rather unseasonal) grilled Mediterranean veg – red peppers, aubergine, tomatoes – with pesto. It comes from Victoria’s cool-climate high country and is 12.5% abv. Find Wine started last year and sells small parcels of wines which are organized by style, rather than region or grapevine. Theirs was a very popular table at The Wine Gang Christmas Fair. Well worth a look.

2001 Taltarni Pyrenees Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Victoria
Mature, but very much alive Australian cabernet, with a minty fresh note (no, not unripe), black-fruit sweetness, a little bit of dark chocolate and oaky, smoky, licoricey maturity. A powerful, well-structured wine with a long finish. 14% abv.

2005 Hans Lang Barrique Pinot Noir, Rheingau
Germany’s answer to red burgundy and better than many a burgundy at the price. It’s medium-bodied with supple, red-berry fruit, a fair bit of vanilla-oak and a crisp finish. 13.5% abv. If a third of Germany’s vineyards are planted with red wine grapes, why don’t we see more German red wines here? Thirsty domestic market.
£11.99, Virgin Wines

Friday, January 1, 2010

WINES of the WEEK, 1 January 2010

2007 Eidos de Padrinan Albariño, Adega Eidos, Rías Baixas
Perfumed, peachy, earthy nose; dry, pure, intense palate with a long, steely, perfumy finish. Serious, sophisticated albariño. 13% abv.
£13.95, Lea & Sandeman

2008 Zuani Vigne Bianco Collio
Aromatic with smoky ripe pear and apple notes and mouthwatering green, herbal, smoky-mineral flavours; intense and lingering. A blend of tocai friulano, pinot grigio, sauvignon and chardonnay – more than the sum of its parts. 13% abv.
£16.95, Lea & Sandeman

2007 Bricco Maiolica Barbera d’Alba
Fragrant, fresh damsons on nose and palate, with hints of dark chocolate and vanilla, gentle tannins and a dry, crunchy freshness to the finish. Versatile, food-friendly red. 13.5% abv.
£12.95, Lea & Sandeman

2007 Domaine Gilles Robin, Crozes Hermitage Cuvée Papillon
Perfumy, roast meat and cracked white pepper nose. Dry, savoury and elegant with stony, spicy length. Very good Crozes.
£14.75, Lea & Sandeman