Friday, February 26, 2010

WiNES of the WEEK 26 February 2010

2009 TyDy Sauvignon, Vin de Pays du Val de Loire
Great value, zingy, aromatic Loire Sauvignon – a combination of new and old worlds. Greengage and mango on the nose; ripe goosberries, nettles and a faint suggestion of chalk and minerals on the palate. 12.5% abv. Shown alongside Vacheron’s 2009 Sancerre at the SITT tasting in London this week, the Vacheron (at two-and-a half times the price) was exciting, but this didn’t look remotely shabby.
£6.95, Stevens Garnier Wine Merchants, 01865 263303

2008 Domaine Verpoix, Clos de la Chapelle des Bois, Fleurie
Just what you hope Fleurie will be: fragrant with cherries and roses, juicy, sweet strawberry fruit on the palate, a little bit of substance and texture, but not too much, the lightest of tannins and an effortlessly fresh finish. 13% abv. If you want something a little bit more structured, try the 2007 Regis Champier Brouilly (£11.99) or the Laurent Gaulthier Morgon Grands Cras (£12.99).
£12.99, Oddbins

2009 Tahbilk Viognier, Nagambie Lakes, Victoria
This is fresh, ripe and lemony on the nose with just a suggestion of flowers and exotic fruit, but it isn’t strikingly viognier (which is perhaps why I like it). The palate is full, with a lightly creamy, leesy texture, ripe citrussy fruit and a really fresh, zesty finish. 14% abv.
£9.95, Jeroboams

Thursday, February 18, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 19 February 2010

Having bought Lay & Wheeler last year (until then, family-owned and run), Majestic showed some of the L&W wines at a press tasting for the first time last week. There were a couple of rather stinky (bretty) wines, but overall it was a good line-up. I was particularly struck by these three reds.

2006 Domaine Pierre Usseglio Côtes du Rhône
Excellent Côtes du Rhône from a top Châteauneuf producer. Fragrant, nutty, raspberry nose; succulent fruit on the palate with savoury, stony, peppery flavours; full and dry with polished tannins. 13% abv. This is a great way to get a flavour of the domaine’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape at a fraction of the price, the 2006 of which would set you back upwards of £26 a single bottle.
£10, Lay & Wheeler.

2007 Gianni Voerzio Dolcetto, Piedmont
If only more dolcetto was like this – appetisingly fresh and fruity with a touch of licorice on the nose, and mouthfilling, juicy, sweet cherry fruit and softly chewy tannins. Just what the textbooks promise, but so few dolcetto deliver. 13% abv.
£14.25, Lay & Wheeler.

2004 Château Paloumey, Haut-Médoc
This is lovely, fragrant, fresh, cedar-scented Médoc with gently sweet fruit and supple, well-integrated oak. Well-balanced and perfect for drinking now and over the next three years. Martine Cazeneuve is the very hands-on (and charming) owner here. 13% abv.
£11.75, Lay & Wheeler.

Friday, February 12, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 12 February 2010

2008 The Society’s Exhibition Tasmanian Chardonnay
I meant to recommend this in the autumn, but it slipped off the radar and it’s now £1 more expensive. But who cares? It’s well worth the higher price and, as my tasting note ended with the comment ‘probably even better in 2010 and 2011’, now is the time. It’s rich and creamy in taste and texture, but off-set by intense lemon-peel acidity, together with a lovely nutty flavour and real depth and complexity. It’s made by the Freycinet winery and beats many a Côte d’Or burgundy for the money. 13.5% abv.
£12.95, The Wine Society

2008 Seresin Leah Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Very pure, very impressive and still young. This is fragrant with roses and summer berries and has a palate of sweet red fruits, savoury mineral flavours, polished oak, a fine acid structure, length and intensity. The hand on the label signifies hand-grown, hand-picked and hand-made (which includes wild yeast fermentation and 11 months maturation in French oak barrels). Drink over the next four years. Gives red burgundy a run for its money. 14% abv.
£18.99, Armit (sold by the 6-bottle case).

2007 Agricola Punica, Montessu, IGT Isola dei Nuraghi
Deep-coloured, full-bodied Sardinian red with a lush aroma of ripe raspberries and a generous, fleshy palate with spicy, liquoricy, black-fruit flavours, hints of fresh herbs and the grip of gently chewy tannins and acidity. It’s 60% carignano with 10% each of syrah, the two cabernets and merlot and it was aged in French barriques. Agricola Punica is a new agency for Armit; both sides must be feeling pretty chuffed. 14.5% abv.
£15.90, Armit (sold by the 6-bottle case).

Friday, February 5, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 5 February 2010

2007 Saint-Romain
Nutty, creamy, wheatmeal flavours with subtle, yet bright, fruit, a leafy freshness and creamy texture. Beautifully balanced, persuasive white burgundy. In fact, it’s always worth looking at any Saint-Romain because it can be such good value. I haven’t put the producer in the wine name above, because Saint-Romain and the vintage is all you see until you peer closely at the label, but it was made for M&S by Fabrice Lesne at Les Senteurs, with input from Nicolas Potel. 13% abv.
£10.99, Marks & Spencer

2007 Pedro Basta, Alentejano
Dark, dense, full-bodied, with ripe, spicy, red-berry and blackcurrant fruit and touches of licorice, chocolate and vanilla; fine chewy tannins. A red with southern Portuguese flavours, but Douro polish, from an estate – Quinta do Centro – belonging to UK wine writer Richard Mayson. You can drink it now, but it should be good for another four years. 13.5% abv.
£12.50, The Wine Society. For other stockists, go to the ‘Quinta do Centro and Sonho Lusitano’ page of

2006 Castello di Rubbia Terrano, Venezia Giulia
A youthful purple colour with a fresh, minerally smell of wet-earth, damsons and licorice; fairly full-bodied with juicy damson and licorice flavours and acidity but almost no tannin. The terrano grape may or may not be refosco (depends who you read) but, either way, the wine is from Carso in Gorizia, close to the Slovenian border, and it coped manfully with bacon-wrapped roast pheasant and slow-cooked red cabbage with apple and juniper. Many a red would have been floored by the sweetness and sharpness of the cabbage. It would also go well with charcuterie, hams, sausages etc. 13% abv. Colasanti is a small, relatively new Italian specialist with some interesting wines.
£16.80, Colasanti