2006 Oorain Victoria
This weird and wonderful sweet red wine from Eric Fabre’s Château d’Anglès estate in La Clape, Languedoc (see Wines of the Week, March 26) is aromatisé à l’érable naturel – delicately sweetened with maple syrup. But it’s not fortified (unlike vin doux naturel), so the alcohol is only 13%. It’s syrah with a little grenache, tastes of dried figs, rich fruitcake and spice and is rounded and velvety. It’s medium-sweet, rather than intensely sweet, and is delicious with dark chocolate (66-72% cocoa solids). The idea came from Fabre’s cousin, chocolatier Olivier Oorain.
£19.99, Essentially Wine
2004 Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru
A great follow-up to the 2002 (Wines of the Week , December 18 2009). Honeyed macaroons, cream and sweet oranges on the nose; pure, chiselled fruit on the palate with biscuity, nutty, brioche richness and a backbone of fine acidity. Five years’ ageing on its lees and six months in bottle before release. Another star from this small and perfectly formed co-operative. 12% abv.
2008 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, Sartarelli
Light, fresh perfume – hints of lemon, peach and almond; a softly textured but briskly fresh palate with a sappy, citrus-peel flavour and a crisp finish. An ideal medium-bodied summer aperitif or something to accompany simply cooked shellfish. 12.5% abv.
£8.99 (£7.19 by the case), Oddbins