Better late than never, I hope. No, don't ask.
2008 Taste the Difference Alsace Gewurztraminer
2008 Alsace Gewuztraminer, Cave de Turckheim
I’ve been tasting lots of Alsace wines for a food matching column I’m doing on www.alsacewines.co.uk and these two shone in their price price range. Both are from the Cave de Turckheim and have textbook gewurz aromas of roses, lychees and Turkish delight and both are clean and crisp right through to the finish. The first is more aromatic and slightly lighter and sweeter; the second is a little richer and fuller with white peach and apricot flavours. Both are 13% abv and have screwcaps.
£7.64 for the Taste the Difference, Sainsbury’s
£8.25 for the second, waitrosewine.com; £8.65, Waitrose
2006 Le Grand Noir GSM, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Very perfumy with those mouthwatering stony-mineral characters you get from Minervois (quite a lot of the fruit comes from Minervois vineyards via a group of six co-ops). Ripe but fresh-tasting with raspberryish fruit and peppery spice; medium-full, supple, nicely dry and well-balanced. 13% abv. Not particularly cheap, but a thoroughly good, versatile wine with a delightful label. The men behind Le Grand Noir are Robert Joseph (wine writer and general wine-man-at-large), winemaker Hugh Ryman (ex Jaubertie etc) and Kevin Shaw (Stranger & Stranger).
2008 Château de Pennautier, Cabardès
An oak-free blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, grenache, syrah, cabernet franc and malbec from south-facing, but cool, hillside vineyards in Cabardès, the only AOC in Languedoc where you’re allowed to make these Bordeaux-meets-the-Rhône blends. The winemaker used to be at Château Mouton-Rothschild, no less. Deep purple, with warm, spicy, earthy aromas, sweet, ripe black-fruit, graphite and tapenade flavours and firm, grainy tannins. Opens up in the glass, so worth decanting into a jug an hour or so before you want to drink it. Good with herby, garlicky meat, duck or beans. 13% abv.
£6.99, or £5.99 for two or more, Majestic