Friday, June 25, 2010

WINES of the WEEK, 25 June 2010

2009 Cartagena Sauvignon Blanc Tres Vinedos, San Antonio Valley
Refined, elegant Sauvignon with a smoky, flinty character that could have come straight out of Pouilly Fumé, but comes instead from Chile’s ocean-cooled San Antonio region. Smoke, flint and fragrant elderflowery fruit with sappy green notes, a nicely textured mid-palate and crisp, briny finish. Medium-bodied and wonderfully refreshing despite a label proclaiming 14% abv.
£9.99, Marks & Spencer

2009 Groote Post Chenin Blanc, Coastal
A delightful and genuinely interesting Cape dry white which would cost a good deal more if it said sauvignon on the label, instead of chenin. It has a lovely smokiness and zesty freshness, flavours of grapefruit and grass with hints of honey, straw and spice and a softness to the texture (despite the crisp finish) which comes from leaving the wine on its lees for a couple of months. It’s made from bush vines planted in 1982 and is from a vintage which was cooler than average – and all the better for that. 13.5% abv.
£7.49, Bon Coeur Fine Wines

2006 Clos des Roses, Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
A Rhône-style blend of syrah, grenache, carignan and mourvèdre which is not particularly complex, but balanced, well-rounded and full of charm. It has the sweetness and freshness of red berries, the spicy character you’d expect from these grape varieties, a richer, chocolaty, roast-chestnut flavour and supple tannins. Produced by Domaine de l’Agly and Hervé Sabardeil. 13.5% abv.
£8.99, Laithwaites

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wines of the WEEK 18 June 2010

Four for the price of three this week, because one isn’t available in the UK, but it it’s a lovely wine and you can buy it online direct from the winery.

2009 Château Miraval Pink Floyd Rôsé, Côtes de Provence
Benchmark Provence rosé – pale pink with a perfumy, powdery nose, silky textured strawberry and cassis fruit, a touch of spice and a long, refined finish. It’s made largely from old cinsault vines, which give the perfume and the silkiness, with 20% grenache to add a bit of extra red fruit and spice. And in case you hadn’t guessed or are too young to know, it’s made on the Miraval estate where, in 1977, Pink Floyd recorded The Wall. 13.5% abv. Serve with sunshine.
£11.39, Oxford Wine Co, Fortnum & Mason, Hennings.

2007 Duas Quintas, Douro
The Douro makes some superb red wines, but not many reasonably priced ones. This is one of the latter. It has a deep, ripe, smoky, mineral and cassis nose and full fruit, sweet oak, velvety tannins on the palate, and a crucial mineral freshness on the finish. It’s for drinking now and over the next three or four years. 14% abv.
£8.99–£9.75, Stainton Wines, Philglas & Swiggot, Four Walls Wine Co

2006 Tenuta La Novella Chianti Classico
This is from a 12-hectare organic vineyard on a large olive oil and wine estate in San Polo in Chianti (north east of the Classico area) that has been painstakingly restored and restructured since 1996 by entrepreneur Joannis Schneider. Stéphane Derenecourt and team are consultants. The wine is very impressive: deep, and bright in colour; beautifully aromatic, with spice, tobacco, sandalwood and smoke; concentrated black-fruit and spice flavours on the palate – a feeling of richness, but with real elegance, supple tannins and a refreshing note of acidity. It’s expensive – it’s not the riserva, after all – but it is a textbook and very polished Chianti Classico. 13.5% abv.

2009 La Croisade Réserve Merlot, Vin de Pays d’Oc
No, inexpensive merlot doesn’t set my pulse racing either, but this is much better than most at the price. It smells juicy, plummy and even slightly jammy, then on the palate it’s soft, fresh, plummy and smooth, but with a malbec-like spiciness and a hint of fresh celery that gives it interest. 13.5% abv.
£5.99, or £5.49 if you buy two or more, Majestic

Friday, June 11, 2010

WiNES of the WEEK 11 June 2010

2008 Patricius Dry Furmint, Tokaji
Excellent at its usual price of £9.99, so terrific value at 25% off until June 16. A knockout spicy nose – ‘almost chilli with apricot’, according to my notes – and a vivid, tangy palate with apricot, peach and pear and a touch of white pepper. Lovely acidity, lovely balance. You may find 2007 on the shelf: judging by the 2008, I’d have no hesitation in trying it. 13% abv.
£7.49 until June 16, Waitrose

2008 Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko
Another mouthwatering summer wine on offer at 25% off – so £7.49 until June 16. Full-bodied but fresh and sappy, with honeyed lemon-peel and spice flavours and a long, lemony, mineral finish. It comes from windswept old vines grown in the volcanic soils of Santorini, and assyrtiko is the main grape variety with a little aidani and athiri thrown in. Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri – they could be characters in an opera. 13.5% abv
£7.49 until June 16, Waitrose

2009 Longue-Dog Grenache Shiraz, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Sorry, if these puns make you groan, but you've got to admit it's easier to pronounce than Hatzidakis Assyrtiko. More to the point, it's a really good buy – a great barbecue wine with a fun label. It’s rounded and supple and packed with juicy cherry fruit and peppery spice. There’s a touch of sweetness on the finish, which perhaps doesn’t add anything (er, except sweetness) but it doesn’t really get in the way either. Drink this year. 14% abv.
£4.99, Sainsbury’s

Friday, June 4, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 4 June 2010

2009 Blind River Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Latest vintage from this young but impressive property and team in the Awatere Valley subregion of Marlborough. Intensely fresh and aromatic, with grass, lime and passionfruit and a subtle mineral note; well-balanced, very stylish. 13% abv. There’s only a limited parcel of stock, so you’ll need to get cracking if you want some, but there’s not the same hurry to drink it: it’ll still be delicious next summer.
£12.99, or £10.39 by the case, Oddbins

The 2009 vintage will go down in history as one of the greats for Beaujolais. Here are my first two recommendations, sourced by Jasper Morris who lives in Burgundy and was quick off the mark because he was already tracking down new growers and domaines in what he believes is a region in renaissance.

2009 Alain Chatoux, Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes
Sappy-fresh and fabulously fragrant, with juicy, sweet, strawberry and plum fruit, a supple, satiny texture over a fine-boned frame, and a fresh, stony finish. It comes from 50-100 year old vines growing on steep, granitic slopes at about 700m. Jasper Morris reckons the wine will stay much as it is for 10 years. 12.5% abv.
£9.95, or £8.95 by the case, Berry Bros & Rudd

2009 Jean-Paul Dubost, Moulin-à-Vent En Brenay
A heady, rich but fresh perfume, with lush, vibrant, black-fruit and blueberry flavours and a backbone of fine tannins and acidity – all in balance and beautifully sustained to a long finish. Irresistible now, but it will certainly keep a decade more and become more burgundian as it does so. 12.5% abv.
£15.95, or £14.35 by the case, Berry Bros & Rudd