Friday, November 26, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 26 November 2010

2010 Cono Sur Organically Grown Sauvignon Blanc, San Antonio Valley, Chile

I didn’t think I felt remotely like drinking Sauvignon Blanc in this weather, but the almost Alpine freshness of this cool-climate, coastal wine went down a treat as an aperitif in the frozen Simon household. Light, zesty and floral, with classic gooseberry-and-lemon Sauvignon flavours, a softer peach note and a streak of minerality. 13.5% abv. It’s currently on offer at £6.99 (£2 off) and at £6.74 if you buy 6 bottles, which makes it a bit of a bargain.

£6.99, Oddbins

2007 Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico

Ripe, spicy and savoury aromas; fleshy, sweet, dried-fruit flavours with a savoury underpinning and soft, structure-giving tannins. An accessible Chianti at a very fair price for the quality. Drink any time over the next four years. 13.5% abv.

£11.49, selected Tesco, or £65.46 for 6 bottles (£10.91 each),

2004 Grange Neuve de Figeac, Saint-Emilion

The second wine of Château Figeac from a vintage that was overshadowed by those that went before and after but which has produced many an attractive well-balanced wine for drinking sooner rather than later. This one is certainly perfect now – mellow and supple with sweet, spicy cedar and mulberry flavours, a hint of gentle mocha and a clean, dry finish. 13% abv.

£108 for 6 bottles,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 19 November 2010

2008 Louis Latour Grande Ardèche Chardonnay, Coteaux de l’Ardèche

The latest vintage of an old favourite – medium-bodied, well-balanced chardonnay made by burgundy negociant Louis Latour in the Ardèche (south west Rhône). Buttered-popcorn with a hint of fennel on the nose; a fresh, lightly buttery, nutty palate with crisp peach and lemon-peel fruit and a hint of aniseed. 13.5% abv.

£8.99, Majestic.

2008 Boas Vinhas Dão, Portugal

Dark and full but not hefty, with succulent berry and damson fruit shot through with vanilla and chocolate, meaty and mineral notes. Add a touch of currant-leaf freshness and a rounded, velvety feel and you’ve got a great example of the value to be had from Portuguese reds. It’s a blend of touriga nacional, alfrocheiro and tinta roriz (aka tempranillo). 13% abv.

£7.99, The Real Wine Company.

The two wines below aren’t on the UK market, but do what you can to get hold of them. Available from wine shops in Languedoc at €12.50–€15: visit or email

The address is Domaine de Gaure, 11250 Rouffiac d’Aude, and it’s off the D118 between Carcassonne and Limoux.

2008 Château de Gaure Oppidum, Limoux blanc

A barrel-fermented chardonnay with 15% chenin blanc and 5% mauzac. Aromas of toast, honey, lemon and straw, and almost a hint of sherry, yet completely fresh; full, round and honeyed on the palate with vibrant orange, lemon and apricot fruit and a mineral core. Complex, fresh and finely balanced. 13.5% abv.

Château de Gaure Pour Mon Père, vin de table rouge

A 2008 blend of 65% carignan and grenache (average age 60 years) with 35% syrah and mourvèdre (average age 25 years) from the Latour de France zone of the Côtes du Roussillon-Villages appellation. Deep in colour but not thunderous and opaque; fresh, spicy, sweet and mineral on the nose, with rich blackberry fruit, crisp black pepper and nutty notes on the palate. Concentrated, but not extracted; long, polished and complex. 13.5% abv

Friday, November 12, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 12 November 2010

2009 Cornarea Arneis, Piedmont

I haven’t had a better Arneis than this and certainly not one as aromatic. It has a perfume of white peach, fresh pear and lemon oil and a mouthwatering intensity of flavour; elegant, medium-bodied frame with alpine-fresh acidity to finish. 12.5% abv. Delicious on its own but would also go well with shellfish and other fish. The 15-hectare Cornarea estate overlooks the town of Canale and was planted in the 1970s by the Bovone family who still own it. As well as the Arneis, there’s an equally elegant Nebbiolo.

£15.95, Berry Bros & Rudd.

2007 Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Blanc

This looks expensive for Bourgogne Blanc but it’s not for the quality. Expressive, rich-textured and supple with a central core of firm acidity and flavours of walnuts, lemon and apple. 12.5% abv and sealed with a screwcap. This is Benjamin Leroux’s first vintage under his own name: the normal day job is manager-winemaker at Domaine Comte Armand.

£16.95, Berry Bros & Rudd.

2009 Villa Taurini Barbera Piemonte

Good value Piedmont Barbera with nicely chewy, juicy cherry fruit fleshed out with oak and spice and with a touch of acitity to keep it fresh. Modern style but true-to-type and well-balanced. 13.5% abv.

£6.99, Tesco

Friday, November 5, 2010

WINES of the WEEK 5 November 2010

Three wines from from Oddbins’ recent tasting, one of which is being shown – yes! – tomorrow at The Wine Gang Christmas Wine Fair at Vinopolis (TicketSoup:

2009 Angosto White, Valencia, Spain

Fresh, aromatic, unoaked white made from an idiosyncratic quartet of grape varieties – verdejo, moscatel (petits grains), chardonnay and sauvignon blanc in equal quantities. Sounds like a kitchen-sink creation, and may be, but it’s ended up being more than the sum of its parts. Spicy, fresh grape aromas with sweet tangerine fruit and appetising acidity on a dry finish. 12.5% abv. A good aperitif.

£8.49, or £6.79 in a mixed dozen, Oddbins.

2009 Monte La Sarda Garnacha Viñas Viejas, Bajo Aragón, Spain

Juicy, young, unoaked garnacha made from low-cropping old vines grown at high altitude. Raspberry perfume and lush raspberry fruit on the palate, crunchy black pepper, a pinch of mixed spice and a dry, clean finish. Medium-full but not hefty, ripe but not jammy, 14.5% abv. Really good, honest wine – grapes, terroir and nothing else.

£7.49, or £5.99 in a mixed dozen, Oddbins

2007 Kuru Kuru Central Otago Pinot Noir, New Zealand

I was going to recommend the 2008 Whirlpool Reach Pinot Noir from Tasmania, because it’s always cheering to find a good pinot at under a tenner (mixed dozen price, £8.79, or £10.99 a single bottle, Oddbins), but Oddbins is showing this very smart New Zealand number at The Wine Gang Christmas Fair tomorrow, so how could I resist? It’s from Tarras Vineyards and a single vineyard on north-facing slopes in Bendigo; it’s all wild ferment and aged for 10 months in French oak barrels (a third new); and it’s a wine of mouthwatering clarity and precision with supple, toasty oak fleshing out sweet, strawberryish fruit and delicate spice; long and elegant. 14% abv. There’s a good 2009 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc too (£10.99, or £8.79 in a mixed case).

£18.99, or £15.19 in a mixed case, Oddbins.