Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
2009 Louis Jadot Marsannay (Blanc), Burgundy, France
Fresh, creamy nose with malty, light buttered Brazil-nut oak. Full, but quite tight and mineral on the palate with a creamy texture and zesty acidity. Fermented and aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. Eminently drinkable now, but will benefit from another year. 13% abv.
£17.99, or £15.99 when you buy 2 or more, Majestic
2010 Howard’s Folly Alvarinho, Vinho Verde, Portugal
From the subregion of Monção e Melgaço where Vinho Verde is allowed to be 100% alvarinho. This is David Baverstocks first white under the Howard’s Folly label, and very good it is. Ripe, sweet citrus and olive oil aromas. Intense, vibrant palate, with dried apricot and really zesty lemon fruit and a mouthwatering, slightly salty, sea-breeze finish. Good acidity and substance. Will take a bit of age. 13% abv.
£12.95, Hercules Wine Warehouse (herculeswines.co.uk)
2009 Domaine des Crès Ricards, Alexaume, IGP Mont Baudile, Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc, France
I’ve recommended this new red before (if not here, then in House & Garden or Gourmet), but I tasted it for a second time recently and was impressed again. Very spicy on the nose with some crisp black pepper, perfumed berries and an attractive hint of Carignan leather. Full, smooth, clean palate; spicy, nutty, slightly chocolaty and honeyed, with deep, blackcuranty fruit. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Carignan grown in soils with large Chateauneuf-type pebbles and it’s a Jean-Claude Mas wine. 13.5% abv.
2007 Viña Mayu Syrah Reserva, Elqui Valley, Chile
I must have recommended this Chilean syrah in the past too but, again, I re-tasted it recently and it deserves another mention. Sweet, ripe and blackberryish on the nose with a welcome herbal freshness and the vanilla and chocolate of oak. Weighty but fresh on the palate, with a savoury combination of pepper, smoke, tar and liquorice in harmony with sweet, fresh, red fruit and evident but not overpowering oak (60% of the wine was aged in new and used French barrels for five to eight months). 14% abv.£9.15, Asda
Friday, October 28, 2011
Continuing from where I left off, below are some of the reds at under £10 from the annual tasting of The Bunch, a group of six independent merchants whose slogan is ‘for wines less ordinary’ – a fair claim. There’s also another Symington single quinta port – one that wasn't at the London tasting, which is why I forgot to include it last week. First, though, something else I failed to mention last week: the Spanish white wine taste-off in London between two estates – the all-Albariño wines of Pazo de Señoráns (Rías Baixas) and the wines of Can Ràfols dels Caus in Penedès. Each showed 11 vintages going back to 1996. I gave my equal highest scores to three wines: 1996 and 1999 Pazo de Señoráns Seleccion Añada – thrillingly fresh on the nose, deep and complex on the palate; and the 1999 Can Ràfols dels Caus, a wonderfully, rich, intense and steely 100% chenin blanc from a single vineyard. So I gave my highest scores to the two oldest wines and one that was only a little younger. Who says Spanish white wines don’t age?
1999 Quinta da Senhora de Ribeira
Lovely single quinta port that can be drunk any time over the next 15–20 years. Fragrant, intense and densely flavoured with black fig, cassis, violets, spices, a touch of eucalyptus and ripe, rounded tannins. When a Dow’s vintage is declared, this quinta’s wine goes into it.
£65, The Wine Society.
2009 Gonnet, Ventoux, Rhône, France
Perfumed, ripe and spicy with juicy, raspberryish fruit. A sort of baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the family that owns Font de Michel. 14% abv.
2010 Domaine des Filles de Septembre Tradition, Côtes de Thongue (IGP), Languedoc, France
Youthful, juicy, spicy, earthy Mediterranean red with a herby garrigue accent and some carignan grip and dryness. 14% abv.
2009 Domaine Camp Galhan, Les Pérrassières, Duché d’Uzès, (IGP) Languedoc, France
Full-bodied, full-flavoured, warm, spicy, grenache-based red with succulent fruit and balancing dry tannins. 14% abv.
2010 Bodegas Monteabellon, Avaniel, Ribera del Duero, Spain
Richly fruity, unoaked tinto fino (aka tempranillo) with flavours of chocolate-coated, wine-soaked cherries, a minerally, peppery undertow and some useful ripe tannin in the background. 13.5% abv.
£9.75, Berry Bros
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wines of the Week resumes its normal, erratic service today, at the end of a week when, maddeningly, I had to miss the tasting of 2009 Grands Crus Bordeaux in London, but made up for it by attending the Symington family’s tasting of single quinta vintage ports from seven of their 26 quintas. It was a tasting that demonstrated the longevity and quality of these single quintas and their very different and distinct characters.
We started with all seven 2006s: there wasn’t a weak link, but the star was the dazzling Quinta do Vesuvio which, without question, has 50+ years ahead of it, if anyone keeps it that long, and we went back to an absolutely glorious 1950 Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos. Three bottles of the 1950 were opened for this London tasting which means the Symingtons now have only three bottles left. They would have had four, but someone dropped one a couple of weeks ago when it had been brought up from the cellar for the joint MDs (Team Sym?) to taste for the first time… Glad it wasn’t me. The other five quintas are Dow’s do Bomfim, Warre’s da Cavadinha, Graham’s do Tua, Dow’s Senhora da Ribeira and Cockburn’s dos Canais.
Berry Bros & Rudd has the 2006 Quinta do Vesuvio at £82.
Back to earth. Below are brief notes on some of the whites from The Bunch’s annual tasting last month. I had no voice and the mother of all colds, but worked my way through a respectable number of wines, including the two dozen on the Under-£10 table. Overall the latter was an impressive group – and varied, too, despite the fact that more than half were French, all 11 of the whites were European and all but two of the 13 reds were European. I’ll cover some of the reds in the next installment.
The Bunch is a group of independent wine merchants, the membership of which has changed a bit over the years, but currently the six are: Adnams, Berry Bros & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Tanners and Yapp Brothers. Long may they survive and, even better, flourish.
2010 Petite Gasconne Blanc, Côtes de Gascogne (IGP), France
Vivacious, juicy, light white with zesty peach and apple fruit. Made (and wisely screwcapped) by the excellent Producteurs Plaimont co-operative group. 11.5% abv.
£6.49, Corney & Barrow
2009 .COM Branco, Estremoz, Portugal
Sappy Portuguese white with herby lime flavours, good weight in the mouth and a fresh finish. It’s made from indigenous varieties with a little viognier by Tiago Cabaçao and it really is called dot com. 13.5% abv.
2009 Château Grinou, La Combe de Grinou, Bergerac Sec, France
Delightful semillon/sauvignon blanc blend with aromas of elderflower and fresh minted peas. Gives similarly priced white Bordeaux a run for its money. 12% abv
£8.29, Corney & Barrow
2010 Domaine Félines Jourdan, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France
Apples, herbs, and a zesty, salty, mineral freshness. Textbook Picpoul from this consistently good estate. 13.5%.
£8.95, Berry Bros & Rudd; and even more tempting £7.75 from The Wine Society
2010 Terras d’Alter, Terra d’Alter Branco Reserva, Alentejo, Portugal
Another great value Portuguese white. Vibrant, fresh pear, apple and herb aromas and flavours and pithy acidity. Made by Australian Peter Bright. 13.5% abv.
£9.95, Lea & Sandeman
Friday, September 23, 2011
Normal service will resume for Wines of the Week shortly, but in the meantime here’s something to fix in you diaries: The Wine Gang Christmas Wine Fairs In London and Edinburgh – the tasting events of the season. We’ve got a brilliant line-up of wines and exhibitors at each, together with sit-down Masterclasses with great speakers and great wines and the inimitable Wine Walks led by the five of us – so that’s Tom, Anthony, Jane, David and me let loose in the hall at pre-ordained times with a gaggle of followers visiting stands to taste favourite wines – everything from the great classics to the fascinatingly quirky. As for the Masterclasses, they’re a bargain, which is why Bollinger was an instant sell out. Sorry about that, but it still leaves Michel Chapoutier, Yalumba icons and Bodegas O Fournier in London, Chablis (including grand cru), the gems of Chile, magnificent Malbecs and hidden Portugal in Edinburgh. Once you’ve bought a ticket for the relevant fair, you can book any or all of them. The Wine Walks are free (because we love doing them): all you need to do is sign up on the lists on the day.
Saturday 29 October 2011, 12 noon to 6pm, Vinopolis, London SE1.
Saturday 12 November 2011, 12 noon to 6pm, The Merchants’ Hall, Edinburgh.
Earlybird tickets, £15; full-price tickets £20.
London Masterclasses, £15. Edinburgh Masterclasses, £10.
Once you have a ticket, you can come and go during the day, so, if you want to nip out to Borough Market, get lunch or whatever, you can.
There will be more than 600 wines open for tasting in London – and last year the average price per bottle across the 600-plus was not far short of £14. That’s how seriously our exhibitors take visitors to The Wine Gang events. In Edinburgh there’ll be 300 wines priced from £6 to £80. As I say, that’s how seriously exhibitors take you – and us.
You can see the complete list of exhibitors here but, to give you a taster, exhibitors at both include The Wine Society, Majestic, Waitrose and M&S, generic bodies such as Wines of New Zealand and Wines of Argentina and producers such as Blason de Bourgogne, Yalumba and Concha Y Toro. In London, we also have the likes of Lea & Sandeman, Armit, Liberty Wine and Corney & Barrow. In Edinburgh we’re welcoming Valvona & Crolla, Great Grog, Lockett Brothers and House of Menzies among others.
You don't have to be a member of The Wine Gang to come to our Wine Fairs, but it helps! Join here
Thursday, September 1, 2011
If anyone thinks that Portuguese white wines start and finish with Vinho Verde, they’ve got a treat in store. Portugal is terribly underrated as a white wine producer. These two are from The Wine Society, but they’re not the only good ones they have – nor the only good Portuguese whites out there. The Sauvignon is a new one from the south west and gives the Loire a run for its money. All we need now is some good weather.
2010 Herdade do Esporão, Verdelho, Alentejo, Portugal
Very floral and perfumy but also smoky; ripe and fairly full-bodied, with an exotic smokiness, lime-cordial intensity and satisfying, refreshing acidity. Delicious. Made down in the south from estate-grown, unoaked-verdelho by Sandra Alves, under the eye of David Baverstock. 13.5% abv.
£8.50, The Wine Society
2010 Dão Sul, Cabriz, Dão, Portugal
Sweet citrus, spice and herbs on the nose and mouthwatering, stony-mineral, smoky, herbal flavours with tangy acidity. Medium-bodied. Very restorative. A blend of malvasia fina, encruzado, cerceal branco and bical (just as you thought). 12.5% abv.
£6.95, The Wine Society
2010 Sensas Sauvignon Blanc, Côtes de Gascogne, France
Really aromatic sauvignon from the Gers – all gooseberry, grassy, herbal aromas with vivid gooseberry fruit on the palate, a nicely chalky texture and a zesty finish. It’s an Alain Grignon wine made by Xavier Roger, a native of the Loire, a region where they know a thing or two about sauvignon. 12.5% abv.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
I didn’t get round to any recommendations last week. I’d like to say I was on holiday, but I was submerged by work. Not just writing and tasting but cooking, including a full-blown Christmas dinner – stuffed roast goose, then Christmas puddings (two of them) – which we ate on one of the hottest days of the year. Still, they do it in Australia. If you’re wondering where you get a goose in the middle of summer, I called Harrods. Ultimately it came from Telmara Farm in Essex and at 6.9kg, it was a whopper. Very good it was too.
2010 Bellingham The Bernard Series Grenache Blanc With Viognier, Paarl, South Africa
A food-friendly 60:40 blend which manages to be fresh, savoury and quite rich all at the same time. The grenache blanc was aged on its lees in oak for five months to give depth and texture, the viognier gives some tropical fruit, but not too much, and there’s a refreshing, zesty, bitter-lemon finish. It’s ready now but will gain over the next year. 14% abv. I say food-friendly because it went well with a risotto made with a rich goose stock and fresh fennel and stood its ground with smoked venison bresaola and salamis – not an ethereal match with the smoky charcuterie, but more than acceptable.
£10.99, Tesco (selected stores)
2010 Citari Lugana Terre Bianche, Veneto, Italy
A dazzlingly fresh example of Lake Garda’s local white. Lemon zest and ripe mango with a salty, herbal freshness and just enough delicate creaminess to give some texture while retaining the mouthwatering zing. Summer in a glass. 12.5% abv.
£9.95, The Vintner, www.thevintner.com
2009 Domaine des Maisons Neuves Côtes de Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
A particularly luscious reminder of how good the gamay grape can be and how good the 2009 vintage was, and is. Exuberant, ripe, fresh fruit – raspberry, blackberry, plum – with touches of vanilla and other spice. Succulent and silky, but with backbone beneath all the flesh. At 14.5% abv it won’t be everybody’s idea of how Beaujolais should be, but as an expression of the gamay grape it’s delicious.
£11.50, The Vintner
Saturday, July 23, 2011
2008 F E Trimbach Gewurztraminer, Alsace, France
Benchmark Alsace gewurz – roses, spice, lychee and Turkish delight aromas and flavours. Exotic, yes, but elegant and precise with lovely definition and acidity. Briliant with spicy food, but because it’s so fresh and fine it makes a perfect aperitif, too. 14% abv.
2010 Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa
Smoky, herbal and savoury with a textured mid-palate and chiselled freshness and minerality on the finish. A very good, food-friendly Sauvignon. 13.5% abv
£12.99, but £9.99 when you buy 2 or more, Majestic
2009 Notre Dame de Cousignac, Côtes du Vivarais, Rhône, France
I was going to recommend the even cheaper red Lubéron as well, but The Wine Society has run out of the 2009 – so just the Vivarais: a deep, juicy, warm and full-bodied blend of grenache (62%) and syrah (32%) with a smidgen of counoise. There’s no oak, so you get the unadulterated sweet, ripe blackberry fruit and earthy spice of vines with an average age of 50 years, growing in clay and limestone and newly converted to organic viticulture. 15% abv. Very good value.
£7.25, The Wine Society.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Four great value wines from Berry Bros & Rudd’s summer by-the-case sale which is on until the end of August, although with no guarantee, of course, that stocks will last that long.
2008 Olivier Merlin Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse Chardonnay, Burgundy, France
Delicate, lemon wheatmeal and honeyed nose. Buttery, rounded palate wth lemony fruit, a touch of honey and nutty, wheaty flavours. Nicely developed, but still impeccably fresh. 13% abv.
£119.40 per case (£9.95 per bottle, down from £13.50), www.bbr.com
2001 Nyetimber 1er Cuvée Blanc de Blancs, Sussex, England
Coming up for a decade old and in its prime – the best English sparkling wine I’ve tasted. At the sale price, it knocks spots off most champagne at the same price. Refined and complex with biscuity, lightly buttery mature flavours, polished citrus fruit and perfectly balanced acidity. Textbook champagne-method chardonnay. 12% abv.
£299.40 per case (£24.95 per bottle, down from £32.95), bbr.com
2005 JL Chave Séléction Hermitage Farconnet, Rhône, France
Perfumy and layered, with berries, spice, sandalwood, incense and black pepper on the nose and a rich, but still young and fresh palate with spicy, red berry fruit, ripe tannins and well-integrated, soft, chocolaty oak. Long finish. Can be drunk with pleasure already, but undoubtedly has years ahead of it. 13.5% abv.
£330 per case (£27.50 per bottle, down from £37.95), bbr.com
2007 Château Marsau, Bordeaux Côtes de Francs, France
Deep ruby; inviting nose – spicy and fresh with sweet fruit and an attractive whiff of new oak. Supple palate with fleshy fruit, cedar and oak flavours. Stylish modern Bordeaux, but not for new-oak phobes. 13% abv
£119.40 per case (£9.95 per bottle, down from £15.95), bbr.com
Friday, July 8, 2011
2010 Barone Ricasoli Albia Rosé, IGT Toscana, Italy
Medium-bodied, fresh, well-rounded Tuscan rosé made from sangiovese and merlot. Salmon-pink with wild strawberry and redcurrant fruit flavours, the merest hint of white pepper and a zesty, fresh finish. Bags of charm. 12.5% abv.
£66.03 for six bottles, vintagemarque.com
2010 Vionta Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain
Majestic hasn’t got a lot of this, so it’s not on the website, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a really good Albariño (from the Freixenet stable). Fragrant and racy, peaches-and-cream nose with a touch of orange oil; sweet, zesty tangerine on the palate, a creamy texture and a mineral, sea-spray finish. 13% abv.
2009 Viñalba Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina
I know it’s a cliché, but this rich and powerful wine manages to have something about it that’s not far off elegance. There’s dense, ripe-berry fruit and a savoury, meaty quality, but there’s also convincing freshness. And it doesn’t have the hot finish that you might expect from 15% abv. Well worth buying while it’s still on offer.
£10.99, but £8.99 if you buy 2 or more bottles, Majestic
Sunday, July 3, 2011
A bit late this week, but last weekend I was in Paris tasting 6 decades of Penfold’s Grange and other Special Bin wines, starting with Penfolds Grange 1953 (stupendous) and the even rarer Grange Cabernet 1953 (outclassed by the shiraz-based Grange on this occasion, but it was the other way round when I last tasted both in 2003). Other highlights were the 1962 Bin 60A (dubbed ‘Australia’s greatest red’), 1990 Grange, 1996 Grange, ‘96 Block 42 Cabernet… to be continued in a full report in Decanter magazine. I’ll keep you posted when I know which issue. Oh, and the view was to die for – 7 floors up in the Australian ambassador’s residence looking straight out to the Eiffel Tower and over the Paris rooftops. Tony Bilson, from Sydney, cooked. Even without the wine, it was the best meal I’ve had this year (and one of the largest…). As I’ve said before, it’s a hard life.
Early Sunday morning I was heading back to London for a quick bag swap before heading to Gatwick to meet the rest of The Wine Gang for a flight to Croatia. We spent four days there doing benchmark tastings in Zagreb and visiting producers and wine regions. We tasted some really good wines and encountered some fascinating grape varieties – malvazia istriana, debit, graševina and gegić among the whites, and teran and plavac mali among the reds. If I find any are on sale, I’ll be recommending them in the coming weeks. If not, expect to start seeing more Croatian wines in the UK by the end of this year. The fruits of our tasting will be shown at the Croatian tasting in London in September. More details later.
On Friday, I was doing a food shoot all day for House & Garden Gourmet, our new food and wine magazine, coming out with the December issue of H&G. Yes, we work a long way ahead. And on Saturday… whatever happened to Saturday?
Coates & Seely Britagne Rosé Brut NV, England
Delightful, elegant English sparkling rose – the first release from a new producer, but an established vineyard, in the chalk downlands of Hampshire. It’s a pretty pale salmon, has lovely, fragrant raspberry fruit with a whisper of brioche in the background and zingy acidity, but not the tartness that sticks out like a sore thumb in some English sparkling wines. It’s a 65:35 blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier, made by the champagne method, or Méthode Britannique, as Coates and Seely refer to it. Britagne (pronounced brit-an-ye/Britannia) is the term they’ve coined for English champagne-style wines and they’re hoping other producers will adopt it. ‘They’ are Christian Seely, MD of Axa Millésimes, the wine-estate portfolio of Axa, the insurance giant, and Nicholas Coates, ex-banker, Hampshire resident and friend of Seely’s since their business school days in Fontainebleau.
Friday, June 24, 2011
There’s 25% off all Waitrose wines until midnight next Wednesday (28 June) in stores and online. Here are a couple of delicious, summery Loires – a white and a red – and a very stylish Australian Chardonnay.
2010 Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Les Dix Arpents Chenin Blanc, Montlouis, Loire, France
Benchmark dry Montlouis from the great Jacky Blot (the name doesn’t sound at all strange in French). Wonderful clarity and definition from start to finish. Scents of jasmine, white peaches, straw and nuts; tinglingly fresh, mineral palate with intense apricot and zesty, green-apple fruit. Promises to become beautifully honeyed – yet ever dry – with age. 13% abv.
£10.49 (down from £13.99), Waitrose
2009 Les Complices de Loire, Les Graviers, Chinon, Loire, France
Aptly named Les Graviers: there’s a fresh, gravelly note alongside the sweet capsicum and summery black fruit aromas. Velvety, supple and fresh – and unoaked to show off the purity of both fruit and terroir. 12.5% abv.
£8.24 (£10.99), Waitrose
2010 Prominent Hill, Single Vineyard Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Sleek, sophisticated Chardonnay from a single plot of organically cultivated vines, fermented in a combination of stainless steel and oak and matured sur lie, with some stirring, for nine months. Nutty, wheatmeal and white flower/orange blossom aromas and an elegant, nutty, wheaty palate with a creamy texture and mineral tautness and freshness. 13.5% abv.11.24 (£14.99), Waitrose
Friday, June 17, 2011
2010 Esterházy Estoras Grüner Veltliner, Burgenland, Austria
The sort of wine to pour as soon as you get in from work. Before you’ve even kicked your shoes off. Delicately perfumed and flavoured with white flowers, peach and lemon zest, medium-bodied and deliciously refreshing. 12% abv. Nevermind the Esterházy pedigree, the wine is made by Josef Pusch, one of Austria’s best, with Stéphane Derenoncourt as consultant.
2009 Altos d’Oliva Garnacha, Catalunya, Spain
Juicy, spicy, smooth, full red with ripe cherry fruit and crunchy black-pepper and clove flavours. Uncomplicated, enjoyable and well worth the money. It comes from low-yielding bush vines grown high in the hills above Tarragona – not quite within spitting distance of Priorat, but not far off. Ideal barbecue, chorizo, pasta and pizza red. 13.5% abv.
2007 Umberto Fiore Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
Not so long ago M&S was selling the previous vintage of this Barbaresco (the 2005) at £9.99. It now clears the £10 barrier, but it’s good value for a nebbiolo of this quality. Authentic cherryish, dried-rose, savoury meat aromas, spicy cherry and almond fruit, fine, velvety, dry tannins and gentle acidity. All very convincing. Drink with something like steak or lamb chump chops. 13.5% abv.£10.99, Marks & Spencer
Friday, June 10, 2011
Wines of the Week 10 June 2011
An impressive trio from Cambridgeshire-based Private Cellar.
Champagne Legras & Haas Tradition Brut NV, France
A fresh, floral, lemony champagne with a light touch of brioche and maltiness. Elegant, accessible and reasonably priced. It’s 50% chardonnay and comes from a family-owned house based in the Côtes des Blancs grand cru of Chouilly. 12.5% abv.
£24.19, Private Cellar
2010 Springfontein Estate Unfiltered Terroir Selection Chenin Blanc, Walker Bay, South Africa
A ripe and oaky nose; a rich, waxy palate with intense, sweet and sharp pineapple and lemon fruit, toasty, chocolaty oak and bright acidity. This is a young wine that is still slightly unknit, but the balance is there, the components are very good and they’re already starting to come together, to mellow and become more complex. Drink with chicken, fish and veal, including in cream sauces. 14% abv.
£12.96, Private Cellar
2004 Bordeaux by Hubert de Boüard, France
I suppose if you’re the co-owner and the winemaker of Château Angélus and consultant to others, you can get away with the slightly pretentious ‘by’ in the name, especially when the wine is this good. It’s Merlot-based and a case of clever winemaking drawing out and boosting the best of an unexceptional, though not attractive, vintage. Ripe black fruit with currant-leaf, graphite and cedar freshness, carefully upholstered with ripe tannins and the milk chocolate and vanilla flavour of oak. 13% abv. A winner with roast, slow-roast and grilled lamb.
£12.16, Private Cellar
Saturday, June 4, 2011
2010 Taste the Difference Languedoc White, France
Whites from the Languedoc are still terribly underrated, so it’s good to see Sainsbury’s putting one in its Taste the Difference range. This is grenache blanc-based with 20% each of marsanne, viognier and vermentino and the vines are 20–40 years old, so have some maturity. It’s oak-free but aged on its lees, which gives a mouthfilling suppleness and a creaminess to both texture and flavour. There’s a crunchy apple/pear freshness to the fruit and touches of spicy white pepper and minerals. All in all, a very satisfying, interesting dry white. 13.5% abv. Jean-Claude Mas of Domaines Mas is the man behind it.
2010 Bolney Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Noir, West Sussex, England
The first English red wine that I can remember really wanting to drink. Pale in colour with a delicious sweet scent of raspberries and old English roses and a supple, fresh palate with a flavour of summer-pudding and fraises des bois rounded out with just a smidgen of oak. 12.85% abv. Bolney Estate is 16 hectares and was originally called Bookers Vineyard – a name is still use – and the winemaker is Sam (Samantha) Linter. Fingers crossed for the summer of 2011.
£11.99, waitrosewine.com and 16 branches; also from www.bolneywinestate.co.uk
2009 Paolo Leo Primitivo di Manduria, Puglia, Italy
A polished primitivo with purity and sleekness but at the same time an attractive, almost gravelly, grainy texture and flavour; cherry-sweet, almondy aromas and spicy, cherry-kernel flavours with a touch of vanilla. Full-bodied, ripe and layered. 14.5% abv.