Friday, February 18, 2011

WINES of the WEEK, 18 February 2011

Three wines from Jeroboams tasting in London last month. It was a very good line-up, although a couple of reds were showing a touch more brett than I like.

2008 Stratagème Argile, Coteaux du Languedoc, France

A dry white made from traditional Languedoc varieties (mainly grenache blanc and bourboulenc) by Thierry Rodriguez. Rich, dry and fresh on the nose, with succulent citrus fruit, steely mineral flavours and good acidity on the palate. 12.5% abv. There’s a good red Saint-Chinian too, Stratagème Schistes, but I particularly like this white and the Saint-Chinian below.

£11.95, or £10.76 by the case, Jeroboams

2008 Col d’Arribat Saint-Chinian Roquebrun

A warm, spicy, garrigue-scented nose and a mouthful of fresh, sweet, sun-warmed berries and earthy spice, all lightly upholstered with ripe tannins. 13.5% abv.

£9.75, or £8.78 by the case, Jeroboams

2007 Il Casalone Poggio Colombi, Toscana Maremma, Italy

A convincing Italian take on Bordeaux grape varieties – 90% cabernet sauvignon and 10% petit verdot – from coastal Tuscany. Sweet herbs and chocolate-coated cherries on the nose; a ripe, full palate with spicy sweetness, savoury richness and a gentle chewiness. A very fair price for an estate-produced Tuscan red of this quality. 14% abv.

£10.95, or £9.86 by the case, Jeroboams.

Friday, February 11, 2011

WINES of the WEEK, 11 February 2011

2010 Seven Springs Sauvignon Blanc, Overberg, South Africa

A first, small vintage – only 4400 bottles – from vines planted in 2007 by Tim Pearson, whose day job is MD of his Warwickshire (UK) cleaning company. The vineyard – 12 hectares but not all planted yet – is at the foot of Shaws Mountain, 20km from Hermanus in Walker Bay, and the debut 2010 sauvignon is zesty and vivacious, with greengage and apricot fruit, a lightly textured mid-palate and a dry, bright finish with just a hint of minerality. Not complex, but a really enjoyable, reviving glass of wine and, with age, the vines should produce tighter, more concentrated, perhaps more mineral-tasting wines. 13.5% abv. A chardonnay, syrah and pinot noir are all in the pipeline.


2006 Château Civrac, Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux

It wasn’t intentional but there’s a bit of an ex-pat theme this week: Civrac belongs to Cornishman Mark Hellyar. The 2006 is nicely meaty and supple – richer and more succulent than the 2007 – and has perfumy, sweet fruit, subtly toasty oak and a convincing, earthy-mineral undertow. It’s half merlot and 25% each malbec and cabernet sauvignon. Olivier Dauga is the consultant. All in all, a very good, modern but authentic Bordeaux. 13% abv.

£15,, and other stockists as listed on the website

2008 Taste the Difference Douro, Portugal

There’s nothing new about this. It’s here as a reminder that it’s a useful, good-value red – a stalwart of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range. Smoky and meaty with warm, ripe black fruit on the the nose; pepper, blackberries and woodsmoke on the palate; medium-full with softly grainy tannins and a satisyingly dry finish. 13.5% abv.

£7.99, Sainsbury’s

Friday, February 4, 2011

WINES of the WEEK, 4 February 2011

2009 Moncaro Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, Marche, Italy

Nutty-straw nose and a fresh, well-rounded palate with crisp, herbal flavours and broader, nuttier notes; medium-bodied and dry, but not bone-dry, with an appetisingly crisp finish. A really useful, good value white that works with or without food. 12.8% abv.

£4.99, Waitrose

2008 Heinrich Hartl Rotgipfler, Thermenregion, Austria

You read that right: rotgipfler. It’s a white grape variety – begat by roter veltliner and traminer, but don’t worry about it. The wine is mouth-filling, slightly oily in texture (nicely so) and off-dry, with a honeyed, citrus and sweet-earth perfume and slightly spicy, candied citrus and peach flavours. Drink it on its own or with something a bit spicy. 13% abv.

£15.99, WaitroseWineDirect

2008 Heinrich Hartl St-Laurent Classic, Thermenregion, Austria

Herr Hartl’s st-laurent (yes, red grape variety) is a delicious Austrian alternative to red burgundy and New Zealand pinot noir. It has a fragrance and flavour of fresh, sweet cherries and rose petals with a hint of spice wrapped in a satin-smooth texture. Pure and elegant. 12.5% abv.

£15.99, WaitroseWineDirect