Matošević Alba Barrique, Istria, Croatia
The only thing not to like about this wine is writing out the name with the accents on the producer’s surname – and perhaps the price, but you’re paying for quality and rarity. It’s a barrel-aged white made by Ivica Matošević from malavasija istarska, the malvasia indigenous to Istria, and it’s grown on eight hectares near Grimalda (a village said to have Istria’s most beautiful view). Medium-full, deliciously mineral, smoky and fresh, with spice, honey, citrus and green olive flavours and an olive-oil texture. 13.5% abv. Imported by D’Issa, which has a stall in Borough market for its Croatian food specialities and should have its website up and running soon.
£22.50, Cartwright Brothers in Borough Market
2007 Bodegas Abanico Manium Crianza, Bierzo, Spain
This is from low yielding, old Mencia vines, grown and hand-tended on steep, terraced slopes. It’s fragrant and juicy, medium-bodied and nicely chewy, with sweet strawberry and red-cherry fruit gently underscored by the nutty, spicy flavours of classy French oak. It’s 14.68%, but wears it lightly.£13.20, Bancroft Wines