Thursday, March 31, 2011

WINES of the WEEK, 1 April 2011

2007 Taste the Difference Priorat, Spain

I don’t really know how they can sell low-yielding old-vine red Priorat at such a low price, but they are and it’s worth recommending. It’s a 60:40 blend of mazuela and grenache – dark and full, but not massive, with sweet plum and cherry fruit, Priorat’s savoury, mineral signature, well-handled oak and a solid base of supple tannins. Should last a few years. It’s made for Sainsbury’s by the giant, Montsant-based Cellers Unió co-operative. 14.5% abv.

On offer at £7.49 until April 26, then back to £9.99, Sainsbury’s.

2009 Franschhoek Vineyards Semillon, Franschhoek, South Africa

Another case of I-don’t-know-how-at-this-price, especially as this white, from vines around 80 years old, is fermented and aged in barrel. It’s fresh, rounded and textured, with nutty, sweet-lemon and apricot fruit, pithy, grapefruity acidity and a touch of spice. A bargain – and not too alcoholic either: 13.5% abv. One of many very good and interesting new wines at The Wine Society.

£6.95, The Wine Society

31 March 2011

This is going up a day early because today is the last day you can buy it at the considerably discounted price. Tomorrow it goes up on Armit's website at the higher price. Yes, it’s April 1st tomorrow. No, it’s not an April Fool.

2001 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva Especial, Spain

Only two previous vintages of this reserva have had Especial appended, the 1964 and the 1973, so it’s pretty clear how highly La Rioja Alta rates the 2001. Justifiably so. It’s a glorious wine. Very aromatic and high-toned, with berries, sweet herbs, spicy oak, and touches of almond, resin and milk chocolate on the nose. Very silky and smooth on the palate; full, round, ‘sweet’, almost no discernible tannin but remarkable freshness. It went beautifully with roast Gressingham duck and stood up perfectly well to an oozing, although not particularly pungent, Camembert. It has 20% garnacha (80% tempranillo) and was bottled in September 2005 after three years in used American oak. It’ll see in its 20th birthday. 13.5% abv.

£170 per case of 12 in bond today, then £229.65 per case in bond from tomorrow, Armit.