2009 Avalon Archangel Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand
I know we had a New Zealand pinot noir last week, but this one from further south is quite different. The Terraces from Marlborough is broader and fleshier. This has wonderful purity, clarity, elegance and fragrance – all cranberries, cherries, nutmeg and a hint of coffee with a satin-smooth texture. Very grown-up pinot noir, and the 2008 was just as good, which bodes well. Vagabond, a shop lined with enomatics for sampling the 100 wines, opened last autumn in Fulham, west London, just near Fulham Broadway, and is well worth a detour. 14% abv.
£23.95, Vagabond; vagabondwines.co.uk
2009 Laura Ascheri Vermentino, Liguria, Italy
A medium-bodied, dry white that is both zippily refreshing and mouthfillingly satisfying. It has quince, pears and custard on the nose, fresh herb and citrus flavours, a hint of honey and a mineral finish. Particularly good with fish and dishes with lots of fresh, leafy green herbs (basil, coriander, flat-leaf parsley), lemon, garlic and a touch of chilli. 13% abv.
£22.85, Vagabond, vagabondwines.co.uk
2010 Mas des Mas Pinot Blanc Zucco Vineyard, Languedoc, France
A successful first pinot blanc from the indefatigable Jean-Claude Mas. Zucco is a two-acre vineyard more or less in the the foothills of the Montagne Noire and the wine is just as it should be – delicately floral with pear and citrus flavours, a pinch of spice, a rounded, soft texture and crisp finish. A good aperitif; also goes well with goat’s cheese salad and simple risotto. 13.5% abv.
£7.99, on offer until May (then back to £9.99), Majestic
2009 Paul Mas Estate Single Vineyard Collection Malbec, Gardemiel Vineyard, Languedoc
Deep purple with malbec’s trademark Cahors flavours of blackberry, damson and licorice, and some ripe, chunkyish tannins and acidity softened and fleshed out with oak. 13.5% abv. Well worth buying at the offer price.
£6.49, if you buy two or more (£8.99, singly), Majestic.