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