Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wines of the Week, 17 May 2012

It’s ages since I put up some wine recommendations, not because there haven’t been any to write about but simply because there doesn’t seem to have been any time. There’s not a lot now, so I’ll keep the notes brief. First, some rosés:

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé Brut
It goes to show that you have to taste with an open mind. I’ve never been particularly impressed by Nicolas Feuillatte, but this pink fizz is a delight. Not complex, but lovely, pure, pinot noir summer berry flavours, a soft texture and an appetisingly clean finish. £32, or £27 when you buy two, Majestic

2011 Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube, Côtes de Provence
Maybe I’m just susceptible to the charms of Provence rosé, but they seem to get better every year. Yes, and more expensive, but at least I prefer this to the more expensive Secret de Léoube. It’s fresh and slightly herby with raspberryish fruit, a touch of orange peel and that silky mid-palate that makes the best so seductive.
£14.25, Corney & Barrow.

2011 Alpha Zeta ‘R’ Rosato Veronese
Deep pink, vibrant, juicy and cherryish rosé made from Valpolicella’s corvina grape. Lots of fun. Great value.
£5.50, The Wine Society

2011 L’Hydropathe Elite, Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire
The strange name of the top rosé from Domaine Sainte Lucie is matched by its odd-shaped bottle. Ignore both if you like your wines to look classic. The wine is a classic – very pale, floral, ripe and elegant, very supple with beautifully sweet, fresh red fruit. 
£15.95, Lea & Sandeman

Now some whites from south west France, by which I mean all the interesting parts south and east of Bordeaux – a great swathe of La France Profonde that confidently celebrates fascinating indigenous grape varieties and is, incidentally, the wine region I have known longer than any other. If you want to wines with personality, this region is a must.

2009 Le Faîte, Saint Mont
The latest vintage of this extraordinary, oaked and lees-aged white. Concentrated, complex and honeyed, but intensely tangy, fresh and dry, with flavours of orange, peach, candied peel and tropical fruit. It will age for years. I drank the 2000 last weekend and it was wonderful – very slightly rancio, yet still unarguably fresh. For the record, I had a hand in selecting the 2006, but with no commercial interest or gain whatsoever.
£16.99, Adnams Cellar & Kitchen

2011 Finest Côtes de Gascogne
Not a new wine, but I haven’t tasted it before, and it’s a delight. Mouthwatering citrus and quince tang with some Sauvignon gooseberry behind it. I always manage to find quince when I know there’s Gros Manseng about – in this there’s case 85%.
The producer is Grandissime.
£7.29, Tesco

2010 Château d’Aydie Odé d’Aydie, Pacherenc du Vic Bihl
Pacherenc du Vic Bihl is the dry wine of the Madiran region and I’m sure it would be better known if its name didn’t look as if someone had tripped over the keyboard. Let’s concentrate on the wine – full-bodied, vivid and zesty with the quince, dried-apricot, green fruit and mineral flavours subtly enriched by partial oak fermentation and bâtonnage.
If anyone knows of a stockist for this wine, please let me know.