Wines To Drink On A Date

by Cong Cong Bo
On a cold, bright Saturday afternoon in January, a student couple entered my Cambridge wine shop-bar, Amphora. It was early and the venue was empty. After glancing at the extensive...

Vintage Intrigue

by Charlie Leary
One-time Deputy Paymaster to the British Forces, Richard Hill (1655-1727) had an honest soul and functioned as a forthright servant of His Majesty’s Government. For although he loved wine, perhaps...
91

2022 The Society's Chinon, The Loire Valley

( £9.99, 13%, The Wine Society )

Partly inspired by a line in Peter Pharos’ latest column, I’ve decided to feature a Chinon as my wine of the week. The Loire Valley is one of those under-rated French regions  that consistently delivers great value for money, especially for Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc lovers. This is a gloriously scented, leafy, unwooded example of the former grape from Famille Bougrier, with crunchy acidity, raspberry and black cherry flavours and top notes of graphite and green herbs. Appealingly juicy.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-30Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, France, Red, Cabernet Franc
93

2020 Domaine Joseph Burrier Juliénas Beauvernay, Beaujolais

( £17.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

Juliénas has always been one of the more highly regarded of the ten Beaujolais Crus, and rightly so in my book.  Showing the structure that often seems to feature in the granite-based wines of the northern Beaujolais, this is a complex, layered, intensely perfumed Gamay that’s all about fruit rather than oak, with plum, bramble and raspberry flavours and enough tannin and backbone to develop further in bottle.Lip-smacking stuff.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, France, Red, Gamay
92

2022 Domaine Maby Cuvée Prima Donna Rosé, Tavel

( £14.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

A rosé in the depths of winter, when we haven’t even reached the shortest day of the year? Why not? It’s fine to drink pink wines all year round these days, not just in summer, especially when they’re as good as this flavoursome, full-bodied, richly coloured example from the southern Rhône Valley. Juicy yet serious, it has layers of summer pudding, goji berry and wild strawberry, plenty of supporting acidity and a nip of tannin.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Cinsault, Grenache
92

2022 Calhavera Graves Blanc, Bordeaux

( £12.99, 12.5%, Majestic )

I’m so busy enjoying Semillons from Argentina, Chile and South Africa that I tend to forget that very good dry examples of the grape can be produced in Bordeaux, not to mention the variety’s starring role in the region’s sweet wines. This lightly wooded example, whose name comes from the Gascon word for a small pile of stones, is a delight, with lots of zip and focus, refreshingly low alcohol, beeswax, citrus and lanolin notes, a hint of vanilla spice and a piercingly refreshing finish. Will go toasty with a bit more bottle age.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 92, France, White, Semillon

Pouring Politics

by Charlie Leary
A recent article in Punch argued that we must re-inject politics into wine: “Without politics, terroir is just soil.” The article’s pretext was that some sort of ideological power play...

Drink Promiscuously

by Cong Cong Bo
It bothers me that wine drinkers frequently choose wine based on colour, or indeed dismiss those of the “wrong” colour. I have encountered this discrimination most overtly in the rosé...
93

NV Tesco Finest Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône Valley

( £21, 14.5%, Tesco )

It’s unusual to come across a Châteauneuf-du-Pape that’s a blend of vintages, but this one from Julie Rouffignac uses wines from four different harvests – 2017, 2017, 2020 and 2021 – to weave its magic. Pairing Grenache with 40% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre and 1% Cinsault, it’s an unwooded delight that’s perfect for an autumn meal, with notes of fig, bramble and red berries, layers of pepper and clove spice and a savoury finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-30Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, France, Red, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah

Deconstructing Wine Descriptions

by Harry Eyres
Near the beginning of the heroically rambling recollections of a lifetime’s passion for wine which he assembled and published as Notes on a Cellar Book, the Victorian literary critic George...

Resonant Rosé

by Margaret Rand
To be perfectly clear, I love rosé. On a hot summer’s day it’s all you want; on a cool drizzly summer’s day it reminds you that it is in fact...