An evocative name for a delicious wine. This full-bodied “dry” Riesling from the Waipara Valley is actually off-dry, but it’s none the worse for that. This is exotic and rich, with old vine complexity and flavours of lime, peach and nectarine. It’s especially good with spicy food, but is also delicious as an aperitif.
The Riesling grapes that go into this cuvée come from a series of old vines sites in the Paul Valley close to the River Mosel. It’s another very assured performance, with a richness that’s almost remiscent of the Pfalz. Musky and faintly exotic, with lovely weight and density, sustained by tangy acidity. The balanced between slight sweetness and acidity is very well judged.
The best and oldest parcels on the Niederberg-Helden Einzellage are used to make this remarkable wine. It’s on the dry side for an Auslese, with 51.9 grams of sugar, with the concentration and slaty minerality beautifully entwined. Floral and appealingly honeyed, with notes of nectarine and ripe pear sustained by citrus- and pink grapefruit-like acidity
A late picked, yet “dry” style of Spätlese from the Niederberg-Helden, with remarkable concentration and persistence, underlining Sybille Kuntz’s reputation as one of the Mosel’s best producers. Rich and slightly savoury, with smoky minerality, some stone fruit sweetness, a hint of fennel and a poised, balanced, tapering finish. Exceptional winemaking.
Lime blossom-scented, toasty Eden Valley Riesling showing some enticing bottle development. Like the rest of The Shortlist range, this provides excellent value for money. Tangy and long on the palate, it’s a very pure, almost transparent expression of the grape.
One of a series of impressive wines under The Shortlist label, this French oak-fermented cool climate Chardonnay has benefited from a little bottle age and is now showing some developed flavours and aromas. Pear, cinnamon spice and a touch of honey combine well on the palate here.
Made in an off-dry style that is typical of New Zealand, this has impressive concentration and depth of flavour. It’s perfumed and floral, with the fruit sweetness balanced by acidity and freshness. Lime and toast are the dominant flavours here with a hint of tannin on the finish.
It’s a pleasure to drink an Alsace Riesling made in a dry style like this one. Stony, minerally and unoaked, this is tangy and transparent with appealing bottle development but enough concentration to age for another four to eight years. Great with food.
Laurent Miquel has long been the leading Viognier producer in the south of France, making wines that are as good as most Condrieu but at less than half the price. This vintage is his best yet in my view, a rich, spicy, sumptuous, yet well balanced white, with sweet vanilla oak, just the right amount of acidity to temper the concentration of the wine and hedonistic flavours of apricot, fresh cream and fresh ginger. Available on line initially by the half case, so hurry.
Kleine Zalze deserves to be more famous than it is in South Africa. It consistently turns out a very good range of commercial wines, as well as smaller quantities of top end stuff. This belongs in the latter category and it’s a great example of ripe, tropically fruity Cape Chenin. Pineapple and melon notes are balanced by the refreshing acidity that’s the variety’s calling card and rounded out by subtle oak fermentation.
With a name like Canyon Park, let alone a price tag close to £15, the last place you’d expect this blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier to come from is Bulgaria, but the country that gave us impossibly cheap Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1980s is emerging from the Eastern European doldrums at last. This is smoky, savoury and perfumed, with aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle, ripe, pear and apricot flavours and subtle oak integration. A sign of very good things to come?
If you’re a fan of slightly old fashioned Aussie Chardonnays, rather than the Burgundian tastealikes that are increasingly being produced in regions like the Adelaide Hills and the Yarra Valley, you’ll love this peachy, ripe, pineapple fruity wine from Western Australia. It’s a big, bold wine with attractive, toasty oak and enough lemony acididty for balance.