Very pale garnet and hints of brick red. Forward or just a little developed? Strange toffee oak secents on top of the wine. Very fruity, with fresh acidity, but just a little confected, with strawbery coulis fruit. Forward, ripe, very 2009.
We may still be waiting for summer here in rain-sodden Blighty, but why not pretend you’re on the Côte d’Azur with a bottle of this slinky, floral, pale pink blend of Syrah and Grenache. It’s delicate and very subtle with notes of rosehip and raspberry, bright, sappy acidity and a refreshing finish. Great as an aperitif, even better with salad, fish or chicken dishes. Essence of southern France.
An unusual Sicilian blend of mostly Grecancio with 30% Chardonnay, and 10% each of Fiano and Viognier, this confirms Planeta’s status as one of the most innovative producers on the island. It’s aromatic and winningly tropical, with hints of pineaapple and guava, zesty, pear and apple acidity and a fresh, dry, unoaked finish. The whole is greater than the sum of the wine’s parts.
If you want to be patriotic this weekend, why not buy a bottle of this excellent English fizz, made from a combination of mostly Chardonnay with 30% Pinot Noir and 22% Pinot Meunier. It’s fresh and malty, with small, pin head bubbles, tangy acidity, a touch of sweetness and a long, refreshing finish. One to take to a street party and share with any wine lovers who are there.
This youthful, strikingly packaged Garnacha comes from the Ribera del Quielles region of northern Spain. It’s made from young vines – hence, in part, its juiciness – and it’s a stunner, with lots of sweet bramble and raspberry fruit, hints of pepper and clove spice and a palate-cleansing finish. If you like your Garnacha fresh rather than baked, you’ll love this wine.
If you’ve always struggled with the idea that Pinotage is the Cape’s USP, try a glass of this amazing example from Pinot Noir specialist Cape Chamonix in Franschhoek. It’s made in a ripasso style (like some Valpolicellas) to give it a little more alcohol and weight. It’s supple, smooth and sensitively oaked with black plum and blackberry fruit, sweet oak and a harmonious finish. Best of all, perhaps, it doesn’t taste like most Pinotage.
On offer from April 2nd to the 30th (the price comes down to a very attractive £5.79), this is a textbook example of the Languedoc’s best seafood white. Citrus and white pepper on the nose, with a hint of white peach, this is zesty, medium-bodied and unoaked, with a fresh, tangy finish. Try it with a plate of oysters or mussels.
I don’t want to overstate the case here, but this could be the start of a Chilean red wine revolution. It’s unusual in at least three respects: it’s made from old vine, unirrigated Cinsault grown in the cool southerly region of Itata, it was fermented in amphorae and it has a lowly (for Chile) 13% alcohol. The result is is a refreshing, juicy, balanced, cherry and raspberry fruity red of great finesse and length. A welcome relief from over-oaked, over-alcoholic Chilean reds.
I hope you’ll forgive me for choosing another 2010 Rhône red as my wine of the week, but they are just so delicious. This unoaked blend of mostly Grenache with 25% Syrah, 10% Carignan amd 10% Mourvèdre is quintessential stuff: ripe, but still refreshing with sweet plums and red fruits on the palate backed up by clove and pepper spice. I could drink a bottle of this in one sitting, especially with a good stew or barbecued ribs.
If you love Nebbiolo (and who doesn’t?) but can’t afford to drink top Barolo, this lighter style is a brilliant introduction to one of Italy’s two best red grapes. It’s subtle and fragrant, with a raspberry sweetness that reminds me of red Burgundy, backed up by fine, but not remotely aggressive tannins. Complex, leafy and well balanced, this is delicious now, but will develop for at least another five years.
Paololeo is one of the most exciting producers of Primitivo in Puglia, making stylish, modern, concentrated wines that aspire to match the quality of southern Italy’s best reds, especially at a price like this. Figs and pepper spice on the nose, with sweet vanilla oak, flavours of dark chocolate, plum and fresh tobacco and a refreshing, yet structured finish. The wine looks as good as it tastes, which is saying a good deal. Drink now to 5 years.
I haven’t tasted a generic Chablis as good as this in years, so bérets off to Canadian producer, Patrick Piuze, who rents vineyards in the region to make his hand-crafted wines. This has a little bit of added texture from older oak ageing, but it’s the fruit that sings on the palate: focused,tangy and lemon zesty with a chalky, minerally undertone, a savoury note from wild yeast fermentation, some cream from lees contact and incredible palate length. Imagine a Chablis mixed crossed with a dry Riesling and you have some idea of how good this is.