If you’re not aware of the remarkable Chardonnays that Michael Brajkovich is producing north of Auckland, you’re missing out on some of the New World’s best white wines. This is very Burgundian indeed with fresh, mineral, butter and citrus fruit flavours, delicate oak and a long, harmonious finish. Great now but will age for at least another five years.
This won the best red wine prize at this year’s IGP Top 100 (not the first time Les Yeuses has been on the podium) and it’s a stunner. Even though it hails from the Languedoc, it tastes as good as many more expensive wines from the nothern Rhône. Perfumed and spicy, with notes of black olive, thyme and blackberry, it’s smoky and subtly oaked. Close you eyes and you could be drinking Côte Rôtie.
My cellar is full of wines from this legendary producer, so I can confrim that they age beautifully in bottle. This one is no exception. It’s impressive now, but will be even better in a year or two. Delicate, restrained, medium sweet, yet balanced by palate-tingling acidity, this is the sort of thing that makes Riesling lovers shudder with pleasure.
After an impressive tenure at Rustenburg, Adi Badenhorst is doing some really exciting things at his new project in the Swartland. This fruit salad white blend of mostly Chenin Blanc with Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Verdelho, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc is a stunner. There’s a sheen of French oak, but what distinguishes the wine is its fruit depth and complexity: perfumed and blossom-scented with notes of honey, ginger spice, fresh apples, peach and a crunchy, refreshing finish. A producer to watch, given his track record.
Is Mount Etna Italy’s greatest secret when it comes to whites? It certainly makes some amazing wines from the Carricante grape: taut, minerally and refreshing. This is stony and crisp with notes of white flowers and lime blossom and a tangy finish. Sicily’s answer to Chablis. Drink now to 3 years.
A high altitude blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha from the cooler Rioja Alta sub-zone, this modern blend typifies what’s happening in Spain’s most famous wine region at the moment. It’s juicy and flavoursome with sweet, spicy raspberry fruit, medium alcohol, understated oak and a tangy, refreshing finish.
This looks and tastes suspiciously like Vat 1, Tyrrell’s sublime Hunter Semillon. It’s light and unoaked, but with lovely aged aromas and flavours of toast, cream and citrus fruit. On past performance, these wines age for decades, but you’ll have trouble keeping your hands off the screwcap here. Wonderfully complex. A bargain on the 25% off deal, so hurry.
Sourced from one of the most under-rated appellations in the Midi, this old vine, biodynamic blend of mostly Syrah with 20% Grenache would blow most Crozes-Hermitages out of the water. It’s silky and aromatic, with classic Syrah scents of black olives and blackberries, supple tannins and remarkable length. There’s no oak here, so the fruit really sings.
If your impression of Sicily is of a sweltering island making chunky reds, cheap, New World-style whites and Marsala, you haven’t discovered the Nerello Mascalese grape from Mount Etna yet. Andrea Franchetti’s Burgundian-style red, sourced from vines as old as 120 years, is remarkable: perfumed and elegant, with notes of red cherry and wild strawberry, savoury tannins, refreshing acidity and impressive length and complexity.
These 2009 Beaujolais crus really are delicious, so if you are looking for a gluggable summer red to chill out with, this Régnié is the perfect candidate. It’s wonderfully bright and aromatic, with notes of raspberry and red cherry, good texture, lightweight tannins and old vine concentration, with sappy acidity and a refreshing finish. It should keep for a year or two, too.
You might want to wait until this excellent, entry point Grüner goes on special offer at the end of the month, but it’s a really good wine with which to celebrate the arrival of summer. It’s taut, minerally and complex, with pure fruit flavours, no oak, and lovely aromas of white flowers, white pepepr and wet stones. The kind of thing that makes you want to sing in the (Viennese) woods.
Moscato is one of my favourite summer aperitifs, capable of greatness as well as perfume and zing in the hands of a top producer like Gianmario Cerutti. This one comes from a sunny (“suri” in Italian) vineyard located at 350 metres, combining freshness with fruit concentration. This has 125 grams of residual sugar, but you don’t notice it thanks to the citrus fruit acidity. Grapey, frothy, filligree bubbles with a palate-cleansing finish.