This is no ordinary, drink-it-on-holiday Retsina. It’s biodynamic, fermented in amphorae with wild yeasts and highly unusual. The pine resin notes are restrained and enjoyable, adding a Mediterranean herb like dimension to the pear, beeswax and honey fruit. The wines finishes tangy and dry.
At only £15.95 a half bottle, this has to be one of the best value fortifieds on the market at the moment. It’s a mature, salty, rancio-style wine made from Grenache Blanc and Macabeu that’s mid way between a Sherry and a Tawny Port in style. Try it poured over vanilla ice cream or with a walnut tart.
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
Sourced from single vineyard sites in Kues, Kardinalsberg and Weisenstein, this is “only” the entry point wine from this excellent estate. It’s just off-dry, with 8.3 grams of sugar balanced by acidity and crisp, refeshing flavours of green apple and grapefruit. The perfect summer wine…in 2015.
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.
What an incredible bottle of wine. Sybille Kuntz is better known for her dry than sweet styles, but this shows that she’s equally adept at both. This comes from mostly ungrafted vineyards planted in the 1920s in Niederberg-Helden. It’s an exotic wine all right, but the tropical fruit flavours of pineapple and mango are tempered by acidity and extract. A Riesling that lingers tantalisingly on the palate.
Ignore the nudge nudge, wink wink name of this wine (it’s only a bit of fun anyway) and concentrate, instead, on what’s in the glass. Violets, bramble and some gentle spices, with a touch of cracked pepper make this a refreshing, easy drinking red. A dash of Tempranillo adds extra interest here.
An unusual but (for Argentina) rather appropriate blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Malbec, this bronze-tinged rosé is savoury and flavoursome with notes of summer fruits, toast and leesy richness. A very drinkable bottle of bubbles at the price.
Phil Sexton’s Yarra Valley winery is one of the most innovative in the region. It’s got a lot of tourist appeal, but it’s wines are deadly serious, too. This is a typically elegant, refined red, with fine-grained tannins, subtle pepper spice and plush raspberry and blueberry flavours and a minerally, refreshing finish.
It’s not the easiest grape in the world to love (those tannins can be a little firm, like a Greek version of the Portuguese Baga grape) but Agiorgitiko is that country’s best variety. This is a very fruity example, but it’s still got backbone and acidity behind the chalky red cherry and pomegranate flavours. Make sure you eat this with robust food or cheese.
A pale coloured Provençal blend of Syrah and Grenache that’s just the thing for summer, this has more weight and concentration than many examples of an increasingly popular style. Raspberry fruit, bright acidity and a whiff of Mediterranean herbs all add to the sense of balance here.