Gabrielskloof Elodie Chenin Blanc 2018, Western Cape, South Africa. Winter isn’t only about rich reds, its about intense, rich yet fresh white wines as well that are both comforting and yet invigorating. This wine is utterly fabulous, it opens with ripe white peach and cantaloupe melon before a beautiful note of sweet hay, brown spices and acacia flowers add complexity and excitement. The texture is incredibly silky, with beautiful weight and intensity on the palate before leading into an amazingly long and fresh finish. This is absolutely my kind of wine with a real nod to Burgundian class, elegance and complexity but with South Africa, and Chenin’s own special twist. Majestic Wines £24.99 2019 vintage.
The Garage Wine Company Pais 215 BC Ferment 2018, Secano Interior – Cauquenes, Chile. This is a new grape to this couple so they weren’t quite sure what to expect, but a Beaujolais like explosion of bright crunchy fruit, flinty minerality and a hint of black olives on the finish is certainly not what they were anticipating. This is wonderfully smashable, despite the 14% abv which is so seamlessly integrated into the wine as to be unnoticeable. This is proof positive of the fantastic, modern and innovative wines coming out of Chile today. It is so much more than cheap and cheerful Merlot! One of only 4500 bottles made, the name 215 BC ferment refers to ‘215 years before Cabernet’ alluding to the long heritage this grape has in Chile. Used for too long as a work horse bulk blending wine, producers are now showing just what the grape is capable of in the right conditions and from old vines. Philglas & Swiggot £18, out of stock
Perez Cruz Syrah 2017, Alto Maipo, Chile. This winery came highly recommended by a few other TNC members and did not disappoint. This is exactly the kind of lush, velvety red that they love with silky smooth tannins, a beautiful freshness that acts as a counter balance to its richness, and a lovely peppery spice adding complexity. Elegant and refined, yet richly welcoming, this wine really is in a class of its own and is exceptional value. Virgin Wines £15.99
Waterstone Chardonnay 2016, Carneros, California. The chardonnay odyssey continues with this delicious rich wine. Found at the online Winchester Wine Festival it shows gorgeous caramelised pineapple and rich, creamy vanilla rice pudding notes on the finish. The bold 14.5 % abv is well balanced by the fresh acidity. £26.14 from James Hocking Wines and delivered by hand to the door the following day. Now that is service!
Grand Veneur La Fontaine Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2009, Rhone. Found in the depths of the cellar and opened the night before, there was a momentary fear that the wine was well past its best. Just in case he decided to leave the wine over night and see if it had improved the following day. And what a difference a day makes! Having had a chance to open up the wine is absolutely delicious with dried apricots, dried fruit, honey, beeswax and a lovely vibrant acidity. Absolutely gorgeous. Unusually made from 100% Roussanne and organic, the current vintage 2017, £40. Shaftsbury Wine
A two bottle night from our friends in Zurich, first up the Pomela Grasevina 2017 from Croatia. At first it was a bit simple and mineral driven, but the fruit is now opening to up reveal some lovely apricot notes. Bought duty free as a bit of fun for approx. Euro 15. Next up was the Guido Porro Barolo 2010, Piedmont, Italy. Absolutely classic notes of tar and roses, though as it opened the fruit tended to the pruney end of the spectrum. Although very nice, it lacked the super taut, grippy tannic structure so prized in Barolo, and sadly on this occasion there were no fireworks. Bought cellar door, UK £42 Lay & Wheeler.
Teusner Avatar GSM 2018, Barossa Valley, Australia. Having experimented with unusual regions and varieties each Thursday, it was time to return to a familiar comfort, the rich, intense, velvety black fruit, soft tannins and subtle oak spice of a delicious Barossa GSM. The blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro (Mouvedre as it is called in France) has become a signature of the region with Grenache giving it rich, ripe fruity depths, the shiraz adding colour, freshness and spice, and the Mataro giving it savoury power and structure. Hic Wine Merchants £23.50
BBR Albarino 2019, Galicia, Spain. This is the Berry Bros and Rudd own label Albarino made by Benito Santos and it never fails to hit the spot making it the perfect ‘house’ wine. A fridge without a chilled bottle is an incomplete fridge. It does taste of the seaside with bright peach fruit and a salty tang, with a hint of honeysuckle and blossom on the finish. This is a ‘buy by the case’ kinda wine as it is great value. £13.95 BBR. From one excellent value white to another, the BBR Picpoul de Pinet 2018, Languedoc also put in an appearance, and is a great quaffing wine with citrus, pear and just a hint of ginger with a lovely mineral backbone. £8.99 BBR