Updated: Nov 16, 2020
It was suspiciously more like a wine party than a tasting club last night, but what better tribute to the friendship-inspiring powers of wine is there?!
First up we have a cheap and cheerful white blend of Viognier, Picpoul and Grenache Blanc, a Vin de France named Cicada 2019. Totally drinkable with the Viognier dominating the flavour profile with ripe peach and apricot and leaning towards texture rather than brightness. Blending 3 grapes with low to moderate acidity does mean it’s not the liveliest of wines and she would definitely prefer some more freshness in the wine. ‘the local corner shop’ £9
…a short while later it was noticed that her wine had changed colour in the glass… and so it transpired she had opted for a little vinous upgrade while no one was looking. The Slobodne Majer Zemianske Sady Deviner 2017 from Slovakia. Not exactly rolling off the tongue with the pronunciation there, but it certainly seemed to delight her tongue! A blend of Devin and Traminer with rich aromatics on the nose leading to layers of citrus and pepper with a subtle earthiness and a gorgeous salinity. The farm was taken at the end of world war two and the children migrated to the States, this wine represents their return from the city to the farm where they have set about making a wine in the style of their ancestors with lots of skin contact. Exciting, intriguing, utterly moreish and worth every penny. Modal Wines £30
Adega Ponte da Boga Godello 2018, Ribeira Sacra, Spain. This was a recommendation as part of a mixed case, suggested to them as they are fans of Albarino. This is a beautifully mineral example of the slightly more textural Godello grape, showing fruit depth, complexity and freshness. A really exciting grape and region to explore. Morrish & Banham Wine Merchants £17.99
Another recommendation here based on style. The brief was a love of really fresh, bright wines such as Riesling, but wanting to try something new. And the wine… (drum roll please) is the gorgeous Hiruzta Txakoli Winery, Hondarribia 2019 from the Basque country. Super zingy, mineral driven, light and fresh with a subtle spritz that enhances the brightness. Having visited San Sebastian last year this wine is definitely resonating and one she will certainly be buying again. Corking Wines £15
Loving Chardonnay but not having tried any from New Zealand this was a scouting mission. The Zephyr Marlborough Chardonnay 2018 is delicious. Very subtle oak with really pure, zesty, fresh fruit. A real pleasure to discover and certainly one he will be buying again. The Wine Society £13.50
The Wine Society Exhibition Chenin Blanc 2019, South Africa. Seemingly within minutes of this being shown at the Wine Soc tasting, it was sold out. That might have something to do with the fact that the winemaker is one of the most talented (and humble) men on the South African wine scene; Chris Alheit. Luckily this bottle was given as a thank you gift, but as it turns out its the ultimate teaser as they can’t buy any more! The wine shows crisp apple and subtle vanilla spice and a lovely fresh mineral vein. The Wine Society, out of stock
Argyros Estate Atlantis White 2019, Santorini, Greece. This was part of a mixed case from Philglas & Swiggot and after a disappointment last week they are back on form. This is from the much respected Argyros Estate and is an old vine blend of Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani from the volcanic island of Santorini. The wine is zesty and mineral driven, exactly the style of wine she likes to drink and would certainly rebuy. Philglas & Swiggot £19.95
Luigi Bosca Malbec Seleccion de Vistalba 2016, Argentina. This is a beautiful, rich, velvety Malbec from the high altitude vineyards belonging to the brilliant Luigi Bosca, a family owned producer excelling in velvety, concentrated, age worthy red wines in Mendoza. This is still quite young, and as such quite difficult to taste on its own, showing prune and black olive, but just having a bite of cheese and the whole wine opened up into a really expressive, fruit forward wine. The protein and fat in the cheese combines chemically with the tannins in the wine and draws them aside allowing the fruit to shine through. This is why big red wines are such a pleasure with food. Waitrose £16.99
Terra Nera Nero d’Avola 2018, Sicily. Once again sticking to his promise to bring a new grape to the table each week (but wishing he could find ones he could pronounce!) he is really delighted with this discovery. Lashings of blackberry, plum, pepper, vanilla and chocolate. The old vines definitely giving the wine intensity and at 14.5% the perfect lockdown wine where you don’t need to get up and go anywhere afterwards! Naked Wine, sold out.
Blackbook Painter of Light Chardonnay 2019, England. This is a super cool urban winery under the arches in Battersea are going from strength to strength and swiftly making a name for themselves amongst London’s hip Sommeliers. This is a still wine made from grapes from the Clay hill vineyard in Essex. As I am sure you all recall 2019 was a pretty rubbish summer distinctly lacking in sunbathing weather (for us and the vines), and yet from this unique vineyard that have managed to produce a really special wine. Still very young and needing a few more moths to settle into bottle it is showing mouth watering pink grapefruit and lovely rich undertones of toffee. This can be bought direct for £19
Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2014, Tuscany. Joined for the first time by new friends in Zurich (yes my friends, TNC is going global!) they were drinking a winery close to their heart which they had managed to visit before lockdown 2 was imposed. Sadly this wine is looking a little over the hill which is not what they were expecting from a relatively young wine from a good producer. Still showing some dark black cherry and decent acidity but the usually grippy tannins are soft and the finish disappointingly short. This might have something to do with the 2014 vintage, an incredibly cold and wet season in Tuscany which left even the best a little insipid. Bring on the 2015! Cellar door approx. 20 euro.
Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2015, Spain. I am usually one to relish drinking off piste (metaphorically and, come to think of it physically) but I had a hankering for something more classic. This gorgeous Rioja is from the famed producer of the iconic Ygay, and is exactly what I wanted. Concentred black berries and a lovely savoury, balsamic twist with a hint of wild dill and dark chocolate. The tannins are so silken, and combined with the deep fruit and fresh acidity, it results in a finely chiselled wine with a refined, long and elegant finish. The Champagne Company £21