Great things do come in small packages. I am swiftly becoming a convert to half bottles, whether it means you get to drink both a red and a white without much wastage, or simply a form of portion control, today there is a decent selection of half bottles available. This is The Society’s Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie 2019, Loire and it is a lovely moreish wine with lemon pith, green apple, a hint of bread, white flowers and a delicious salty tang on the finish. Zippy yet with a creamy texture adding weight and balance. Muscadet remains for me, a much over-looked and therefore good value wine for sunshine drinking and seafood (both of which I am a big fan of). The Wine Society £7.95 37.5cl
Mimo Moutinho Loureiro 2020, Vinho Verde, Portugal. This was recommended by Tim Atkin MW as his ‘wine of the week’ on Instagram, and at just £6.49 it seemed worth a punt. It is absolutely delicious, punching well above its price point. Dry and incredibly refreshing with a lovely lemon pith and mineral driven energy combined with a cleansing and purifying sensation akin to watermelon. At only 11.5% abv it really does hit the spot on a hot day and is laden with character despite the low alcohol. If this doesn’t become your house wine this summer I don’t know what will. Aldi £6.49
Another recommendation from a Master of Wine, this time from South African Greg Sherwood who suggested the The Tea Leaf 2019 white blend from Piekenierskloof in South Africa. It is a blend of old vine Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Palomino (the sherry grape). It is a serious barrel fermented wine with a salty, nutty, toasty character showing beautifully alongside the rich, ripe, exotic nectarine. Very impressive with a beautifully balancing acidity. Hanford Wines £24
Pushing the boundaries of their tasting experience further and harder than anyone else, we were presented with Pheasants Tears 2019 from Georgia. Made from Rkatsiteli, a rare, indigenous grapes, this is an orange wine fermented and aged in traditional Qvevri (clay amphora that are buried underground) it undergoes extensive skin contact to give it an incredible amber colour and a dry phenolic grip. This is a challenging style of wine, particularly to drink with no food. Lots of delicious dried fruit and nuts on the nose, but the palate is more savoury and textural rather than showing the fruit promised on the nose, and is bone dry, it takes quite a bit of getting used to! Allowing the wine to warm up a little in the glass, and paired with a Korean fried chicken burger with gherkins it was a completely different ball game and absolutely hit the spot! Now there was a pairing we weren’t expecting, and as ever a reminder that so many wines really do only come into their own with food. Salusbury Wine Store £18
The Society Exhibition Chenin Blanc, South Africa is beginning to get a cult following, made as it is by wine making legend and all round good guy, Chris Alheit. Rich yet fresh with oak spice and a lovely mouthfeel, a serious wine that could easily spend a few more years in the cellar. This is the 2020 and compared recently to the 2019 didn’t have quite the same wow factor, but that might well be due to the fact that it has only just been released and needs a little time to come into its own. Excellent value and a wine to follow through the vintages. The Wine Society £13.50
The Domaine Schlumberger Riesling Saering Grand Cru 2017, Alsace is pronounced ‘delicious’, and unsurprisingly so from this prestigious family owned historic winery. Preserved citrus, peach, dry and intense with incredible freshness and complex notes of lime marmalade. This could easily continue to age for longer, but is an absolute treat right now. Noble Green £28.50
Karen Birmingham Zinrfandel 2018, Lodi, California shows lots of dark spice, tobacco, leather, figs and chocolate. An aromatic and heady wine it does what it says on the tin, it would certainly benefit from some food to offset some of the 14.5% abv, it would be great with venison tartar or BBQ pork ribs. Indulgent, not too complex but thoroughly enjoyable. Naked Wines £10.