A small but sparky gathering for Thursday Night Club as apparently the last sunny day called what had been previously diligent wine buffs to the golf course. One clubber was last heard from 30 mins before looking for a wine to present but ended up MIA… search parties have been dispatched to his house. Expectation is high that we’ll find him asleep in the wine cellar, possibly a result of having seen his twin girls off to university.
Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2017, Salento, Puglia
This was a very lucky find, needing a bottle to make up a case of 24, they chose this bottle at random. Let’s be honest, it could have gone one of two ways, Primitivo is most often seen on our shores in its richly fruited but easy drinking incarnation, sometimes trying a bit too hard with seemingly heavy handed use of oak chips giving an overtly vanilla flavour but generally a good value bet. This however is a rare beast, a premium Primitivo that really hit the spot to the delight (and surprise?!) of our clubber. Rich cherries, chocolate and a hint of vanilla, intense but with a freshness that easily balances the 14.5% alcohol and makes it eminently drinkable. Xtrawines.com 16 euro, (approx. £20 bought directly from the UK.)
The Whole Shebang! NV, California
Well firstly who wouldn’t buy a wine with a name like that – the Whole Shebang! So called because it is a fabulous combination of so many grapes; Zinfandel, Carignan, Petit Sirah, Mouvedre, Alicante Bouchet, Grenache and Barbera… now if that isn’t 2 fingers to tradition and an utterly joyful exploration of blending then I don’t know what is! Even better the wine is a multi-vintage blend made in a solera system (an unusual system of fractional blending used in sherry production…1/3 new wine goes into the top barrel knocking down a third into the 2nd barrel, and a 3rd down into bottom barrel – the wine to be bottled is drawn from the bottom barrel. It brings maturity and freshness together) Secondly and more seriously, you can’t escape the terrible devastation caused by the wild fires that continue to wreak havoc through Napa and Sonoma, the wines of California needs our continued support. This was a delicious wine, smooth, full and long but not too heavy as it still had brightness and freshness along with bags of fruit. A really good discovery. Salusbury Wine Store £23
Gabrielskloof Landscape Series Syrah on Sandstone 2017, Botrivier, South Africa
When a crisis is out of the papers, it is generally out of sight, out of mind. Hence I am still banging my South African drum and reminding everyone to keep drinking them. Salaries have been cut to try and keep wineries afloat often driving workers on a living wage below it, it is down to us to make a difference. This is absolutely my kinda wine. Intense yet invigorating, incredibly elegant with layers of flavour; a wine you can really take your time to get to know as it keeps evolving in the glass. On the nose blackberries with a hint of spice and woodsmoke. On the palate dark cherries, blackberry, sweet spice and black pepper. Incredibly elegance with such fine tannins it is like a whisper of silk across your skin. The finish is gorgeous, tapering into a white pepper, mineral driven, saline moreishness that really lingers and demands you return for another sip. This is the kind of wine that gets me genuinely exciting. Not cheap but worth every penny, it is a wine that deserves your undivided attention while you drink it. Laithwaites £32