Casal de Ventozela Alvarinho 2018, Portugal. Claiming he can’t compete with some of the more esoteric offerings we have seen, our first drinker modestly introduced us to this lovely Portuguese Alvarinho. Very drinkable, fruity with juicy oranges and mandarins but with a lovely depth too. He would certainly recommend it as a great everyday wine. Interestingly this wine is more unusual than he thought, as the depth of flavour he mentioned is from aging in old oak barrels, quite an unusual practice for this variety. Majestic £9.99 when you buy 6.
Bread and Butter Pinot Noir 2018, Napa Valley. Having really enjoyed the Bread and Butter Chardonnay, and finding himself passing a Majestic he decided to pop in and try the Pinot Noir on for size. His first experience of a COVID Majestic was interesting, instead of browsing the isles you needed to request the wine through the hatch. Thankfully he knew exactly what he was after. Very clearly from the same winemaker as the Chardonnay, it showed lots of fruity black cherry, opulent and lush. And even better news, his wife approved!
Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, Tuscany. This wine is loaded with memories! Years ago our drinker was in Florence on an important work trip and was instructed to find the restaurant for that evening. An emergency call to his wife (a food writer/food PR) and he was directed towards a restaurant that would have been in the book 1001 restaurants to eat in before you die, had the author not wanted to keep her and her father’s favourite spot a secret! As it turns out the restaurant was owned by Antinori, and the big boss was a huge super Tuscan fan. As a result the night consisted of a lot of Tignanello! Last year, on a road trip through the states they stocked up on wine in Vegas before driving through potentially dry states (god forbid you get caught short!) and one of those wines was Antinori’s Chianti which they drank on their balcony watching the sun go down. What amazing memories! The 2016 was showing lovely ripe fruit, cinnamon spice and a fresh leafy note. Less cherry fruit than they expected but very balanced and it certainly elicited two big smiles! Majestic £22.99 when you buy 6
Stepp Riesling 2017, Pfalz, Germany. Again inspired by fellow drinkers, and unable to locate the Riesling's previously recomended, they came across this German Riesling while doing their weekly shop and thought they would give it a try. They were both really happy to have tried it, enjoying the very appley crispness and its refreshing minerality. They would certainly drink it again. All the Riesling lovers in the group were at this point in raptures that they might have another potential convert! M&S £15
Oak Valley Groenlandberg Chardonnay 2018, Elgin, South Africa. It has been an unreasonably brutal week, and you know when you simultaneously need a hug and an injection of energy? Well this is the wine that provides both. It has incredible richness and depth with subtle baked apple and warm brown spice (the hug) combined with a stunning freshness, a smoky minerality and gorgeous subtle hint of curry leaf and preserved lemon (the pick me up). Elgin is a stunningly beautiful, mountainous and cool part of South Africa which is producing absolutely world class chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This wine is balanced, elegant, complex and seriously classy. I can’t recommend exploring this region with your taste buds enough. The Solent Cellar £24.99
Viña Echeverria Ino Es Pituko Viognier 2019, Valle de Curicó, Chile. This translates as ‘it ain’t fancy’, what a great name!! This is a natural wine from this well-known producer working with a beautiful single vineyard. A tricky grape to handle, particularly in the warm Curico Valley, but it shows incredible freshness along side peach and tropical fruit and an almost Gewurztraminer style spice. This wine punches well above its weight on the price to quality ratio. Incredibly moreish (he says looking sheepishly at the near empty bottle). Despite the modest price point it is beautifully presented with a wax seal. A word to the wise for those not used to wax seals, don’t try to chip the wax away to get to the cork, just sink the corkscrew straight through the wax and into the cork and it will come away cleanly as a little disk. Well most of the time! £12 The Whisky Exchange
Jean Marc Brocard Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 2013. This was bought on a brilliant road trip out to Chablis back in 2017. They were looking for a spot for lunch but instead stumbled upon this irresistible wine shop and (somewhat niche, even for a wine lover) a corkscrew museum. Having just been gifted a coravin by his lovely fiancé (who has definitely earned brownie points for that) he thought he would try it out on a glass of this special wine. A rich golden colour, and unusually for Chablis it has seen some oak aging, it is a gorgeous rich yet refreshing wine showing apricots, floral notes and a delicious cool minerality and a long, intense finish. By the sounds of it everything you would want from a fine wine. It is always a give away when someone keeps unconsciously returning to nose the glass as new aromas keep opening up! Approx 40 euro from his shop.