Updated: Jun 9, 2020
First up was The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch in South Africa. Looking for a South African Chenin to go with locally sourced Dever Springs Trout this unoaked old vine Chenin was recommended and went a treat with the starter. It had the added bonus of bringing back an entertaining childhood memory involving an overweight Shetland pony called Tea Leaf (aka The Shaggy Pig) and a little sister’s humiliation. Approx £13 from Wine Utopia in Stockbridge (no longer listed). They offer free delivery in Hampshire.
Jackson Estate Grey Ghost Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand. Again venturing into aged white territory but this time with absolute success! This might well be because, unlike the many Kiwi Savvies we see, this is aged in oak, adding texture and complexity to the wine. Only just beginning to show subtle tertiary notes of asparagus, this is a beautiful mature wine drinking perfectly now. Originally purchased at Waitrose for approx. £17, now available through The Drinks Shop for £19.10
Pierre Jean Villa Condrieu ‘Jardin Suspendu’ 2016, Northern Rhone. This was bought as a self-Christmas present (the best kind!) and despite having a group of friends who do an annual pilgrimage to a different wine region each year, and regular UK catch up’s, had never found the right time to open this special bottle. Well there is no time like the present! Viognier is a notoriously difficult grape to grow as it very quickly becoming over ripe and flabby. But in this tiny region of Condrieu they make extraordinary, rich, fresh, energetic and powerful wines brimming with peach, apricot and spice. £38 The Wine Society
Casaloste Chianti Classico Riserva 2016, Tuscany. They were meant to be on holiday in Tuscany so it seemed only right to be drinking Tuscan wine - touching this beautiful region with their taste buds rather than their feet. This is a beautiful, complex Chianti showing cherry, leather and spice notes. Still pretty tightly coiled so will need to unwind a little in the glass (report had it that the second half of the bottle tasted even better the next day). This is from an organic producer in the Classico heart land of the Chianti region. It was followed by an entertaining discussion about the ‘classic’ scent of tomato vine often found in Sangiovese which led to a lot of tomato sniffing – amazing how many of us had vine tomatoes in the fridge! Jeroboams reduced from £30 to £24 as part of their weekly special.
Last week we were introduced to the rare and expensive Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf white, this week to the cheap and cheerful Porta 6 2018 from Lisbon. This is the tried and tested ‘house wine’ and perfect for thirsty dinner parties. Elegant and fresh but packed with juicy fruit, it is a real crowd pleaser and a versatile food partner. It is made from indigenous Portuguese grapes Touriga Nacional and Castelao. It turns out it is the house wine in a fair few other Thursday Night Club houses! Majestic £7.99 as part of a mixed 6
Ara Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough. Two very different styles of Sauvignon, and aptly so as Friday was International Sauvignon Blanc day! This is the classic young, fresh and zesty style that has won so many hearts around the world. Vibrant and energetic, this has become the go to wine at home. A single vineyard expression from sustainably farmed vineyards, it is virtuous as well as delicious! Waitrose £10.99
Bolyki Egri Bikaver 2015, Eger, Hungary. Try new things they say. Be adventurous they say. Ok! In this instance with a barely pronounceable Hungarian red. Boom! What a find! This is an absolute belter and major bang for your buck. This is the seriously retro style of wine known as Bulls Blood, but it has undergone a renaissance, and if this example is anything to go by it has been a major success. The blend must contain a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 13 of the authorised grape varieties. In this case an exciting blend of Kekfrankos, Blauberger, Portugeiser, Zweigelt, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Super silky tannins, amazingly perfumed nose, a palate showing juicy dark fruit, spice and a hint of tobacco, and a lovely fresh finish. Light (only 12.5%) but bursting with character. I am going back in for more! PS great label too! Lidl £8.99