Jean-Francois Quénard “Les 2 Jean” Persan 2018, Vin de Savoie, France.
A few weeks ago, one of the crew presented a Savagnin from the Jura to the group and it reminded me that I have not drunk wines from this region in a really long time, particularly the reds which have always captivated me. In my hunt, I stumbled across a completely new grape to me; Persan, so I thought I would give it a go. I am so glad that I did! The nose had a beautifully reductive note, almost akin to Syrah, leading to a beautiful palate of concentrated black crunchy fruit and subtle white pepper, elevated by an incredibly vibrant and pure acidity. The tannins are effortlessly silken, and the finish had an utterly moreish saline minerality producing a wine of elegance, finesse and exceptional length. It was like the perfect meeting of the flavours of Syrah and texture and elegance of Pinot Noir. The alcohol was 14.5% but I would have sworn it was 13.5% thanks to the perfect balance between fruit and acidity. I’m absolutely going back for more of this! The Wine Society £18.50
Honoro Vera Garnacha 2018, Calatayud, Spain
Old vine Garnacha from vineyards at 3000 feet above sea level in NE Spain, this is another rich wine that balances its hearty 14.5% alcohol well. A big, fruity, but not over-blown palate leads to an almost flinty, mineral finish which enhances the sense of freshness and adds subtlety and class to the wine. The broad velvety fruit makes it a great wine to go with spicy fruit. Decantalo approx. £8
The Blind Spot Garganega 2019, King Valley, Australia.
Motivated by wanting to bring something new to the table each week at TNC, this drinker has got some mixed case action on the go; single bottles of unusual wines. The Blind Spot project by The Wine Society is a great concept, for they have set out to find unusual grapes or regions that are in the collective consumer blind spot. King Valley is the ‘Little Italy’ of Australia in terms of grape varieties and thus it makes sense to find a planting of Garganega (the Soave grape) making its home here. The wine was very shy when chilled, but as it warmed up a little it revealed lovely depths of stone fruit and citrus. He will certainly be exploring more of the Blind Spot range. The Wine Society £9.50
Monte del Fra ‘Ca del Magro’ 2016, Bianco di Custoza DOC, Italy
Following hot on its heels is another Garganega this time from the Veneto in Italy, but again not a Soave. This somewhat obscure region is on the gravelly, rocky hillside to the south of Lake Garda and the wine is absolutely delicious, also showing gorgeous concentrated stone fruit and bright citrus notes from these old vines. This is definitely one to buy again. Another great surprise from the mixed case curated by Philglas & Swiggot £16.50
Craven The Firs Syrah 2018, Stellenbosch, South Africa
This drinker has always wanted to try the Craven wines, and has finally got himself a bottle and is seriously impressed. Husband and wife team Mick and Jeanine are absolutely blazing a trail with their stunning range of wines, and the Firs Syrah could easily be mistaken for a ripe vintage from the Northern Rhone with its beautiful damson fruit, and black pepper spice. The acidity is vibrant and the alcohol only 12.5%. This is seriously a class apart and utterly addictive. D’Vine Cellars £26
Adi Badenhosrt Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2019, Swartland, South Africa
Usually this drinker avoids Chenin like the plague, having been put off by overt fruitiness and often unexpected sweetness. However this little gem was one of the surprise mixed case deliveries from new wine club Our Glass. On the palate he found honey and apricots, but it wasn’t over powering and the finish was deliciously dry. He particularly loved the note on the back stating ‘don’t drink and walk on the road, you may be killed’. Another cracker from the ‘madman of the Swartland’! Certainly a dinner party winner. It is also exceptional value at £13.50
Chateau Gaillard Fleurie 2017, Beaujolais
This drinker is on a serious budget this month and has been forced to pull out all her detective skills to find the best deal going. This came in the shape of The Sampler summer clearance sale. Up onto her bike in the pouring rain she set off in search of a great wine at a great price. Excellent knowledge and service at the Highbury and Islington branch pointed her in the direction of this delicious Beaujolais cru. A lovely, juicy, pure and vibrant Gamay, it is allowing her to cling on to summer. It led to an interesting discussion as a number of people have been put off Beaujolais by Beaujolais Nouveau or poor quality Beaujolais Villages. I think there will be a fair few clubbers exploring the Beaujolais Cru’s going forward for utter drinkability, joy and value. I look forward to hearing about them in future TNC’s. The Sampler £9.90 down from £12.90
Colli del Sannio ‘Campo Chiaro’ IGT Benevento
And finally, a virtual addition to our virtual club, sent in from a sunny balcony in Praiano, Italy where she is drinking a local Falanghina they picked up in Ravello. ‘It is a bright orange/yellow (looks like Berocca). It tastes like it’s been on lees for a short period as it has a very slight bubble. Definitely interesting and drinkable! Although not a flavour bomb’… it sounds like we have a more natural style of wine on our hands, which due to the wine making techniques often result in a more textural, savoury, deeply coloured wine, which takes over from the primary fruit we are more used to.