Updated: Jun 9, 2020
We had a firecracker of a start! Looking for a cheap and cheerful wine from the cellar to enjoy, they saw the screw cap, saw that it was an Auzzie Shiraz and thought that would fit the bill (on recounting, the look of ‘go on finish that sentence, I dare you’ from our Australian contingent was priceless!) Turns out this cheap screw cap wine was in fact The 2004 D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia, the iconic wine by Chester Osborn. Any thoughts of cheap were swiftly dispelled on tasting, it was showing incredible power, complexity, depth and lush velvety tannins. It led to a very interesting conversation about screw caps, their image, and how well wines age under them, being exposed to less oxygen. Despite already having 16 years under its belt, it was still boasting youthful fruit and energy. The name ‘dead arm’ also incited an interesting conversation, as it refers to the fungal vine disease Eutypa Dieback which can kill one ‘arm’ of the vine leaving the other to produce low volumes of intensely concentrated grapes. Purchased long ago as part of the Bibendum cellar plan. Current vintage is 2016, £37.50 from Great Western Wines
From one belter to another. Domaine Paul Blanck Fursentum Riesling Grand Cru 2017. A visit to the Colmar Christmas Market in Alsace inevitably led to a significant amount of wine tasting. The favourite being this Blanck Grand Cru Riesling, presented to them by the father/daughter team. A sensational wine brimming with fresh, zingy energy and rich intense fruit. Not only is the wine absolutely delicious, but each bottle takes them back to memories of their holiday. As always Riesling remains one of the great unsung hero’s of the wine world. Approximately 32-25 euro cellar door.
Bread and Butter Chardonnay 2017, Napa Valley. Some kind soul must have bought this round one dinner party as a gift. Having discovered it in the rack and popped it open to see what it was like, the surprise was an entirely pleasurable one. So much so that a quick google led them to Majestic and before you could say Napa Chardonnay, a case had arrived at the door. It does exactly what it says on the tin, a lovely rich, buttery Chardonnay, but with a moderate 13.5% abv it is still fresh and juicy. They also do a Pinot Noir, which they have every intension of trying too. Majestic Wines, £15.99 or £13.99 as a mix 6.
The plan had been to open a rich and powerful Amarone, but on such a glorious day that seemed somehow wrong (save it for Sunday!). A more fitting red for the sunny weather was the Escarpment ‘The Edge’ Pinot Noir from Martinborough in New Zealand’s North Island. NZ is producing some world class Pinot, and the lesser known region of Martinborough is up there among the best. It has incredible gravel terraces producing gorgeous ripe yet elegant wines. This was not only a delicious wine but excellent value. On offer at Waitrose £11.99 down from £14.99
Again weather inspired drinking, which is the best kind, took us to the beautiful coastal region of Rias Baixas for the Albarino de Fefinanes 2017. A lovely clean, crisp, mineral driven white that ticks all the boxes. This variety shows lovely peachy fruit with a cool mineral core and a mouth watering salty tang, the perfect summer thirst quencher. Decantalo 13.50 euro
Finally because it is VE day weekend, and because quite frankly, right now we need to celebrate the small things in life, we had the Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvee NV from Hampshire. Made by the incredibly talented Emma Rice who is widely recognised as one of England’s best winemakers, it shows depth and richness which beautifully balances the brisk acidity which is the hallmark of English wine. A really classy sparkling wine worthy of such an important weekend in our history. It is also great value. £29 from Tesco.
And so until next Thursday… have a great, socially distanced VE weekend