There was definitely an unofficial theme this week; ‘smashable’ wines. A verb that was embraced with gusto.
Podere Scopetone, Rosso di Toscana Sangiovese 2016, Tuscany. Today was a zoom ‘farewell drinks’ for two interns at work, each person in the team was sent a bottle of wine, the brief; a bottle of red to drink at 4pm. A surprise bottle was delivered to the door. Selected for him was a bottle of Sangiovese di Montalcino, not only very tasty and hitting the brief perfectly, but bringing back lovely memories of a trip to Montalcino with the wife before the kids were born. And an added bonus, it was in a light weight bottle thus reducing its carbon footprint.
Domaine de l’Horizon 2017, Cotes Catalanes, Languedoc. This is not your average lunch time quaffing rose, but a beautiful example of a complex yet elegant rose showing great depth of flavour. It is 100% Grenache from very old vines grown on slate soils adding intensity and mineral spice to the wine. This is a beautiful wine to have with food. Swig £36
Trinchero Terra del Noce Barbera d’Asti 2015, Piedmonte. On moving to the UK 12 years ago, this was the first winery visit she went on. The winery has incredible, boasting massive barrels that have to be constructed inside the cellar and can’t be moved. It is made in a very natural style which has certainly resulted in a fair bit of bottle variation, however it has beautiful fruit with delicious sour cherry and spice, anda lovely acidity that lifts the wine. Very much looking forward to it with tomato pasta! Clapton Wine and Beer shop £24
Weighut Scheiblhofer Big John Cuvée Selection 2018, Burgenland, Austria. They are drinking Austrian tonight in honour of the Austrian Grand Prix. This is a blend of the indigenous Zweigelt grape (60%) with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Pinot Noir and is a really delicious wine; intense purple/ruby with elegant but powerful fruit, a hint or orange peel and a moreish salty finish. As they said, ‘my kinda wine’, and by the sound of it, it is mine too. A gift from a friend but available from drinksandco.co.uk for £13.95 (currently out of stock)
Nomad Wines ‘Franc’ Cabernet Franc 2019, Elgin, South Africa. The debut wine from Peter Kruger, store manager at Philglas & Swiggot in London who decided to try his hand at winemaking back home in South Africa – a convenient excuse to regularly head back to the sunshine! He purchased grapes from the cool region of Elgin and has made this lovely, crunchy Loire style Cabernet Franc, a bit like a leaner style of Saumur; fresh and easy drinking with an attractive hint of astringency enhancing the freshness. The first in the ‘smashable’ series! Not yet released, but when it is, it is likely to be found at D’Vine Cellars for around £20
Los Vascos Carmenere Grand Reserve 2017, Colchagua Valley, Chile. This is from the Chilean outpost of the Rothschild’s, and this couple’s first foray into the world of Carmenere. There was so much intense fruit and spice going on they didn’t know if they should drink it or eat it! Rich, bright cherry, herbaceous notes, bell pepper, lots of curry spice with a citrusy freshness. The more they got into its groove the more they enjoyed it. Waddeston Manor Wine Shop £16
M de Minuty Rosé 2019, Cotes de Provence. This is their ‘pink sunshine wine’, the wine which always makes it feel like summer even when the weather isn’t playing ball. A firm house favourite, and the second in our ‘smashable’ wine series! Majestic £13
Castello Banfi Amicus 2015, Toscana IGT. On his own tonight, so free to open a bottle of red! Worryingly the last bottle of Italian red in the rack (a situation I think will be remedied swiftly!) and no idea how it came to be there! This is a super Tuscan style wine, blending the traditional Sangiovese with international varieties Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, a style in which Banfi excel. The nose and entry are distinctly Sangiovese but the finish develops the polished intensity of the international varieties. M&S currently out of stock
Sierra de Gredos Cadalso Viños de Montaña 2018, Spain. This wine is from old vine Garnacha grown at 1100m above sea level in the Sierra del Gredos NW of Madrid on granite soils. It is almost Pinot-esque in character with beautiful juicy, crunchy fruit and a slatey minerality. Yes you guessed it, it was ‘smashable’! Available from Winepoole (Warwick) and Wine Tramp (London) £13-14
Orto di Venezia 2017, San Erasmo, Venice. Continuing the ode to holidays past and holidays cancelled, we are taken on a trip to Venice for this highly unusual wine which is grown on the island of San Erasmo in the lagoon. This isolated positioning means that it is grown on its own rootstock (most vines are grafted onto American rootstock as they are resistant to the phylloxera louse that devastated vineyards in the 19th century). It is made from the ancient Istrein Malvoisie variety (likely a synonym for Pinot Gris) It is almost Chardonnay-esque on the palate with a buttery richness balancing a mineral core. They first discovered the wine having been directed to a tiny restaurant called Osteria Alle Testiere by the Guild of Food Writers and they loved it. Not available in the UK but imported directly via Xtrawine.com £23 delivered.
Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote du Py 2018, Beaujolais. The last in the series of ‘smashable’ wines tonight, and arguably where the style began; with the Gamay grape in Beaujolais. Morgon in my favourite appellation in the region, and the volcanic soils of the Cote du Py climat consistently delivers. This wine is seriously addictive. A delicious nose of juicy black cherry, violets and a hint of spicy, smoky reduction. The palate is so silky, juicy and utterly moreish with bright crunchy black fruit, subtle meaty richness and a lovely graphite spine. Svelte, pure... absolute class. The Wine Society £15.50