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Thursday Night Club - exploring the weird and seriously wonderful

Galil Mountain Winery Syrah 2018, Upper Galilee, Israel. In 2013 I was lucky enough to do a wine tour through Israel, it was one of the most fascinating and enlightening trips I have taken to date. I visited Galil Mountain Winery on that visit, perched on the hillside facing Lebanon. The views were dramatic as I tasted the wines, drinking in the scenery as the sun set over the valley. Though the wines are Kosher, they are not, as many believe, therefore pasteurised. They are made in the same way as regular wine, except during the winemaking process they can only be handled by Sabbath observant Jews and there is rabbinical oversight during the process. Though the Bordeaux varieties are the most regularly seen in Israel, it is the Mediterranean varieties that really excited me. This Syrah reminded me why. Superb concentration of fruit thanks to the beautiful sunny weather, but with a freshness, energy and peppery spice indicative of the high altitude vineyards. Crunchy black fruit, lots of black pepper, lots of minerality and a hint of dark chocolate. I am a huge fan of the wines of Israel and cannot recommend enough that all wine lovers try them. This wine is extraordinarily good value. £13.99

Moroder Dorico 2016, Conero Riserva DOCG, Marche, Italy. This was a stop on one of the regular wine trips to Italy, where they had ventured to the lesser known region of the Marche, just to the south of Abruzzo. Though more famous for their white wines, they had the chance to enjoy a wine tasting lunch at Moroder and were introduced to their top interpretation of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape. Lots of oak, but enough rich and concentrated dark purple fruit to carry it, alongside notes of caramel and cherry cola. Cellar door approx. 18 euro.

Rupert & Rothschild Classique 2017, Western Cape, South Africa. This used to be a wine that he drunk with some regularity many years ago and seeing it was on offer decided to try it again and see if it was as good as he recalled. And thankfully it absolutely was. A classic Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend with dark cherry and cassis, lovely freshness and svelte tannins. A very classy number. It is opening nicely in the glass and the wine could certainly age and improve for a number of years in the cellar. Excellent value. Majestic £14 reduced from £22

Tobelos Rioja 2016, Spain. This was part of the Wine Society Christmas case that was sent in advance by the in-laws in preparation for their arrival at Christmas. Sadly Boris had other plans and though their arrival was cancelled, the silver lining was that the wine delivery wasn’t! Dark damson fruit and hints of pomegranate molasses, a good, if not overly exciting wine, but they were spot on with the tasting notes when they said it went well with ham. Paired with ham hock it stood up beautifully. The Wine Society £12.50

Axia Syrah/Xinomavro 2017, Amyndeon, Greece. Made by the superb team at Alpha Estate up in the north of Greece, they are absolutely loving it and keeping the groups love affair with Greek wine going strong as we enjoy it vicariously through them! Full and rich with blackberries and pepper on the nose. A really juicy, rich palate, elegant and classy with delicious freshness. This is one to savour rather than smash! Selfridges £17.99

Ziereisen Gutedel 2014, Germany. Home schooling has put pay to any thoughts of dry January and so she introduced us to the Ziereisen grape, it was certainly a first for amateur and professional alike! A quick google (how did we ever survive before google?!) revealed that it is in fact the same grape as the Chasselas of Switzerland. The vineyards are situated on the hills overlooking Bahl on the Swiss/French/Germany boarder. A lovely, delicate, mineral wine with a fresh and zesty palate balanced by a hint of melon and honey. Subtle, intriguing and a stunner at this price point. Philglas & Swiggot £14.50

Ochota Barrels The Slint Vineyard Chardonnay 2017, Adelaide hills, Australia. This is a seriously special wine and one that should be savoured and revered in equal measure. Bottle number 20120 of just 4488 made. Chardonnay was the grape that first got her into wine, but it was the big, oily, buttery wines that had dominated her early drinking. As her palate expanded, she was swiftly put off that style and spent some time avoiding Chardonnay at all costs, the infamous ABC (anything but chardonnay). But a revolution was happening among new world wine producers and the Chardonnay’s they major in now bares no resemblance to those butter-monsters. This wine is vibrant and elegant, waxy lemons, a nervy acidity and a pure, pristine style of fruit. Subtle richness is added to the palate through judicious use of lees aging and old oak. Delicate and beautiful, it has the crystalline character of a bell ringing. Speciality Drinks £40

Pazzia Primitivo di Manduria 2018, Puglia, Italy. Determined to present a wine not represented by the wine company he works for, he took a trip to Waitrose and found this little Italian gem. What an unexpected delight! Dense dark fruit showing plums and cherries with a lovely note of coco powder, lush and moreish and serious bang for buck. It is a dream with pheasant casserole. On doing a little research into the wine for Thursday Night Club it turns out that it is an own label created by his own company! What are the chances! Waitrose £11.99

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