A Wine Writers View on the World of Wine. Formerly Magics Wine Guide and Reviews for Newbies
Fiona Beckett says based on the oceans of Pinot Grigio on the supermarket shelves it’s easy to dismiss Italian whites as bland and boring, but she find herself turning to them more and more.
The hottest this summer seems to be Falanghina, which is a southern Italian grape variety that looks set to be the new Albariño., she adds. Oddly it’s M&S that has the “bargain” – Marks & Spencer Falanghina (£5.49) – and Asda that has the pricier version, Church Mouse Falanghina 2010 (£7.23). Marks & Sparks scores again with the intense, minerally Vermentino,from Lazio (£6.99) and Beckett and also “loves” the Sistina Pecorino 2010 (13% abv) at Majestic, which is (£6.99 on promo).
The other advantage of these wines being obscure, says Beckett is that under £8 they’re all pretty good value, which is definitely welcome in these cash-strapped times.
Victoria Moore has gathered together 30 of her favourite summer wines, two thirds which can be found in high-street retailers. This week it’s about thirst-quenchers for the garden.
Summer food was made for the following: Concerto Reggiano Lambrusco 2010 Italy (£11.95 Harrods, Valvona & Crolla). Lambrusco is a much-mocked sparkling red, says Moore, but this is an absolutely delicious grown-up version. Pour it, slightly chilled, into beakers and serve with salami and buongiorno prosciutto. Domaine Ferrer Ribiere Tradition 2007 Cotes du Roussillon France (£10.95, http://www.yapp.co.uk) is made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Carignan, and smells of sun-baked Mediterranean slopes and roasted fruits, and is crying out for garlic and herb sausages, she says.
With rosé outperforming red and white wine until last year, something had to give, says Anthony Rose. Sure enough, last year’s peak of 12.6 million cases tailed off by more than a quarter of a million. It’s not easy to pinpoint quite why, says Rose, but the most likely reason is boredom combined with a torrent of confected rosé and an average price rise of 5% due to unfavourable exchange rates.
But Rose has been trawling tastings for some bright pink spots on the horizon, which include; “the sophisticated and elegantly dry, Rioja Rosado 2010, Muga, (£9.99 buy 2 = £7.99, Majestic) and theViña Leyda Secano Estate Pinot Noir Rosé, 2010 (£7.99 M&S).
Finally, as Rose says “all rosé roads lead to Provence”, he recommends the salmon-pink Château Ste Marguerite Grande Réserve Cru Classé, Côtes de Provence Rosé, 2010 (£11.99, buy 2 = £9.99, Majestic).
The Financial Times
A quiet revolution has been taking place on the California wine scene, that runs counter to the usual paradigm of long grape hang times and higher alcohol levels, says Jancis Robinson MW. You can see the trend in some Chardonnays, but also the red Burgundy grape, Pinot Noir. The first wave of Pinot enthusiasts tended to seek out corners of the state that were aggressively cooled either by altitude or by lingering foggy incursions from the Pacific such as Russian River Valley in Sonoma. But the new pioneers of delicacy are seeking out even cooler spots such as the Coastlands and Hirsch vineyards and McDougall Ranch which are within sight of the Pacific itself and about 1,000ft elevation.
Former banker, Jamie Kutch’s is one such producer. Besotted by Burgundy he travels to the region with “an arsenal of questions” for luminaries such as Jean-Marie Fourrier, Etienne de Montille, Jean-Marc Roulot and Christophe Roumier. His 2009s, only just over 13% and are completely different from the California Pinot norm, being much racier and not remotely sweet, says Robinson.
The Daily Mail
Olly Smith recently bought an old fishing boat with its very own lobster pot. He says when pairing with lobster cooked simply, there are various classic wine options, Champagne being very traditional. But lobster is both sweet and salty, with a meaty texture, which allows quite imaginative pairing, says Smith. He adds sommelier Costanzo Scala at Benares bravely experiments with lighter reds, which work with darker sauces that boost the umami flavour.
If you want a safe match choose Chardonnay, Chablis for zing, or Meursault for a bit more opulence.
For Smith, lobster is most suited to grape varieties that are round and fleshy with an aromatic tinge, such as a Marsanne. The d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne/Viognier 2008 (Waitrose, £10.99), works a treat thanks to its peachy flavour and rich, mellow texture, he says.
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review