Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.
David Williams chooses his three wines of the week.
First off the blocks is Taste the Difference Hawkes Bay Gimblett Gravels Syrah, New Zealand 2009 (£11.99, Sainsbury’s). The Gimblett Gravels district is such a cultish region, says Williams, that this addition to Sainsbury’s own-label range feels a bit like a major record label trying to “do” indie music. He adds that fortunately it’s a successful attempt and a great introduction to Gimblett Gravels’s Rhône-like style with its Syrah grape variety.
Marks & Spencer Fino Pale Dry Sherry NV (£5.99, Marks & Spencer) is his second choice. In his opinion few drinks work better as an aperitif at this time of year than a bottle of chilled dry fino or manzanilla. The cheap price tag helps too, and he thinks this example is quite remarkable for under six quid. Lastly, he says the Mayu Sangiovese, Elqui Valley, Chile 2008 (£6.98, Asda) has a depth of flavour that makes it better than pretty much any Chianti at this price.
There are few pleasures in life to beat some fresh seafood and a glass of chilled wine at a table near the sea, says Susy Atkins. Ideally, it might be a wine that tastes a bit salty, which can be found in Loire whites, especially Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. “Many point to the smoky, mineral attributes of such wines, but I find a hint of seaside breeze in there, too.”
Atkins’ top choice on a hot day by the sea is ice-cold fino or manzanilla sherry as they taste “bracingly briny, with a lip-smacking note of green olive and lemon peel”. She recommends Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Sherry, González Byass, Jerez, Spain (widely available, £9.49). Or, Taste the Difference Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2009/10, Loire, France (Sainsbury’s, £6.49) which Atkins says is very fresh, deeply lemony with a salty tang on the finish.
The Mail on Sunday
Do you like peaches and cream? Are you an adorer of the apricot? If the answer is yes, then – Viognier is here, says Olly Smith. If you’re a fan of mild aromatic wines such as Chenin Blanc, Fiano or even peachy styles of Chardonnay, then you’re going to love it.
Viognier can produce everyday gluggers as well as stunning fine wine, but overall I think it’s underrated and hasn’t quite had the heyday it so richly deserves. Its spiritual home is in France’s northern Rhône, and its fine Viognier such as Condrieu can offer on restaurant wine lists in comparison to the top white wines of Burgundy. But perhaps the best thing about Viognier is that you don’t need to remortgage your house to enjoy some splendid examples – and they’re widely available. Smith recommends d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne-Viognier 2008 (£9.99, Sainsbury’s).
Terry Kirby picks his weekly best to get us into the holiday mood. First off is for Sunday lunch and Le Faite White Saint Mont 2008/9 which he says is a delightfully different, limited-production white from the esteemed Plaimont co-operative in the Gers region of France. Made from the local Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu and Arrufiac grapes, it combines luscious tropical fruits with a fresh, lemon-and-pepper edge. (£14.99 portlandwine.co.uk)
For a Midweek meal it’s Mirabeau Côtes De Provence 2010. Kirby says Provence rosé is one of the benchmarks of French wine – so it takes some courage for a former telecoms executive from Teddington to go there and make it. Stephen Cronk has succeeded splendidly, adds Kirby and has created a lovely, balanced rosé, characterised by vibrant strawberry flavours and a bone-dry finish (£8.99, Waitrose).
Lastly in his bargain basement he opts for Corbières Gérard Bertrand 2008. Made by the French rugby star turned wine-maker Gérard Bertrand, this has a medium body with crunchy, red berry fruits and a spicy finish at a terrific online price (£7.49 M&S or £4.99 for a minimum of six bottles).
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review