By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 14 May 2022
My new finds from wine growers around the world from Slovenia, Georgia, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Argentina and USA.
Bordeaux, France: JULIEN BARTHAZAC CREMANT DE BORDEAUX NV Union de Guyenne (12%)
£14.99 Virgin Wines
Outstanding favourite at Virgin Wines’ tasting, this is a new listing of one of France’s eight Cremants. Cremant de Bordeaux is one of the least known, mostly drunk in France, so it is a secret gem if you know which producer to watch. This delicious Semillon-based fizz is made in the same way as Champagne – with softer acidity, elderflower notes, appley fruits and a creamy palate.
McLaren Vale, S Australia: FIANO 2021 Oliver’s Taranga (13%)
£17 Wanderlust Wine
Fiano is heat and drought tolerant, so a perfect grape to experiment with in Australia’s warming temperatures. Oliver’s Taranga, run by Corrina and Brioni Wright, specialise in unusual varieties, making this wild yeast fermented stainless steel aged Fiano topped up with a tiny proportion fermented in old oak. Zippy citric juiciness, melony and smooth texture.
Stajerska, Slovenia: OLD VINE RIESLING 2017 Dveri Pax (13.5%)
£13.50 The Wine Society
This sleek mature Riesling shows how good Slovenian whites can be, particularly from old vines. Classically made by one of the country’s leading wineries, Dveri Pax, with 11 months in stainless steel; it has an enticing citric nose, beautifully limey sherbetty palate with a hint of wax, slightly sweet notes finishing dry.
Gisborne, New Zealand: LEFTFIELD ALBARINO 2021 (13.5%) ***GOOD VALUE***
This Galician grape, better known for its Rias Baixas Albarinos, has found a home in warm humid Gisborne on New Zealand’s east coast. This Kiwi example is broader in texture than Spanish Albarino, but with attractive succulent honeyed notes. Excellent value as usual from the Villa Maria group.
Kakheti, Georgia: FAMILY SELECTION KISI 2019 Dakishvili (13%)
£20-£22 Drinkmonger; Oddbins; £24.99 Georgian Wine Society
Benchmark amber qvevri wine made from old Kisi vines nurtured by talented winemakers Gogi Dakishvili & son Temuri, who are pioneers of quality qvevri winemaking in Kakheti region. Orange blossom, caramel, apricot, nutty undertones with a wonderful spicy creamy palate with very good complexity. Excellent introduction to Georgian wine.
Stellenbosch, South Africa: CIRCLE OF LIFE WHITE 2020 Waterkloof (13.5%)
£14 Woodwinters; £12.50 Noble Green
Blend of 59% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Chenin Blanc and 12% Semillon (all fermented separately, then blended) with Sauvignon’s green gooseberry fruits and brisk acidity quite dominant. With whole bunch pressing and a mix of ageing in barrels & concrete eggs, the palate is rich creamy and complex for the price.
Burgundy, France: CHABLIS BOISSONNEUSE 2020 Julien Brocard (13%) ***STAR BUY***
£19 The Wine Society
Excellent example from superb 2020 with rich fruit concentration, firm acidity, soft smooth palate and intense. Made by the highly reputable Domaine Brocard blending oak and stainless steel age wines to create a broad textured style of Chablis.
Sicily, Italy: ORGANIC ETNA ROSATO 2021 Castellore (12.5%) ***GOOD VALUE***
Aldi’s Specially Selected rose from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna is a gentle introduction to the local Nerello Mascalese grape. Often much higher in price, grippier and tannic – this example has crunchy attractive red fruits, crisp acidity and elegance – and is organic to boot.
Veneto, Italy: VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2020 Viviani (13%) ***STAR BUY***
£11.68 Justerini & Brooks
Son Claudio Viviani took over his family’s bulk wine business and transformed it into a burgeoning artisan winery. He blends old vine Corvina (70%) and Rondinella (30%) grown on limestone at 450m in Mazzano subzone of historic Classico area of Valpolicella west of Verona – making a beautifully pale, smooth unctuous cherry-fruited refreshing red – superb for summer drinking.
Beaujolais, France: JULIENAS BEAUVERNAY 2020 Domaine Joseph Burrier (13.5%)
£17 The Wine Society
Lovely example of a vibrant Beaujolais from hillside volcanic soils which smells much more mature than its youthful 2020 vintage. Rich dense cherry and plum fruits on palate, crunchy texture, long length – made by the reputable Burrier domaine who are based in Maconnais, but make several excellent Crus from the neighbouring Beaujolais region.
Mendoza, Argentina: BUENAS VIDES CAB SAUV 2019 (14.5%) ***GOOD VALUE***
For those who like big reds with plenty of cassis fruit, cedar and spice in their wine, this really is superb value with remarkably good intensity and length for the price. An easy drinking barbeque red.
California, USA: PARIS VALLEY ROAD ZINFANDEL 2017 (15%)
£11.50 The Wine Society
In a line up of Wine Society wines, this sweet juicy Zinfandel really stood out for its damson richness, racy acidity, balance, length and superb value. This is a crafty blend of 75% Zinfandel with 24% Syrah and 1% Petite Sirah aged 22 months in 20% new oak – but the oak is very soft and subtle; alarmingly easy to drink at 15%.
Kakheti, Georgia: SAPERAVI QVEVRI 2020 Qvevri Wine Cellar (13.5%) ***STAR BUY***
£23 Lea & Sandeman for 2019 vintage
Exciting new find from Georgian winemaker Ivane Nareklishvili who trained in Italy and returned home to establish his own estate in 2015 in Velistsikhe village in Kakheti. Delicious cherry fruit, good intensity, long length, quite Syrah-like in its fruit intensity; a clever interplay between perfume and texture.
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