Current Favourites…

Here you can find a list of wines that we think are currently drinking well; wines that we have enjoyed recently and would like to share with you! 

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White Wines

Bodega Ameztoi, Txakoli Blanco 2013 (Pais Vasco)

From Bilbao to San Sebastian Basque Txakoli (or Chacoli) made from the native Hondarrabi Zuri, is served in the pinxtos bars poured with great panache from a great height into small tumblers. The green-tinted liquid turns chalky-white, foams and eventually settles, retaining a lively spritz. The best wines are produced around the fishing village of Getaria where the vineyards are cut into incredibly steep terraced slopes overlooking the Bay of Biscay. Here you have a polyculture: apples, pears and tomatoes are planted, the vineyards are not weeded and no chemical sprays are used.

The taste of Txakoli, well, to quote Dick Swiveller in the Old Curiosity Shop, it can’t be tasted in a sip. It should be a back of the throat job, waiting for that jolting appley sourness to kick in. Gird your loins with some Cantabrian anchovies, stuffed pimentos or smoked fish and let the Txak attack!

Domaine l’Hortus, Bergerie Classic Blanc 2013 (Pic Saint Loup, France)

Pic Saint Loup and Hortus are the first ramparts of the Cévennes hills, overlooking the Gulf of Lions, surveying the scene from the Mount Ventoux to the Canigou. This is a country with rocks and cliffs; with olive trees and broom scattered throughout and peonies and dandelions nestled in the fallen rocks; caves are a sanctuary for owls and eagle owls, fowl and game; thickets of holm and pedunculata oak trees offer a festive setting to roe deers and wild boars; scores of rabbits and young partridges play in the branches of rosemary bushes among the scents of thyme, musk and cade.

Jean Orliac is one of the top producers in Pic Saint Loup and his wines are to be found in many of the top French restaurants. Domaine de l’Hortus is one of the standard bearers in AOC Pic St Loup. In 1979 Jean and Marie-Thérèse Orliac planted some abandoned land at the foot of two dramatic cliffs, the Pic St Loup and the Montagne de l’Hortus. They also built a distinctive winery, constructed mostly of wood. In total, they now have 55 hectares of vines, split over two sites, with 43 ha red grapes and 12 ha white.

The Bergerie Classic Blanc is a blend of Roussanne / Sauvignon Blanc / Sauvignon Gris / Chardonnay / Viognier with a touch of Petit Manseng.  The wine has refreshing flavours of grapefruit and fresh pineapple with herbs and menthol would be excellent with a goat’s cheese salad or simply grilled white fish.

Tajinaste, Listan Blanco 2013 (Tenerife)

Tajinaste’s vineyards lie on the north side of Tenerife and are therefore heavily influenced by the “vientos alisios”, or trade winds, which help moderate the climate of the islands. 

Made from the native Listan Blanco variety, the grapes are grown in extraordinary vineyards at altitudes of around 300 to 400 meters and the resulting wine is very fresh with cool, wet stone minerality and a saline edge.

Rose Wines

Chateau de Ollieres, Coteaux Varois Rose 2013 (Provence, France)

Located 30m east of Aix Château d’Ollières comprises 35 ha of vineyard on clay-limestone soils surrounded by five hundred hectares of forest and garrigue and enjoys a remarkably cool micro-climate. Quality is assured by a variety of approaches: short pruning to control yields, “travail des sols” to aerate the soil and encourage microbial activity, using organic manures, and harvesting by hand in small cagettes.

The blend is 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 10% Syrah; this perky pink has good freshness, delicious floral fruit and refreshing spiciness.

Masciarelli, Montepulciano Rosato 2013 (Abruzzo, Italy)

Gianni Masciarelli, who died in 2008, and his wife Marina Cvetic have been among the shining beacons of Abruzzo. For years, this beautiful land, with its abundance of sun, great soil and the easy-to-grow Montepulciano grape, had wallowed in mediocrity as scores of producers were clearly taking advantage of what was given to them. Gianni, along with his inspiration, the reclusive genius Edoardo Valentini, proved to the rest of the world, through hard work, low yields, and a desire to be the best, that Abruzzo and the Montepulciano grape could produce world-class (and then some) wines.

The Montepulciano Rosato is a delicious pearly-pink wine, refreshingly uncomplicated, just damn refreshing in fact, liquid testimony to the importance of not being earnest. To be drunk, nay guzzled, al fresco, with garlicky fish soup or with a plate of mixed salamis.

Red Wines

Domaine des Roches Neuves, Saumur Champigny 2013 (Loire valley, France)

Serious wines are produced at this estate run by the charismatic Thierry Germain. His approach is closer to a Burgundy wine-maker than a typical Loire producer. This 50-acre domaine, situated in a superb viticultural location in the appellation of Saumur Champigny, has been a winery since 1850. Germain, from a long line of Bordeaux winemakers, arrived here in 1991, attracted by the region’s perfect balance of grape varietal, climate and terroir, which he considers one of the finest in France. The vineyard is worked in a natural way with the goal of keeping the vine and the soil at its healthiest and Thierry has become a fully-fledged advocate of biodynamics. The harvest is manual, selecting grapes at their very ripest level. Vinification is handled in small batches with bottling unfined and unfiltered. Germain has garnered praise in the European press for his exciting wines, which are always filled with ripe, generous fruit and supple textures.

Painstaking attention to detail: the grapes are selected at optimum maturity to create suave, velvety, plump wines. The basic Cuvée Domaine is garnet with purple tints, exhibits lively aromas of irises, violets and red fruits, a balanced and ripe palate, harmonious and full and a smoky finish with subtle tannins. Disregard a label so loud it could be heard in Timbuktu.

Ciu Ciu, “Bacchus” Rosso Piceno IGP 2013 (Marche, Italy)

The farm was established in 1970 in Contrada Ciafone (Offida area) and is under now the direction of the Bartolomei brothers, Massimiliano and Walter. Made with grapes grown on the calcareous and clayey soil the Rosso Picenos of Ciù Ciù are typically dense and meaty with a strong scent and full bodied structure. The 2013 Bacchus has a delightful nose of strawberry, morello cherry and liquorice root. The wine has an uncomplicated juiciness that begs for a second and third glass. It can even be merrily chilled.

Bodega Mengoba, “Brezo” Bierzo Tinto 2013 (North West Spain)

Bodega Mengoba’s vineyards span over Espanillo, Valtuille, Villafranca de El Bierzo and Carracedo on the slate, calcareous and stony soils of these areas.  The plots of Mencia are located in Horta and Vallafranca del Bierzo at 550 metres of altitude on clay soils with sand. The grapes are destemmed and crushed with a traditional vinification with pumping over during the fermentation which takes place in stainless steel. Incredibly purple and fruity it has flavours of sweet black cherries and damson, a dash of Mencia herbs (oregano and pepper) and a lovely fresh finish. Amazing value!

Posted by Virginie on 24-Oct-2014. Permalink
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