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12 from Berry Bros & Rudd

An interesting selection of twelve wines from UK retailer Berry Bros & Rudd (www.bbr.com).

Domaine de la Renjarde Côtes du Rhône Villages 1998
Renjarde is a property owned by Château La Nerthe. It is located at Serignan-du-Comtat, between Orange and Montpellier. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault are planted on calcareous sandstone soils. The grapes are machine harvested and fermented in a combination of concrete and temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. This is quite a substantial red wine. Deep colour with a savoury nose of wet stones and a touch of spice, and a tiny bit of alcoholic heat. Palate is rich, ripe and spicy with a mineralic edge. Very attractive: approachable but still nicely savoury. Good value. Very good+ (£6.95) 

Domaine Capion ‘Le Sorbier’ 1999 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
Neighbouring Mas de Daumas Gassac, this property is now owned by South Africa’s Saxenberg Estate. From a Languedoc area better known for its red wines, this is an ambitious, striking white wine. Powerful nose of lemony, floral fruit with lots of vanilla-edged new oak. Savoury, intense palate with coffee and vanilla notes, a rich spicy texture and some of that soapy, soft texture often found in southern French whites. The oak is quite dominant but it works well. Complex stuff. Very good+ (£10.95) 

Somerset Hill Pinot Noir 1999, Denmark, Western Australia
A family owned winery with 9 hectares of vineyards (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sémillon, and Sauvignon Blanc) planted in 1995. Denmark is quite a cool region and Somerset Hill's vines are the highest-located in the area, the last to be harvested each vintage. Quite a pale ruby red colour. Slightly cloudy. Striking herby, sweetly spiced nose with just a touch of undergrowth about it. Palate shows more spicy, herby character. Quite woody. Works quite well but it is an unusual, full flavoured wine: subtlety is not its strong point. Very good+ (£10.95) 

Osborns Cabernet Merlot 1998 Mornington Peninsula
A family owned winery in the Mornington Peninsula. Frank and Pamela Osborn planted their first vineyard there in 1988, and now have 6 hectares. Sweet forward nose of minty, spicy fruit with cinnamon and vanilla notes. Palate shows nice balance between the berry fruit, spicy tannins and acidity. Quite savoury in style despite the sweet oak influence: this wine relies heavily on new oak for its flavour, but it is very appealing if you don’t mind this, with some cool climate character. Very good (£11.95) 03/02

Louis Claude Desvignes Morgon ‘La Voute St-Vincent’ 2000, Beaujolais
Louis-Claude Desvignes, a 7th generation vigneron, has vineyards situated on the Montagne de Py in the centre of Morgon. The wine is vinified by the traditional cru Beaujolais method with a grille to keep the cap submerged. Quite deep coloured. There’s an attractive meaty, spicy edge to the cherry and raspberry fruit on the nose. Savoury, firm palate shows good acidity and some tannin. A satisfying wine that would be good with food. Very good+ (£8.45) 

Beaumont Jackals River Pinotage 1999 Walker Bay
Raoul and Jayne Beaumont bought this property in 1973. Today there are nearly 50 hectares of vineyards planted with a wide range of varieties. Sweet, lush nose with creamy vanilla and coconut edge to the herby fruit. Quite attractive and accessible with plenty of oak, plumy herby fruit and a savoury, spicy finish. Quite refined cool climate fruit, but it’s a little too oaky. Very good (£10.75) 

Château Coufran 1997 Cru Bourgeois Haut-Medoc, France
Coufran is a large Cru Bourgeois (76 hectares of vineyard) located 3 miles north of the St-Estèphe boundary in the commune of St-Seurin-de-Cadbourne. Very deep red/purple. Striking nose of leafy-edged blackcurrant fruit with a strong mineral/cedar component. Palate is savoury with high acidity and a good concentration of leafy, almost herbaceous fruit. It’s lean and austere, but drinking well now with food. Typical of the 1997s but with a touch more structure than some. Very good (£9.95) 

Hugel Tradition Pinot Gris 2000 Alsace
Yellow gold. Fresh nose displaying spicy, herbal, slightly meaty notes (a touch of bacon fat?). The palate is dry and nicely structured with a good concentration of rich-textured spicy fruit. Not as fat as some Pinot Gris, but lovely typicity and would work well with food. Very good+ (£12.95) 04/02

Badia di Morrana Vigna Alba 1998
Badia di Morrona is a historical estate now owned by the Counts Gaslini Alberti, located in the Pisan hills in the north-west of the Chianti appellation. The estate covers 500 hectares with 60 hectares of vineyards planted with Sangiovese, Cannaiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. This is a superb personality-filled wine made from a particular clone of Sangiovese and matured in new oak. Deep purple/red with a slightly fading rim. Rich, exotic nose of sweet herbs, cherry fruit and spice, with a tarry edge. Complex and beguiling. Medium bodied spicy/savoury palate with a dry finish. Quite elegant; lovely savoury complexity. Not in a big lush international style. Very good/excellent (£18.95) 

Domaine Duffour Vin de Pays des Côtes du Gascogne
80% Colombard, 10% Gros Manseng, 10% Ugni Blanc, average vine age 20 years. Wonderful nose of striking lemon and grapefruit: very fresh and aromatic. Bright zesty fruit on the palate with high acidity. Good concentration and some minerality. A brilliantly fresh and crisp food wine. Very good+ (£4.85) 

Patrick Coulbis Pouilly Fumé Les Cocques 2000
Patrick Coulbois has 8 hectares of vineyards from his late wife’s family (land to the north of St. Andelain) and from his father’s holdings (to the west of St. Andelain). He practises lutte raisonnée. Fresh, savoury, minerally nose showing bright fruit and a wet stones character. Good intensity on the acidic mineralic palate. Very dry and satisfying, this is a traditional style of Pouilly Fumé: it shows good concentration but it is not too fruit driven. Needs food. Very good/excellent (£9.50) 

(Azienda Agraria Bianchi Bandinelli) Villa di Geggiano 1998 Chianti Classico
A historic 13th century property that has been in the hands of the Bandinelli family since 1527, and now run by the brothers Andrea and Alessandro Boscu Bianchi Bandinelli. The grapes are fermented in temperature- controlled stainless steel tanks and the wines are then matured in a combination of small barriques, butts and 700- litre casks. There’s a tarry edge to the vivid spicy nose: very typical of Sangiovese. The palate shows savoury cherry fruit with lots of spiciness, high acidity and tight tannins. Good concentration but quite challenging on its own. Authentic, well made Chianti. Very good+ (£8.95) 

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