The south of France, with its varying appellations, was one of the first wine regions that I fell in love with. I still retain an affection for the likes of Pic St Loup, Corbieres, Faugeres and Cotes du Roussillon, but it’s ages since I have visited – something I should try to address next year. [...]
Framingham, who I’ve reviewed before here, are one of New Zealand’s most underrated producers, I reckon. All their wines are good, but it’s Riesling for which they are best known. This is their top Riesling, and it’s pretty serious. It’s the oldest vines on the estate (this is Marlborough, so they’ll be 30 years old [...]
Three wines from innovative Aussie producer First Drop (see their website here). They specialize in alternative varieties, but also do a pretty good job with their more conventional wines. The packaging and marketing is spot on. These wines have just become available in the UK, so RRPs are attached. I’m chasing up where they are [...]
I’m on a bit of a Languedoc roll at the moment. Here’s another really delicious, quite serious, yet well-priced wine. And it’s white.
La Chapelle de Bebian 2009 Coteaux du Languedoc, France
A blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Clairette. Very distinctive nose: fresh, minty, herby with a hint of fennel and some anise. The palate is [...]
This is fantastic. It’s a blend of seven different grape varieties (Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Counoise, Grenache Noir, Terret Gris), made without any oak. And it manages to catch an almost Burgundian precision and elegance, with a natural, unadorned purity to the fruit. This is the sort of southern French red that I love.
This is a strong contender for one of the best value whites of the year, at the discounted price of £7.99. It’s from a producer I reviewed a short while ago, Prinz von Hessen.
Prinz von Hessen Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2008 Rheingau, Germany
11.5% alcohol. Taut lime and lemon nose with a hint of honey. The palate [...]
I’m getting quite enthused about South African whites of late. Especially the white blends. Here are two very good wines, both made by winemaker Ian Naude. One is a blend of different varieties; the other a blend of different regions.
Naude 2008 Western Cape, South Africa
A blend of Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, weighing in [...]
I do like Austrian wines. Much of my attention is taken by Gruner Veltliner and Riesling, two varieties that Austria just does brilliantly with, but Austrian reds are also really interesting, especially when winemakers hold back on the oak and extraction. This is a superb Blaufrankisch, from the Burgenland region near the Hungarian border. Elevage [...]
The world is awash with interesting wine, even if you have to dig around a bit to find it. The problem this creates for me is I’m perpetually feeling a bit guilty for not plugging certain interesting regions or styles often enough, and one country that I think over-delivers in terms of interest is Austria. [...]
Back in February 2009 I visited Sicilian producer Planeta (report here). It was a great visit, and I particularly enjoyed the Cerusuolo from Vittoria, a blend of Nero d’Avola with the bright, fresh Frappato variety. I even went out and bought some afterwards, which for a wine writer deluged by samples is a true endorsement.