Top 10 wines in the UK press
Cornelia Swartland White 2014, South Africa
With spring moving steadily closer Susy Atkins, writing in The Telegraph, recommended a selection of young South African whites.
She said: “I don’t recommend buying these newbies when they first appear. They can taste too sharp, quivering with too much tongue-tingling acidity, in September. But now, with a few months’ bottle age, that gangly-teen edginess has matured and softened a little and the wines are a little less tart. Most are uncomplicated, unoaked Chardonnays, apple-y Chenin Blancs and slightly grassy Sauvignon Blancs. Simple, admittedly, but good apéritifs, and very decent partners for white fish, mild cheeses and healthy vegetable stir-fries.”
Of this 2015 Cornelia she said: “From the highly fashionable Swartland region, an interesting blend of Chenin, Grenache Blanc, Verdelho and Viognier, unoaked and juicy with a rich texture and note of yellow pears.”
Price: Marks & Spencer, £10
Pasqua Passimento 2013, IGT Veneto, Italy
David Williams meanwhile picked three “of the best” Italian red wines writing in The Guardian, including this red blend from the Veneto made from the Merlot, Corvina and Croatina grapes.
He said: “Generally speaking, the taste of raisins is not a good thing in red wines. It tends to come with spirity alcoholic heat and a lack of zip. I do, however, have a soft spot for wines made from raisins, especially those from the traditional home of the technique around Verona in Valpolicella. At their best these wines are sumptuously fleshy, big in alcohol, but balanced with vibrant acidity; deep in colour but deeply distinctive in dark cherry and chocolate flavour. At its offer price of £7.99 for the next couple of weeks, Pasqua’s version is a robust, sweetly spicy, good-value introduction.”
Price: £11.99, or £7.99 if you buy two bottles, majestic.co.uk
Le Salette La Marega Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011, Italy
Amarone is an Italian dry red wine made largely from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina and Rondinella grape varieties, typically rich with a high alcohol content.
Recommending this example, Williams said: “Amarone producers have tried to rein in the alcohol in recent years, but the unusual production process means their wines will always be more alcoholic than others (sometimes as high as 16.5%) This is the sort of wine that works better at the end of an evening than the beginning, best enjoyed with a hunk of parmesan and a book at hand. Le Salette’s La Marega (15%), with its suavely presented layers of dark cherry, chocolate and savoury meatiness, is what the Italians call a vino di meditazione – a real treat for slow-sipping reflection.”
Price: £45.75, Lea & Sandeman, leaandsandeman.co.uk
NV Indigo, Château Civrac, Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux, France
There were strong words from Matthew Jukes writing in the Daily Mail this week, who declared this three litre box wine to be the finest he had ever tasted.
“Art labels are all the rage with the likes of Château Mouton-Rothschild and Leeuwin Estate showcasing stunning works of art each year on their bottles”, he said. “This is the finest wine box I have ever tasted. It’s made by a great Château and designed for the Tate Gallery by David Pearce. You can proudly display this stunning looking wine box and its only £1.25 per gorgeous glass!”
Price: £29.95,Wadebridge Wines, www.wadebridgewines.co.uk
2012 Marques de Casa Concha, Chardonnay, Concha y Toro, Limarí, Chile
Jukes was “flabbergasted” by the value offered by this this “elegant” Chardonnay from the Limarí Valley at the edge of the Atacama Desert in Chile.
He said: “This elegant Chardonnay is absolutely stunning with serious class on the nose and palate. It is a heavenly match with the Chicken pie recipe in this week’s Weekend Magazine and when I opened a bottle with a very famous winemaker the other day we were both completely flabbergasted with the value on offer.”
Price: £11.99, Tesco
Clocktower Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand
Jamie Goode recommended a number of wines with the “richness and complexity” to accompany the “strong flavours of Mexico”, writing in The Express this week.
Of this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc he said: “He said: “Made by Wither Hills, this is a really impressive, high-end Marlborough sauvignon, offering flavours of lively grapefruit, pear and lemon with some fennel and white-pepper complexity. It has extra dimensions and would complement the fish and tabbouleh.”
Price: $13.99, Marks & Spencer
Crasto 2012, Douro, Portugal
Portgual is increasingly building a reputation for quality table wines with Goode calling this 2012 offering a “superb wine for the money offering sleek, ripe, black-cherry and blackberry fruit with a lovely texture.”
He said: “It’s made by Quinta Do Crasto, one of the most acclaimed wineries in northern Portugal’s Douro Valley, and would be great served with the lamb and dates.”
Price: £8.50, The Wine Society, Sainsbury’s
Vibo Punta del Viento 2011, Chile
Terry Kirby, writing in The Independent, recommended this “hefty” 15% abv red from Chile.
He said: “A wonderfully structured blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache, more typical of the South of France, although actually from the Colchagua Valley of Chile, and with a hefty 15% abv. Big red-fruit flavours and a long, savoury finish. Meaty and satisfying, so pair with similarly full-bodied meat dishes.”
Price: £17.68, spiritedwines.co.uk
Soli Pinot Noir, Edoardo Miroglio 2011, Bulgaria
And finally, Kirby picked this “gorgeous” Bulgarian Pinot Noir.
He said: “Once there was little to recommend about Bulgarian bottles, but this gorgeous Pinot Noir, part of a Wine Society range of newly discovered wines, shows how far they have come on, thanks here to an Italian wine-maker – soft, cherry flavours, with a seriously smoky, spicy edge. Try, perhaps lightly chilled, with fish dishes or tomato-based pasta.”
Price: £9.95, thewinesociety.com