SWA 2011: NEW WORLD - OTHER REDS
Not a vast amount in the way of bargains, but there were some decent, unusual wines here, proving that the New World still knows how to innovate
As always, the Other Reds was a big ol’ hotch-potch of grape varieties and wine styles. With most of the key single varieties now having their own flights, this was largely made up of weird and wonderful blends; some inspired, others plain deluded.
And also as expected, the tasters struggled somewhat with the eclectic nature
of the flights, though decent wines did still tend to stand out. ‘These were very,
very diverse,’ said Gergely Szabo, ‘but there were a couple that shone out with
obvious quality and complexity’.
While the two Golds were (as is often the case) multi-varietal blends, a good number
of the other medal-winners were single varietal this year: Tannat, Barbera, Carignan, Pinotage and Mourvèdre.
With wines from pretty much every corner of the wine world and such a wide mix
of grape varieties giving this category the feel of a Turkish bazaar, you might think that this would be a good place to go truffling around for bargains. But in fact, down the years, few of the wines taking top spot have been cheap. And so it was again this year, with
both Golds over a tenner.
Although there were a few, more affordable, offerings at Silver and Bronze level, the hit rate among the cheaper wines was significantly lower. Given that around three-quarters of the wines submitted in this category were under £10, their influence in the final medal count was disproportionately low.
‘The quality was all on the expensive side – there was little at the value-for-money end,’ lamented Etrusca’s Luigi Buonanno.
In other words, the New World can do good things with unusual grapes and weirdo mixes but don’t expect them to do it at the kind of prices that will make them walk off your list. Instead, this is an area that will test your ability to hand-sell.
An odd category, for sure, but worth a look. The fact that Perez Cruz’s Liguai picked up its second Gold in three years suggests that there is genuine quality to be had here for restaurants that are able to sell something a bit different.
“Too many of the cheap wines were simple, sweet and unbalanced. The New World’s strength should be value for money. ” Natasha Hughes, Team Leader
Emiliana Organic Coyam 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile
£11.50 @ Boutinot
With intense black fruit, graphite hints and smoky notes, there’s plenty to appeal on the nose of this medium-bodied red. The oak is evident on a well-fruited, berry-driven gutsy palate. ‘Velvety-rich fruit, with cashmere tannins, this is Parker-style, but very well done,’ said Angela Reddin, while Igor Sotric summarised it as ‘dynamic elegance’.
Perez Cruz Liguai 2008, Maipo Alto, Chile
£16.28 @ Novum Wines
Plenty to interest, with a ripe red plum and strawberry nose, more bramble fruit on the palate, plus ripe tannins, juicy fruit and a round, velvety structure. ‘Intensive and energetic,’ said Igor Sotric. ‘Lovely with spicy food,’ added Alvaro Marcos Garcia.
Emiliana Organic Novas Carmenere/Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Colchagua Valley, Chile
£6.20 @ Boutinot
Colourful and structured, this has a good mix of floral and black-fruited aromas, grainy tannins, rich fruit and a dry finish. ‘Well balanced,’ thought Pierre Hobeika, while Igor Sotric suggested veal as a match, citing its ‘impressive length’ and appreciating its value for money.
Houghton The Bandit Shiraz/Tempranillo 2008, Western Australia
£7.20 @ constellation wines [accolade wines]
A very smooth wine, this is a good example of the new blends emerging from Australia. With attractive aromas of black fruit, spice and flowers, there’s plenty of fruit, some of it jammy, on a medium-bodied format. ‘Dark earthy, plummy character. Very good,’ said Angela Reddin.
Chilcas Red One 2008, Maule Valley, Chile
£9.43 @ Bibendum
With its dark, broody nose and good savoury depth, this has ripe fruit and good mineral character. ‘Nice acidity lifts the fruit,’ said Martin Lam. ‘This is well balanced to the finish.’
Errazuriz Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve 2007, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
£25.26 @ Hatch Mansfield
Plenty of interest but price weighed against this wine. Very dense and extracted, with a nose of ironstone, coal and black fruits, the palate is just on the right side of sweet. ‘Full-bodied and balanced,’ concluded Pierre Hobeika. ‘Big, rich and port-y,’ said Angela Reddin.
Michel Torino Don David Reserve Tannat 2009, Cafayate, Argentina
£6.75 @ Hallgarten Druitt
Floral, dusky violets join with fruit on the nose, while the palate is modern. ‘Juicy, jammy and spicy, eased by tannins and fresh acid, with a bold, long finish,’ said Sarah Jane Evans MW.
Quattrocchi Barbera Reserve 2007, Mendoza, Argentina
£7.49 @ Sommelier’s Friend
Mint and eucalyptus creep through alongside bold brambly aromas, this has a sweet vanilla custard and blackberry character. ‘Strong on flavours, this is well balanced and beautifully
done,’ said Pierre Hobeika.
Oveja Negra Single Vineyard Carignan 2008, Maule Valley, Chile
£7.72 @ Hallgarten Druitt
Toasty notes add to a black-fruited nose of medium intensity. The palate is medium bodied
with tannins a touch tight at the moment. ‘Fruitcake,’ noted Angela Reddin. ‘Good drinking wine,’ said Michael Moore.
Warwick Estate Old Bush Vines Pinotage 2009, Stellenbosch, South Africa
£8.45 @ John E Fells & Sons
With light smoky notes on the nose alongside red fruits, plums and vanilla, this has a ripe,
jammy style balanced by chalky tannins and good freshness.
Adoro Mourvedre 2009, South Africa
£9.01 @ Wine Studio
If this wine proved tricky for our panel to decide how to judge, how much more so for wine
buyers to decide where it should land? While we applaud winemaker Ian Naudé’s decision to create an off-dry red for cheese, our judges found it not quite sweet enough for the dessert category while being too ‘medium’ in terms of sweetness for this category. Nevertheless, for adventurous wine lists where there is scope and space, here’s one to consider for the explorers, with its intense nose, red and purple fruits, relatively high tannin and light finish.
Heartland Dolcetto/Lagrein 2009, Langhorne Creek/Limestone Coast, Victoria, Australia
£9.15 @ Enotria
A complex blend of aromas – mulberry, flowers and spice – accompany this blend’s deep colour and weighty palate. With good acidity and ripe tannins, Natasha Hughes called this ‘rich and balanced’. ‘This wine would certainly would work in a pub scenario,’ added Angela Reddin.
LFE 900 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile
£12.50 @ D&D Wines International
Savoury tobacco and black fruit aromas lead to a well-oaked, cedar-infused palate, with good fruit and a long finish. ‘Deep and intense, chocolate with berry fruits,’ said Mark Deamer.
Caliterra Cenit 2007, Colchagua Valley, Chile
£23.44 @ Hatch Mansfield
Plums, dark cherry and notes of green pepper and tar rub alongside sweet oak flavours. Although several queried the pricing, fragrant tannins are nicely balanced alongside a full-on, fruit-driven palate, which Mark Deamer reckoned would evolve with time.
Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – May/June 2011