For your cellar: Great wines you should be trying. May/June 2008

Fancy adding a bit of pep to your wine list? Let Imbibe’s pick of the bunch give you a few ideas


Clark Foyster Wines
020 8567 3731

Rainer Weiss Riesling Loibenberg 2006, Wachau, Austria £12.18

What they say: This young producer’s wines have the unmistakeable aromatic minerality of Wachau and the style is firm, dry and enticing.

What we think: With a palate full of all sorts of apples, this has superb depth, complexity, texture and finish. SF

Mas Cristin, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, 2006, France £7.57

What they say: The first wine to be released from a famous old vineyard, this blend of Maccabeu, Marsanne and Roussanne is rich-textured with complex flavours.

What we think: Very interesting flavours. Elegant and vanilla-infused, this has floral hints and a palate cleansing finish. SF

Filipa Pato, ‘Bossa’, 2007, Bairrada, Portugal £5.32

What they say: A new project, made entirely from the Bairrada grape, Maria Gomes. The daughter of Portuguese pioneer, Luis Pato, has made a wine with a faintly Muscat-like nose and a fruity aromatic flavourm which should work well as an aperitif.

What we think: This is great by-the-glass material, and the modern face of Portugal. Apples and pears with texture and a fresh kick. SF

Fields, Morris & Verdin
020 7819 0360

Tenuta di Valgiano, Palistorti, Colline Lucchesi Rosso 2005, Tuscany, Italy £10.90

What they say: Near perfect terroir, at this revitalised Tuscan estate overlooking Lucca, encouraged Valgiano to convert to organic viticulture in 1997 and to biodynamics in 2002.

What we think: Delightful cherry balance, with classic tart notes alongside fine tannins. Try with Mediterranean food, barbecues and mezze. SF

Tenuta di Valgiano, Colline Lucchesi Rosso 2004, Tuscany, Italy £25.50

What they say: From an excellent vintage, this densely rich, cassis-perfumed, full-bodied blend, a ‘super-tuscan’ of sorts, shows a very fine weave, succulent fruit, and substantial yet fine tannins to allow further development.

What we think: Pricey yes, but an experience that won’t be forgotten. Richer than the Palistorti, with dark ruby fruit and a fine mixture of tannins. Classic with lamb, but don’t stop there, this is a gregarious wine drinking well now. SF

Genesis Wines Ltd
020 7963 9062

Domaine Fondreche, Côtes de Ventoux Rosé 2007, France £5.50

What they say: Some may regard the appellation as lowly but this magician’s work completely transcends the efforts of his neighbours. The results are a form of alchemy!

What we think: Pinky pink, this wine has plenty of texture on a tingling palate, replete with strawberry bavarois flavours. Well priced, too. SF

El Castro de Valtille Joven 2006, Bierzo, Spain £5.75

What they say: By far the most ambitious and successful wine from pioneering native Raúl Pérez, made with the local Mencía grape, this bursts with flavours of cherries, blackberries, raspberries, tobacco and truffles.

What we think: Velvety, dark red fruits with soft tannins and a red fruit finish. SF

Great Western Wine
01225 322 807

Chalkers Crossing Semillon 2006, New South Wales, Australia £6.35

What they say: Great style and value from Celine Rousseau, Qantas Young Australian Winemaker of the Year in 2002.

What we think: Honeysuckle nose leads to a bright, lively palate, full of Cox’s apples and a pleasing pithiness, with a slight waxiness and a creamy finish. SF

Bogle Winery, Petite Sirah 2005, California, US £8.05

What they say: On the nose: boysenberry with black pepper and herbs. Inky and jammy flavours fill the mouth with ripe fruit and berries, leading to a toasty, voluptuous finish.

What we think: Very pleasant and refined, with fine tannins, and plenty of cherries, plums and redcurrants. SF

Woodlands Chardonnay 2007, Margaret River, Western Australia £11.65

What they say: Characters of pear, nectarine and quince dominate a balanced and refined palate. The palate finishes with poise and finesse.

What we think: A new producer using old vineyards already making waves. With aromas of a French patisserie with stoned fruit, this has a complex palate, a zesty finish and good food structure. SF

Zaca Mesa Syrah 2003, Santa Ynez Valley, California, US £12.10

What they say: Rich blackberry, cassis and our signature sage spice aromas and flavours. with ripe tannins and smoky oak. Classic match for leg of lamb marinated in rosemary and garlic.

What we think: Superb. Great food wine. Fine balance of plums, damsons for depth and redcurrants for kicks. SF

01678 722538

Spiegel Gruner Veltliner 2006, Rabl, Kamptal, Austria £6.60

What they say: A fine, fresh bouquet with lemon, citrus and mineral tones on the palate leads through to a balanced and elegant finish.

What we think: Pineapple and lemon zest with a pithy, savoury twist on the mid-palate. Slightly oily texture makes this a good – and versatile – food-friendly example. CL

Parducci Petite Sirah 2004, California, US £5.70

What they say: Parducci is among California’s pioneer producers of Petit Sirah, a speciality of Mendocino County. Our 2004 ‘Pet’ displays a very dark ruby colour and enticing aromas of ripe cherries, wild blackberry, mint and dark chocolate.

What we think: Attractive, supple blueberry fruit with a lick of spice. Super-ripe tannins and very lush in the mouth. Good food wine and punter-friendly. CL



Les Domaine Paul Mas, La Forge Estate Marsanne 2007, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
£5.99-£6.49, Stratford’s, 01628 810606

What they say: White flowers, honeydew and quince aromas on the nose, leads to a rich, mellow palate and a long finish with honeydew notes.

What we think: Plenty of peachy texture balanced with ripe appley flavours and acidity. Try with saucy fish or goats cheese. SF

Tiberio Trebbiano d’Abbruzzo 2006
£6.95, Playford Ros, 01845 526777

What they say: With wine consultant extra-ordinaire Ricardo Cotarello at the helm, this new winemaking project seeks to both innovate, and to rediscover the true potential of local terroir and indigenous grapes.

What we think: Great food-matching potential with a medium-textured pithy palate, citrussy finish, and engaging individuality. SF

Fleur de Lotus 2006, Josmeyer, Alsace, France
£7.75, Dynamic Vines, 020 7287 2179

What they say: A blend of Gewürztraminer and Pinot Auxerrois from leading biodynamic producer Josmeyer, specifically designed to go with spicy Oriental and Indian food.

What we think: With a delicate palate of lychee, rose and just a touch of spice, this is brilliant with spicy food. Its balanced acidity doesn’t clash with chilli heat and it’s subtle enough to let the complex flavours of Asian food shine through. JS

Chanson Père & Fils, Viré-Clessé 2006, Burgundy, France
£9.54, Mentzendorff, 020 7840 3600

What they say: In the heart of Macon, the two villages Viré and Clessé form a unique terroir on the south-east facing slopes.
Careful grape selection gives a beautiful wine with fantastic acidity.

What we think: A reasonably priced white Burgundy from this dependable producer.
A clean minerality runs through the nose and palate, which also offers up defined citrus flavours and aromas plus hints of white flowers. This should walk off your list, no worries. JS

Jacob’s Creek, Steingarten Riesling 2005, Barossa, South Australia
RRP£13, Waverley TBS, 01442 293000

What they say: The true varietal expression of a classic, cool climate Riesling, this wine recently got Jancis Robinson MW’s vote as the highest quality Riesling at this year’s Australia Day Tasting.

What we think: Class at a great price from a superb site courtesy of the guru-like Phil Laffer. Petrolly hints on the nose, limey on the palate with fresh apples and tart white peaches. SF

Denbies Vineyard Select Bacchus 2007, Surrey, England
£11.06, ex-cellars, 01306 876616

What they say: Limited release wine, this has nettle and gooseberry aromas on the palate.

What we think: Floral nose leads to a highly enjoyable, pithy, gooseberry-laden palate with
a palate-cleansing, citrussy finish. Good either as an aperitif or with food. A touch pricey, but
a great English ambassador. SF

Chateau Ka, Nuit Blanche 2007, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
£15.15, Alliance, 01505 506060

What they say: A ground-breaking blend from the most exciting new Lebanese producer. Fermented in new oak, this has delicious spicy apricot on the nose with a rich, creamy palate.

What we think: A Chardonnay, Muscat and Viognier blend, with heady, sweet aromas and nice breadth on palate. Unusual. Perfect with mezze. MdW

Newton Vineyard, Red Label Chardonnay 2005, Napa/Sonoma Counties, California, US
£27-30, Moët Hennessy UK, 020 7235 9411

What they say: Delicate white flower, crisp apple and toasted bread aromas translate to rich fruit on the palate, with citrus, pear and apricot and a burst of freshness.

What we think: Big and beautiful, with plenty of texture and fresh zappy fruit. SF


Les Vignerons d’Estezargues, Terre du Mistral Rouge 2007, Rhone, France
£4.85, Epicure Wines, 020 8668 2597

What they say: A juicy and fragrant wine that will please the new and the experienced Rhône wine drinker alike.

What we think: Exceptional balance in this Grenache/Carignan blend, with sweet, ripe plum and blackberry fruit, and a delicious zip of spices. SF

Black Beret 2006, Jean d’Alibert, VdP d’Oc, France
RRP: £6-7, Buckingham Vintners, 01753 219788

What they say: Soft in texture but complex, this is from high altitude Syrah vines on limestone and old vine Grenache from some of the best terroir in Minervois.

What we think: Very, very blackberry-fuelled (strangely enough) from the collaboration between Hugh Ryman, Kevin Shaw and Robert Joseph. Fine tannins and individual character makes it a good by-the-glass candidate. SF

Opawa Pinot Noir 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand
£7.23, Negociants UK, 01582 462859

What they say: With good weight, structure and a smooth finish, we want to stress the vibrancy of the ripe juicy fruit from our stony soil vineyards.

What we think: Lifted red cherry fruit with a dusting of spice. Brisk acidity, but it’s integrated and hasn’t been over-extracted so has classic Pinot Noir charm. Good for chicken dishes and a good price, too. CL

Domaine Catherine Le Goeuil, Cairanne Cuvée Lea Felsch 2005, Rhône, France
£8.26, Patriarche, 020 7381 4016

What they say: Full of rich red berry flavours, good acidity and gentle tannins, this organic wine has great balance and a long finish, perfect for a rustic meal of warm bread, cold meats and cheese.

What we think: If Rhône is on the up, this is why. Crunchy, fresh, dark and inviting, with full-on-flavour and a medium body. SF

Morandé Carignan, Edicíon Limitada 2004, Maipo, Chile
£9.00, Laytons, 020 7288 8880

What they say: Rich and intense, with a nose of violets and French polish, the palate is full bodied and intense, with incredibly creamy tannins and fine acid balance.

What we think: This has superb complexity, a well-judged texture and a sappy finish. SF

Cave de Tain, St-Joseph Esprit de Granit 2005, Northern Rhône, France
£9.12, Boutinot, 0161 908 1326

What they say: Ideal with grilled or richly-sauced beef, lamb or game dishes, or strong-flavoured cheeses.

What we think: Delicious, fresh red and purple fruit, a perfectly balanced example of the genre. SF

Villa Donoratico Bolgheri DOC 2004, Tenuta Argentiera, Tuscany, Italy
£12.12, Eurowines, 0870 162 1420

What they say: Coastal estate co-owned by Cardo and Marcello Fratini and Marchese Piero Antinori. Consultant Stephane Derenoncourt has helped to create a range of three wines.

What we think: A Bordeaux blend with a distinctive Bolgheri twist. Smooth, rich and harmonious palate, and structured enough to stand up to the heartiest feast. JS

Hess Collection, Mount Veeder Mountain Cuvée 2004, California, US
£16.27, Enotria Winecellars Ltd, 020 8961 4411

What they say: Complex aromas of cassis, cedar and mint, with black cherry on the palate expressive of mountain fruit.

What we think: A full-on blend that really works, with depth, flavour, length, plus a spicy tang on top of plums and squashy cherries. SF

Littorai, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2005, California, US
£22.34; 2006: £17.51, Vineyard Cellars, 01488 681313

What they say: Very European-styled wines with high acidity and minerality.

What we think: A poised thoroughbred replete with wild elements alongside great balance. SF

Tasters: CL Chris Losh; JS: Julie Sheppard; MdW: Mark de Wesselow; SF: Susanna Forbes; SW: Simon Woods

Brand News

Oregon winery A to Z Wineworks has been taken on by Bibendum. Founded by Bill Hatcher, who ran Domaine Drouhin in Oregon for 13 years, the initial range includes a quartet of single varietals.

To help on-trade outlets trade customers up with a good by-the-glass list, Wine Studio is continuing its policy of installing and maintaining the Verre du Vin preservation system with clients ordering over £1,000 worth of still wine per month. Victoria Bent, 0845 085 8855,

For those needing a little cellar space top-up close to central London, the Big Yellow Self Storage company has opened the UK’s first Wine Self Storage facility in Fulham. Although primarily aimed at the private customer – there’s no-one on hand to receive or prepare deliveries, for example – the location, next to Chelsea Harbour Club, and temperature and humidity-controlled conditions could prove useful. Prices start from £10 a week for an 18-case cellar space, up to £125 for 100 cases.

Zuccardi’s on-trade specific range, Serie A, has released its latest vintages. A vibrant, tasty, strawberry-fuelled Malbec Rosé is complemented by an enticing Bonarda, a highly food-friendly Malbec, and a 

Alliance Wines, 01505 506060

Wine Saver Pro has added a three-bottle unit to its range of argon-based wine preservation systems, now represented in the UK by Jim Ledwith, founder of Hellion Wines. See the July / August 2008 issue for Imbibe’s major trial of wine preservation systems, where Wine Saver Pro will be pitted against Enomatic, Verre du Vin, PresorVac, and the humble Vac-u-vin.

Harvey Miller Wine & Spirit Agencies is launching Shepherd’s Cottage, a three-strong range of wines made at the Overgaauw vineyards in South Africa. Targeted at the £5.99 retail price point, the wines have been developed by David Van Velden Junior, fourth generation winemaker. Overgaauw is perhaps best known for its ageworthy reds, so this new venture is designed ‘for those who don’t want to wait,’ said Van Velden.
HMWSA, 08445 611 252

pinks, fizz & a sweetie

Finca Lasierpe Rosado 2007, Navarra, Spain
£4.65, Alliance, 01505 506060

What they say: A vibrant, juicy, strawberry pink little number. Crisp, deliciously fruity
and eminently gluggable.

What we think: Very fresh and refreshing, this is great as an aperitif, or served with fish, rice or veggie dishes. SF

Rio de los Pajaros Brut Nature Tannat 2006, Pisano, Uruguay
£10.63, Ellis of Richmond, 020 8744 5576

What they say: An unusual expression of this tough grape. A tantalizing Tannat that is full of surprises.

What we think: On paper, one of the oddest bottles ever sampled: a dry, sparkling Tannat from Uruguay, in fact this has real on-trade potential. Tight mousse and good fruit, but the latter is contained within more savoury, liquorice and spice characters that make it a fine match for difficult, spicy, soy-sauce based dishes. Fascinating. CL

Col di Manza, Perlage Prosecco NV, Veneto, Italy
£10.18, Vinceremos, 0800 107 3086

What they say: With ripe apple and citrus fruits, this biodynamic prosecco would make a great match for seafood soups, white meat, delicately-sauced pasta and fresh cheeses.

What we think: With more depth than many other proseccos, this has gentle autolytic characters, flavours of cooked peaches and a good finish. SF

Quady Winery, Essensia Orange Muscat 2006, California, US
£5.99/37.5cl, Hallgarten Wines, 01582 406493

What they say: Excellent with desserts, particularly chocolate and those containing almonds, peaches, apples or apricots. With sparkling water, it makes a refreshing spritzer; with sparkling wine it makes Essensia Royale.

What we think: An absolute delight. Like liquid peach and apricot marmalade with a marvellous tang to balance. SF

Are you launching any wines that will be targeting the on-trade? Let us know at

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine - May / June 2008

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