The Tasting Room: A round up of this week’s tastings

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Drinks: Wines
Location: Canada, France, USA

With portfolio tastings in full swing, this week we checked out a range of great Oregon and Washington State Wines. Spotting a ‘lean and mineral’ Chardonnay and an intriguing French Chenin Blanc, take a look at the best of the (grape) bunch…

Oregon and Washington State Wines tasting

Betz Family Winery, Besoleil 2014

Taking inspiration from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, this southern Rhône blend starring Grenache and including Counoise, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre is all strawberry and cherry on the nose with a hint of bouquet garni. The light-to-medium-bodied palate with good acidity is all cherry, powdery tannins and a savoury finish. Delightful and quaffable. LF

Liberty Wines, 020 7720 5350

Bergstrom Wines Old Stones Chardonnay 2014, Willamette Valley

Word on the street is that Willamette Chardonnay is really starting to take off, and this organic offering made from a very high, late-ripening vineyard’s fruit is our pick of the bunch. The malolactic fermentation and lees ageing really show here, in a wine full of honeyed melon and buttery oak aromas. The palate is a little leaner and more mineral, with lemon pith, grapefruit and chalk balancing out those richer aromas. LF

Roberson Wine, 020 7381 7870

Charles Smith

Washington State’s rock-star winemaker Charles Smith created this eponymous wine label with the intention of making wines that can be enjoyed immediately, yet with typicity of the varietal. We’re big fans of the Kung Fu Girl Riesling, but let’s look at the Eve Chardonnay 2015 with its tropical nose of mango, pineapple, lychee and green apple. This is a light-bodied wine that simultaneously boasts generous fruit (melon and mango in particular) yet is linear with a lemon-water edge. The Velvet Devil Merlot lives up to its name, being a medium-bodied wine full of blackberries, blackcurrants and a herbal edge of blackberry leaf, thyme and vanilla. LF

Bibendum Wine, 0845 263 6924

RAW

Okanagan Crush Pad, Narrative Ancient Method 2015, Okanagan Valley, Canada

Enticing nose of white flowers and pears. Unlike most méthode ancestrale wines, it doesn’t feel too sweet and wears its 6g of residual sugar well. Good on its own or with food. Structured, well-balanced palate with a good finish. 100% Pinot Noir. FS

£22 Red Squirrel Wine 020 3490 1210

Domaine de Bellevue, Gaia Muscadet 2014, Loire, France

Teasing nose. Bright and fresh on the palate. Striking texture reflects use of 16 hl concrete egg. Soft mouth feel with good development on the mid-palate and serious length. FS

£16 Dynamic Vines 020 7064 6841

Le Soula, Le Soula red 2011, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes – Fenouillèdes, Roussillon, France

Appealing red berry and black olive nose. Gloriously fresh and silky thanks to old vine Carignan grown on high altitude granite and schist soil. Complex and savoury – excellent with lamb. FS

£16.75 FMV 020 7819 0360

Domaine des Haut Baigneux, Clos des Brancs 2014, Touraine Azay Le Rideau, Loire, France 

Intriguing Chenin Blanc from a 2ha site. Attractive notes of quince fruit on the nose. Textured palate with good freshness. Intensely mineral, thanks to silex soil. Beautifully balanced. Only four barrels made. FS

(Launch date to be confirmed) £TBC Winemakers Club 020 7236 2936

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Imbibe Editorial

With a core team that includes Chris Losh, Julie Sheppard, Holly Motion, Laura Foster, Isabella Sullivan, Sonja van Praag, Simon White and Mark de Wesselow, and an impressive roster of columnist bartenders, sommeliers and specialist journalists, Imbibe collectively boasts hundreds of years of on-trade drinks industry experience and knowledge.

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