From wines you could barely spell to resurgent classics; from regions you couldn’t find on a map to wine list stalwarts; from ultra qvevri to sans-soufre Muscadet… The Hallgarten tasting at Vinoteca last week packed as much interest and fascination into 50 wines as most tastings do in five times that number of bottles. Chris Losh picks out his stars on the day
Louise Chéreau Muscadet sans soufre ajouté Katharos 2018, Loire, France
Rumours about the revival of Muscadet are gathering force, and when you try a wine like this you see why. It’s a beautifully vibrant wine – like walking through an apple orchard full of windfalls in the rain, but beneath the fruit there’s breadth and texture too.
Vachnadziani Qvevri Rkatsiteli 2014, Kakheti, Georgia
If you’ve got customers crying out for qvevri fermented whites, then this is the wine for you. It’s exceptionally savoury – an umami hit of earth, mushrooms and fresh oysters that spreads broadly through the palate. It’s a total food-wine, but could be exceptional with the right food, and it’s not too pricey. Their non-qvevri Rkatsiteli is a beautiful peachy swigger at a bargain £7.62.
Tahbilk Marsanne Museum Release 2012, Nagambie Lakes, Victoria, Australia
How this wine is available for this price I have no idea, but you need to snap it up quick before all the journalists at the tasting buy it for their cellars. 90% Marsanne, backed up with an eclectic mix of Riesling, Chardonnay, Rousanne and Verdelho, it is a wonderful expression of how good Victorian Marsanne can be with a little age. Like finger limes spread on toast and dusted with honey, it has wonderful depth and flavour, with a pithy structure holding it all together. Superb food-matcher.
Vale de Mata White 2018, Lisboa, Portugal
Portugal has become a real powerhouse in the Sommelier Wine Awards over the last few years, particularly with its whites – and wines like this show you why. A mix of Arinto, Viosinho and Vital (nope, me neither) it’s gloriously vibrant – like fresh lemons covered in sea spray. Easy to match for somms, easy to like for your customers.
Bodegas San Alejandro Garnacha Evodia 2017, Aragon, Spain
This wine is huge in Asia after appearing in a top-selling manga, but it deserves its fame in any case. From 60-100 year old vines at 850m of altitude, it’s a lovely expression of Grenache at a steal of a price. Spicy raspberry and damson flavours hit upfront but the palate is cooler and more elegant than you’d expect for this money. Structured but accessible.
ArmAs Karmrahyut 2014, Aragatsotn Province, Armenia
Built by Armenian-Americans, who have big plans for the rebirth of wine in the country, this winery is one to watch. With its spicy licorice and herb notes overlaying red cherry fruit there’s a faintly Italian style to this red. Interesting without being weird, it’s a great way to add a point of difference without scaring your customers. The Reserve (£18.73) is excellent, too.
Herdade do Rocim Amphora Red 2018, Alentejo, Portugal
There are some interesting and innovative wines coming out of the Alentejo now, and this is a good example. With its vibrant, spicy red fruits and gentle balsamic flecks it is juicily approachable, but with an effortless stretch and weight through the palate, the tannic structure beautifully integrated by the time in amphora. A fabulous trade-up for wine-engaged consumers.