With autumn portfolio tastings in full swing, we checked out a range of Great Sherries, Icon Wines and South African newcomers. Tasting the revived Aurora range and a pineapply partner for tapas Spanish, take a look at the best of the (grape) bunch…
The Great Sherry Tasting
Aurora Oloroso, Bodegas Yuste
Dating back to 1907 and named after its original owner Aurora Ambrosse Lacave, the Aurora range has been revived by Bodegas Yuste and is new to the UK. It includes an amontillado, manzanilla and PX as well as this delicate oloroso. The nose smells like an antique sideboard loaded with dishes of dried fruit, nuts and spice. While the palate offers up candied peel, sultanas and raisins, with a brisk, fresh finish.
RRP £19.99 (50cl), Top Selection, 020 7290 4453
Manzanilla La Goya, Delgado Zuleta
Wonderfully fresh, seashore aromas; clean and mineral. On the palate this is elegant and crisp, with a lifted saline note on the finish. A savoury umami note makes this great for food matching — it was a surprise hit with onion bhaji, standing up to spice and cleansing the palate after fried food.
RRP £6.49 (37.5cl), C&D Wines, 020 8778 1711
Mira la Mar Fino, Covi Jerez
Produced by Jerez cooperative Covi Jerez. There's an appealing dried pineapple character on the palate here, alongside delicious almond notes, fresh aromatics and crisp acidity. A classic partner for tapas.
RRP £6.95 (37.5cl), Ellis of Richmond, 020 8744 5550
Intrepid South Africa
Warwick Cabernet Franc 2012, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch
This 100% varietal Cab Franc boasts attractive aromas of blueberry and blackcurrant leaf, followed by red fruit, spice and blackcurrant fruit pastilles on the palate. Well made, with nicely judged tannins, this is a classy food wine.
£13.60, John E Fells & Sons, 01442 870 900
Creation Viognier 2016, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, Walker Bay
Run by husband and wife team Jean-Claude and Carolyn Finlayson, Creation has vineyards planted 9km from the Atlantic Ocean and its range includes both red and white blends, as well as single varietal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But our pick was this Viognier, with its peaches-and-cream aromatics and tropical fruit palate that's balanced by crisp, palate-cleansing acidity. Would pair brilliantly with creamy Thai curries.
£12.84, Bibendum-PLB, 0845 263 6924
The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc 2015, Piekenierskloof, Western Cape
Made from vines planted on an old Rooibos tea plantation, hence the name. You can pick up a hint of tea on the nose, along with expressive mineral notes and some salinity. On the palate 5% of Grenache Blanc from the same vineyard adds food-friendly texture, with ripe apple fruit and a long finish.
Boutinot, 0161 908 1300
MMD Icon Wines Tasting
Champagne Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2009, Champagne, France
Made with Chardonnay sourced from across the Côte des Blancs, but primarily Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize. The exceptionally hot summer of 2009 has resulted in a surprisingly voluptuous palate which follows on from a clean mineral nose, with some sweet pastry notes. Beautifully balanced, with considerable finesse.
Domaine Faiveley Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2013, Burgundy, France
From one of Burgundy's top producers and made from vines planted in 1961 and 1988, this is simply stunning. Rich, complex aromas include notes of sweet cedar, preserved lemon and macadamia nuts; while the layered and elegant palate shows beautiful oak integration, with a long, luxurious finish. We'd happily drink this every day, if only we could.
Castiglion del Bosco Millicento 2010, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
The 2010 vintage of this iconic Brunello has considerable class. A savoury, black-fruited nose also has hints of ripe strawberry, pot pourri and star anise. In the mouth, beefy tannins are balanced by well defined black fruit. It's big, but restrained and with the structure for further ageing.
All Maisons Marques et Domaines, 020 8812 3380