A selection of wines chosen and presented by the Wine Club Committee.
Cuvee Royale Cremant de Limoux. 12.5%. Paul Kinnon. (Not tasted on the night)
Waitrose notes ‘Excellent, rich, dry and biscuity sparkling wine from the southwest of France with a refreshing citrus character. Sparkling wines from Limoux, nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees are said to pre-date champagne. Made from 70% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc and 10% Pinot Noir grapes. Perfect as an apéritif.’
Pierpaolo Petrassi MW · Head of wines, beers and spirits at Waitrose: ‘Cuvée Royale hails from Limoux, a hilly part of southern France that’s known for it’s top quality sparkling wines. With biscuity notes and a lemon zing, this fizz offers really good value for money and is a classy apéritif to offer guests.’
Source: Waitrose, usually £12.75 but often discounted to £9.49.
Cheverny, Domaine du Salvard 2019. 13%. David Wicks.
A Loire white which blends sauvignon with a little chardonnay (15-20%). Very Fragrant – floral / citrus bouquet. Very dry but retains the sauvignon’s fruity nature. The small amount of chardonnay in the blend gives added weight and texture. Some minerality – flintiness.
The Cheverny appellation is a rural area a little east of Blois. This is just to the North of Touraine, approximately 60 miles West of Sancerre & Pouilly-Fume & close to some of the most famous Loire valley châteaux. The vineyards are scattered around the village of the same name and consist of 574 hectares which are home to approximately 40 producers. Half of the Cheverny production is white wine and the other half is made up of red and rosé wines. Cheverny only achieved A.O.C. status in 1993. Prior to that Cheverny was widely regarded as one of the best V.D.Q.S. (Vin de Qualité Superieur) of the Loire.
Domaine du Salvard is a small family estate owned by the Delaille family since 1900. It has since passed through five generations of the family. Domaine du Salvard’s vines are planted on hillsides of flint, clay and quartz silt soils and have an average age of 20 years. They are machine-harvested early to retain the grapes’ fruit character, before being transferred to the family’s modern winery, where they are fermented at cool temperatures in temperature controlled stainless-steel tanks.
Food Matches: drink alone as an aperitif, or with lighter sea food/ fish dishes; asparagus; goat’s cheese / quiche.
Source: Wine Society £9.50 per Bottle or £114 per Case (12)
Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2019. 14%. Shaun Curran. (not tasted on the night)
Golden hued and full bodied, with melon and spicy baked apple aromas. Layered, with mineral notes enhanced by honeycomb and caramel flavours from lees contact. Apparently likes to be aged for 8 years where the green apple flavours change to baked apple. Barrel and tank fermented and left on the lees (9 months French oak, 20% new) matured on secondary lees for a rounded complexity. Style: Rich and Ripe (Oak influenced).
This is the middle wine in the Ken Forrrester range of Chenins. There is a ‘Petit Chenin’ made with early harvest grapes and the ‘FMC’ which is his iconic chenin. M&S also used to have his Workhorse chenin but not sure since lockdown has happened.
A few weeks ago Ken mentioned that they are expecting the 2019 vintage to be very good so watch out for the release.
Food matches: can be served with varied spicy dishes, full flavoured fish or chicken dishes. Ideal with crayfish, prawns.
The official vineyard tasting notes can be found at kenforresterwines.com. Also there is this YouTube video from last summer with Ken Forrester talking about the Old Vine Reserve and also his Renegade wine (Greenache, Rhone style red) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y41JvcFGzAU&list=PL9mDvcVLTEO0GL9CV7cfK9Bqc3XVWW0BJ&index=2. There are other episodes talking to renown producers of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling if Chenin isn’t your thing. It’s great to see the actual winemakers talking with so much passion about their wines.
M&S Workhorse was about £7.95
Petit Chenin £11.95
Old Vine Reserve £14.95
L A Cetto Zinfandel Mexico (Red wine) 2016. Albion Wines £8.50 Sally Harris
We tasted the LA Cetto Nebbiolo Private Reserve at our December 2020 tasting; here is their Zinfandel. This is one of the basic varietals they produce, not the private reserve, and the price difference reflects that, although both seem very good VFM!
LA Cetto is the largest wine producer in Mexico, although three producers account for around 80% of Mexico’s wine. They are all around the Valle de Guadaloupe, in the north of Baja California, near the US border, where the climate is just about manageable for vines. The valley is at 1000feet and points westwards, allowing cooling sea breezes and humidity. There is mostly insufficient water for vines, and they need to irrigate. Mexico has no restrictions on grapes, and so there is a mix of grapes grown. Zinfandel is an obvious choice, as it grows well in California to the north.
The nose is strongly cherries and on the palate a jammy cherry with spice and pepper and an acidity and body that balances the fruit.
There is little wine drinking tradition in Mexico, and there is no suggestion that this will go well with spicy mexican food. But a good match with more lightly spiced dishes, meaty pasta dishes, and barbequed meats.
Source: Albion Wines, £8.50
Luna Beberide Mencía Bierzo 2019. 13.5%. Rob Warne
Wine Searcher notes: ‘Mencia is a red wine grape native to northwest Spain. Synonymous with the red wines of Bierzo, it has enjoyed something of a revival in recent decades following years of producing light and astringent wines. Improved, low-yielding viticulture and a greater focus on available hillside sites has seen the variety court international attention. Mencia wines tend to exhibit earthy, vegetal characters with berry nuances and stony minerality. The variety, with its somewhat thick-skinned, violet-blue grapes, was once thought to be related to Cabernet Franc. Modern DNA testing has disproved this theory, however, but has uncovered that it is genetically identical to Portugal’s Jaen.’
Wine Society Notes: ‘An excellent example of the Spanish grape Mencia, grown here in the cooler north west of the country. This unoaked light red has bright flavours of cherry fruit and is full of energy.’
Victoria Moore, The Daily Telegraph: ‘Mencía is a black grape grown in north-west Spain that typically makes light to medium bodied wines with savoury, earthy flavours, a hint of nutmeg, and a dark floral quality. This is a brilliant version.’
Amy Wislocki, Decanter Magazine: ‘Grown in northwest Spain, Mencia typically makes light- to medium-bodied reds with floral and red fruit flavours. This is a lovely example, vivid in colour, with scents of sour cherry and redcurrant fruit. Juicy, unoaked and pure, this is a good, honest, lively red.
Food matches: cottage pie!
Ned Noble Sauvignon Blanc, Marisco vineyards Waihopai River, Marlborough, New Zealand 2018 (White dessert wine 37.5 cl) Tony Supple.
From the Marisco website – their own tasting notes say “exuding tropical aromas of ripe fleshy nectarine and apricot with hints of caramelisation. The waxy palate builds on these aromas with an intensity of grapefruit marmalade and stone fruit. Whilst broad and rich upfront the acid line provides a crisp balanced finish with abundant length”. Analysis – Alcohol 10.5% , pH 3.7, Titratable Acidity 9.2g/L Residual Sugar 158 g/L. Crafted to be enjoyed within 3-5 years of vintage date.
The Majestic Wine tasting notes say “Botrytised grapes have been specially selected from amongst the vines of the Waihopai River vineyard to make this wine. The fermentation process takes a lengthy 6 months and extracts huge flavours from the shrivelled berries. Intensely sweet yet balanced with a mixture of crisp citrus and fresh melon flavours and, as such, never cloys. Lingers long on the palate. An amazing match for gorgonzola or rich pates.
Sold by Majestic Wine (£11.99 if mix six or £14.99 a bottle).