A Game of One Half - Southern Hemisphere Values

POSTED ON 05/04/2014

Given that the World Cup will be kicking off almost before we know it, the cannier wine retailers have placed their orders for South American vino early so that those of us without a head for caipirinha can enjoy a bit of South American sunshine in the glass. It was a game of two halves with Sainsbury’s getting the ball rolling with its all-encompassing southern hemisphere tasting while Marks & Spencer focused more specifically on the wines of South America.

Marks & Sparks scored an early own-goal by failing to bring on its Brazilian sparkler, Coconova Brut, News of this much-vaunted blend from the São Francisco Valley awaits, but it compensated in part with the Carnival Sparkling Moscato from Saltón, £9.99. Nul points for originality of name, but if you like the sherberty lemonade and grapey sweetness of moscato d’asti, then this perfumed, lowish alcoholic cream soda is for you. Just remember to chill well.

Not surprisingly, the best of the M&S whites were from Chile. The 2013 Rapel Mestiza Viognier Marsanne from Emiliana £9.99, is a crowd-pleasing floral, fragrant dry white whose full-bodied peachy fruit is endowed with floral lift and juicy freshness; the elderflower-infused, gooseberryish 2013 Secano Estate Sauvignon Blanc, from Viña Leyda, £8.99, is as herbal, zesty and refreshingly dry as Sancerre. Sainsbury’s rivalled it for value, if not quite quality, with its herby, passion fruity 2013 Winemakers’ Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, £7, but the star of the Sainsbury’s whites line-up was the 2012 Taste The Difference Mudgee Chardonnay, £8.49, all ripe juicy tropical fruit and pineappley freshness.

There is no contest as yet between Brazil and Argentina on the red wine front. In the M&S range, Argentina scored highest for the quite brilliant 2009 Trapiche Terroir Series Malbec Single Vineyard, Jorge Miralles, £32, with its violet scents and no-shrinking-violet chocolatey dark berry and plum fruit, followed hot on its heels by a Cornas-like 2011 Lucero Syrah, £15.99 big, rich, meaty, smoky and gamey and full of bramble, bittersweet chocolate and blackberry and more Crozes-like smoky, tarry 2011 Los Molles Syrah, Limarí from Viña Tabali, £9.99.

More nimble on the feet for spring and summer sipping, Familia Zuccardi’s original 2013 Caleidoscopio, a distinctive blend of Sangiovese, Touriga Nacional and Caladoc, is unoaked, to bring maximum zip and zing to the wine’s vivid sweet plum and dark cherry fruit juicy damson freshness. And yet, with a shot on goal at least, the 2013 Intenso Teroldego, £9.99, Sainsbury’s reds from Brazil’s Saltón in Serra Gaúcha put on a good display with a dark cherry scent and vibrant dark cherry fruit quality. They rang rings around Sainsbury’s reds, apart, that is, from the minty, blackcurrant and cherry-like 2013 Taste the Difference Chilean Cabernet sauvignon, £7.99, an excellent value, spice-laden black cherish 2013 Winemakers’ Selection Australian Petit Verdot, £5.

Something for The WeekendSomething for The Weekend
Something For the Weekend 5 April 2014

Night In

2013 Venturer Rueda Verdejo

Venturer is a new series in at the ever-improving Aldi aimed at showcasing a particular good one-off blend and this is one of the first in, an appetisngly dry Spanish white showing ripe stonefruit with touch of grapefruit zest and an appetizing citrusy freshness.

Dinner Party

2012 Vasse Felix Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia

Typically fine Margaret River chardonnay from Vasse Felix, the first winery in the region, showing complex lees and nutty notes, seductively ripe melon and grapefruit with a zesty, pineappley freshness on the finish. £15.99, Majestic

Splash Out

2010 Domaine du Père Caboche, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Ripe strawberries infused with cardamom spiciness, this rich, sweetly spiced juicy-strawberry-jam blend glides across the tongue with undisguised fruit-filled interior voluptuous curves, holding its grip all the way to a satisfying finish. £21, Yapp Bros (yapp.co.uk; 01747 860423).


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