It’s an enjoyably sobering experience taking a group on a wine walk at one of our Wine Gang winter festivals before Christmas; enjoyable because it gives a genuine insight into consumer tastes and sobering at the thought that consumer likes and dislikes are as varied as those of Jack and Mrs Spratt. Despite healthy disagreements though, a number of wines are greeted with unanimous transports of delight.
In Bath, Nyetimber was showing off its intense, refreshingly tangy, summer pudding first ever non-vintage Rosé, £39.99, nyetimber.com, while Roberson’s extensive California range boasted a fine, rich yet elegant and meursault-like 2012 Old Stones Chardonnay from Bergstrom Wines, £25. Bath’s very own indie wine merchant, Great Western Wines, showed an embarras of goodies including Yealands’ peppery, fresh 2014 Grüner Veltliner, £12.95, a restrained, elderflower-scented, classic 2014 Sancerre Pruniers, £15.95, and an aromatic, rich and ripe, damson-fresh 2008 Monastrell Reserva, Mas Delmera, Jumilla, £10.75.
Stars of the Edinburgh show included a finely balanced, appley and tangy-fresh 2010 Hindleap Classic Cuvée , £24, bluebellvineyardco.uk, and two excellent reds from Ribera del Duero in the bright, vanilla-scented, dark cherry-filled 2011 Pago de Los Capellanes Crianza, £20.75-21.22, Corking Wines, Exel, and the concentrated, muscular 2009 Ferratus Tempranillo Red Selección, Bodegas Cuevas Jiménez, £22.70, Spirited Wines. The Co-op’s remarkable value, toasty Les Pionniers Champagne NV, £16.99, was an expected hit, as was the tangerine marmaladey 2014 A Sticky End, Marisco, half-bottle, £16.99, or £12.74 multi-buy, Majestic, while all agreed that the East India Solera, Lustau, £8.39, down from £10.49, half-litre, Ocado, was liquid Christmas pud in a bottle.
And so to the atmospheric Vinopolis in London (sadly, soon to close) and two exceptional Napa Valley wines, a magnificently endowed, toasty and creamily rich 2012 Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay, £38.90 -39.99, Field & Fawcett, Cambridge Wine, and a sensational, elegantly cassisy and herby 2012 Long Meadow Ranch Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, £61.39, Corking Wines. Cadman Fine Wines showed a ripe and nutty 2013 Verdicchio di Matelica, £10.79 and a sumptuously strawberryish 2013 Côte de Brouilly Vieilles Vignes, Lagneau,, £11.25, while rudewines.co.uk excelled with a 2014 Gavi di Gavi La Giustiniana, £14.99.
Something for the Weekend 9 January 2016
2013 Marks & Spencer Syrah de l'Ardèche, Cave Saint-Désirat
Made in peppery-scented Northern Rhône mode, this raspberry syrah is imbued with pepper and spice and sufficiently juicy-textured to make it a gluggy party drink or refreshing accompaniment to pasta and pizzas. £7.50, Marks & Spencer.
2014 Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache
With this fragrant, juicy, strawberryish Rhône counterpart to shiraz, Barossa’s family firm of Yalumba does a fine job of delivering a moreishly plump and savoury red that’s both finely balanced and satisfyingly drinkable with grills and roasts. £12, Morrisons.
2013 Roaring Meg Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand
Sweetly berry scented with a subtle, spicy veneer of oak, this Kiwi red from Mount Difficulty shows succulent mulberry fruit with a lively summer pudding nip and tuck of freshness and grip. £22.50, £18 multi-buy, Majestic.