Well, the team got together at 10 Greek Street back in June and as well as an almighty feast we managed to taste and rate some wines.
Here’s our top 5
First place: Magpie Estate Riesling 2014 (Eden Valley, Australia; 12.5%; £11.00, wine2drink)
The impressive result of a partnership between Barossa Valley winemaker Rolf
Binder and UK wine merchant Noel Young. Great fruit purity – salt, lime and orange
blossom – as well as a flinty character. Long, dry, lean and lip-smackingly fresh; a
laser-sharp thirst-quencher. Good value too. It’s even got a beautiful label. 91
*This was far and away my favorite wine of the tasting. If you have been afraid to try Riesling for fear of running into residual sugar then plump for an Aussie from the Eden or the Clare Valley. Super stuff!
Second place: Calusari Pinot Noir 2013 (Viile Timisului, Romania; 12.5%; £7.50, wine2drink)
This is made by Cramele Recaş a winery in western Romania now owned by
Bristolian Philip Cox. It has classic Pinot Noir character, plenty of ripe redcurrant and
earthy cherry fruit. It’s lighter on its feet than many French Pinots at this price, and
very easy to drink. An interesting find and a good example of the quality and value
currently to be found in Romania. 86 points.
* I didn’t enjoy this Pinot as much as the rest of the panel. Found it a bit chemical but that blew off and despite it still being a bit reedy and thin is an interesting wine to be sure.
Third place: Mas de Daumas Gassac ‘Réserve de Gassac’ Blanc 2011 (Languedoc, France; 13.0%; £9.75, wine2drink)
A blend of 25% Viognier, 25% Chardonnay, 25% Petit Manseng, 15% Chenin Blanc
and 10% of various other varieties from one of the Languedoc’s best producers.
Aromas of fuzzy white peach and a heavy perfume of white flowers floats from the
glass. It has a creamy, lush mouthfeel, impressive purity of fruit and a soft, floral,
dry finish. Nicely balanced and refreshingly different. Great value for under a tenner.
* I love the sheer voluptuousness of stone fruit on show in this bottle but there’s freshness too. A real Mae West of a wine. Mas de Daumas Gassac has a had a cult following for some years now. Not everyone is a fan, but why argue Mae?
Fourth place: Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Marlborough, New Zealand; 13.0%; £16.00, wine2drink)
There are so many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs on the market that these days it’s
rare to find one that really stands out. This one however, made by Kevin Judd,
former winemaker at Cloudy Bay, is exceptional. There’s vivid asparagus, cut grass,
aloe and gooseberry flavour, but it’s not overblown like some of its compatriots.
Fragrant, crisp, balanced and incredibly long, this is a very accomplished New
Zealand Sauvignon. 89 points.
* I don’t tend to drink NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Nothing wrong with the wines. But perhaps at some point they just got a bit too cookie cutter. Not the case with this one. Sure the price tag is higher than your Oyster Bay but the quality and individuality of it shines through.
Fifth place: Domaine Des Cigalounes 2011 (Lirac, France; 15.0%; £11.56, Wineman)
After the two champion Liracs we had last month, here’s another on that hit the
spot. A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, this has plenty of
blackberry, hung game and dense black cherry on the nose. It’s loaded with local
garrigue (wild herb) character which provides a herbal lift to the ripe, potent fruit. A
complete and delicious foodie wine that’s like having several courses all at once. 88
* Love the names of some the Chateaus in France. Cigalounes just cries out to be the name of a whisky distillery in the Highlands or Jura. Not as good as the table-topping Liracs from our last tasting be good enough to make the top 5.