La Barbe Sauvignon Blanc – Pays d'Oc, France, 2016, 12% A great new find from the Pays d’Oc region in the South of France. A deliciously fresh blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc with an extra dimension added to the wine by the blending in of 20% Vermentino that is harvested when slightly riper. The bright acidity and natural grapefruit zest of the Sauvignon is balanced out by more rounded ripe peach fruit from the Vermentino. Bright, fruity and fresh, a great match for spicy salmon fillets.
Vitese Grillo - Sicily, Italy, 2018, 13% Grillo is an exciting grape from Sicily that is starting to become much more popular and this is a fantastic introduction. Produced 'Bio-dynamically' it is both organic and vegan friendly and is simply perfect for afternoons in the garden. It's delicate and fruity with a slight floral edge, and so, super quaffable! Great with a nice fresh risotto dish.
Morenito Blanco - Campo de Borja, Spain, 2016, 12.5% A straightforward, honest and genuine little white from the Aragon region in Spain. 100% Macabeo (one of the grapes for producing quality Cava) fermented in stainless steel and not an oak barrel in sight! Light and fresh with a delicate floral nose with hints of lemon and blossom. The palate is clean, rounded and with a little stone fruit texture. Great white for chilling down on a hot day and enjoying with a Caprese Salad in the garden.
Blockhead Chenin Blanc – Western Cape, South Africa, 2018, 12.5% From old vines which produce fewer grapes but of higher quality. This Chenin shows the typical notes of ripe green apple and hints of soft lemon verbena. 10% of this wine is wild fermented in old oak barrels and then the whole wine is rested on its ‘lees’ for 2 months. These are designed to add extra richness and complexity and are not normally used in a wine at this price so it massively over delivers on quality. Pork chops with crackling please!
Calusari Pinot Grigio - Romania, 2018, 12% Englishman Philip Cox and his wife Elvira have transformed 700 hectares of decrepit vineyards, situated in the west of Romania, near Banat, and replaced them with immaculately tended vines; thus creating the Cramele Recas Estate. They are producing a Pinot Grigio that actually tastes great! Lovely, opulent aromas of grapefruit and peach follow through to a clean and fresh wine with lovely balanced fruit and acidity and a good all rounder. Great to pair with creamy pasta dishes.
Avenda Sauvignon Blanc - Central Valley, Chile, 2018, 12% Chilean Sauvignon can often be overly bitter or metallic at the lower prices however the Avenda Sauvignon Blanc is a delightful dry white wine bursting with aromas of cut grass, lemon zest & gooseberries. Refreshing and crisp on the palate with a lively acidity, showing vibrant flavours of tropical fruit and citrus. Easy drinking and very enjoyable, another garden party hit or BBQ crowd pleaser.
La Barbe Merlot – Pays d’Oc, France, 2017, 13.5% Meaning ‘The Beard’ is a great new find from the South of France. A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% of the lesser known grape Mourvedre. The Merlot delivers the typical soft dark fruits you would expect – blackberry, ripe plum, damson with nice juicy mouth-filling fruit. The Mourvedre is there to dry things out a little, add a bit of backbone and structure and some nice gentle tannins. Together they work brilliantly and make this perfect with a nice BBQ lamb.
Vitese Nero d'Avola - Sicily, Italy, 2018, 14% Nero d’Avola is the king of the red grapes on Sicily and this biodynamic (also organic and vegan) example punches well above its weight. Made in a very approachable and easy drinking style this leads with bags of fruit yet retains a perfect balance of tannin and acidity to keep everything in check. Would pair perfectly with hard cheeses and a selection of cold cuts on a summer night.
Morenito Tinto – Campo de Borja, Spain, 2016, 13.5% Made from 100% Garnacha this is a great example of lovely fruit driven Spanish wines made at a great price. Lashings of soft, juicy red berry fruit, with low tannins and low acidity. Raspberry and strawberry notes with a hint of sweet warming spice and just a lovely easy drinking red that would pair well with tomato based curries.
Jackalberry Pinotage - Western Cape, South Africa, 2015, 14.5% Pinotage is a hybrid grape (created in South Africa centuries ago by crossing Pinot Noir with Cinsault) that is often vilified as making poor quality wines. This wine however shows you can make great easy drinking wines at a good price from it. Lots of dark richer fruit like damson, mulberry and blackberry and nice hints of wood smoke, tobacco and black pepper. Soft and smooth tannins and a nice full body. Perfect for chargrilled steak.
Calusari Pinot Noir - Romania, 2018, 12.5% From the same producer as the Calusari Pinot Grigio above. Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult to produce well at a good price but this Romanian example manages to do just that. Bright fruit in a light style but with soft low tannins and a nice refreshing acidity. Dark cherry dominates on the nose and palate but with little hints of spice and tobacco. Can be served lightly chilled with fish, think tandoori style monkfish.
Avenda Merlot - Central Valley, 2017, 12.5% No bells and whistles, this is just a great example of what Chile does so well – great clean fruit producing wines at a fantastic price. Lots of ripe red plum, soft juicy fruit, silky smooth light tannins and very easy drinking. Great inexpensive wines to grab when you’re invited round last minute. Would work well with tomato based pasta dishes as well as grilled meats from the BBQ.
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