As a relief from heavy winter food and cosy red wines Victoria Moore turns to Riesling. “I long for a glass of white, cold from the fridge, tingling with acidity.” She adds, its piercing lime flavour also works well with Thai-style food.
Moore recommends Viña Leyda Costero Riesling 2009 (£6.95 on offer at Majestic) that she says is from a valley cooled by breezes from the Pacific, making it brisk, fresh and tight.
She also likes Mineralstein Riesling 2008 (£6.99, Marks & Spencer), that is made with grapes from slate vineyards in the Mosel and basalt vineyards in Pfalz.
Jane MacQuitty says to drink well and cheaply in 2010 don’t look to the big expensive obvious names, but for the next best thing.
Her advice is to start by buying the second and third wines from top Châteaux. Or go for bottles from outlying areas such as the Côtes de Castillon and Fronsac.
Chile’s offers a great source Bordeaux-styled blends, she adds.
Regarding whites, she says plenty of white Burgundy-aping Chardonnay can be had from all over the world but many winemakers overdo the oak and alcohol. Her recommendation is Domaine Begude Le Bel Ange Chardonnay 2008, Languedoc (£6.99 at Majestic).
There are enough worries in the wine world as we hit 2010, says Susy Atkins. But she adds one pice of good news is that “Oddbins is back on form.”
“The aim is to return Oddbins to being the passionate, characterful company it once was, and Baile Jr looks to be achieving just that.”
She explains how over the past 18 months the team has kicked out a hefty 1,200 old lines and brought in 500 new labels. “The average spend per bottle is now £7.64, so business seems fairly upmarket, too”.
Atkins advises people to look out for its subtle, food friendly wines, many from smaller producers, lesser-known Champagne houses, unusual Italian wines and the Rhône, and she says she’s impressed by the elegant New Zealand range.
The mission statement is to put the fun and enthusiasm back into the shops, says Atkins, “and so far it seems to be working”.
Tim Atkin MW asks have we dumbed wine down in the process of simplifying it? The major grape varieties and the places they are grown have become, “as familiar as Simon Cowell’s sneer”, he adds.
Instead he is finding exciting blends that use grapes in less familiar arrangements such as warm and cool climate marrying.
Two of his choices come from Chile. He recommends Coyam, Colchagua, 2006 (£12.99, www.virginwines.com) which is made from Syrah, Carmenère, Cabernet and Merlot. Plus O Fournier Centauri Red Blend 2008, Maule (£14.95, Bottle Apostle) which Atkin says “blends Cabernet and Merlot with old-vine Carignan to brilliant effect”.
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Jancis Robinson MW has been increasingly impressed with the grape Macabeu which is called Maccabéo in southern France, Macabeo in much of its homeland Spain, and Viura in Rioja, where she explains it is by far the most planted white wine grape.
“It has the unusual virtue of being capable of making dry white wines, often blends, with verve and character that improve with age,” she says.
The good news for fans of Rioja’s finest whites, says Robinson, is that, while the 2006, 2007 and 2008 presented challenges for the dominant red wine grape Tempranillo, they were spectacular for Viura.