|Wines in the press, July 5-8|
|Tuesday, 10 July 2012 09:30|
Fiona Beckett says one of the grape varieties that has stood out at tastings recently is Viognier.
It's not the easiest grape to grow which tends to make producers who crack it a little evangelical about the grape. The most notable example is the Australian producer Yalumba, which makes no fewer than four. Beckett’s favourite is Yalumba's Eden Valley Viognier 2010 (£11.99 at larger Waitrose) most of which is fermented and aged in French oak. For more affordable options, she recommends heading for the Languedoc section of the shelves, where you'll find Viognier blended with other indigenous grapes. She suggests Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Languedoc White (currently on a two-for-£12 deal in larger branches), where it's combined with Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Vermentino. It's made by Jean-Claude Mas, who also makes the Elegant Frog Viognier 2011 IGP d'Oc (£8.49 Sainsbury’s). A naff name, adds Beckett, but a lovely wine that really expresses the character of the grape.
To Victoria Moore Condrieu is one of those magical wines that smells like apricots and the distillate of dew from a Mediterranean garden in full bloom. It mesmerises like a storyteller whose words make you forget where you are. Or at least it does when it’s good, she adds. When Condrieu is not good it is just another white wine made from Viognier. In June, Moore went to Condrieu and began by tasting at Domaine Georges Vernay. One of the peculiarities of Condrieu is that despite its big reputation it is tiny; fewer than 150 hectares of vineyards fighting for space on the steep banks of the river. Vineyards must also have a southerly exposure to the sun to qualify for the AoC. Francois Villard makes Moore’s third favourite (after two of the Georges Vernay wines). It’s called Domaine F Villard Les Contours de Deponcins Viognier 2010 VdP Collines Rhodaniennes, France (£23.95, Berry Brothers). Back to Georges Vernay; Moore says its Coteau de Vernon Condrieu 2010 (of which only 6,000 bottles were made) will be sold mostly on allocation. But Yapp Bros does stock the “delicious” Terrasses d’Empire 2010, she says.
Anthony Rose says he has dusted the barbie down three times this year, once in March, once during the sunny pre-Jubilee week and once before flaming June flickered and died. He adds he has the empty rosé bottles to prove it. Rose been looking the range of rosés on offer starting at the least demanding and most affordable. He would happily “guzzle” a bottle of the El Guia Rosado, 2011 (£3.99, Waitrose) or the “refreshingly juicy” Viña Garnacha Rosé, 2011 (£5.49, Laithwaites). Back in Spain, and up a notch or two in price, he recommends Artadi's 2011 Artazuri Rosé, Navarra, Spain (£9.25, Berry Bros & Rudd). From the delicious to the fabulous, Rose says the amber-hued 2000 Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva, Bodegas R López de Heredia, (£20.75, Berry Bros & Rudd) is “unique, savoury, with aromatics of rose and cloves and superb berry fruit”. He thinks this Garnacha/Tempranillo blend is one of the most deliciously distinctive Rioja rosés you'll ever come across.
The Financial Times
Jancis Robinson MW is remonstrating that last year the UK was beaten into second place as biggest importer of Portuguese wine by Angola. If we don’t pull up our socks and ensure that a better range of top-quality Portuguese wines makes its way into the UK, we will have to concede that Angolans are more discerning than we are, she says. Robinson’s colleague Julia Harding, MW was made Wine Writer of the Year at the UK’s Portuguese wine awards last year, and given to selecting her 50 finest Portuguese wines and then presenting them to the trade, media and consumers. She says reactions varied from surprise at the number of high-quality and refreshing whites to titillated confusion over many of the grape varieties and bafflement at how difficult it is to find such wines on our shelves and wine lists. "But I and several other British wine professionals were struck by the sheer quality of the wines chosen this year," she says. Especially the Portuguese whites that really do deserve attention. Just don’t let them all go to Angola, she adds.