It baffles me that German wines are still something of a hard sell in the UK. I imagine that they’re all too readily associated by consumers with that ghastly German export Liebfraumilch, which no self-respecting German will ever have heard of, let alone have drunk.
Forgive me if I’m teaching you to suck eggs, but fine German Riesling, which I adore, has nothing to do with such ghastly vinous bubblegum (which is chiefly made from Müller-Thurgau) and the 2007 Weingut Göttelmann-Dautenpflänzer Riesling Kabinett Trocken ‘Halbmond’ (1), from the Nahe, is a thing of great beauty, and ideal summer fare. Bone-dry, crisp and clean, and with a nice touch of bottle age, it has the expected complex notes of petrol, apples, honey and peaches and is simply delicious lightly chilled as a mid-morning sharpener or as an early evening aperitif. £11.95.
White Rhônes are also high on the list of what Tigger likes at the moment, and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape especially. These are in fact something of a rarity, given that only around 7 per cent of the appellation’s production is dedicated to white wines, and the 2011 Domaine de Nalys, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (2) is a cracking example. It ain’t cheap at £19.95, but I reckon you could almost double the price for an equivalent quality white burgundy. A tasty blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc with splashes of Roussanne, Picpoul and Picardan, it has cream, honey and citrus notes on the nose and palate and a long, long finish of supple fruit with a touch of underlying savouriness. I tried it with Mrs Ray’s tarragon chicken and it went down a treat.
As we’ve discussed in these pages before, rosé is all the rage and FromVineyardsDirect have long championed top-quality examples. The 2013 Mas de Cadenet Sainte Victoire Côtes de Provence Rosé (3), from the Negrel family, who have been making rosé in the foothills of Mont St Victoire, near Aix, for generations, is an old friend which I’ve much enjoyed in previous vintages. A glorious pale pink, it is a mix of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah and boasts plenty of wild strawberry and mulberry on the nose and a touch of spice in the mouth. Serve well chilled on its own or with smoked salmon blinis. Only £10.45 a bottle.
The 2011 Ronan Bordeaux (4) will be familiar to readers, I’m sure. I have heartily recommended previous vintages elsewhere and I know that Simon Hoggart was also a huge fan. It’s an absolute steal for just over a tenner — a ripe, succulent, smooth, supple, spicy Merlot from Bordeaux’s right bank, made by the team behind Pomerol’s much-lauded Château Clinet. It’s £10.75 a bottle. Enjoy with whatever you’ve got on the barbecue or with the Sunday roast.
Love-him-or-loathe-him Robert Parker reckons Château de la Négly (5), from La Clape near Narbonne, to be the Languedoc’s finest estate. And this, their 2011 vintage, is the current favourite summer red of FVD’s co-founder, Esme Johnstone. Made from the Languedoc staples, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah, it has mouth-fillingly rich, dark spicy fruit with blackcurrant and savoury beef bouillon notes and a ridiculously long, tannin-supported finish. It needs to be drunk alongside something hearty, like a bleeding hunk of steak or roast suckling pig. £10.95.
Finally, the 2011 Domaine des Coteaux des Travers ‘Labartalas’ Rasteau (6), another big, bold Southern French red. M et Mme Charavin, whose families have made wine here for over a century, are classic artisanal producers. He drives the tractor and makes the wine and she does the admin and cooks lunch for the team. Their wines are organic and, as you’ll see, full of character. M Charavin recommends drinking this jammy, spicy Grenache/Carignan/Syrah blend with the local speciality of veal and foie gras pie. £13.95.
There’s a sample case and, as ever, delivery in mainland Britain is free.
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