THE BIG QUESTION.
Over the last six months I’ve been asked over and over what happens if we don’t get a deal with Europe and thus European wines are off the menu. No more Chianti, Claret will be a distant memory and Prosecco a thing of the past.
As I thought about this potential car crash I started looking at wines from further afield. Initially my results weren’t good, so much so that after I’d hosted a tasting for a Brexiteer friend of mine he thanked me for the night but added, “If we have another referendum I’ll be voting to remain!”
Things have improved since then. As I put more effort in, I found wines from far flung corners of the globe that I thought were very good indeed. The most remarkable was a wine from a Domaine called Garzon. Not only was this from a country I’d never tasted it was a grape that I’d always found a little bit ordinary. In summary it’s from Maldonado in Uruguay and the grape is Albariño.
It is fresh and light with flavours of pears and pear drops. Not searingly dry, not too sweet either but well balanced. It is deceptively strong at 14% alcohol but you’d have no idea on the palette as its light and fragrant. I’m lucky enough to be supplied by the excellent Daryl Sullivan from Liberty wines but I believe VINVM in Covent Garden also stock it at a modest (for the quality) £15.45 including VAT. They can be contacted on 020 7242 2001 or [email protected] Whilst I’m on the non-European trail I also really liked (in fact more than liked) the Californian Russian River Pinot Noir from de Loach (2016).
This has fine Burgundy written the whole way through it. Pinot Noir is my passion but I spend most of my time being disappointed by wines I’ve paid top dollar for that just aren’t representative of the magic this grape can be. This isn’t one of them. Again VINVM have it on their list for £23.75 and its worth that all day long. I made a tasting note recently where I scored it 17 out of 20 (which is very high for me) and found layers of strawberries and violets. I actually wrote ‘Parma Violets’ which those of a certain age will recall as a small, mauve, chalky sweet from their childhood days. Its sweet but soft. High alcohol again I’m afraid at 14.5% but please don’t be put off. The balance is close to perfection and I can’t tell it apart from a top end Burgundy from the Gevrey Chambertin. In fact, that’s probably not true as most Gevreys don’t match up to the balance and refinement this has to offer. My top recommendation of the year to date. Please leave some for me.