Thursday, 8 May 2014

Catching up

There is always a delay in actually tasting the wines we collect on our travels and actually drinking them. Some bottles turn out to be more interesting than others. Here's a round up of some which have been particularly enjoyable or surprising.

Forlorn Hope Kirschenmann Pinot Gris

Any reader of this blog will know our admiration for the wines of Matthew Rorick, Forlorn Hope. Our enthusiasm is partly based on his use of grape varieties not associated with California so when a bottle of Pinot Gris crept in to our collection it languished until all the Alvarelhaos, Trousseau Gris, Valdiguies etc. had been necked. Hauling out this bottle without much enthusiasm, we were soon reminded of just how innovative this winemaker is.

Yes, Orange is the colour and Orange was the taste of this marvellous interpretation of that most hackneyed Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio/Grauburgunder/Ruhlander grape. It quite restored our faith in it.

Bella New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Not actually a bottle we had bought but a stand-out from a New Zealand show in London. Actually a marketing concoction (note 30% less calories stamp on the label) this wine weighs in at only 9.5% alcohol - a record low for a NZ Sauvignon Blanc in our experience. Despite the name and flim-flam this was a delicious wine. Ever on the look-out for lighter wines this met all our criteria and if we have to join Ladies who Lunch at whom it is so obviously aimed, so much the better.

La Sabbiona 'Divo' Extra Dry Spumante

Firm fans of the rarissimo 'Famoso' grape promulgated by La Sabbiona of Ravenna, we obtained a bottle of their Spumante and were very glad we did. We would like to know if there is a Prosecco to equal it.

Tesco sparkling Pignoletto

Almost as good is Tesco's sparkling Pignoletto from Emilia Romagna. We had enjoyed Tedeschi's Natural Wine take on this type but here was a more conventional version. Again, Prosecco will have to look to its laurels to equal this. Admittedly the Prosecco brand is now so mighty that we doubt that Glera producers will be quaking in their boots but we hope the word will come out one day that there are often better alternatives, even from Tesco.

Tamburlaine Organic Chambourcin, Hunter Valley, Australia

We pounced on this Organic Chambourcin at Tamburlaine's cellar door on our trip to Australia last year and were hugely glad we did. This is a winner in every respect; one to put alongside the lovely Frappatis we have discovered recently. Someone please import this delicious wine to Europe, America and wherever!

Last but not least,

Zarate, Espadeiro, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain

A lovely surprise from this White Wine region. The rare Espadeiro grape needs to be much better known. On this showing it was curiously like the Australian Chambourcin in its lightness and freshness.11.8%. Not long ago we approached a gentleman at the Rias Baixas stand at the LIWF Excel Wine Fair and asked him about the red wines of the region. He looked puzzled and said he wasn't aware there were any.

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