First it was Valderi - Valdera, then Pot - Pourri and now Meli - Melo.
This is the point at which we list a few unrelated bottles we have recently enjoyed (mostly) and would like to recommend. Some have already been included in reports but this is where they get to be singled out after actual tasting.
This beauty for example came from our last trip to Budapest and was among our most exciting discoveries. Turan is descended from Menoir which had so thrilled us a while back. Like its parent it has a wonderful Muscat taste - rare in a red wine. It is something we expect people will either love or hate. It certainly tastes nothing like any wine we have ever tasted before (except Menoir of course). Its exact parentage is Bikaver 8 x Kadarka/Gardonyi Geza x Menoir.
We stumbled on Turan after tasting this example from Hegyi Kalo at the Terroir tasting we attended by chance in Obuda.
Our very first Menoir (or Menoire in this case) had been this bottle picked up at the magnificent Duty Free at Budapest Airport, 'Hungaricum.'
This example from a different trip but from the same shop was a bit more conventional with the sheer wackiness of Menoir a bit subdued.
Menoir/Menoire was formerly known as Medoc Noir or Kekmedoc. After various attempts to relate it to a French grape called Mornen Noir it has been acknowledged to be an indigenous Hungarian variety. Hooray! The Hungarians as well as producing Turan from Menoir have produced another hybrid called Medina or sometimes Medea. This is described as a specific interaction between the new variety Eger 1 (seedling of SV 12-286) x Médoc Noir.
Anyway, it was through asking for Menoir at Terroir Club that we came upon Turan.
Next, here are the three wines from Josep Foraster we have been enjoying. All are low alcohol charmers from Conca de Barbera, Spain. Trepat is the grape for the red and the Rose. Macabeu and Garnatxa Blanca for the white.
From Penedes this 11.5% Chardonnay/Xarel-lo blend has proved itself several times. Spaniards will tell you they can't make lower alcohol wines because their country is just too hot but all these wines prove that ABV is just a choice and no one is forced to make wines at 14.5%, 15% or more just because it's hot out there.
While in France, here's our house Pineau d'Aunis. Modest in price but big in character, this was good enough to order by the case. Leon Stolarski wines of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.
Also brilliant is this Pineau d'Aunis (80%)/Gamay/Cot and Cabernet Franc blend from the same firm.
Italy next, with a delicious Schioppettino (aka Ribolla Gialla) from Philglas and Swiggot. Not cheap but a real treat. Such a good grape that Ribolla Gialla.
It's a long time since we featured a Regent in these pages but here's one we bought at Chapitre 20 in Paris amazingly enough and jolly good it is too. That's encouraging because it's Regent we're trying to grow on our own plot in the Thames valley. We had been enjoying some lovely Dornfelders recently and starting to wonder if we had made the right choice. This bottle reassured us in good order.
We've had a preliminary skirmish with Moroccan wine in these pages but not yet with Algerian.
On a recent visit to Paris, this red at the couscous restaurant Chez Omar was very pleasant. At 12.5% it shows once again that a hot climate doesn't oblige you to make high alcohol wines. It is surprising how widespread that assumption is.
Chateau Mansourah grows Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This may be a blend of the first three, traditional grapes in Algeria. Next, Tunisia - and even Egypt!
Recognise this? The 2006 used to be available from Sainsbury's at under £7. Now going at £17.+ at Hedonism and The Wine Library. Still undervalued if you ask us.
Coming full circle, back to Eastern Europe that is, the Alibernet (Alicante Bouschet/Cabernet Sauvignon) we bought at Prague main railway station was really outstanding in the soft fleshy way they favour in those parts (Moravia).
Sadly the Romanian uber-rarity Mustoasa de Maderat turned out to be just peculiar although not as strange as its wrapping;
|Before... (get that wrapping off)|