There's a lot of wine out there and more coming everyday, so in our quest to offer you the best we can, we taste a lot of wine, either at large trade tastings, or smaller ones at the shops. Recently we had one of the latter which was combined with a trip to Fourth and Church and trying wines with food, not something we get to do that often.
We met up with Phil "Chopper" Harris and a selection of reds and whites, on a hot and steamy Monday morning. The aim was to retry some of the wines we have on the shelves plus look at possible new additions.
Our current wines came up trumps on the day as we tasted the Filipa Pato 2015 Bical/Arinto, £13.49, Lagoalva 2016, £10.49, Ribeiro Santo Reserva 2013, £15.49 and Chinon Les Graves Gasnier 2015 £15.99.
Filipa Pato is well known for her range of Portuguese wines and this white blend of Bical and Arinto grapes, from the 2015 vintage, was showing well. The extra year's age of this vintage had created greater depth and richness over its 2016 counterpart.
The Lagoalva is well established shop favourite offering rich chocolatey fruit that was soft and mouth filling helped along by 50% of the blend being Touriga Nacional.
The last of the Portuguese wines was the Ribeiro Santo Reserva 2013, a step up from its younger brother which we also stock. This blend of 3 grapes has greater depth and richness plus the benefit of some extra age which results in a wine full of flavour with sweet raisin like fruit, and easy tannins so it drank well on its own as well as with food.
The final wine, the Chinon, has fast become a type of wine I really like. This Loire red from Cabernet Franc is very stylish. Aromatic, fulsome, light tannins with good balancing acidity make this a wine to drink on its own but it also matches food really well. Lamb is the obvious choice but duck works well with it, don't miss out on this biodynamic treat.
The new wines ranged from across Europe; Greece, Georgia, France, Portugal and Austria all featured in the line up but for me the stand outs were an appealing Chablis like white from Santorini, full of mineral like qualities as well as offering some richness of fruit. At around £24 it's not an everyday wine but the quality stands out. Keep an eye out for this.
The Austrian Riesling from Wachau at £17 delivered that classic limey Riesling nose and flavour but also packed in some more exotic hints of banana. A versatile wine that went well with food. My final white pick was Mas Christine white blend from the Cotes du Roussillon. 40% of which had been aged in old oak adding some extra depth, richness and rounded the wine out to give a lovely balanced feel with a long finish. Again around £17 this should find plenty of friends this summer.
The reds served up an interesting set of choices with the Roussillon red blend, partner to the white mentioned above standing out. 100% Grenache, this had good depth, and provided real pleasure. Good with food or on its own, it was a star wine and worth trying at £24.
Greece has been mentioned a fair amount recently and the wine from Domaine Karydas 2014 at about £23 show why. 40 year old vines helped produce a black fruit gum, menthol, exotic wine, definitely worth trying.
Finally another country attracting a lot of interest at the moment is Georgia and we tried 2 wines from here. The Saparavi at £12 is a good place to start and at 13% alcohol fits in with the trend for lower strength wines.
All in all this tasting yielded some very interesting wines which I hope will soon be gracing our shelves. It was really useful to try them with food and I must thank Paul and Sam at Fourth & Church for providing sensational food to try alongside them. Their food is of the highest quality and if you've not been here, you must as you are missing a treat plus wine from Butlers Wine Cellar. What more could you want?
Written by Mike