In a fit of enthusiasm we have entitled this blog 'The Summer Newsletter', may I just add that we reserve the right to post a 'Proper Summer Newsletter' when summer does, finally, get here. In the mean time, here are some great wines to keep you going - lower alcohol wines, fabulous Rhones, a report of a terrific Lebanese Evening & wines of Chateau Musar and finally the best cognac offer you're going to see this year, enjoy!
Lower alcohol wines are all the rage.
Quite a few customers have asked us for a few wines lower in alcohol to enjoy on those 'hoped for' balmy summer evenings. We have put together a selection of some particularly fresh, well-balanced examples that will provide fine drinking during the warm summer months, and before you laugh, we have put in a request for a sunny summer.
2011 Les Oliviers Sauvignon Blanc/Colombard Cotes de Gascogne 12% vol. £5.69
Typically crisp citrus fruits with added fat from the more tropical Colombard.
2010 Joseph Burrier Macon Vergisson Burgundy 13% vol. £10.99
A fine wine from the south of the Burgundy region which reflects the near perfect growing season of 2010.
2008 Joseph Matrot St. Romain Burgundy 12.5% vol. £16.99
Matrot produce particularly fine white Burgundy. The style here is all elegance, refinement and minerality.
2009 Bourgogne Blanc Gerard Thomas Burgundy 13% vol. £10.99
Concentrated and fruity Burgundy from a fine domaine.
2012 Duc de Mornay Picpoul de Pinet Languedoc 13% vol. £6.99
Bring a taste of the Languedoc coast to your dining table.
2011 Terres de Granit Pinot Blanc - Alsace 12% vol. £8.99
Just off dry with elegant soft stone fruit flavours. A really lovely aperitif!
2009 Blanc Fume de Pouilly Domaine Didier Dageneau - Loire
12.5% vol. £39.99
A superstar Domaine now in the capable hands of Louis Benjamin Dageneau. The ultimate expression of Sauvignon Blanc.
2012 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc - Marlborough 12.5% £9.99
Fresh cut grass aromas and a burst of tropical fruits.
2011 Innocent Bystander Chardonnay - Yarra Valley 12.5% £10.59
Fresh and juicy with citrus and tropical fruit notes.
2012 Ciconia Antao Vaz/Viognier/Verdelho - Alentejo 13% vol. £6.99
This is clean and delicious with passion fruit and white flowers.
2011 Vesevo Beneventano Falanghina Campania 13% vol. £9.59
A refreshing lemon scented wine from the native Falanghina grape.
2012 Cantina Paolini Grillo Baccaria - Sicily 12.5% vol. £6.69
Honeyed candied peel characters and an appealing nutty, almond finish. Excellent value!
2012 Raza Vinho Verde 12% vol. £7.59
A truly authentic Vinho Verde with crisp sherbet lemon fruits and a lightness and drinkability all of its own. Perfect with sardines.
2012 Naire Verdejo Toro 12.5% £6.99
Fresh tropical fruits and a crisp vibrant mouth-feel, a very clean wine.
2011 La Liebre y la Tortuga Albarino Rias Baixas 12.5% vol. £9.99
The highly fashionable Albarinos from Galicia make a delicious accompaniment to fine seafood. A delicious wine filled with racy green fruits.
2011 Ponte del Diavolo Refosco Friuli 12.5% £7.39
Crisp and crunchy red fruits, this is light and refreshing. Perfect with tomato based pasta dishes.
2011 Poderi Colla Dolcetto D'Alba Pian Balbo, Piemonte 12% vol. £9.89
Fresh and crunchy red fruits with fine acidity. Serve lightly chilled with pizza and anti pasti.
2011 Contesa Vigna Corvina Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 13% vol. £7.59
Plums and damsons with some ripe chocolaty tannins.
2012 Patrice Armand Cotes du Rhone 13% vol £5.99
From an elegant Southern Rhone vintage, this is fresh and spicy.
2012 Les Cepages Oublies Cinsault/Grenache Pays D'Oc 13% vol £6.99
A sweet perfume of mild cranberries tipped with sweet exotic spices.
2009 Matrot Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 12% £12.99 In ripe vintages such as 2009 Bourgogne Rouge can be particularly enticing and excellent value for money, this is a textbook example.
2010 Champs du Chene Julienas, Beaujolais 13% vol. £8.39
Julienas is one of the finest of the Beaujolais Crus. This wine shows real concentration, a hallmark of the outstanding 2010 vintage.
2008 Chateau Cantemerle 5er Cru Classe Haut Medoc, Bordeaux 13% vol. £28.99
Cantemerle is a very reliable Chateau, producing a string of excellent wines since the 2004 vintage. In Bordeaux terms this is a bargain, well balanced and age worthy.
2011 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley 13% vol. £11.79
One of the best value now world Pinots. From the premium wine growing area of Yarra Valley, this is silky smooth with textbook aromas and flavours.
2011 Beyra Tinto, Beira Interior 13.5% vol. £7.99
A fresh, modern Portuguese red from high altitude vineyards south of the Douro. This has beautifully crisp and crunchy red fruits.
2012 El Tesoro Monastrell/Shiraz Jumilla 13% vol. £5.49
This bargain priced Spanish red has rich black cherry fruit and a twist of spice.
2010 Dirk Niepoort Drink Me Douro Tinto, Douro Valley 13% vol. £9.99
One of the great innovators of the Douro, Dirk Niepoort produces wonderfully authentic Portuguese wines from native grapes.
2012 Naire Tempranillo, Toro 13% vol. £6.99
A soft and sweetly fruited wine with vibrant plum and damson fruits.
The Everyday Case - wines of exceptional value for money.
£60.99 if collected from the shop and £69.99 delivered anywhere in the UK
Free delivery within a 30 mile radius.
The Spring Case - perfect for that transition from Spring into Summer
£79.89 if collected from the shop and £88.00 delivered anywhere in the UK
Free delivery within a 30 mile radius.
On the 11th May we were lucky enough to attend a Lebanese evening at The Parkers Arms hosted by the Country Pub themselves in association with Ralph Hochar of Chateau Musar. Lebanese wine has a very ancient history dating back to 4500 BC and has its origins in the Bekaa valley surrounded by two impressive mountain ranges. The Hochar family arrived in the Lebanon from France in the 12th century and Chateau Musar was founded by the family in 1930.
Though we have championed their wines for many many years, it was refreshing to try a wide range with the food of the country of origin. We were very impressed with what we found on both counts.
Chateau Musar Jeune Rose 2011 £8.99
Best served gently chilled, the colour is vividly bright, reminiscent of redcurrants, and indeed the fruit is there too on the palate, together with cranberries, raspberries and a hint of rose water.
This was a delightful aperitif served with a meze of falafels, pomegranate crusted sausages and 'Khobez' flat bread with za'atar.
Chateau Musar Jeune Red 2010 £8.99
A youthful wine grown at altitude. The 2011 vintage was challenging leading to late maturation, but the resulting wine is very balanced. The palate is fresh & fruity with blueberries, blackcurrants and red plums. The tannins are soft, long and warm. We enjoyed this with 'Chorba Mloukhiyeh', a deliciously light chicken and Jew's mallow broth served with shallot vinegar and Lebanese bread croutons.
Hochar Pere et Fils Red 2007 £11.59
Aromas of leather, cigar box, tea leaves and spices and a palate of plums, prunes, dates and figs and sweet spices such as cardamom. In other words exotic to the last sip and thoroughly enticing. The wine was a wonderful match with local venison tartar, cracked wheat, olive oil, red onions cumin and tomatoes.
Chateau Musar White 2005 £16.59
Rich lemon in colour with aromas of tropical fruits, pineapple, lychee, pears and apricots. A rather remarkable multi-layered wine, which balanced perfectly the cumin spice of the 'Siyadiyeh', the hake with caramelised onion pilaf with lemon sauce.
Chateau Musar Red 2005 £18.99
This wine is only released by the winery when they consider it to be fully mature and ready for drinking. This is their current release and was thoroughly enjoyed by all present on the evening. Almost medicinal hints along with all the delights of figs, mocha, leather and juicy red plums. A wine almost designed to accompany the 'Lahem Meshwi', local milk fed lamb, aubergine confit and lamb fat roasted potatoes.
Chateau Musar Arak £20.59
A new experience for many of us, daughter Ruth has become a firm fan! Probably best not drunk neat, Ralph Hochar suggested one part arak to two parts water. Smooth, refreshing and very easy in the mouth even without the addition of water, a very sophisticated arak.
The arak was enjoyed alongside the 'Labneh halwa' (soft curd cheese with pistachio croustillant and amar el din sorbet with rosehip jelly) and Lebanese petit fours with Cardomom infused coffee.
By the end of the evening many of us were planning our visits to The Lebanon but you don't have to, all the wines are available from the shop! We also keep a good selection of other Lebanese wines if you would like to experiment - you won't regret it!
One or two others you might try:
2012 Domaine des Tourelles White £8.59
2011/12 Domaine des Tourelles Rose £8.59
2010 Domaine des Tourelles Red £8.59
2010 Domaine des Tourelles Marquis des Beys Red £18.99
2009 Chateau Ka Red £8.99
2010/11 Massaya Classic Red £9.99
2010 Massaya Silver Red £14.99
2009 / 2010 / 2011 Rhones
Very fine wines and equally fine value for money.
These have been some of the finest vintages for the Rhone in recent years and in our opinion are now offering some of the greatest value to be had from any wine region in the world.
2011 Domaine Belles Granges Syrah Pays de Collines Rhodaniennes £7.59
2010 Les Coteaux Cotes de Rhone Villages £7.39
2009/10 Les Coteaux Schisteux Seguret Cotes du Rhone Villages £9.99
2009/10 Les Cote Sauvage Cairanne Cotes du Rhone Villages £10.99
2010 Domaine de l'Espigouttes Violes, Vacqueyras £12.69
2009 Domaine Le Couroulu Vieilles Vignes, Vacqueyras £14.89
2010 Domaine La Soumade Rasteau Villages £11.99
2010 Domaine La Soumade Rasteau Cuvee Prestige £14.99
2010 Domaine La Soumade Cuvee Violettes £21.99
2010 Domaine La Soumade Cuvee Confiance £21.99
2010 Domaine La Haute Marone, Les Cru des Dentelles de Montmirail Gigondas £12.29
2011 Domaine Les Florets Gigondas Les Florets £14.59
2011 Domaine Florent et Damien Burle Gigondas Cuvee Traditionelle £14.69
2011 Domaine Raspail Ay Gigondas £17.39
2010/11 Domaine La Soumade Gigondas £19.99
2009/10 Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas Racines £22.89
2010 Domaine Fayolle Fils Crozes Hermitage Rouge Las Pontaix £13.99
2010 Domaine Fayolle Fils Crozes Hermitage Les Cornirets £17.19
2009 Domaine Michel Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage Les Varonniers £35.99
2009 Domaine Michel Chapoutier Saint Joseph Les Granits Rouge £37.99
2010 Yves Cuilleron Saint Joseph Rouge L'Amarybelle £18.99
2010 Domaine du Monteillet Saint Joseph Rouge Cuvee du Papy £20.19
2010 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 £20.69
2010 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60 £23.69
2010 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale £34.99
2010 Domaine Philippe Faury Cote Rotie Reviniscence £30.89
2009 Domaine du Monteillet Cote Rotie Fortis £34.39
2009 Domaine Michel Chapoutier Cote Rotie La Mordoree £109.99
2009 Chateau de Beaucastel Coudelet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone £16.89
2009 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape £55.49
2010 Domaine Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape £17.89
2009 Domaine Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes £29.39
2010 Clos du Mont Olivet Chateauneuf du Pape £23.29
2010 Clos du Mont Olivet Cuvee du Papet Chateauneuf du Pape £42.49
2010 Pierre Usseglio Chateauneuf du Pape £24.99
2010 Pierre Usseglio Mon Aieul Chateauneuf du Pape £59.99
2010 Pierre Usseglio Deus Freres Chateauneuf du Pape £98.99
2010 Domaine Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf du Pape £38.99
2010 Domaine Giraud Chateauneuf du Pape £25.19
2010 Domaine Saint Prefert Chateauneuf du Pape £31.49
2010 Domaine Saint Prefert Collection Charles Giraud Chateauneuf du Pape £45.99
2010 Domaine Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve £53.99
2010 Domaine Pegau Cuvee da Capo Chateauneuf du Pape £246.99
2009 Domaine Michel Chapoutier Ermitage Le Greffieux £112.99
2009 Domaine Michel Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal £144.99
Light and easy drinking and exceptional quality too
2012 Domaine de la Vieille Tour Rose Cotes de Provence £8.09
2012 Chateau La Moutete Grande Reserve Rose Cotes de Provence £9.39
2012 Rimauresq Cru Classe Rose Cotes de Provence £10.29
Andrew's Spirit recommendations
Ardbeg 10 Y.O. £35.99
A very sophisticated single Islay malt, non chill-filtered and bottled at a strength of 46% to retain maximum flavour.
From our range of over 80 different gins I've selected:
Caorunn Small Batch Scottish Gin £20.99
41% vol with some more unusual botanicals which include rowan berry and heather, bog myrtle, dandelion and the rare Coul Blush apple amongst others. Invigorating, long, refreshing, crisp and dry. Instead of lemon or lime, drink it with a freshly cut slice of red apple.
De Marcy Eminence X.O. Cognac £25.99
A terrific bargain - we managed to buy a small parcel at an unbeatable price, snap it up quickly! Very high quality cognac, rich and very smooth.
One to keep in the fridge door!
De Soto Fino Sherry 15% vol. £7.29
Bone dry, fresh and clean, an excellent aperitif and a perfect wine with spicy Chinese food.
A final little fizz for the summer.....
Frassinelli Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene Extra dry £9.59
Given rave reviews by wine writer Jane Mcquitty in The Times
- a great value sparkling wine!
Orders or enquiries for any of the cases or wines in this newsletter, please apply by phone to the shop on 01200 423152 or 01200 422281- not by email, thank you.