Food & Drink: Wines of the Month

THIS IS the start of a critical month for Europe as growers are under starter's orders for the 1999 harvest. France is poised to deliver an abundant 58.9 million hectolitres, or 7.85 billion bottles of wine. Certainly a healthy season of mellow fruitfulness is badly needed if the vintage-conscious French in particular are going to recoup some of the body blows suffered at the hands of the New World over recent years.

With a six months' head start on Europe, the Southern hemisphere's harvest is bubbling under nicely already with Australia reporting a big chardonnay vintage. 1999 looks to be a great year, too, for New Zealand's Marlborough sauvignon blanc and a breakthrough year for Argentina after the depredations of El Nino in 1998.

The years 1899 and 1900 were both legendary vintages in Bordeaux. It remains to be seen whether the 1999 (and subsequently 2000) will be matched by the quality Bordeaux is anxiously looking heavenwards for.

WHITES

1998 Asda Hungarian Gewurztraminer, pounds 3.79, Asda / 1998 Deer Leap Gewurztraminer, pounds 3.99, Waitrose.

As this clean, fresh and fragrant dry white from the outstanding Neszmely co-operative demonstrates, Hungary's northerly climate suits aromatic grape varieties like Alsace's gewurztraminer. Lychee spicy and dry with the classic rose-petal fragrance of the grape variety, this is a fine aperitif white, well-suited to pate and smoked fish.

1998 Sierra Los Andes Chardonnay Reserve, pounds 6.99, Marks & Spencer, Oddbins, Fine Wine.

Alvaro Espinoza of Carmen Vineyards seems to have the Midas touch. Applying the Burgundian technique of fermenting in new French oak casks, he has used chardonnay grapes from the cool Casablanca Valley to produce an exotic style, ripe in mango and pineapple fruitiness, with a citrus zestiness that adds freshness and balance.

1998 Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, pounds 8.99, Waitrose.

There's nothing quite like Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in full cry. It's simply a different beast from any other sauvignon. 1998 was a fuller, less aromatic vintage than usual at the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island, but a handful of sauvignons, like this one from Jackson Estate, delivered the requisite pungency, steel and flavour. This assertive dry white from John Stichbury mingles grapefruit and passion fruit flavours with herby undertones.

REDS

1998 Domaine Jeune, Vin de Pays du Gard, pounds 4.49, Marks & Spencer.

Paul Jeune is the supplier of the most interesting French red in Marks & Spencer's under-a-fiver range. Made from the rare counoise grape, one of the grapes authorised for Chateauneuf-du-Pape but rarely seen on its own, this is a perfumed Rhone Valley red, with distinctive undertones of milled white pepper and nutmeg spice suffusing a juicy, accessible red.

1996 Norton Malbec, pounds 4.99, Oddbins.

This is one of the best value reds at under a fiver in the high street. It shows the voluptuous softness of Argentina's most classic red grape variety, with succulent mulberry and blackberry-like fruit, and an Italianate nip of fresh acidity. This malbec from the consistently reliable Norton bodega in Mendoza is brimming with plummy fruit and spicy flavours.

Spice Route Shiraz, pounds 7.99, Sainsbury's selected stores, also at Fuller's.

The new Spice Route range from winemakers Gyles Webb and Charles Back in partnership with author John Platter and black wine "ambassador" Jabulani Ntshangase, has been a long time in the making but has finally made it from its Malmesbury vineyards on to Sainsbury's shelves.

Not for the faint-hearted or dyed-in-the-wool Europhile, the Shiraz is a big, brassy number full of oak spiciness and gutsy, peppery, sweetly powerful fruit. It comes with a stablemate, a blackcurrant, capsicum and vanilla Cabernet/Merlot, available at Fuller's and Waitrose (later this month).

FIZZ

Jacobs Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, pounds 6.99, widely available (on special offer at pounds 5.99 at Sainsbury's until 11 September).

Let them drink champagne? Fair enough, but as not every pre- and post- millennium bash can necessarily afford to be awash with champagne, a prescription for something a bit more affordable is in order this month.

Step forward Jacob's Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, a welcome new addition to Australia's best-known brand. Using the champagne grapes, chardonnay and pinot noir (mainly from the 1996 vintage), this is a well- made fizz with a tropical citrus fruit notes and a fair bit of style for the asking price.

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower