Food & Drink: Wines Of The month

WITH 12 days to go, Le Beaujolais Nouveau is not quite yet arrive, but I'm not holding my breath. Time was when I used to happily glug down the first nubile fruits of the harvest, freshly bottled from the bubbling fermentation vat. But that was when it was a cause for celebration and not an excuse for rampant commercialism. What happened? Nouveau became vieux chapeau through the increasingly poor quality of the overhyped product. Then along came the New World six months early to pull the rug from underneath its complacent, wine-stained feet. No apologies then for salivating instead at the deliciously bright flavours arriving from all points south.


1999 Bright Brothers Mendoza Chardonnay, pounds 2.99, Somerfield (down from pounds 3.99 until 30 November)

This month's bargain-basement chardonnay is the result of a not wholly unholy alliance between Mendoza's biggest winery, Penaflor, and Australian winemakers, Peter Bright and Steve McEwen. There's plenty of tropical and stone-fruit flavours with a light touch of oak and some early-picked fruit for a clean, crisp aftertaste.

1998 Casablanca White Label Chardonnay, pounds 4.49, Sainsbury's (down from pounds 5.49 from tomorrow to 27 November)

Not the Casablanca of Bogart fame but the eponymous Chilean valley close to the Pacific which has, in a short space of time, become the foremost region for elegant white wine styles. Made by one of Chile's most intuitive winemakers, Ignacio Recabarren, the chardonnay here is fermented in stainless steel to add zip and zing to the undertones of melon and pineapple. Here's looking at you.

1998 Vergelegen Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, pounds 6.49, Fuller's

Since Andre van Rensburg joined this modern Anglo-American-owned winery in 1998, Vergelegen's wines have soared as high as the Helderberg mountain behind it. Only partially oaked to maintain a lightness of touch, this is a fresh, aromatic white burgundy-style Cape chardonnay, beautifully balanced and shot through with an opulent streak of vanilla and butterscotch flavours. Outstanding stuff at the price.


1999 Argento Malbec, pounds 4.99, Sainsbury's, Thresher Wine Shops, Victoria Wine, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up

When the package is striking, the wine inside doesn't always live up to the presentation. Despite the pricy-looking, heavy-duty bottle, Argento Malbec exceeds expectations with a deliciously juicy and succulent berry fruit quality reminiscent of good Italian barbera. The fresh, nippy, mulberry fruitiness is made to cut through the olive oil- based richness of food like pasta and risotto.

1997 La Cuvee Mythique, Vin de Pays d'Oc, pounds 6.49, selected Co-op stores, Safeway

The general standard of wines from the giant southern French company, Val d'Orbieu, is pretty high for such a vast group. Its flagship wine, La Cuvee Mythique, with the distinctive owl on ochre label, is made using carbonic maceration for softness of texture and the southern grape varieties mourvedre, syrah and carignan, with an added dash of cabernet sauvignon. The result is a rich, robust red suffused with the flavours of angostura, spice, and Mediterranean herbs.

1996 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Cabernet Merlot, Hawkes Bay, pounds 9.99, Waitrose, Safeway selected stores

Best known for her outstand-ing whites, Villa Maria's winemaker Michelle Richardson also produces some of the best Bordeaux-style reds coming out of Hawkes Bay on the central east coast of North Island. This classic blend of mainly cabernet sauvignon with pinches of merlot and malbec and cabernet franc is aged in French oak to produce a stylishly spicy red with clean, blackcurrant lines and delicately herbal notes.


1996 Green Point Vineyards Brut, pounds 11.99, widely available

I make no secret of the fact that Moet & Chandon's Green Point is my favourite Aussie fizz and the most recent vintage made by the drinking- woman's crumpet, Dr Tony Jordan, is no exception.

Using balanced proportions of the champagne grapes - chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier - from eight of Australia's cooler regions, it has a bit more richness than champagne at the same age, but with its hints of strawberry, it still retains the classic bottle- developed flavours of brioche and toastiness. She who thinks Australian...

Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tvReview: Too often The Casual Vacancy resembled a jumble of deleted scenes from Hot Fuzz
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David performs in his play ‘Fish in the Dark'
Arts and Entertainment
Jemima West in Channel 4's Indian Summers (Joss Barratt/Channel 4)
tvReview: More questions and plot twists keep viewers guessing
Arts and Entertainment
Kristin Scott Thomas outside the Royal Opera House before the ceremony (Getty)
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Channel 4's Indian Summers
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

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

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

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003