Wine: Line 'em up
Terry Kirby selects and savours the season’s finest wines
Sunday 07 October 2012
1 | J&L Charlemagne Sparkling XO
Something really different in sparkling wine. Made in traditional méthode champenoise style in the Cognac country of western France using mostly Chardonnay grapes, but with a small amount of aged brandy added to create real depth of flavour which gives warm, buttery richness to the bubbles and a taste more akin to vintage champagne. A perfect autumnal aperitif and great for smoked-salmon canapés. £13.50, chixandbuck.com
2 | Casa Silva Chardonnay-Semillon Colchagua Valley 2011
From award-winning Chilean producers, still in the same family after more than 100 years. Semillon grapes from ancient vines coupled with the Chardonnay and a little oak ageing deliver a concentrated, creamy wine, with flavours of peaches, a nice citric touch and a decent finish. Brilliant with scallops, prawns or smoked haddock with parsley sauce. £6.99, averys.com
3 | Pecorino Colline Pescaresi 2011
The recently revived Pecorino grape is native to Abruzzo in central Italy and absolutely nothing to do with the cheese of the same name, which is probably better suited to accompany red wines. This Pecorino produces gorgeous, generously bodied but crisply dry whites, with full-on flavours of lemons, pears and fresh brioche. An enticing accompaniment to white fish or roast chicken. £8.95, thewinesociety.com
4 | Vionta Albariño Rias Baixas 2011/12
From the green and wet Galicia area in the north-west of Spain comes a wonderfully refreshing white for washing down any kind of shellfish, crustacea or even a seafood paella. More aromatic and full-bodied than a lot of Albariño, this is almost Viognier-like, with great crisp flavours of peaches, kiwi fruit and green apples, with citrus, honey and pear touches. £12.49 (or £9.99 each for two, bought as part of a minimum of six mixed bottles; offer ends 29 October), majestic.co.uk
5 | Yealands Estate Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc 2011
A worthy winner of the world's top Sauvignon Blanc wine at the International Wine Challenge, a stunning Kiwi which displays all the typical characteristics of a Marlborough wine and more: green, floral and herbal aromas, thrillingly fresh acidity on the palate and lovely gooseberry and tropical-fruit flavours. Drink with rich fish dishes or lightly spiced Asian dishes.£12.99, Marks & Spencer
6 | Cepa Alegro Rioja Reserva 2006
From Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range, a Rioja with a decent amount of ageing, so possibly worth putting a few aside at this decent discount. Medium-bodied, but nevertheless possessing considerable power and intensity, with characteristic flavours of cherries and red fruits and some vanilla and peppery spice from the wood. A fine match for vegetable dishes or pasta with tomato-based sauces. £6.66 (until 16 October; normally £9.99), Sainsbury's
7 | Dona Dominga Syrah El Rabaño Colchagua Valley 2011
A New World single varietal this may be, but the style is more restrained European, with the wild Syrah taste tempered by some judicious oak ageing and a little bit of Malbec added for structure and complexity. Warm, spicy and juicy, an approachable, everyday wine to ward off autumn chills. Drink with grilled lamb, particularly with Middle Eastern spicing. £7.49, Waitrose
8 | Leval Pinot Noir 2010
For many, the crunchy, red-berry fruit and wood-smoke flavours make Pinot Noir the ultimate autumn wine, most often finding true expression in Burgundy wines. In the Languedoc, the hotter climate gives a deeper, more intense quality to the grapes, creating a succulent, fruity and well-balanced wine, while retaining a good deal of Pinot's purity and elegance. Good for game birds such as roast quail or grouse. £9.65, jascots.co.uk
9 | Marques de Borba Alentejo Tinto 2011
Made principally from the local Aragones and Trincadeira grapes (with a little Syrah and Cabernet in the mix) and aged for a while in oak barrels, this is a fine example of modern Portuguese wine- making from an estate east of Lisbon. Smooth, soft, with terrific autumnal flavours of black fruits, a smoky, spicy feel and enough firm tannins to give structure. Excellent with richer game dishes. £9.60, tanners-wines.co.uk
10 | Trapiche Broquel Bonarda 2011
Proving that Malbec is not the only red grape Argentina can work wonders on, here is a juicy Bonarda, a grape known in Italy as Dolce Nero and in France as Douce Noir – literally, "sweet black". Which is not quite the flavour profile here – this is full of deep flavours of damsons, blackberries and blackcurrants, but with a supple, savoury finish. And, like Malbec, drink with a rare and bloody steak. £10.99, Tesco, laithwaites.co.uk
11 | Château Sainte-Eulalie Minervois La Liviniere 2009
A stunningly delicious Syrah/Grenache/Carignan blend from the Minervois – really fulsome, rich, ripe, dark and multi-layered. Aromas of stewed black fruits and violets give way to deep, complex flavours which include tar, tobacco and leather, all underpinned with a peppery base, which linger long on the palate. Ideal for long, slow braises of beef or venison. £11.50, thewinesociety.com
12 | Grant Burge Barossa 10-year-old Tawny
A tawny port in all but name; since it is from the Barossa Valley in Australia, rather than the Douro Valley in Portugal, it cannot actually have the p-word on the label. Made from Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache grapes, matured in oak casks and blended in the traditional solera system of European fortified wines, this is mellow and satisfying, with a characteristic dry finish and a wonderful companion to hard cheeses, fruit and nuts. £21.50, hailshamcellars.com
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