Wines of the month: The pick of what's in store for September
featured simply because
they've been made particularly attractive with juicily deep price cuts. But perhaps to make up for what little summer there's been, September offers a number of scorching "Indian summer" bargains in the shape of the cheaper white and red and this month's fizz. The mellow fruitfulness of the remaining wines attempts a balancing act between wishful thinking and the forthcoming season of mists.
Whites of the month
Domaine du Bois Viognier, pounds 3.59, Somerfield (from Wednesday). There's a double discount on a number of wines at Somerfield this month, including this ripe and full-bodied southern French dry white made from the fashionable Viognier grape. Attractively fresh with distinctive undertones of peach and pear, it looks and tastes, in its strikingly elegant bottle, at least as expensive as its usual pounds 4.99 price tag.
1997 Frascati Superiore, Tenuta Pietra Porzia, pounds 4.99, Safeway. Most Frascati is too bland to be worthy of the illustrious name; but this superior blend of Malvasia and Trebbiano from Fontana Candida has a nutty quality, an apple-y flavour and a creamy texture, all of which add up to a characterfully crisp Roman white.
1997 Jordan Chardonnay, pounds 8.49, Unwins.This estate-grown white shows just how quickly South African Chardonnay has developed in a short space of time. Finely balanced between fruitiness and Burgundy-style elegance, the subtle aromas and peachy flavours combine in this stylish dry white. Fermentation in small oak casks adds an element of understated complexity.
Reds of the month
1997 Mont Gras Merlot, Colchagua Valley, pounds 3.49, Tesco. With the aroma of a newly mown lawn and the blackcurranty sweetness and generosity of warm-climate grapes, this juicy Chilean Merlot has enough bite on the aftertaste to make it more than just a party quaffer. Normally pounds 4.49, the price has been cut until 15 September.
1996 Fetzer Home Ranch Zinfandel, pounds 5.99, Safeway, Oddbins, Majestic, Thresher, Spar. Based in Mendocino, north of Napa Valley, Fetzer is one of the few Californian companies committed to showing that the State can compete on value if it wants. While top-notch Zinfandel is expensive and the commercial stuff is bland, this vibrant Zin delivers enjoyably succulent, soft-berry fruitiness and spicy pepperiness with a bonus of seriousness of purpose in its hints of tannin and toasty oak.
1996 Mercurey, Raoul Clerget, pounds 8.99, Safeway. Good red Burgundy with the authentic taste of the Pinot Noir grape is elusive at under pounds 10. This red from southern Burgundy's Cote Chalonnaise with its aromas of rhubarb and raspberry is well-crafted with an attractive berry fruit character and just the right proportion of new French oak to give the wine balance rather than smother the fruit.
Fizz of the month
Tesco Cava Rose, pounds 3.99, Tesco. My mum's party tipple, but not her ruin. In look and texture, this pale pink Spanish fizz is wine's answer to salmon mousse, with a delicate blush and expansive foam making a refreshing, aperitif-style fizz with a delicate redcurrant flavour. Like the Chilean Merlot, it's a pound cheaper until 15 September.
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