The Lull Before The Storm

Posted On October 29, 2006

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The wine trade people are generally a delightful bunch, if a trifle obsessed with what goes into their glasses and ultimately down their throats, and you get to taste a lot of very jolly things that you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance, or more realistically, the cash to take a look at.

For all that I remember that the wine trade has one massive downside, its called Christmas. But for those such as I for who wine is for life and not just for Christmas help is at hand as I countdown six wines that no one should be without. 

One: It’s German, its riesling, it’s got a tiny amount of residual sugar and its brilliant, it’s the Dr L 2005. This gem of a wine is made by the great Ernest Loosen from his extensive holdings in the Rheingau, Rheinhessen et al. Now don’t be put off, this is a seriously good wine and terrific with food, try it with poached salmon or grilled mackerel or creamy poultry. The freshness of acidity and the bushels of green apple and grape fruit make for a clean, refreshing and stunningly elegant glassful at a price that is almost too good to be true.

Two: It’s French, its chardonnay and it’s from Burgundy it’s the Montagny Vieilles Vignes 2004, Cuvée Specal Buxy. This big, creamy, nuts and peaches driven wine is from the south of Burgundy in the Maconnaise district. This is wine that was just created to go with soft cheeses, roast pork or just on its own as an evening sipper.

Three: It’s Spanish, its palamino fino, its drier than my drinks cabinet during lent and though you might not think so it goes spectacularly well with food, it’s Tio Pepe. Sherry, once the preserve of the vicar and the every neglected sideboard, has had a bit of renaissance over the last few years and if sherry is now sexy then Tio Pepe is the Kate Moss of the sherry world. Firm, full bodied and bursting with tones of almonds, grapefruit and citrus it’s like a good sauvignon blanc…only it tastes of something!

Four: It’s Spanish, its tempranillo, garnacha, mazuelo and probably some graciano for colour and backbone, it’s the Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2004. Rioja doesn’t come more does what it says on the label than this. Rich, velvety and carrying amble weight, this raspberry and cranberry soaked wine is one for the Sunday roast or a hearty casserole or if you are Ernest Hemmingway then milk fed lamb eaten with your fingers.

Five: It’s Argentinean, it malbec and it’s a bargain! It’s the Argento Malbec 2005. Years go by, pre-the 2001 vintage I think, I was not a big fan of this wine. It was big and bold as it is now, but it was also quite astringent and a little lean. Since then they have, I suspect, allowed the fermentation temperatures to rise a touch and as such have produced a wine of more extract and lower, softer acidity. Whatever the case what we have now is a wine of unctuous texture, soft, jammy red and black fruits and easygoing acidity. Whatever the case you get a lot of wine for the money.

Six: Last but not least its South African, its grenache, syrah (shiraz) and a half dozen others that space doesn’t allow me to list and its got a name that landed it in court, it’s the Goats do Roam in Villages 2005. Silly name, great wine, a good Cotes du Rhone given the New World treatment by the ever-inventive Charles Back, one for the red meat and cheese fans me thinks!

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