Wednesday Wines – Episode 2

This week I have two great wines for you and they are both on the inexpensive side of the fence.

2019 Domaine Pique Roque Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£12.45, reduced to £11.00 per bottle if you buy a case, Haynes, Hanson & Clark tel. 020 7584 7927 &

I have written up and also bought this wine every vintage for well over a decade.  It was a mainstay on the Bibendum Restaurant and Oyster Bar wine list which I wrote from 1990 – 2016.  It is safe to say that this is the grandest and also the prettiest vintage I have ever seen from Pique Roque.  Grandest because the fruit is so strict, well organised and mineral-drenched and prettiest because the top notes are blushingly floral and demure.  It is these two elements that make up the finest rosés and yet they are rarely present in the same wine.  This is a triumph for Pique Roque and I will be pouring this wine, again, this year in my garden (and hopefully out and about when we are all set free).

2018/9 Penfolds, Koonunga Hill Chardonnay, South Australia (£9.00, Tesco &

I never (ever) put a slashed vintage on a write-up so this is a first.  In these Coronatimes, it is nigh on impossible to get information out of supermarkets about what they stock, but I am told that there is a pile of this wine at this retailer and so I am guessing that they have either the 2018, the 2019 or both vintages on their shelves!  It matters not which vintage you manage to track down because they are both stunning wines.  Perfectly blended from multiple sites across the State of South Australia, this wine is, in my opinion, the finest value Chardonnay in the world.  Snobs will turn their noses up at serving a big brand Aussie Chardy at a dinner party but they would lap this wine up like dozy Labradors if it were sneakily decanted into an empty bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé.  This underlines the fact that most wine snooty people drink with their eyes and not their palates!   Layered, creamy, fresh and superbly enticing, this is a world-class wine which definitely shares DNA with its superstar stablemates and it has been given the job of handing out Penfolds ‘business cards’ in the hope of recruiting wine drinkers to the cause.  If and when these wine lovers decide to climb the ladder there is a chance Penfolds will get the spend.  On this showing, I would imagine that legions of people will take the plunge this year. Out of interest, the 2018 vintage made my 100 Best Australian Wines Report and the 2019 vintage is looking odds on to be mentioned in my 2020/21 Report, too!  This is how seriously I take this amazing wine.

Every Wednesday, during this extraordinary ‘lockdown’ period, I will select one wine under a tenner and one wine over a tenner that I think offer particular value for money and also a huge amount of joy on both the nose and palate. These two wines are designed to lift your mood while we are all confined to our homes. Each of the merchants featured during this series is able to deliver to your doorstep, so you should be able to order easily and receive the wines without too much delay.

I hope that you enjoy this bonus feature on! It’s the very least I can do to keep my readers topped up with excellent wines. As always, I will only feature wines which I adore and which also represent terrific value for money.

Stay safe.

Best wishes, Matthew