Wednesday Wines – Episode 4

2018 Lenton Brae, Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River, Western Australia (£16.50,

This wine is a pure delight and it is an inclusion in my 100 Best Australian Wines Report 2019/20.  These guys are acknowledged SSB specialists and I have always liked their wines.  In 2018, this wine is a soaring triumph with exactly the right balance between peashoot and jasmine freshness, accompanying aromatics, and mesmerising palate juiciness.  It is so difficult to get this combo right because if you are one step to the left you encourage veggie notes and one step to the right there is always sweatiness and other nasties, which some mistake for complexity, but which I cannot abide.  2018 Lenton Brae is laser-focussed and also moreish, each sip, willing the next and I know that everyone will adore this forward-drinking wine.   Sit atop this Brae and admire the stunning view.

2018 Domaine de Mandeville Viognier, Languedoc, France (£7.50, Marks & Spencer).

There is one white grape variety which splits the wine-loving public right down the middle – it is the veritable Marmite of the famous white grape world and its name is Viognier!  I think the reason why 50% people dislike Viognier intensely is because the vast majority of wines made from this grape are unutterable muck.  In fact, I bet that most people can’t be bothered to risk their hard-earned cash on trialling any more Viognier disappointments!  So let’s all wipe the slate clean and begin again with only well-made, effortlessly classy Viognier and I venture that everyone will fall in love with this grape again.  You will not find bubble-bath, loo spray, tinned fruit salad, plug-in air freshener or pick ‘n’ mix notes in any of my recommendations.  This super-energetic, amazingly accurate M&S find is the perfect starting point on your peachy odyssey.  It is also the cheapest Viognier I can find which passes muster.  Onwards and upwards from here.

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