Wednesday Wines – Episode 16

Episode 16 – 15th July 2020

A classic collection this week of one wine under and tenner and one over – both are brilliant, stunning value and un-missable.  Cheers.

2019 Saumur Blanc, Les Plantagenêts, Loire, France (£7.95, The Wine Society tel. 01438 741177 & www.thewinesociety.com).

First, the history and there are some remarkable facts here taken from The Wine Society’s website – The Cave de Saumur, founded in 1956 by 40 growers, is a co-operative operating under the umbrella of the Alliance Loire organisation, a conglomeration of co-ops vinifying grapes from more than 850 growers covering 4,500 hectares across the entire Loire region. 160 growers now form the Cave de Saumur around the town of the same name and even after nearly 60 years, they are under the leadership of only their third President, Jean-Louis Bazille.

Next, the flavour, using my very own taste buds – It is hard to believe that this wine is a sniff under eight quid.  Made from Chenin Blanc and without so much as a whisper of sweetness hanging around on the finish, to muddy the message, this is a scintillating expression of a dry Loire classic and it is insulting cheap given its class.  What makes this such a compelling experience is this wine’s mid-palate which is lush, mildly nectarine-imbued and gently honeysuckle smooched.  This exuberance lasts fleetingly before the acidity marshals the fruit and ramps up the tension on the finish.  A heroic and sophisticated aperitif, this wine is as intellectually pleasing as it is gluggable.  It is sensational with seafood, crustacea, all manner of mildly spicy starters and even smoked fish loves this wine’s rapier-sharp stance.  Given all of this praise, it is a miracle that the label is inoffensive, too, so I urge you to give this bargain-priced, retro-beauty a whirl.

2017 Klumpp, Bruchsaler Weiherberg Pinot Noir, Baden, Germany (£24.95, Yapp Brothers tel. 01747 860423 & www.yapp.co.uk).

In common with my Wine Soc recommendation above, I have reproduced (and edited down) some of the brilliant notes, from the Yapp website, about this estate here  – This single vineyard, Pinot Noir comes from 25-year old vines planted on chalky soils in the northerly sector of Germany’s most southerly (and warmest) wine region, Baden.  Positioned just across the Rhine from Alsace in south-west Germany, Baden is the country’s 3rd largest wine-producing region. Stretching 400km down to Lake Constance in the south and provided with natural protection by the Vosges mountains and the Black Forest, it is the country’s warmest grape-growing region, and so the wines tend towards fuller flavours and higher alcohols. The most common grape varieties found are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc and over 80% of Baden’s production comes from co-operatives.

With this regional information in mind, it helps to explain why this wine is so extraordinarily ripe and expressive.  I taste a lot of German Pinot and my favourites are often ultra-fine, and a little reedy with more herbaceous and mineral tones than overt flesh.  If you know New Zealand’s Pinot landscape then most German Pinot is more Marlborough than Central Otago in flavour silhouette.  But Klumpp’s wine is beautifully luxurious, layered and sophisticated with surprisingly buoyant fruit and none of the green, leaner notes found in many, lesser German wines.   I am not saying that this is as rich as an Otago wine, but it is certainly silky, bold and deep and I predict that we will see many more wines with this succulence and extrovert fruit expression in years to come because this is where most palates want to hang out if they are paying £25 for the pleasure.  I heartily recommend this wine and I hope that its bowls your palate over like it has done mine.