Episode 58 – 5th May 2021
Highlights from a recent The Wine Society Tasting
I have no fewer than 14 wines that I loved from a recent The Wine Society tasting and so I thought that I would tell you about all of them in today’s Wednesday Wines column. But in order to apply the pressure, I will do this in no more than one sentence per wine. The one-sentence tasting note (or ‘one-liner’ as it is known in restaurant wine lists) is a wine writer’s greatest challenge. How best to explain all of a wine’s attributes in the shortest possible number of words! Here we go.
2020 Concha y Toro, Corte Ignacio, Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc, Chile (£8.95, www.thewinesociety.com). Herbal, balanced, pithy, green, dry and energetic, this is a bargain-priced Sauvignon Blanc that captures all of this variety’s key ingredients and delivers them in style.
2019 St Andrea, Napbor White Blend, Eger, Hungary (£9.50, www.thewinesociety.com). Smooth, classy and layered with sultry orchard blossom notes on the mid-palate and arresting freshness on the finish, this is a surprisingly affordable beauty from one of the most famous wineries in the country.
2020 Lubanzi, Chenin Blanc, Swartland, South Africa (£9.95, www.thewinesociety.com). Super-classy and amazingly fresh and citrusy, this is a vibrant, not lusty, style of Chenin Blanc and it will perform elite aperitif, seafood and crustacea duties with aplomb.
2019 Domaine Félines-Jourdan Rouge, Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (£7.50, www.thewinesociety.com). Made from Grenache and Syrah, this is a smooth, brightly-red-fruited, no-nonsense rouge which is made for session glugging and parties and when called for chills rather nicely, too, so spicy barbecue fare.
2020 Beaujolais, Les Pierres Dorées, Cuvée Louis Dépagneux, France (£8.50, www.thewinesociety.com). A far cry from the ‘banana and bubblegum’ Bojos or yore, this is a PYO blackberry-soaked stunner hewn from its granite soils with epic balance, drive, energy and an insultingly low price.
2019 Farmhouse, Californian Red, USA (£10.50, www.winesociety.com). Made by the famous Cline Family Cellars this DIY-labelled, distinctly unassuming bottle packs a serious punch of smooth, herbal, sweet-fruited Zinfandel, Syrah, Carignane, Mourvèdre and Grenache and the fruits of the forest and cinnamon stick harmony is truly amazing.
2016 Glorioso, Reserva, Rioja, Spain (£12.50, www.thewinesociety.com). There is an awful lot of class in this blast from the past – this is a lovely, vanilla-smooched, supremely accurate Rioja with plush oak, a darker than expected fruit palette and an enticingly long finish.
2018 Mancuso, Garnacha, Cariñena, Spain (£12.95, www.thewinesociety.com). A new find for me, this is a brilliant Grenache with a reassuringly earthy palate, a crisp finish and a genuine sense of terroir under the cherry and plum drenched palate.
2019 Fleurie, Domaine Montangeron, Beaujolais, France (£12.95, www.thewinesociety.com). A far cry from the granite-soaked Beaujolais above, this is a poshy, with billowing fruit notes, delicious balance and a grand and layered finish and it shows just how great value elite level Cru Beaujolais is by comparison to everyday red Burgundies.
2019 Mondeuse Terres Rouge, Jean-François Quénard, Savoie, France (£13.50, www.thewinesociety.com). A quirky, nerdy and rather nostalgic style of red wine, which is rather hard to find but ever so pleasing when you do, the palate is built around a bright strawberry theme and thanks to the Savoie climate it is dry, long, fresh and willowy.
2019 The Liberator, Napoleon Bona Part 5 Late Harvest, Western Cape, South Africa (£10.95, half bottle, www.thewinesociety.com). Made by the Nederberg Wine Estate, this is a honeyed and tropical sweetie with tremendous acidity, which balances the fruit exuberance, and it goes with just about every pud on the planet.
And three more that are due in stock very soon!
2020 Fefiñanes, Albariño, Rías Baixas, Galicia, Spain (£17.00, www.thewinesociety.com). The elite Albariño of the all, ‘Fef’ is simply brilliant in 2020, so save up your pennies and splash out on this exquisite, juicy, green melon, pineapple and guava-pricked white that is underpinned, the most amazing freshness imaginable.
2020 Señorio de Sarria Rosado, Navarra, Spain (£6.95, www.thewinesociety.com). This is a ridiculous price and you wouldn’t pick it off the shelf because the colour is far too deep and scary, but this is a hilarious cranberry and raspberry-kissed, butch rosé for BBQs and other meat-feasts.
2017 Neudorf, Tom’s Block Pinot Noir, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand (£20.00, www.thewinesociety.com). Just one slightly more expensive wine to round off this round-up of unmissable treats at TWS and it comes from the most famous winery in Nelson and as you would expect it is ravishingly pure, clean, leafy, bright, breezy and cherry-blessed.