Episode 59 – 12th May 2021
M&S’s new Found range and two fantastic Argentinian Malbecs
The M&S wine buying team can be relied upon to come up with new and inventive initiatives every year and they are always worthy of investigation. ‘Found’ features twelve off-the-beaten-track wines made from left-field varieties and the range is pitched between £7 and £10. They are all vegan and sourced with sustainability in mind. I particularly like four of the range, so here they are.
2020 M&S Found, Feteascã Regalã, Romania £7.00 │11.5% alc
Feteascã Regalã means Royal Maiden, and this inexpensive little beauty is made from this enchanting indigenous grape grown in Transylvania. The winery, Cramele Recas, dates back to 1447 and today it is run by Englishman Philip Cox and his Romanian wife Elivra. Lovely and unusual with a floral perfume of pink carnations and a palate with hints of juicy papayas, this is certainly an aromatic and mildly tropical wine but it is also bone dry and delightfully invigorating.
2020 M&S Found, Gros Manseng, Gascony, France £9.00 │12.5% alc
OK, this is not the most obscure white grape in the world but it is lovely to find a Gros Manseng with an affordable price tag that actually nails the variety. Winemaker Nicolas Duffour has crafted this wonderfully accurate wine and it sings of the foothills of the Pyrenees. Boasting jasmine and violet florals and nice, ripe balance offset by tender exoticism, this is a hauntingly delicious, dry white wine.
2020 M&S Found, Ribolla Gialla, Venezia Giulia, Italy £7.00 │12% alc
Giacomo Vedovatto is the winemaker here and while this is the least unusual of these four white wines, it is still a thoroughly beautiful experience. Ribolla is a fascinating grape that is usually lost in white blends and when it flies solo, you find a smooth, bright and clean chassis with a lovely tart finish. The flavours are all discreet – green apples, pear skin, wildflowers and the merest hint of greengage, but other than this there is nothing to frighten you here, so dive into this bargain-priced white with confidence.
2020 M&S Found, Moschofilero & Roditis, Mantineia, Greece £8.50 │12% alc
Made by the famous Semeli winery, this blend 80% / 20% blend is about as Greek as white wine gets and by this, I mean amazing, unique and mesmerizingly different. Stunningly accurate, with mandarin skin, fresh herbs and lemon balm, this is a thrilling white wine with as much character as the first three added together! This is a heroic white wine and I gave it a gold medal score in my notes!
Two Mighty Malbecs (and not what you might be expecting!) which you must track down.
2018 Zuccardi, Valles Malbec, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina (£13.30, www.cambridgewine.com; £12.99, www.noblegrape.co.uk; £12.95, www.dunells.com).
Hold the front page, because this is the most perfectly poised and brilliantly balanced Argentinian Malbec I have tasted in years. Do not buy this wine if you like excessive alcohol, oak, extraction or tannin. Do buy this wine if you love honed, suave, long, epically tasty red wines!
NV Zuccardi, Malamado Fortified Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (£17.99, www.cambridgewine.com; £15.99, www.noblegrape.co.uk; £19.95, www.cheerswinemerchants.co.uk; £17.95, www.dunells.com; £23.50, www.urbancellar.co.uk; £16.50, www.farehamwinecellar.co.uk; £17.65, www.fieldandfawcett.co.uk).
What the hell is going on here? This is Argentinian Malbec in Ruby Port form and it is delicious, blackberry compote-soaked with figgy, pruney sweetness and dark cholocate undertones. It is totally delicious, completely bonkers and amazing value for money. Ps – I gave both this wine and the Valle de Uco 18.5/20 in my notes! Cheers.