A similar tasting to last year's Discoveries. Over the past twelve months I have continued to go to a wider range of tastings than I would normally, as background research for the new edition of my book - now due for publication in April 2017. In doing so I have, not surprisingly, come across some exciting finds in terms of originality and style, as distinctive expressions of their grapes and origins, as value for money and, above all, as pleasurable drinking. These ten discoveries ( re-discoveries in a few cases) are some of them. Four whites and six reds ranging in price from around £16 to £75 a bottle. One each from Spain, Italy and South Africa; a trio from Australia, and a quartet from New Zealand.
They range in age from a dry Sherry barely six months out of the cask, to mature Bordeaux Blends, and Shiraz, of seven, nine and twelve years, which demonstrate just how beautifully New World reds age (they develop beautiful bouquets, and lovely textures), and why they are just as worth salting away as the European classics. We finish up with a deliciously mature Amarone della Valpollicella.
NV Pirie is a splendid Champagne lookalike which shows (as the Tolpuddle will do in November's Pinot Noir tasting) how a little extra climate change warmth has made Tasmania an increasingly desirable high quality location. Tio Pepe Fino en Rama. En rama sherry is a recent fashion, en rama meaning minimally treated at bottling in order to preserve the intensity of flavour, and this wonderful aperitif example shows just why this style has become so popular. Produced in limited quantities, to drink within six months, it always sells out very rapidly.
2013 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay is every bit the quality (and style) of a top village white Burgundy, but at considerably less than one of those would cost you. And with over ten years in bottle, the 2005 Pewsey Vale Contours will illustrate why this is the Australian classic it is, a gorgeous, fully mature dry Riesling.
2010 Alpha Domus Aviator and 2008 Te Mata Coleraine. Two of New Zealand's top estates, whose red wines have a track record of ageing superbly, as we will see with these two fine vintages of their flagship Bordeaux blends in early maturity. The same goes for Western Australia's 2008 Plantagenet Shiraz and the South Africa's 2004 Rustenberg Syrah from Stellenbosch. We have had both of these recently: fully mature (but no hurry!), seductive in both bouquet and texture.
2005 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella. Amarone is famous for a number of things: unreliability, variability, and being a 'meditation' wine. This one is reliable, a really fine classic example, rare to encounter with over a decade of bottle age, and 'meditation-magic' with parmesan shavings!
NV Pirie Sparkling Wine; Tasmania
Tio Pepe Fino En Rama (May 2016): Spain
2013 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay; N. Zealand
2005 Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling; S. Australia
2010 Alpha Domus Aviator; New Zealand
2008 Te Mata Coleraine; New Zealand
2008 Plantagenet Mt Barker Shiraz; W. Australia
2004 Rustenberg Syrah; Stellenbosch, S. Africa
2005 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Class. Italy
10 Wines, and nibbles with each pair ...... £89.00