Lake Garda is Italy’s largest lake, shaped strikingly like an outstretched brontosaurus with its head seeking the cooler northerly air. Along the southern shores, the Lugana DOC area is thriving, producing a selection of tasty textured white wines from the native Turbiana grape variety.
The whites were very good wines, but incredible value for the quality of the wine when compared to Burgundy or Northern Rhone. They are not the same wines, but they are of excellent quality. Lack of popularity means they offer excellent value. BRENDAN BARRATT reports with notes and "best in show":
Saint-Péray is a small area in the Rhone Valley and not so well known. Vidal Fleury is one of the oldest houses in the Côtes-du-Rhône and so when they turn their attention to this small AOC we are right to be intrigued.
Blend of 5 grapes: 62% Grenache blanc, 17% Roussanne, 10% Clairette, 8% Picpoul, 3% Bourboulenc
Scottie Gregory pairs a selection of white wines from Bordeaux with a range of inspiring food dishes.
As Chateau Climens declared that they would not be making any of their first wine in 2017, because of extensive frost damage in April of that year, I approached my tasting of this wine with some trepidation. But such fears turned out to be misplaced. This wine turned out to be delightful. Possibly more delicate than I remembered. But delicious nonetheless.
My memory returned to some twenty years earlier when I thought that I had died and gone to heaven on Christmas morning. My daughter had arranged for her longest-standing friend to come for Christmas, whose partner just happened to be a Michelin star chef. His Christmas present to me was a whole Foie Gras, which he insisted on cooking me for breakfast!
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Both the Foie gras and Chateau Climens were out of this world!
But I digress. The Berry Bros & Rudd Sauterne, we detected a honeyed nose, with hints of rosemary, orange peel and wild geranium. On the palate pears and acacia honey, with nectarines and peaches. But the most striking feature is its acidity combined with that honey, which makes it long on the palate and exceptionally well balanced.
We drank the Berry Bros & Rudd Sauterne with Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was a perfect foil for the butteryness of the pudding.
I have already mentioned that it is excellent with foie gras, as well as other puddings, such as Raspberry or Strawberry Pavlova, Raspberry Pannacotta and the late Gary Rhodes recipe, Apricot Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding. If pairing with Chinese food I would recommend trying it with Fried Pork Dumplings, if you are lucky enough to find a good dumpling chef, (I have to travel 40 miles to find one!) otherwise, just try with good old Pork Sweet and Sour, most people’s entry point to Chinese food.
£14.95 from BBR
Grown on classic Graves terroir made up of gravel and seashells, this a wine with a wonderful texture. It is made from 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillion and 10% Sauvignon Gris. On the nose, elderflower and blackcurrant leaf predominate. On the palate, pink grapefruit, nectarine, elderflower and cardamom, finishing with a refreshing, long mineral note.
We drank this with my daughter’s very skilfully Roasted Chicken with sweet roast onions, which matched it superbly well. I would also try Chateau de Cérons with white fish such as Grilled Dover Sole or Plaice or Lemon Sole cooked simply en papillotte with butter, lemon and parsley. If looking for a Chinese food match any rich pork or chicken dish such as salt and pepper chicken or Ken Hom’s Shanghai Braised Pork recipe would be my suggestions, as its minerality would cut through the richness of the dishes.
£19.95 from Graves
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It is a 50/50 blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, the wine has a fresh, citrus acidity on the nose, which balances perfectly the pineapple and mango on the palate and the subtle creamy notes that arise from one third of the wine being aged in French oak barrels. It is quite exotic and rather different from other white Bordeaux that I have tasted.
We drank this wine with Porchetta stuffed with Lemon, Garlic and Sage and it went exceptionally well with it. It would enhance Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Belly Pork with white wine and powdered sage, another favourite of mine. Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours would also be great with seafood dishes such as Brill Meuniére or prawn dishes, such as pasta with a cream, lemon and dill sauce. Tarragon chicken with a cream and lemon sauce might also be a good match for this wine. If matching with Chinese food, any Belly Pork dish featuring star anise would go down well.
£21.80 from Q Wines.
Château Vignol is the flagship property of the Doublets, a longstanding winegrowing family whose roots date back to the 18th century. In the 1970s, husband and wife Bernard and Dominique Doublet decided to focus on producing some of the most delicious Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux’s fresh white wine and heavily invested in the family property. Over time, they purchased additional estates in the neighbouring regions of Graves and St. Emilion. Today, they produce a number of wines with their two sons, Alexandre and Jean-Thomas who joined the business in 1996.
The grapes in this white Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle and Sauvignon Gris
The soil on which the grapes are grown is clay and limestone, which gives the wine its minerality. On the nose pear, apple, melon which are also experienced with lemon, linden and elderflower on the palate.
This wine would go well with soft goat’s cheese, pasta in white sauce and Italian Butter Lemon Chicken or just quaffing with friends at a summer party. On an oriental note, this would also pair well with any Chinese fish dish incorporating fresh ginger.
£13.80 from Friarwood
Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux is a delightfully luminous golden colour in the glass. On the nose toasted brioche, elderflower, apple and lemon which combines with peach and pear on the palate. It displays a very fine mousse that lasts. I am going to use this wine for pre-prandial canapés and as the main drink for summer parties. as I had forgotten all about it. Cremant de Loire, Cremant de Bourgogne and Cremant d’Alsace feature in my shopping basket regularly. And now that I know that I can get it from Ocado for £12, I shall.
Scottie Gregory explores 4 quality white Bordeaux wines that pair easily with a range of dishes and offer fabulous value for money. Even with white wines, the art of the blend in Bordeaux comes into play and here we see Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Semillon, Grenache Blanc, and Rolle (Vermentino) in various compositions. Enjoy!
To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March I tasted and reviewed La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from JACKSON FAMILY WINES. Proprietor Barbara R Banke has led the company for the last two decades.
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