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Fish cakes, ham and kite flying

Spring has sprung, the days are longer and wine requirements are changing.

It is time for the latest vintage of a classic favourite and we have 2019 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé. Created by Sacha Lichine following his acquisition of Château d'Esclans in 2006, his vision was to create the greatest rosés in the world igniting the "rosé Renaissance".

Sacha introduced new and innovative winemaking techniques to Provence which revolutionised the styles of rosés being produced from this region. This led to the creation of Whispering Angel, a world class rosé which presents both ease and accessibility making for enjoyment and pleasure. As Sacha says, "In the Esclans Valley angels whisper. If you drink this wine, you might hear them … If you visit us, you might see them."

James Suckling rates it 91/100 and writes: “A rosé with lemons, cantaloupe, orange peel and peaches. Medium-bodied with hints of tannins. Fruity, yet not over the top. Crispy and creamy.” Whether you are watching your kite dodge the clouds or enjoying your baked ham dinner, this wine will make it all a happier occasion. $28.55 (Stock #8101).

Sadly, there will be no large gatherings this Easter and so you may want to stray from your favourite pinot grigio and enjoy an extra special, quite rare treat, and I refer to our 2019 Jermann Pinot Grigio that is made in relatively small lots in the north east corner of Italy. It will certainly enhance fish cakes and/or smoked ham as it adds an alluring mix of almonds, vanilla and light spice.

Jermann have a cult following for their range of the finest Italian whites and it shows as Wine Enthusiast magazine rates this one 92/100 and comments: “Aromas of alpine herb, white spring flower and ripe orchard fruit mingle together in the glass. Tangy and rounded, the savoury palate boasts intense flavour and finesse, doling out ripe yellow pear, white peach and a hint of green melon alongside fresh acidity.” $33.60 (Stock #9025).

Rodney Strong founded his Sonoma winery in 1959 and I believe that I am correct in saying that he was the first to designate single vineyard wine in California. The 2018 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay boasts toasty vanilla and spice due to time spent in seasoned French oak barrels during fermentation. During the 11 months of barrel ageing, the winery regularly stirred the lees in barrel, which imparts an elegant fullness and creamy texture on the palate. In the glass, the wine is both creamy and crisp, with flavours of golden pear, vanilla, Meyer lemon, and a hint of minerality on the long finish. I know that it would do justice to the wonderful fish cakes that my wife will produce over the Easter weekend.

This wine received critical acclaim from a group know as The Tasting Panel, with a score of 92/100. The accompanying description: “A wash of caramel apple and lemon verbena is bright; its aromatics and flavours vivid. The wine is rich, but impeccably balanced, with a wave of toasted marshmallow and a salute to a powdered minerality on the finish.”

Planted at the foot of the Chapel of the Black Virgin, as far back as the Greek or Roman period, there sits the area that is certainly one of the most celebrated of the ten crus of Beaujolais. These ten are wines that I like to call “super beaujolais” as they represent the very finest of these lovely quaffs.

The 2019 Joseph Drouhin Fleurie is worthy of its name, as it possesses great charm and delicacy, with its luminous raspberry colour, aromas of lilac, violet and gooseberry. Very supple and silky in the mouth it leaves a beautiful impression of fine aromas. It is the most delicate of the beaujolais crus. Drouhin suggest that you serve at 57F as this adds to the refreshing nature of the gamay grape. $27.20 (Stock #8173).

I think of pinot noir slightly cooled to 65F at this time of year and will start with a very reasonably priced one – $28.75 – that certainly rates well with the top critics.

Parker rates the 2017 Talbott Kali Hart Monterey Pinot Noir 92/100 and says: “The pale to medium ruby coloured 2017 Pinot Noir Kali Hart was aged in 15 per cent new oak. The nose offers cranberry jelly, red cherries, woodsmoke, turned earth, tree bark and moss scents with notions of citrus peel and amaro. Medium-bodied, it’s ultra silky in the mouth with great flavour intensity, walking a line between ripe fruits and earth character, with a gently grainy frame and great freshness.”

James Suckling comes just behind with 91/100 and this: “Deep and dark aromas and flavours of dried strawberries and cherries follow through to a full body, juicy fruit and a one-dimensional and fruity finish. Underlying, solid tannins.” (Stock #6781).

Without a doubt Orin Swift wines from California have the most innovative and eye-catching labels and their 2018 Slander Pinot Noir, with its duct tape and cardboard identification is no exception. It is abundantly aromatic and opens with ripe cranberry, marmalade, white pepper, fresh brioche, dried sage, camphor and reminders of a Mediterranean coastal trail. The entry is silky with a flood of Bing cherry galette, vanilla and ripe red fruits. Seamless, integrated and elegantly opulent, the wine finishes gracefully with trace amounts of soft, oak tannin.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate reads: “Aged for ten months in French oak barrels (42 per cent new), the 2018 Pinot Noir Slander has a pale to medium ruby-purple colour. It springs from the glass with notes of raspberry tart, cranberry sauce and rhubarb pie plus hints of Provence herbs and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is softly spoken with a nice suggestion of chewiness to the texture and an earthy lift on the finish.” We have reasonable supplies, but like all Orin Swift offerings we always have limited allocations. $78 (Stock #6646).

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Sacha Lichine created 2019 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé following his acquisition of Château d'Esclans in 2006

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Published March 26, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated March 23, 2021 at 8:54 pm)

Fish cakes, ham and kite flying

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