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Seven old countries, seven new wines

With wines that have all arrived here quite recently, I would like to take you for a trip around the world of wine.

We will lead of with the rare blaufrankisch grape cultivated by the Jermann family in Italy for over 200 years. We have their 2016 Blau de Blau Franconia del Collio that is 95 per cent blaufrankisch, with the rest being pinot nero (pinot noir). This family is possibly the finest producer of whites in the country and anything that they produce is excellent.

You will find a rather intense ruby colour and it is elegant and medium- to full-bodied with nuances of berry fruit and underbrush. I would suggest trying it with smoked pork or even on its own, just to experience a grape that you may have never tried. $39 (Stock #9020)

Next, we journey to France and a wine I would happily pair with roast turkey, or even a strawberry tart. Our 2019 Domaine des Billards Saint Amour is from one of the special crus of beaujolais and so it is 100 per cent gamay grape. In the glass, an intense and dense garnet red colour characterises this solar vintage. The aromas of small red fruits combined with a spicy note of chocolate is unveiled quickly. In the mouth, the attack is round and supple, then a generous structure with beautiful melted tannins that persists for a long time. The pleasant finish offers notes of strawberries and raspberries. Critical acclaim comes from James Suckling who rates it 91/100 and says: “Behind the tsunami of ripe raspberries are some nice tannins and healthy acidity that keep this generous Saint-Amour right on track. Long and generous finish, where you don’t taste the 14.5 per cent alcohol. But I wouldn’t wait for this one. Drink now.” $28 (Stock #7892)

On to a country that I would rate as geographically spectacular as any I have ever visited on wine-related business, and we will try the 2019 Primus Apalta Carmenère from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. Although the carmenère grape originated in Bordeaux it is rarely found outside of Chile now and this country is a place where it excels. Canada’s Natalie MacLean rates ours 91 points and writes: “A juicy and well-priced medium-plus-bodied carmenère produced by Alto de Casablanca from the Colchagua Valley. Nicely balanced and layered with black currant, chocolate, minty and garrigue herb flavours on the palate finishing long and refreshing. The camenère grapes for this wine enjoy a warm southern exposure along the Tinguiririca River. Pair with smoked meats, game and strong cheeses as well as wine-braised beef, turkey with gravy, chorizo tacos, bean fajitas.” $27.20 (Stock #6199)

Off we go for a 25-minute flight over the mighty Andean mountains and we land in Mendoza, Argentina. Sounds easy but, just back from our first trip in two years (a simple one to the USA), I would think that the Covid paperwork and tests for South America would be somewhat of a challenge.

I offer the close-to-perfection 2017 Catena Zapata Argentino Malbec that is fermented in 100 per cent new French barrels and with wild yeasts. The temperature is kept low to extract intense aromas but soft, gentle flavours and good tannin extraction are there.

Suckling awards it 97 points and comments: “Lots of blackberry and blueberry aromas with liquorice, too. Extremely aromatic. Full-bodied, layered and deep. Superb richness and balance, at the same time. Really great.” $98 (Stock #6175)

Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards in Nova Scotia, Canada (Photograph supplied)

For the patriotic Canadians among us and others wishing to try a Nova Scotia white blend of l’acadie blanc, geisenhem 318 and chardonnay, we have the wine for you. The 2020 Lightfoot & Wolfville Tidal Bay White is crisp and bright with a fragrant and aromatic signature. Meyer lemon, minerality and apple notes dominate the palate with a pronounced freshness and mid-palate weight. If you have some fresh wahoo this would be an ideal pairing. Organic. $28 (Stock #9700)

Heading south and west we now find ourselves in sunny California and an exciting new venture by the leading Australian team at Penfolds. Their 2018 Penfolds Bin #600 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz has very favourable reviews and so I will share what the Americans and Brits are saying:

∎ 93 points Wine Enthusiast: “This is a blend of 78 per cent Napa Valley and Sonoma-grown cabernet sauvignon and 22 per cent shiraz from Paso Robles. It is a smooth and earthy wine that offers flavours of leather, earth, iron and crushed rock cut against herbal accents.”

∎ 92 points Decanter: “Fruitcake, tar, eucalyptus and incense envelop the nose, then flavours of black liquorice, dark chocolate, molasses and espresso completely coat the palate. The finish showcases concentrated, powerful dark fruits and leathery, fine tannins”. $63.00. Stock #7332.

Finishing with the same producer, but now in their homeland of Australia, we describe a chardonnay that would be just lovely with the big bird. The 2017 Penfolds Bin #311 Chardonnay is barrel-fermented and exhibits lemon/lime aromas and a mineral backbone. Ripe, white nectarine and peach combine with crushed rock that certainly adds interest.

Here is James Suckling’s opinion of it: “93/100. Aromas of nectarines, papaya, guava, white and yellow peaches and a whiff of lemon, all surrounded by smoothly delivered wood and winemaker influence. The palate is taut and crunchy with pithy grapefruit and cucumber crunch, then a wave of richer honeysuckle and light biscuity notes. Adelaide Hills, Tasmania and Tumbarumba fruit sourcing. Drink or hold.” $48 (Stock #7234)

Please stop by and ask what else is new. In particular I am thinking of bubblies, that I will share with you shortly.

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

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Published December 10, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated December 07, 2021 at 12:38 pm)

Seven old countries, seven new wines

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