Celebrate with these wines in the week ahead
I feel it wise to avoid comments on world conditions and have even received mail asking why I write about lovely wines during this pandemic.
But now, I really must share a little information. Over the past few years wine production in Ukraine has been growing six to seven per cent a year. They lost about 61,780 acres of vineyards when the Crimea area was annexed and now some of their most important vineyards in this land of vast farmlands are in the area around Odessa.
Sunday is International Riesling Day and of course Thursday, St Patrick’s Day, honours the patron saint of Ireland. I will suggest wines for both.
Riesling and Germany go hand in hand and I am happy to see that this grape, that was so popular in my early wine days, is becoming trendy again. Our 2020 Dr Loosen L Riesling hails from one of the most respected wine producing families in Germany. It embodies the elegant and racy style of classic Mosel riesling. It is refreshing and fruity, with a fine mineral edge that is typical of the region. Dr L Riesling is made with fruit that comes exclusively from traditional vineyards with steep slopes and slate soil.
Canadian critic Natalie MacLean has this to say: “From the Mosel wine region, Loosen Bros Dr L 2020 Riesling is amazing value. Rich on the nose with lemon pudding, ripe apple and peach jam aromas; off-dry, medium-bodied and mouth-filling with ripe pear, apple, lemon curd, stone fruit and tropical fruit flavours, finishing long on a fine mineral note. Riesling food pairings: pork tenderloin, turkey breast, spicy pasta dishes, shrimp tempura. 89/100.” $19.85 (Stock #8577).
The 2019 Schloss Vollrads Trocken Riesling is an ancient castle (schloss) where they have been making wines from the riesling grape for over 800 years; in fact, their first sale was recorded in 1211. It is an iconic German estate and one of the oldest in the world. It’s strong aromas of citrus, lime and vineyard peach, and a hint of positive green aromas characterise this refreshing wine. $27 (Stock #8540).
Our 2020 Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling is a fine example of how this grape develops on the Eastern Ranges of Australia’s Clare Valley where concentrated bursts of sunlight and cool nights encourage slower ripening. This helps deliver beautiful natural acidity and citrus characters that ripen early because of the small crop it produces. Gentle pressing and a rapid move into the fermentation allows the natural fruit flavours to be preserved.
Powerful lime, citrus and orange rind scents fill the nostrils with ensuing talc and slatey mineral notes. Mouthwatering flavours of lemon and lime have a tightly focused feel and are backed by crunchy acidity. Elements of chalky talc, subtle orange rind and flinty mineral ensue. Finishes dry, long, and zesty with a steely underbelly. Riesling is capable of extensive ageing, a fact that becomes evident as one review, that rates it 94/100, suggests drinking now, and up to and even beyond 2030. $26.90 (Stock #6418).
On to March 17 and thoughts of Irish stew, shepherd’s pie and corned beef and cabbage. Interestingly the wine that is often suggested to pair with corned beef and cabbage is riesling, so we are off to a good start here. Another is beaujolais and although I would like to suggest our 2020 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Villages, this may be unwise due to low stock levels. As you may know, there are ten “super beaujolais” (my description) wines called “crus”. Fleurie is the most delicate of them all and we have the 2020 Drouhin Fleurie which is our bestselling cru. It possesses great charm and delicacy, with its luminous raspberry colour, aromas of lilac, violet and gooseberry. It is very supple and silky in the mouth and leaves a beautiful impression of fine aromas. $27.50 (Stock #8173).
Shepherd’s pie would benefit from a good merlot-based wine and I am thinking of our 2016 Chateau Teyssier St Emilion Grand Cru. This is a blend of 70 per cent merlot and 30 per cent cabernet franc that can be enjoyed at this time with its fresh, dark red fruits. It rates a fine 92 points from Natalie MacLean who writes: “A fragrant, full-bodied merlot and cabernet franc red wine blend with crushed violets, warm plum and dried tobacco leaf aromas on the nose. Juicy, plushy with dark plum, baking spice, savoury herb flavours and smoky oak spice flavours, smooth on the palate.” $46 (Stock #8314).
Irish stew awakens a desire in me for a fine malbec from Argentina and I think back to last week. I was browsing in a section of one of our stores and I was approached by a masked man (my condition as well). “Sounds like the voice of Michael Robinson,” he said. He identified himself and I realised that he was Bill, whose fingerprint sits alongside those of the other founders of Alpasion wines.
Bill kindly gave me a bottle of his 2020 Alpasion Gran Chardonnay, as I had not tried it yet. This is not a time to discuss its hazelnut, breadcrust and fine, clean aromas of loamy earth or how well it accompanied my wife’s fresh wahoo poached in fine olive oil, a dash of cream and a liberal dose of the wine – but it was a fine match and most enjoyable. $31 (Stock #8939).
Back to the Irish stew and the 2018 Alpasion Gran Malbec that is their flagship wine that accounts for about 80 per cent of their total production. It is ripe, bold, and full-bodied and fruit forward with hints of cocoa and vanilla. $31.55 (Stock #8931).
This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at email@example.com. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm