What to drink this week
When it comes to grape varieties, there’s no harm in mixing it up, says Harry Eyres
The fashion for single varietal wines started, I seem to remember, in the 1980s. I even edited a series of books on the subject. Grape varieties were easier to grasp than complex and unpronounceable vineyard names; get a handle on half a dozen varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc) and you were well on your way to understanding wine. Now, there’s a counter-movement: even in regions known for single varietal wines, some producers are going for multi-varietal blends.
Why you should be drinking them
In some wine regions (Bordeaux, the Douro, Châteauneuf-du-pape), a mix of varieties has always been the norm, partly as an insurance against one variety failing. But, now, a new generation of wine growers is suggesting that a mélange of grapes is not just safer, but better for flavour and complexity.
What to drink
I mentioned Châteauneuf-du-pape, where, famously, 13 grape varieties are permitted. I was most impressed by the Châteauneuf-du-pape, Signature, Domaine La Barroche 2009 (below, £32.50; www.justerinis. com): lovely sweet fruit and fruitcakey complexity. Alsace is a much less likely source of multi-varietal wines, but the questing Domaine Marcel Deiss, the wines of which I have long admired, is going in this direction with its whites. The 2014 Alsace (£16.50; www.leaandsande man.co.uk) is made from 13 grape varieties and has richness and spice on the nose, lots of mouthfeel and good acidity. The 2013 Engelgarten (£29.50; www. leaandsandeman.co.uk) is made from five varieties, with the pure limey structure of Riesling coming through, but also a good deal of richness from Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.