WINE

Rossendale Free Press - - Leisure - ANDY CRONSHAW

THIS week some top-notch wine rec­om­men­da­tions for au­tumn din­ing as well as news of a tast­ing at my favourite bar.

The tast­ing is at Rea­sons to be Cheer­ful, a se­ri­ously good craft ale bar on Fog Lane in Dids­bury, or Bur­nage, de­pend­ing on who you ask.

It’ll be at 4pm on Satur­day, Novem­ber 3, and will fea­ture seven wines to go on the bar’s new wine list. Tick­ets are £15. My fea­tured bot­tles this week are a cou­ple of great wines from lesser known parts of Europe as well as a classy Chilean Chardon­nay and Tus­can red

Wine from Slove­nia or Mace­do­nia may ap­pear to be some­what ob­scure, but that doesn’t mean they can’t com­pete with wines from more well-known ar­eas.

Slove­nia is re­ally not very far from the north­ern part of Italy that ex­cels in white wines such as Pinot Gri­gio while Mace­do­nia sits on a sim­i­lar lat­i­tude to ar­eas of Italy that ex­cel in red wines.

PUKLAVEC & FRIENDS SAUVI­GNON BLANC AND PINOT GRI­GIO 2017 (DOWN TO £6.49 WAITROSE)

A blend that emerged from a mis­take when Sauvi­gnon Blanc ended up in with the Pinot Gri­gio at the win­ery. Here it may be that the word Gri­gio is used rather than ‘Gris’ but the blend def­i­nitely ●● Puklavec . & Friends Caber­net Sauvi­gnon & Mer­lot 2017 ac­cen­tu­ates the sweeter more Al­sa­tian form of the grape. The re­sult is quite dis­tinc­tive and charm­ing – flo­ral, slightly aro­matic rounded in the mouth with out ever miss­ing out on acid­ity.

PUKLAVEC & FRIENDS CABER­NET SAUVI­GNON & MER­LOT 2017 (DOWN TO £6.49, WAITROSE)

A fas­ci­nat­ing dis­cov­ery for me and an in­di­ca­tion that, although Mace­do­nia’s wine pro­duc­tion has been cur­tailed some­what by his­toric events, it’s very much ca­pa­ble of mak­ing sturdy yet el­e­gant wines such as this Bordeaux­like red. At this price it is one of my top bar­gains of the year. It has black­berry aro­mas cut with a lit­tle bal­samic and earthy spice cre­ated, no doubt, by oak.

The palate is sup­ple and bright, but the tan­nins are very well­bal­anced for a wine at this price. There’s a lit­tle trac­tion for food but that doesn’t mean you can’t swig this back on its own. I would how­ever match this wine to casseroles.

VIU MA­NENT GRAN RESERVA CHARDON­NAY 2016 (£12.49

Of all the grapes grown in Chile, Chardon­nay pro­duces the most im­pres­sive re­sults for my money.

This comes from Litueche, on the north­ern ex­treme of the Colch­agua coast here grapes ripen slowly pre­serv­ing nat­u­ral acid­ity It makes for a wine that is in­tensely fruity, but some­how more re­strained than you ex­pect from Chile. The palate is a beau­ti­ful mix of but­tery tex­tures and limey acid­ity.

BANFI COL DI SASSO 2016 (£12.99 JUST IN CASES)

THEDRINKSHOP.COM)

This Ital­ian Tus­can red is a blend of 70 per cent Caber­net Sauvi­gnon and 30pc San­giovese. Col di Sasso means ‘Stony Hill’, and is so named be­cause the grapes come from the most rocky hill­side vine­yards where the soil is poor. Es­sen­tially this is a Su­per-Tus­can at an amenable price with that typ­i­cal Ital­ian blend of in­tense fruit and fresh acid­ity.

It’s per­fect for Ital­ian food too.

“Although Mace­do­nia’s wine pro­duc­tion has been cur­tailed some­what by his­toric events it’s very much ca­pa­ble of mak­ing sturdy yet el­e­gant wines”

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