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)
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”