Top of the pile

LUCKY DIP: Chris­tine Austin re­claims her hall­way by delv­ing into her lat­est de­liv­er­ies in search of a hid­den gem.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Wine Column -

HE trip haz­ard has built up early this year. Nor­mally it takes un­til the late sum­mer when the mound of boxes in my hall gets too big to squeeze round, but this year I have been trav­el­ling a lot and so the pile needs some se­ri­ous at­ten­tion. Th­ese ser­vice­able brown cor­ru­gated card­board boxes con­tain­ing bot­tles of wine pro­vide end­less amuse­ment for the var­i­ous de­liv­ery com­pa­nies and post­men who knock on my door ex­pect­ing to find me glass in hand and slur­ring my words at all hours of the day. They seem al­most dis­ap­pointed to find me sober.

As each one ar­rives, usu­ally sent by a com­pany in the hope of gain­ing some favourable com­ments, I am tan­ta­lised by the prospect of find­ing a real gem of a wine for a bar­gain base­ment price, but most of the time I am dis­ap­pointed by un­re­al­is­tic prices and less than in­ter­est­ing wines.

The pro­ce­dure is sim­ple. I open the boxes, dis­pose of the card­board, tut about the ones that are en­cased in un­re­cy­clable ex­panded poly­styrene, and then check out the bot­tles. All of them are pho­tographed, and all logged in my mas­ter file. Then some are parked in a cor­ner wait­ing to be tasted, while oth­ers are grouped to­gether so they can form the ba­sis of an up­com­ing ar­ti­cle. Then there are the waifs and strays – bot­tles which can­not be grouped to­gether, ones that ar­rived too late for a par­tic­u­lar ar­ti­cle and wines that I have al­ready tasted but which are sent again in the hope of catch­ing my eye a sec­ond time around.

Just some of the boxes re­vealed wines worth writ­ing about, and some should be pos­i­tively avoided, so in no par­tic­u­lar or­der, here is my se­lec­tion of the best of the boxes, plus a few that have been in the “to be tasted” cor­ner for far too long. By the way, just in case you are won­der­ing what hap­pens to all the left­overs, I have sev­eral well-sup­plied neigh­bours, but the most ap­pre­cia­tive au­di­ence is the old folks in the res­i­den­tial home nearby who are de­vel­op­ing quite so­phis­ti­cated palates.

They may think I am be­ing gen­er­ous, but for one brand of wines gen­eros­ity is al­ready built in from the start. Piggy Bank is a rel­a­tively new range of wines which do­nates 50p from ev­ery bot­tle sold to a va­ri­ety of char­i­ties. The wines come from Chile, Spain and the South of France and have been made by well-known wine­mak­ers who have squeezed an­other wine or two into their port­fo­lios. Three char­i­ties have been se­lected to re­ceive funds from the Piggy Bank and when the sum raised gets to £10,000 the money is di­vided be­tween the char­i­ties. I like wine and I like char­ity, but I am never quite sure that the two should be com­bined, how­ever I love the juicy, rasp­berry and liquorice fruit of the Grenache 2011 from the Langue­doc; I en­joyed the deep black fruits and spice of the Tem­pranillo 2011 from Ex­tremadura and the full rounded flavours of the Syrah 2010 from Chile. There is a zesty Chilean Sauvi­gnon Blanc 2011 in the range which I have tasted be­fore plus a Span­ish Verdejo and a Grenache Rosé which I haven’t yet come across. All of th­ese wines cost £7.99 from Waitrose Wines Di­rect and if you are hold­ing a char­ity lunch they would be great wines to serve as well as pro­vid­ing a good talk­ing point.

But char­ity doesn’t have to be so well or­gan­ised. If you buy Cu­vée Chas­seur

CHRIS­TINE AUSTIN Mathieu has made

wine at sev­eral pres­ti­gious es­tates as well as at home.

2012 and Cu­vée Pecheur 2012 (both £4.95 from Waitrose) you have two splen­did wines and £3 left over per bot­tle which you can do­nate di­rectly to your favourite char­ity. Both are clas­si­fied as Vin de France which of­fi­cially makes them fairly ba­sic, but the flavours are right there in the glass – light, fresh and juicy rasp­berry fruit in the red and clean, zesty cit­rus fruit in the white.

Also crisp and zesty, but with con­sid­er­ably more depth of flavour is Do­maine de Pelle­haut, Côtes de Gascogne 2012. Owned by two broth­ers, Martin and Mathieu Béraut, this is a mixed farm with cat­tle as well as vines, and I have tasted th­ese wines over sev­eral years and been im­pressed by their qual­ity. Mathieu has made wine at sev­eral pres­ti­gious es­tates as well as at home, with St Julien’s Ch. Bey­chev­elle and Cal­i­for­nia’s Au Bon Cli­mat on his CV. They are also mar­keted by Sichel, one of the ma­jor né­go­tiant names in Bordeaux. The rosé has a soft straw­berry style, def­i­nitely dry but easy-drink­ing in sun­shine, while the red, made from Mer­lot, Tan­nat and Caber­nets com­bines the struc­ture of Tan­nat with the plush

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.