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Out with the old, in with the Red

Neil Sowerby becomes a red-head with some full-flavoured wines

Written by . Published on January 26th 2010.


Out with the old, in with the Red

There comes a time when the allure of all those winter warmer hefty reds starts to pall and a zingy white seems a healthier (utterly unfounded) option.

A harvest of gooseberry, lime and nettles on the nose gives way to an intense raciness on the palate, crisp, fresh but with lots of length.

Villa Maria remain the most reliable source of affordable Kiwi wine. Their Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc won 2009 Sauvignon of the Year at last year’s International Wine Challenge, where they were named best New Zealand producer.

Re-tasting it as part of my January re-tox, I still find it a beguiling drop. A harvest of gooseberry, lime and nettles on the nose gives way to an intense raciness on the palate, crisp, fresh but with lots of length (£9.99 at Majestic and Tesco) – steady on Neil, ed.

That wine wouldn’t do, though, to accompany a retro coq au vin I was inspired to cook by my cherished Chrissy prezzie, a four DVD box set of the Two Fat Ladies. ‘”This dish needs an old cock to do it justice,’’ cackled the fatter one plaintively. Er, doubly steady on Neil.

For this unctuous stew I was torn between two Chilean reds from the Vina Casa Silva range. The credit crunch option would be the Dona Dominga Reserva Carmenere Shiraz 2007 (Waitrose, £6.99), which is spicy, plummy stuff with a hint of mocha on the nose. No wonder carmenere often used to be credited as merlot in Chile’s low profile years.

A quantum leap up is Casa Silva Quinta Generacion 2007 - available online from everywine.co.uk at £14.95 and worth every penny. Violet twinkles through its deep ruby red, it smells of toffee and blackberries and soft sweet tannins from new French oak make this hand-picked blend of carmenere (45%), syrah (27%), cabernet sauvignon (23%) and petit verdot (5%) very more-ish for such a blockbuster.

If Christmas rekindled you taste for claret, Majestic, (now more accessibly offering wine by the half case minimum) still stock a few bottles of Ch Prieure-Les-Tours 2002 at £9.99. Mature with cedar and a not unpleasant jamminess, it is not one for laying down but supping up.

THERE comes a time after Christmas when the allure of all those winter warmer hefty reds starts to pall and a zingy white seems a healthier (utterly unfounded) option.

More exciting at a fiver more from Oddbins (though it’s only £11.99 a bottle if you buy a case) is Ch Rocher Corbin 2005 from the Montagne St Emilion district. It’s a luscious cocktail of black fruits and mocha and cream with lots of structure for a few year’s ageing. Atypical but smart.

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