MIKE’S CURRENT TOP 6
LAST TASTING – MAY 2019
- CHÂTEAU PERRON, GRAVES, 2018
- TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, CÔTES DU RHÔNE, WHITE, 2018
- ARA, SELECT BLOCKS, ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC, 2018
- TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, CALIFORNIAN WHITE, 2017
- TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, CHÂTEAU LES BOUYSSES, CAHORS, MALBEC, 2016
- TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, PORTUGUESE LISBOA RED, 2017
CHÂTEAU PERRON, GRAVES, 2018, £11.00
The Graves region of Bordeaux, a touch south east of the city itself, is where white Bordeaux can produce some of the classiest, most sophisticated expressions going. Slight snag is that they know it, and you’ll be parting with top dollar for the top wines. But interestingly, and something that’s not always historically been the case in all of Bordeaux, even the “entry-level” whites from Graves are lovely wines.
This effort form Chateau Perron showcases that fresh minerality, with something quite chalky or stone on the nose and the mouth, channeling those gravelly soils that give the region its name. There’s plenty of fruit in there with ripe apple and peach, and lemon citrus, but also a lightness of floral orange blossom coming from a touch of Muscadelle, one of the three grapes in the blend along with Bordeaux classics Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
When in Bordeaux I like to make a bee-line for the Marché Des Capucins for a plate of oysters and a glass of white. This one would work pretty nice.
TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, CÔTES DU RHÔNE, WHITE, 2018, £8.00
We don’t drink enough of the white wines coming from this region of Southern France, much more famed for its reds. Viognier is the star of the show, but Grenache Blanc and Roussanne are beautiful grapes, all adding something different to the party. When blended, they can make magic wines with fruit, floral, and peppery elements, and a lush viscosity on the palate.
This is what we’ve got here with a mix of apricot, nectarine, white pepper, and cherry blossom on the nose, and that lovely mouth coating body.
Creamy pasta dishes would work well, but also lighter curry dishes like a chicken or fish Korma.
ARA, SELECT BLOCKS, ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC, 2018, £12.00
Unfortunately I’m a preachy bugger, and I think with food and drink production across the world it’s our duty to move away from so-called “conventional farming” and into more sustainable, organic, or even biodynamic production. So I’m always going to do my best to champion products where I can. But they’ve also got to be good, and this Sauvignon Blanc from Ara is.
A typical Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, it’s bursting with tropical fruit from all that glorious sunshine they get down there. Nectarines, mangoes, papayas, it’s all in there alongside a gooseberry and lemon citrus zest and pith. Now “pith” sounds horrible, but it gives a touch of bitterness to carry the searing acidity and lush tropical fruit. It gives a really easy going finish.
Be great with some sushi and sashimi. Just keep the soy sauce down to a minimum if you can.
TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, CALIFORNIAN WHITE, 2017, £10.00
This one, a bit like the Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc before it, is a wine style that we all fell in love with, and then the cool kids have told us we shouldn’t like it anymore. But we do! Well…I do anyway.
This is an oaked white blend from California, with mostly Chardonnay, a slug of Viognier, and some a few other additions to carry the day. The oaking is there on the nose, there is a butteryness, a cashew-nuttiness, and a vanilla kick. But it’s not in your face, it’s restrained and well balanced against the stone fruit and tropical fruit, the white blossom floral lift, and Viognier’s incredibly useful white pepper aroma. It’s a very well balanced wine, and a snip at £10 (although I’ve often seen it down at £8 on offer).
Perfect accompaniment for your Sunday roast chicken.
TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, CHÂTEAU LES BOUYSSES, CAHORS, MALBEC, 2016, £13.00
Cahors is one of the original French sites for Malbec, now made famous by those gorgeous steak friendly reds from Argentina. Cahors, however, adds a bit of subtlety to the Malbec world.
This wine is full of concentrated plums and cherries, and Malbec’s star quality, the violet perfume aroma. It’s no more than a medium bodied wine, but full of flavour, grippy tannins, and a lovely fruity finish.
I’d say less steak, more slow cooked roast beef or lamb joint.
TASTE THE DIFFERENCE, PORTUGUESE LISBOA RED, 2017, £7.00
The wine growing regions around Lisbon have been well know in the past few years to those discerning in the ways of Portuguese reds. Us mere mortals haven’t really had the chance with them yet, as the Douro Valley has provided supermarkets with lovely wines at decent prices (the TTD Douro pictured is a lovely wine for £10).
The battle on which Portuguese red I should feature was, however, won by the Lisboa for two reasons. Firstly it’s a new line and we should all give it a go. And secondly, it’s £7!! Absolute bargain!
It’s plush and plump and full in the mouth, with concentrated red and black fruits like plum and cherry. It’s got a rose petal floral character which lightens the smell. On the taste it’s warming and lush, with ripe grippy tannin, balanced acidity, and a ripe fruit aftertaste. Really nice effort.
If you’re lucky enough to have a West Indian restaurant near you, I reckon curried goat would be ace with this. For everyone else, this’d be great with Spaghetti Bolognese.