What we've been drinking (15-23 July 2009)
Domaine de Roquemolière, Picpoul de Pinet, Côteaux de Languedoc 2008
For some reason, I’m always more willing to experiment with white wines than I am with red. Perhaps it’s the reassurance offered by the knowledge that a dodgy white can be rectified by a more surefire red thereafter. Whatever the reason, I continued my policy over a recent bistro dinner with a perky number from the intriguingly named Domaine de Roquemolière. The estate may suggest a musical themed around France’s greatest 17th century playwright, but centre stage here was an alluring stonefruit nose, followed by a melon and lime palate, with a hint of key lime pie sweetness. Beautifully assured, sweet but not overly unctuous, vivacious and fun. All in all – perfect. My sense of adventure had been rewarded.
Sainsbury's Cuvee Prestige Cotes du Rhone Rose
A gorgeous summer's day in the garden, the barbecue white hot, chunks of juicy lamb doing nicely... and so on and so forth. And a couple of bottles of chilled rose in the bucket. This offering from Sainsbury's is crisp and fresh, with the Grenache lending a mouthwatering dose of acid and light juicy tannins. It's not a cliche - it really is the perfect summer drink.
Timothy Taylor Dark Mild
One of the more unfashionable beer categories it may be, but this mild is rich, smooth and very characterful. Terrific maltiness combined with a hint of caramel sweetness, and at 3.5%, a perfect session beer. A great antidote to the glut of anonymous lagers that dominate the UK pub scene.
Chief Sub Editor, Decanter
Les Crêtes, Torrette Supèrieur, Valle d’Aosta, Italy 2006
While Lemsip and Benylin have comprised most of my drinking in the past week or so, before the dreaded lurgy struck I joined two friends for a midweek bite to eat at Terroirs, near Charing Cross, now an established wine-industry hangout. While I’m sure a cru Beaujolais would have been fine (suggested as the best accompaniment to our mounds of charcuterie) I knew there was something more intriguing hidden in the wine list. This hit the spot, for both taste and curiosity value. Unoaked and mainly Petit Rouge with Mayolet, Tinturier and Cornalin, this cool-climate, high-altitude wine from the biggest private vineyard (25ha) in Aosta was full of bright, spicy, juicy cherry-rich fruit and a sensuous violet perfume. Refreshing, mouthwatering acidity made it a great dining alternative to a Fleurie or Morgon.
Aresti Late Harvest Gerwürztraminer Reserve 2006, D.O. Curicó Valley, Chile
I’m not a Gerwürz fan. Usually if a wine smells like a bunch of flowers it will have me running for the (gravel) hills. It was with trepidation then, that I reached for my glass during dish 5 of a 10 course extravaganza at Zaika, an Indian restaurant in Kensington – an experience that expanded my mind and waistline in equal measure. Medium lemon in colour, the wine had a delicious honeyed and dried apricot nose that sang of Sauternes and Tokaji. On the palate it was sweet and unctuous but held up by a lovely fresh acidity, the honey and dried fruit notes pairing fantastically with my pan-fried foie gras and mango chutney. If a food and wine combo can ever produce a symphony of flavour, this was it. Now on to course six...