Yes that totally tubular (bottle shaped) tasting team of Matt Walls, Helena Nicklin, Zeren Wilson, Richard Hemming MW (that’s right Richard Hemming is now a Master of Wine. An amazing achievement!) and yours truly were at it again. Tasting wines for the good of those independent vino-loving masses for the Mr Vine App. If you haven’t downloaded it the IOS version is available here.
£26.09, Cadman Fine Wines)
This pure Chardonnay Champagne is grown on Grand Cru rated sites and the quality really
shines through: brioche-scented exuberance, full and rich on the palate with a lovely soft
fizz. Very easy drinking while keeping its class and character, this isn’t the driest Champagne,
but it’s beautifully balanced and could easily compete with many big brands. 90 points
NN verdict – Loved this stuff. Just my kind of bubbly.
£14.50, Cadman Fine Wines)
Mostly Sangiovese with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this Chianti is
somewhere between modern and traditional in style. It has detailed cherry, herb and leather
aromas alongside coffee bean and tobacco leaf. Bright, vibrant and expressive this wine has
a lovely sense of harmony and warmth. It engages the brain as well as the tongue. 91
NN verdict – I sometimes overlook Chianti because I have had them so many times, but a good Classico (such as this is) is a thing of real beauty especially with food.
13.0%; £12.15, Cadman Fine Wines)
This estate was built on the site of New Zealand’s first winery, dating back to 1873. If you’re
suffering from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc overload, this wine reminds you of what makes
the style so special. It smells of freshly cut grass, fresh gooseberry and guava but has a
sense of restraint; the flavours are pronounced by the wine remains elegant. Lovely round
texture, a long, concentrated finish and wet foliage freshness. Very well priced to boot. 90
NN verdict – Hands down one of the best Malborough SB I have had in recent memory.
Cadman Fine Wines)
Unpretentious, old school claret with much to love: ripe and fruity, with spicy cedar, tobacco
and blackcurrant. This blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Malbec from Blaye has plenty of
stuffing and tannic heft to keep it going for another five years or so, but is at a lovely stage
to drink now – harmonious and complex but still with youthful power. Bordeaux lovers will
lap it up. 91 points.
NN – This wine really made me smile. Everything good mature Bordeaux should be.
Red Squirrel Wines)
Black cherry and cola on the nose, alongside coffee and cocoa – classic Barbera. Lovely
concentration and a satin-soft, dry finish. A generous yet serious wine that’s just crying out
for rigatoni with meatballs. 89
NN verdict – I wasn’t blown away by this but a solid wine none the less.
Vinteloper ‘Odeon’ Riesling 2013 (Clare Valley, Australia; 13.0%; £24.99, Red
Just over a thousand bottles were made of this compellingly interesting wine. Naturally
beautiful aromas of mandarin, mirabelle plum and flowers. It’s not cheap, but this is brave
winemaking resulting in a unique style that some drinkers will adore. 90 points.
NN verdict – Really felt this wine deserved to be in the top 5. Glad it got a mention.
Vega Tolosa ‘Icon’ Bobal 2013 (La Mancha, Spain; 13.5%; £8.99, Red Squirrel
Bags of intense forest fruit flavour, this is a perky, juicy red that is easy to drink but has
character and makes an impact. Fantastic value for money. 88 points.
NN verdict – Again really liked this wine. Only room for 5 though…
Bruna ‘Maje’ Pigato 2014 (Liguria, Italy; 12.5%; £13.50, Red Squirrel Wines)
Delicate, fresh and perfumed this is a lovely example of the rare Pigato grape. Silken in
texture and perfectly balanced, this is a great alternative to Pinot Grigio. 88 points.
NN verdict – A great wine to impress your wine geek friend with.