Unless made by Domaine Ott or Chêne Bleu, I usually avoid rosé due to its lack of character. Fortunately, this example from the Pélépol family near the lakes of Carcès in Provence belies this prejudice. This latest release, made predominantly from Grenache along with Carignan and Syrah grapes, has an exquisite pale colour, lowish alcohol and oodles of flavour. Curiously, it reminded me of liquorice at first but soon transformed into intense floral fruits, which increased with exposure to the air. Good to drink with fish and white meats, but why not have it as an aperitif and marvel at such an extraordinary wine for this price?
New Zealand wines have come a long way in the past 30 years, especially with the grape varieties we associate with Burgundy – both red and white. The families behind Waipara West have been on this land in the South Island for 30 years and describe this unoaked Chardonnay as “Chablis with fruit”. I know what they mean, as it has a satisfying citric aftertaste with slightly less steel than the Burgundian equivalent. The lack of oak gives it more definition and freshness with some flintiness. A proper food wine.
This delightful white Burgundy is produced by the famous Vincent family, proprietors of Château de Fuissé, the most renowned Pouilly-Fuissé. Because of complicated French inheritance laws, a number of family members own smaller rows of vines in the surrounding district, which are now controlled by Antoine Vincent to produce wines under the JJ Vincent label. While it still has the focus and delineation of the better known wines in their stable, it also has exuberance more reminiscent of New World wine. It would be fascinating to taste this blind next to the Waipara West bottle, as you’d be surprised how difficult it can be to guess which is “New” or “Old” world.
This Château has undergone a renaissance since the Anglo-French Sichel family purchased it in 1990. Better known for their négociant business and involvement with famous Bordeaux properties such as Châteaux Palmer and d’Angludet, it heralded a more serious approach to the rustic wines of Corbières and Minervois. This has superb balance and a lightness of touch, despite its full-favoured depth and alcoholic strength. The triple blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan gives it characteristics of both the Northern and Southern Rhône despite it being produced in the Languedoc. A perfect accompaniment for red meats and stews.