Red of Heaven
As well as the wonderful whites I have enjoyed at the beginning of 2015, there have been a number of stupendous red wines that have dazzled my senses over the past few weeks. There is nowhere better to begin this roundup that with the greatest red grape of them all…
Nicolas Rossignol Aloxe Corton 2011, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy (Wineman £29.94)
This is the smell and taste of the Cote de Beaune for me; aromas of raspberries, wild strawberries, damp earth and autumn mushrooms. The palate is super fresh and fruity with slightly rustic but delightful tannins. There is an earthiness in beautiful balance with the fruit; I don’t know what else you can expect from a Burgundy Villages wine. I actually thought it was a Volnay. 93 point
Mount Difficulty Estate Pinot Noir 2010, Central Otago, NZ (The Wine Libraray £29.00 – 2012 vintage)
Black cherries, touch of wild strawberry and oaky notes of cedar and vanilla. Concentrated sour black cherries and a bit of blackberry, good structure and cedar, oaky touches but with black spice and a bright acidity. Wonderful wine. 93 points
The next three wines are from classic regions that are just about in perfect drinking condition right now.
Brio de Cantenac 2009, Margaux, Bordeaux (Fine & Rare £19.20)
I visited the chateau a couple of years back and think this second wine is one of the best value buys in the whole of Bordeaux. Aromas of blackcurrant and black plums – this smells expensive! Plenty of new oak has been lavished upon this wine and there is lots of cedar and vanilla on the nose. On the palate, crushed black fruits and a dash of black spice and plenty of elegance. Very pretty wine indeed. 92 points
Carpineto ‘Sant Enrico’ Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004, Tuscany (Wine Direct £24.00)
Black cherries, blackberries, smoke, dusty herbs and bitter chocolate. Bright and acidic on the palate; sour cherries, a touch smoky, with earthy notes and just a hint of balsamic. Medium bodied with big grippy tannins which dissolve into a delicious balance with the super acidity. Needs some meat to complete the story. 92 points
Clos St Andre Chateauneuf Du Pape 2003, Rhone, France (Costco £21.59)
Soft red fruit compote with a dash of wild hedgerows and just a touch of balsamic and worn leather on the nose. Super smooth tannin, delicate and balanced acidity with flavours of strawberries, balsamic and red pepper. Very elegant, drinking beautifully. 93 points
I always the love the opportunity to drink anything from Ridge, this 2010 is a monster right now!
Ridge Lytton Springs 2010, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma (Thedrinkshop.com £27.69)
Massive nose of damson and blackberry; super concentrated with some slightly raisined fruit in there too, along with notes of smoky meat and mocha. The attack is like a spicy mixed black fruit cordial; the texture is creamy with smooth and silky tannins, leading the way for the meaty and smoky notes (just shouting out for barbeques steak!), but the wine remains about the purity of the sun-drenched fruit all the way through. This is a huge wine by Lytton Springs standards, I wonder if it will clam down with time? 93+ points
I also love finding a bargain… this one comes from Portugal:
Cooperativa de Pegões Touriga Nacional 2011, Peninsula de Setubal, Portugal (Wine & the Vine £12.25)
Blackcurrant and blackberries, eucalyptus dark chocolate and green herbs. Big fruit, with big creamy texture; vanilla, eucalyptus and hard green herbs. This is a wine who’s flavour to price ratio is off the scale! 91 points
And finally how about some big-uns from South America… including a Malbec I really loved… Yes, really!
Errazuriz Don Maximiano ‘Founders Reserve’ 2008, Aconcagua Valley, Chile (Costco £29.99)
Pure blackcurrant with an underlying woody, herby note and a dash of eucalyptus. The texture is rich and majestic with concentrated black fruit and bi tannins – this is still a youngster but already has a long fruity, liquorice and hard green herb finish. Mmmmm. 93 points
Perez Cruz Carmenere Limited Edition 2012, Maipo Valley, Chile (Wine & the Vine £15.65)
Blackcurrants and plums with a delightful green herbaceous note; hard green herbs and just a touch of mint. Deliciously fresh on the attack with some black fruit and jammy red fruit and a wonderful creamy texture. Long finish with lots of fruity concentration but with enough acidity to carry it through.; the herby, minty notes stay there too! 92 points
Don David Tannat 2012, Cafayete, Argentina (Wine & the Vine £11.25)
Blackcurrant and blackberries, spicy autumnal hedgerow and a slightly medicinal, rosehip tinge on the nose. Concentrated black fruit on the palate, with grainy, slightly rustic tannins; I love the rough edges and the liquorice and eucalyptus finish. 90 points
Matias Riccitelli ‘Republic’ Malbec 2012, Mendoza (Exel Wines £28.66)
Black cherries and plums with just a hint of something red. Delicate smoky spice, liked coriander or something eastern, or even Christmas-like. Smoky plums, very spicy, almost like a spicy plum crumble. Very refined and very well mannered, this is a Malbec I’d be happy to meet up with again. The tannins are fine but present and the finish is very persistent and very spicy. Lovely wine. 92 points
PS. I won’t be drinking any French wine this weekend as Wales take on les Bleus in the 6 Nations!