Our Wine Correspondent Is Back On The Road
Our wine correspondent Nathan Lane has been tasting a wide range of wines from America to Europe. He shares his thoughts on a juicy Cabernet Sauvignon a French Sauvignon Blanc, a light and fruity red Burgundy ending with a big bold Italian Nebbiolo grape
Orin Swift Palermo
Fans of well structured, juicy Cabernet Sauvignon won’t be disappointed with the funky looking Palermo from Orin Swift.
The Napa Valley red delivers a mouthful of blackberry and plum with lighter notes of cherry and a well-structured finish with plenty of spice and cassis. The integrated flavours have soft tannins and light oak. It is aged in American and French oak for 12 months.
Palermo is the winemaker’s entry-level Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are sourced from vineyards across Napa Valley, including Stagecoach, Cypress, Sun Lake, Morisoli, and Solari, which span the valley level to the mountains.
Orin Swift was founded by winemaker Dave Phinney in 1998 and is as well-known for its unusual and abstract wine labels as it is for great wine. Napa Valley is the most popular wine region in America and is home to more than 400 wineries. It has the perfect combination of climate, soil and terrain to produce world-class wines.
Palermo will pair well with red meat and game and, on this occasion, a bar of dark chocolate. As a fan of all Orin Swift wines, it is also worth seeking out its Zinfandel, eight years in the desert and Petite Syrah, Machete.
Orin Swift Palermo can be purchased online or from Majestic for around £46 a bottle.
Definition Pouilly Fume.
Own label ranges can often provide great value and quality. The Definition range from Majestic is no exception.
The French Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Loire valley and is a great example with clean fruit and a creamy texture. The screw-top means it is an easy one to enjoy a glass at a time and keep in the fridge.
It offers strong gooseberry and green apple with a creamy finish. On the nose, it’s fresh-cut grass with a blast of citrus fruit. This Pouilly Fume is a wonderful crisp white to enjoy in the sunshine. It perhaps lacks some of the minerality that you would expect from wines of the region, but at under £15 a bottle, it’s a good quality wine for the price point.
It will pair well with fish and seafood and make an excellent addition to any summer party.
The Definition range spans some of the world’s most popular wine varieties and includes everything from Prosecco and Barolo to Pauillac and Rioja. By and large, they are a good bet for quality wine at a fair price.
Definition Pouilly Fume is available from Majestic online or in-store at £14.99.
Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Frionnes, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru
Gastropubs have upped their game as the hospitality industry emerged from the pandemic. Thoughtful and varied wine lists accompany new and more innovative menus. This light and fruity red Burgundy was enjoyed over Sunday lunch with some pigs cheeks.
The quality shines through, and it is a blend of two Premier Crus, Les Combes and Sur le Sentier du Clou, offering smooth red-berry fruit with a tart finish. It may seem a little thin bodied for some, but it makes it all the more versatile for a mix of palates.
There is plenty here to keep you interested with subtle herbs and spice and smoke on the nose. Soft tannins and a pleasant chalky finish make this an easy-drinking treat.
The commune of Saint-Aubin on Burgundy's Côte de Beaune produces Saint-Aubin wine. The vineyards of Saint-Aubin are mostly located in a side valley to the west of Chassagne-Montrachet. Around 75% of the wine is made up of white wine, and 25% is made up of red wine.
The Saint Aubin domaine, founded in 1921, is being modernised by brothers Vincent and Philippe, who follow in their father Gérard's footsteps. The brothers own 14.5 hectares of vineyards in Saint-Aubin, Chassagne Montrachet, and Puligny Montrachet.
The skill of the winemakers is clear in every glass, with a complexity and balance of flavours while remaining drinkable.
Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Frionnes, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru is available online from around £20 a bottle.
Arpepe Rosso di Valtellina
The Nebbiolo grape is a safe bet if you like big, bold reds. Most famously, it can be found in Barolo or Barbaresco, but it is somewhat more affordable in this incarnation.
It has a lot going on in the glass. With a light strawberry colour, it offers an initial hit of fruit with cherries and strawberries but then a mineral finish with a slug of cloves. It’s a complex and well-balanced wine that appeals to many people.
On this occasion, it paired well with pork but would equally work well with red meat or a spicy stew.
The vineyard uses environmentally friendly agriculture, and the harvest sees the grapes carried in little baskets down a steep mountainside. The wine is made using traditional techniques, with the grapes being gently squeezed and macerated for 90 days. The wine matured for six months before being bottled.
The name Nebbiolo comes from the Italian word nebbia, which means ‘fog,’ and refers to the white natural bloom that occurs on the grapes during harvest.
Arpepe Rosso di Valtellina is a lively and engaging way to drink Nebbiolo without spending the big money that a good Barolo demands.
Arpepe Rosso di Valtellina can be found online for around £28 a bottle.