I have been shopping, those with eagle eye vision will observe the Harvey Nichols bag in the background. Now, Harvey Nicks is not just a shop for fashionistas, D to Z list celebs, footballers their wives and wanabees – it has a serious wine department. Offering up not only the best Vermouth on the market Carpano’s Antico Formula, but some other gems to boot. I had a serious “flow” moment there (“Lost in the supermarket” The Clash, London Calling, 1979) and lost an hour of my day. Admittedly its a better line up than the “Usual Suspects” but which one is my Kaiser Soze? I believe the Turkish definition of “Soze” is to talk too much – so I shall keep it brief!
Adi Badenhorst’s wines are wicked! Biodynamic, organic, resolutely traditional, out there and uncompromising – you gotta love em! This is from his second tier range, “Secateurs Chenin Blanc” – I am ever an advocate (there is no connection) – and it delivers. Classic dumb-ish, wet wooley, secondary fermentation nose, a big splash of melon and citrus fruit on the follow through, balanced with seriously zippy, acidic zing! Check out his full range – you will not be disappointed.
The Domaine Drouhin Oregon Chardie (Willamette Valley) is Burgundian in character, a touch Chablisien, with bright, slightly tart, melony fruit, a lush creamy malolacticness (these malapropic descriptors are entirely my own) topped off with a judicious splash of classy French oak.
Pittacum is a red from Bierzo – a remote region in Galicia S.W.Spain. Considered by many to be the next big thing in Spanish winemaking, this is fashioned from the Mencia grape. Rarely grown anywhere else, Mencia delivers wines of great complexity, but at a relatively low alcohol level – have I mentioned this before? Organic, hand-harvested and the product of 75 year-old vines, it has a short maturation of around 4 months in American oak. Fleshy, well rounded with scents of blackcurrants and liquorice it is warmly concentrated with a slightly sweetish finish.
You should all know Paul Draper’s wines – if not, get a grip! This is Geyserville, a rustic, immensely characterful Zin – right up there with only the best examples. Damsons, plums, chocolate, lashings of creamy vanilla oakiness with huge concentration and an immense finish.
Man O War Syrah, from New Zealand’s Waiheke Island comes in at a whopping 14% abv, Despite such robustness, it remains extremely fresh, although meaty, with some white pepper and clove notes on the nose. It opens up and softens after an hour, rounding and fleshing out with richness and sweet fruit to the fore. I tend to shy away from a scoring system, and find most predictions regarding ageing potential woefully inaccurate – as far as I am concerned its ready now! I am unsure if this property is named after a racehorse – who famously contested a seminal race with Seabiscuit – or, judging by its Dreadnaught range, is more likely to be named after a battleship – answers on a postcard please.
The Rosso di Montalcino is exactly that, the red wine of Montalcino. Cherries, berries, slightly astringent tannins , lively acidity to balance with a clean and moreish finish.
Lastly Kleos, (in epic poetry meaning fame or renown – Lost in Translation) from the coast of Campania, south of Naples, across the bay from Positano – can I go on holiday now? The wine is made from the Aglianico grape – big, robust chunky with a hint of herbaceousness mixed with obvious depth and class. I liked this wine a lot – I don’t know if this was because I tasted it after the others – but it has charm, presence and more than a smattering of individual sparkle – perhaps its my Kaiser Soze.