… doesn’t have that too-big-for-its-clingy-dress quality that some New World Rieslings have, thank the risen Lord
God alive, I love Riesling. Did I mention that before? Oh, fuck it, I don’t really care if I did.
And Spy Valley. We all remember Spy Valley Gewurtztraminer, right? Well, this is the Spies’ take on the Riesling grape. And — what do you know? — they made a good job of it: this wine is elegant, poised, fresh.
Grapefruit is (I’ll warrant) what you’ll notice caroming vengefully out of the glass towards you. Both nose-wise and in your mouth. And, yes, there’s that dab of sweetness that I hardly even want to mention because a woeful number of people are unaccountably terrified of the notion of a tiny dab of sweetness. I mean, Christ. This is the same civilisation which unaccountably fetishises bloody chocolate for pity’s sake. Ooh! Chocolate! So decadent! So sinful!
Get a life, won’t you?
But, yes, anyhow. This is a Riesling with balance. It doesn’t hang around in your gob quite as long as some Rieslings, but it’s not a flash in the pan, either. And not an ounce of the sweetness cloys. Not a sodding ounce.
This is a lot better than many of its ilk. It’s not monstrously complex, but it’s incredibly smooth and clean and beguiling. It doesn’t have that too-big-for-its-clingy-dress quality that some (overripe, over-alcoholled) New World Rieslings have. And I like it a fair old bit. But it’s quite expensive. Spend that much on a German Riesling and you could get an absolute goddamn blinder.
Or spend it all on chocolate, if you prefer. You massive great weirdo.
??? 3 stars (good)
£9.95 from The Wine Society
, £12.06 from Bibendum
… will awaked your tastebuds with a zap like a shot from Commander Keen’s raygun
By way of this week’s Sunday quickie, I lugged my laptop down to the Summertown Wine Cafe (one of the places I’ll especially miss, when I haul my skinny white ass out of Oxford, next month) — and snaffled me a glass of Three Choirs ‘Winchcombe Downs’.
And I liked it. A good acidic gobful, zesty and fresh as you like. Bish! It’s bracing, fresh, summery. Really awakens ye tastebuds with a zap. Like a shot from Commander Keen’s raygun.
It also gets kudos for being made from a mixture of grapes that includes both Phoenix and Madeleine Angevine. A few points in your grape varietals spotters’ guide for them, surely?
Getting through more than a glass of this without some form of snack/food would be a challenge — because of all that acid. So consider yourself warned.
★★★ 3 stars (good)
Phoenix, Madeleine Angevine & Huxelrebe
£9.45 from Jascots
; £10.95 from Summertown Wine Cafe
(no online ordering)
… will lower you into the most blissful vat of acid a secret agent could wish for
Sometimes you need acid. Perhaps it’s because you’ve just captured that irritatingly smooth secret agent who’s trying to foil your plan to TAKE OVER THE WORLD — and you’ve decided that the most risk-free and tax-efficient option is to lower him slowly into a seething vat of corrosive liquid. I mean, what could go wrong?
Or perhaps it’s because you’re a foreign chap called Beblenheim (in which case — could I just say? — you’re already well-equipped to be a fuck-on awesome supervillain) and you want to make a damn fine Riesling*.
Because this wine is candied, fruited, plump. Both literally and metaphorically golden, it’s a shimmering fat jewel of flavour. Fruit and flowers. A heady brew that’s almost indecently aromatic.
And this is where the acid comes in. Not like Bond crashing vengefully through reinforced glass; no, like Bond deftly insinuating himself into the bed of a sultry maiden.
Its suave acidity is absolutely the key to this wine. A suave acidity that checks (without obscuring) those floral excesses with a razor cut of clean, bracing sharpness. Leave it lingering in your mouth for as long as you like, revelling in the luxuriant texture, the steadfast refusal to descend into banal sugar. And when you swallow, the flavours slip away without a belch, without a rasp, without a jolt.
This, my chums, is what they mean when they say ‘balance’. A perfect alignment of classicist austerity and romantic ebullience. Reason and emotion.
A balanced wine (like a balanced person) doesn’t start off great yet gradually begin to irritate; no, it’s consistently good company for your gob. Meaning the last swig is just as beguiling as the first.
So, yeah. Old Parn has been beguiled by Beblenheim. Let’s just hope it’s not some kind of sophisticated honeytrap.
★★★★ (4 stars)
£8.82 from Waitrose Wine
In which a drool-inducingly acidic Saumur Chenin Blanc proves the perfect foil for a smokey old trout
A quick blast from the Parn. Less of a review; more of a passing observation I thought I’d share with y’all.
We just had a bottle of Saumur alongside some smoked trout from Inverawe Smokehouses. A damn fine lunch, mark ye. But also a reminder that the right wine/food match can be fucking sublime.
On its own, Les Andides Saumur is certainly on the bracing side — like a dip in ice-cold riverwater for your tastebuds. It’s pretty dashed acidic stuff, and you’d be salivating like a rabid dog if you drank more than a glass of it without food.
Sharp, fresh, clean stuff.
With the smoked trout, it was perfect. That acidity was taken into hand by the salt’n’smoke, allowing the wine to sing in its modest, mineral-laced kind of way.
There was no awkward drooling.
A more peaceable, smooth’n’fruity number would’ve been left dead on the side of the road in the wake of that trout. Hoofing, strong, salty flavours don’t take no prisoners.
Les Andides Saumur costs £7.11 from Waitrose Wines
. You might’ve expected it to be made from Sauvignon Blanc, given its Loirey home, but it’s actually 100% Chenin Blanc, that other (undersung) white hero of the Loire. 12% ABV.
Approbatory side-note, meanwhile, to Inverawe Smokehouses, who supplied my parents with extra smoked trout for easter (free) in recompense for delayed delivery back amidst those Christmas snows we had. Good chaps.