A Picpoul de Pinet to neutralise canine flatulence

Domaine Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet should be chilled and ready in your fridge to be snatched out at the first signs of autumn’s fleeting sunshine — or a farting dog

The label of this bottle of Picpoul de Pinet features elegant typography and simple silhouette images of trees

A quickie, today.

(Ooh.)

So here’s a smashing Pee Pee de Pee from The Wine Society. Yes, that’s the same Wine Society that just won Decanter’s National Wine Merchant of the Year award. For the second time running. Which just goes to show two things: 1. that this blog is occasionally (if only coincidentally) capable of vague topicality, and 2. that Decanter Magazine does occasionally manage to do/say something that isn’t as annoying as a farting dog on a rush hour tube.

Anyhow, back to the Picpoul. And a bewitching character it is. The first thing that hits you is the smell: bright, ringing, clean. Delicious. Then you get it into your gob. It’s proper, grown-up, complex, with that stony, bracing quality: while it may be light, it sure as hell ain’t lite.

Elegant, poised and deeply, deeply satisfying. Have a bottle in your fridge and snatch it out when autumn next sees fit to unveil her fleeting sunshine.

Or when you next get home after a long commute alongside someone’s flatulent pet.

Rating ★★★★ 4 stars (very good)
Region Languedoc & Roussillon
Grape Picpoul
ABV 13.5%
Price £7.50 from The Wine Society; £8.95 from BBR

Mischievous Italian flirtation, with a hint of gruffness

… will flirt fruitily with your nose, before getting gruff with your gob

The label of this bottle of Falerio shows crest and vineyard

Fill your snout with a decent sniff of Saladini Pilastri Falerio and you’ll think that you’re in for a flighty, flirty, fruity kind of wine. Mischievous, light-footed, scarpersome. There’s that beguiling waft of pear drops, for one thing, that always puts me in mind of smalltime juvenile delinquency.

But swish a bit of the stuff round your mouth and you might be surprised at the amount of fullness and depth. There’s a nice hint of bitterness; a gruff quality that contradicts (or enhances, I guess, if gruffness is your thing) the flirtatious, fruity, sweet-shoppy goings on.

It’s not a blindingly extraordinary wine, but neither is it a typical one. And for the rather goddamn lovely price of £6.25 — I’d contend — this is the kind of bottle you could well be cracking open in the middle of the week and still tasting something new, something interesting.

Rating ★★★ 3 stars (good)
Region Falerio dei Colli Ascolani (South Italy)
Grapes Passerina and Pecorino
ABV 13%
Price £6.25 from The Wine Society

Sainsbury’s Gruner Veltliner 2010 (Taste the Difference)

… is exactly the kind of dry white wine with which you’d want to slake your dusty thirst after half an hour’s bypass-trudging

Label of this Austrian Gruner Veltliner, with a traditional crest and purple accents

And so I made my aching, slow way — beetle-like, beneath a beating sun — cars and buses roaring beside me as I clung to the narrow verge with its grey, dusty grass. Along the bypass.

Bypassing nothing.

There are whole stretches of this world that we are never expected to see from certain angles. The denuded backsides of highstreet shops, for instance, glimpsed voyeuristically through rarely-opened delivery gates. Laced with dark varicose veins of piping that give the lie to their gilded plastic frontages.

Just so with this bypass. This place of transit, designed (like piracy warnings on a VHS) to be absorbed at fast-forward — but now viewed through the slow, unexpected eyes of a pedestrian.

The insistent thrum and shudder of passing cars, beating out You should not be here. This is a place of vehicles. What right have you? Why are you here?

And what sinister explanations might have troubled the minds of those motorists as they passed this figure, shambling, alone? What did they imagine might lurk within the bag he hoisted from shoulder to shoulder?

What was this Bypass Wanderer’s heavy burden?

***

Three bottles of wine and a ludicrously, masochistically large number of tins of assorted beans, it turns out.

Because, yeah, I went to Big Sainsbury’s. On foot. Like a fucking idiot.

The question on your lips (that is a question I can see there, isn’t it? Not some kind of cold sore?) is, I suppose: was the odyssey worthwhile?

On the strength of the selection of wines on offer — emphatically not. My mission, y’see, was to hunt down examples of out-of-the-ordinary supermarket wines. Of these there were scandalously few. Bad show, Mr Sainsbury, bad show. And yet — on the strength of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Gruner Veltliner — it turns out my travails were not in vain.

(Also, I now have many different types of tinned bean.)

What’s more, it turns out that Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Gruner Veltliner is exactly the kind of wine with which you’d want to slake your dusty thirst after half an hour’s bypass-trudging.

It’s got the qualities I want in a summer wine: bracing, lightish, dry — but rounded (none of that mean-spirited, thin-in-the-mouth stinginess). There’s an appley sort of bite to it: fruits and spice and pepper. An appetising edge of bitterness and a very pleasant silkiness in the gob.

What’s more, it’s relatively keenly priced.

So — whilst Big Sainsbury’s wine selection was, overall, pretty much as unremarkably barren, unimaginative and bereft of variety as my journey there and back — it turns out that if you walk slowly enough, even the most uninspiring of places may reveal a hidden delight.

Rating ??? (3 stars: good)
ABV 12%
Price £7.99 from Sainsbury’s

Mineralstein Riesling 2010 review (Sunday quickie)

… will zap you with spiced fruit

The simple, minimal label of Marks & Spencer's Mineralstein Riesling: blue text on a white backgroundAnyone up for a Sunday quickie? Excellent. So let’s crack open a bottle of Mineralstein from Marks & Spencer, shall we?

Well. That is a boshing hell of a waft, right there. A fruity (grapefruity) zap, sprinkled with spice.

Then, in your mouth, it’s lively, nimble, with the softest fizz of bubbles on your tongue. Fruit and flowers. Off-dry, this one, but not cloying like that horrible Majestic number from a few weeks back. That’s thanks to a good strong lacing of sharp acidity — and also to a pleasant savoury quality. Olive? Yes. Biting into a ripe, sweet green olive.

What I’d say is that you want to chill this bad boy down good. It’s absolutely up to being slugged on its own — or, I’d’ve thought, alongside lightish fodder (simple, clean flavours, methinks).

Well done, M&S, good work here.

Rating ★★★ (3 stars)
ABV 12%
Price £8.39

Pecorino Colline Pescaresi, 2009, Contesa

… will make your stomach purr with delicious minerality, lissom-lingering fruits and distant cream

A bottle of Contesa Pecorino. Simple white label with a golden crest and clean, elegant typography

Here’s a wine from made from pecorino.

No, not the cheese. You wag.

For it seems that Pecorino is also a white grape variety. A white grape variety that (on the evidence of this example by Contesa) makes dry, deliciously mineral-laced wine.

Yeah, mineral. As opposed, I guess, to animal or vegetable. Contesa’s Pecorino has a stony, chalky dryness. But not — let me reassure you, if that all sounds a bit gullet-rasping — in a harsh way. Because it’s also poised, rounded, cultivated. So more of a meticulously-kept gravel bed than a heap of shale. There’s some cream, some distant fruit in there as the flavours linger (and linger they do, most lissomely) in your mouth.

Verdict

I love mineral-dry whites. They achieve a mouthwatering, stomach-purring appetiser effect — yet need not be excessively acidic. This is a very nice wine to drink before dinner.

And during dinner. And after dinner.

I’m a suggestible old fart, what’s more, so I can’t help but taste — after all — a certain pecorino cheese thing. Yeah, deride me, sure. But there is something about that intensely flavoured, appetising dryness than reminds me of snaffling wafer slices of pecorino, cut from a freshly opened block, when you’re meant to be grating it.

Not that I ever do that.

Rating ★★★★ (4 stars)
ABV 13%
Price £9.95 from The Wine Society