Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Time to Say Goodbye...

I'm very sad to say that it's almost time to say goodbye to two of our favourite wines at The Wingerworth - the New Zealand Riesling from Toi Toi and the Chateau Bouissel from Fronton in France. Not only are these wines exceptional value and great examples of their style, they are just so, so drinkable. Although they will be sorely missed, the good news is that we've got some brilliant replacements already lined up for when the last few bottles sell out - another Riesling, this time from Washington State and a really great punchy red from Juan Gil in Jumilla, Spain. In homage to the good times we've had with our old retiring friends on the wine list I'm reviewing these "old boys" one last time, with a comparison against the young guns that will be replacing them.

Toi Toi Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2011:
This is hands down my favourite wine on the Wingerworth wine list, it's just fantastically moreish. Based in the Omaka Valley just outside Marlborough, the area has it's own microclimate with cool breezes and full sun. The gravely soil keeps the vines well drained, as well as retaining the warmth of the sun, which adds to the slight sweetness of the wine. The "green" nose of predominantly lime zest is accompanied by the trademark Riesling petrol punch. A slightly sweet, ripe lime palate balances the acidity, along with crisp green apple and just a hint of mineral. It's just a really nicely balanced, interesting wine.
Vivino Score: 4.5 Stars

To replace such a great wine we had to find something special and although its flavour characteristics are very different, we opted for:

Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling, Washington State, USA, 2010:
This wine originates in Columbia Valley, just South-East of Seattle. The vineyards lie in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains, with warm, sunny days in the area, giving way to cool evening temperatures and create ideal conditions for intense aroma and flavour development. Similarly to the Toi Toi, this Riesling is off-dry, but on the contrary its aroma and palate are dominated by ripe stone fruit and mandarin rather than green citrus. The initial intense sweet mandarin with a hint of peach flavour, gives way to a long, sweet lime finish, again with the petrol and mineral qualities often associated with the grape. As big Riesling fans, we wanted to find something really fantastic to fill the slot on our list and this Chateau Ste Michelle is just great!
Vivino Score: 4.0 Stars

Chateau Bouissel "Classic, Fronton", France, 2010:
Another of the old favourites on the Wingerworth wine list, we actually had this one by the glass too. Affectionaltely nicknamed "Chat Bou" by the staff, I liked this wine because of the interesting blend of grapes, resulting in an equally interesting layered flavour profile to the wine. Hailing from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in deep Southern France, this wine benefits from the temperate Mediterranean climate. Our wine merchant hand-picked this wine while travelling in France and it's clear to see why he fell in love with it. A blend of predominantly Negrette, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, this wine is big, bold and fruity. However, the thing that grabs me most is the floral aroma of rose petals and Parma violets. On the palate you get big, red cherry, followed by ripe plum, before the Malbec steals in with a spicy finish. I found that this wine really benefits from some air and was absolutely singing after double-decanting!
Vivino Score: 4.0 Stars

Sadly the supply of this fascinating wine has dried up, but we've found something equally interesting and equally delicious to take its place:

Juan Gil "4 Meses" Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain, 2011:
Designed to be drunk young, this Monastrell (Mourvèdre) is exploding with fruit. If the Fronton is big, this is gargantuan... The nose caught me by surprise - I could only describe it as smoky, spiced German salami, followed by dark jammy fruit. The flavour was rich, heavy and dense black cherry and blackberry, giving way to a long, tannic, herby, smoky and oaky finish. It definitely doesn't have same the depth or layering of interesting flavour as the Fronton, but it certainly makes up with its punchiness. 
Vivino Score: 4.0 Stars

Both of these exciting new additions come alongside a host of others in our latest "shake-up" of the wine list. Other wines that we are excited to launch include a Shiraz-Mataro blend from Aussie outfit Some Young Punks (and their sister vineyard Adelina's Nebbiolo, which I reviewed in my "Perkins Wine Series" blog), a Lebansese red from Gaston Hochar, a lovely Gruner Veltliner from Sepp Moser in Austria and a delicious selection of award-winning Beaujolais. We like to keep the list fluid with continual improvements and additions to add interest. But also after a year of trading we hope that the list is starting to reflect our own character and taste, with wines that we have a real passion to share with you. Enjoy!

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