Enticing & Exciting Modern Reds

We are so lucky to live in these times, I really believe that the quality of good wine has never been better than it is now, but that is sometimes easy to forget. Luckily I tried two very different red wines recently that really proved the point, they were rich and supple with great fruit and excellent tannin management. They appeared to be superbly made and to have had love and care lavished upon them and the results were enticing:

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New York – wines to inspire you

Canandaigua Lake

Amazingly most UK consumer’s concept of wine from the United States of America starts and stops with California. Certainly California is the most important of the wine producing states, but there are some superb wines made elsewhere in the US too.

Some consumers are aware of wines from Oregon and possibly Washington State, but usually my students are astonished when I tell them about wines from Virginia, Texas, Utah or New York state.

Wine is actually made from freshly gathered grapes in all 48 of the continental states as well as in Hawaii, only Alaska misses out by being too cold. Continue reading

Affordable Claret: Chateau du Gazin

I really am in a claret phase and it is very interesting tasting some affordable wines from Bordeaux. I have always liked the idea of claret, but have become concerned that most consumers would never get a chance to taste the sort of wine that comes into my mind when I think claret.

This is my third claret in this series and I think the consumer is pretty well served by them so far, but of course they are far more expensive than the average spend – even these relatively moderate prices make them more likely to be wines enjoyed at a special occasion than every day.

So far I have stuck to the left-bank Médoc wines, so I felt that a change was in order and I turned my attentions to the Libournais area. This of course includes the famous St Emilion, and its satellite villages, as well as Pomerol, Lalande-de-Pomerol and the rather more spread out Côtes de Castillon, Côtes des Francs as well as Bourg and Blaye. Today my eye fell on a wine from Canon-Fronsac. Continue reading

The least expensive expensive wine?

Don Maximiano Estate, Aconcagua Valley, Chile

It is an extraordinary fact that virtually all the wine consumed in the UK retails for less than £5 a bottle.

Hold that thought and then stroll into a wine shop or supermarket and browse the wine shelves looking at the prices.

Even very ordinary wines are well over £5 nowadays, Muscadet and Côtes du Rhône for example, I even noticed a Costieres de Nîmes in Tesco for £9.99 – I assume so that they can artificially discount it later.

So where do people find these sub-£5 bottles? There are 2 sources as far as I can see; the very lowest points of a retailer’s range, or – much more likely – the wines on special offer. Continue reading

The Araujo Estate – a Napa legend

The Napa Valley showing the Araujo Estate

The Napa Valley showing the Araujo Estate

Ever since working for the late Geoffrey Roberts in the mid 1980’s I have loved good California wines. I have found it irritating, therefore that the types of California wine that most people drink bear no relation to the greatest examples. The trouble is that they are shockingly expensive to most of us and so they get relegated to special occasion wine status, or never get tasted at all and consumers go around thinking that all wine from California is like Blossom Hill. Continue reading