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Wednesday 16 November 2011

Weekly Wine: One Wine to the Tune of Another

It's not just us wine-drinkers that are trying to keep atop of the latest trends: the wine industry is competitive, and dependant on innovative producers taking risks and shaking things up a bit, hoping to get noticed for all the right reasons. The wines making all the noise at the moment are from producers that are mingling different styles and regions: New World wines made using classic French ideas with a twist (and vice versa), and I am loving all these different regions getting friendly with each other.

Last week, the lovely folks at Bordiere Nord in the South of France asked if I'd like to try their two new Rhone-style blends. Winemaker Alain Grignon likes to apply a Languedoc spin to classic styles from other regions, and I love a good experiment, so I got my glass ready.

The white is a blend of Viognier and Marsanne - a popular pairing in the Rhone - and was deliciously peachy with some nice weighty texture from the viognier, however the Languedoc climate meant this was 13.5% which I thought was a bit too punchy.
The red - a Syrah-Grenache blend - had good spice from the Syrah, but the Languedoc's typical herbiness came slightly too much to the fore for my taste.
I did enjoy them both, and especially so when I learned the price. You can pick up a bottle for £6.99 from Majestic, or £5.99 if you buy two. It's very much the budget end of the experimentation scale, and not bad for a Friday night in with some home cooking.

Others favourite producers making wine with more than a hint to other regions are:

Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier

The Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier 2007 is a divine Aussie wine - well, I say 'Aussie' but it's actually a collaboration of two renowned wine families: Chapoutier from the Rhone and Terlato from the Napa Valley, California. It explodes with fruit you can sniff a mile off, and is dark and jammy, with sticky plums and creamy perfumed spice. An absolute winner of a collaboration - you can get your mitts on some from Frazers for £13.49.

Fume Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is grown all over the world, but is on the priciest end of the scale from the Loire where a Sauvignon wine called Pouilly Fume is made (a fun one to try and pronounce the proper way, I can tell you.) A Californian winemaker called Robert Mondavi decided way back in the sixties that he wanted to market his American sauvignons with a definite homage to this classic Loire variety, and so named his wine Fume Blanc. Cunning marketing? Yes, but also a Sauvignon like no other. Citrus and white fruits blend with creaminess from the oak: this is my goats-cheese pairing of choice. You can grab a bottle for £11.78 from DrinksDirect.

The Liberator

As well as having a sort of romantic, exciting name, the Liberator brand has a team of top-secret experts working to create something very snazzy indeed. The best thing to come from South Africa... ever (well it beats the Vuvuzela anyway), I am in love with these wines. Their pair of special edition 'The Francophile' wines are an enticing take on French styles, and dangerously moreish.
The red is Syrah, and packed with quintessential Rhone pepperiness and jammy fruit.
The white is classic viognier - mouth-filling texture packed with peach, pear and floral character. Both are £9.95 from The Wine Society.

Bordiere Nord did give me a couple of free bottles to try, but my opinions are honest and this does not affect my review.

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