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21 June 2022

June wines of the moment

A mixed baker's dozen (plus) of wines worth taking bad photos of...
M&S 'Found' Weißburgunder 2021, Pfalz Germany (12.5% abv): Or Pinot Blanc to use its more familiar French name (Pinot Bianco in Italy). This juicy zesty pear and nectarine tinged dry white is from talented winemaker Gerd Stepp, who's made other tasty 'modern' German wines for Marks including delicious Riesling and Pinot Noir. Resembles Alsace Pinot Blanc in style but with more flavour. £9.50

Délicieuse 2021 Domaine des Yeuses, Pays d’Oc IGP Languedoc France (Grenache noir): Supposedly a rosé but rather pale, this tasted like a white wine although good with it. Juicy ripe and creamy with fruity depth and crisp finish, nice summer wine; a little dear though at £10.95 (£10.40 case price, South Down Cellars).

Señorio de Sarría Garnacha Rosado 2021, Navarra Spain (13.5% abv): Same grape variety, very different style (what I call proper rosé) with deep cherry colour, lots of ripe red fruits, rounded full-bodied texture while still refreshing. Not as full-on as the 2020 vintage (which faded quickly, actually) but all the better for it. Serious foodie rosado: e.g. with tapas, smoked salmon, simple risotto? £7.25 The Wine Society. Another 2021 vintage of a WS favourite rosé is Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo by Contesa (Montepulciano variety, 13% abv) from central Italy, Adriatic coast-side. Dark pink / red cherry in colour with lots of summer red fruits and crunchier berries too, crisp vs fruity and rounded finish. £8.50

Gewurztraminer Vieilles Vignes Heimberger 2018, Cave de Bebleheim, Alsace France (13.5% abv): More medium-sweet than medium-dry, but this lush exotic well-textured and mature white (although a towards golden colour) has plenty of 'Turkish Delight' Gewurz style, for those who like that kind of thing; try with spicy Thai food or fruity desserts. £9.75 The Wine Society (2018 now sold out).

Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2021, South Australia (13.5% abv): Reliably enjoyable and varietal-suffused, this Viognier has perhaps become fresher, drier and lees-ier - yeasty touches but in a characterful tangy zesty way - although still quite full-bodied with floral apricot fruit. £7.50-£8.50 Tesco, Sainsbury's, Majestic, Co-op and others; Aus$15.

Fiano Extra Special 2020 Terre Siciliane, Cantine Settesoli (12.5% abv): Great value zesty aromatic Sicilian dry white with sunny stone-fruit flavours and nutty wild herby undertones. £6 Asda's posh label. Sticking with the south of Italy, from across the water and roughly in the middle in Basilicata, comes the very flavoursome Le Ralle Greco 2021 (13% abv) produced by Alovini (also makes a full-flavoured rosé), with real depth of ripe pear and juicy nutty characters, quite long and elegant finish. Good with plaice or similarly fishy fish. £8.95 The Wine Society.

My last dry white wine was also purchased from the Wine Society, a favourite restaurant choice in Portugal from celebrated winery Esporão in the Alentejo region called Monte Velho 2020 (13% abv), which is shaped by the expressive Portuguese grape varieties Antão Vaz, Perrum and Roupeiro. Offers a stylish mix of aromatic floral and aniseed notes, lees-y zingy palate yet oily and rounded too. £7.95 on offer (£8.95).

Finest Vintage Cava Reserva Brut 2019, Sevisa (aka Segura Viudas), Catalunya Spain (12% abv): Produced from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello and matured for at least 15 months in bottle with the yeast-lees. Enticingly toasted and savoury-bready with aromatic nutty flavours and fresh dry finish, quite classy Cava. Tesco but hasn't been available for a while (probably another Brexit problem). A couple of other Cavas worth mentioning are: The Society's Cava Reserva Brut NV (£8.95), crisp with yeasty almond notes; and Freixenet Cordon Negro (when at £8 Tesco Clubcard price), a huge brand I'd not tried recently that still delivers nicely indeed.

And a couple of Pinot Noirs to finish: the sexy quality Te Pā Signature Series 2019 from Marlborough, New Zealand (13.5% abv), which is complex and silky-textured with subtle underlying oak tones (aged for 10 months but not all of the wine in barrels) and lovely aromatic maturing sweet/savoury fruit. £12 Tesco Clubcard price.
And Cono Sur Organic Pinot Noir 2020 (14% abv) from Chile, not in the same class but very enjoyable nevertheless. £9 Sainsbury's.

Maybe a little lacking on the red wine front for you? Look out for a couple of forthcoming tasting features centred on some latest releases from the Roussillon region...

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.