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13 October 2022

10 wines and a cider of the moment.

D'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2021 McLaren Vale, South Australia (14% abv): Asda £10 on offer, normally £13. Stylish and unusual full-bodied white, floral nutty and exotic with zesty yeast-lees and citrus tones; generously textured mouthfeel from a small portion of each variety being barrel fermented, otherwise not noticeable.

Domaine de Pennautier Chardonnay Pays d'Oc France 2021 (13% abv): £8.50 The Wine Society. These guys, based at a splendid chateau near Carcassonne in the Languedoc, know how to make delicious good-value unoaked Chardy.

A trio of fizz. Morador Malbec Brut Sparkling Rosé (13% abv): Sainsbury's Taste the Difference £10 / £8 on offer. Tasty red-fruity off-dry rosé bubbly made from Argentina's most famous black grape. Bought some Prestige Cava Rosado (12% abv) from M&S recently, having neglected it for a while: don't know why. This is beautiful bubbly for the money combining luscious red fruitiness and toasty yeasty complexity. £10 a bottle, £48 for 6 special offer. Marques del Norte Cava Brut Vintage 2020 (11.5% abv) is a total bargain at Asda (£7 or £6 'roll back' at the moment) offering plenty more flavour than any Prosecco and drier too.

Viña Zorzal Garnacha 2020 Navarra Spain (13.5% abv): £7.95 The Wine Society. The Zorzal Rosado proved a big hit in our household (why no 2021 vintage follow-on, Wine Society buyer?), and their red Garnacha is similarly charming and easy-drinking, with spicy juicy red and black fruits, peppery liquorice and sweet cherry and soft tannins.
Armagh Craft Dry Cider (4.5% abv): €1.99 Aldi Ireland. A lovely Aldi own label cider from the apple county of the North, Armagh: crisp and fruity with a wilder more 'natural' leaning appley style than many big commercial brands.

Finally, it's rosé time. Heumann Cuvée Villány 2021, Hungary: 100% Kékfrankos, the same variety as Blaufränkisch in Austria (13.5% abv). On paper perhaps not an obvious choice, but this is a cracker: full of strawberry and cherry fruit, quite weighty yet fresh and crisp too. £9.50 The Wine Society.
Château Thieuley Bordeaux Clairet 2021 (13% abv): The Wine Society £9.95. This traditional Cabernet and Merlot style from Bordeaux - claret comes from clairet hence the seriously deep pink / light red colour - is subjected to a long maceration with the skins, giving a rich fruity structured foodie rosé.
Cirò Rosato Gaglioppo Santa Venere, Italy 2021 (12.5% abv): £10.50 The Wine Society. Another sensational dry pink from Calabria in the deep south: Gaglioppo is the obscure local black variety.

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