Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Amazing grapes: How well do you know your wine?

'Decanter' magazine says wines costing more than £6.99 are wasted on most of us. No problem, says Anthony Rose, there's plenty worth quaffing, at that price – or even less

2007 Settlesoli Mandrarossa Fiano, Sicily, £5.75, The Wine Society, (01438 737700; thewinesociety.com)



Settesoli is a dynamic, giant co-operative in Sicily, whose outgoing approach to winemaking and marketing has resulted in wines such as this full-bodied, honeyed dry white made from Italy's newly fashionable southern white grape, the fiano. It beat stiff competition to win Decanter's single varietal international trophy under £10 this week.



Tesco Finest Block 7A Viognier, Murray Darling, Victoria, on offer at £4.99, normally £6.99



This is a fine Australian example of the northern Rhône's trendy viognier grape (of Condrieu) by any stretch of the imagination, but Tesco's wine festival promotional offer price (to 7 October) brings added autumn cheer to the delightfully peachy fruit and refreshing citrusy acidity of this opulent dry Aussie white.



2007 Gobelsburger Grüner Veltliner, Kamptal, £5.99, Down from £7.49, to 16 September, Waitrose



Regular readers of the Saturday wine column will already know about my growing admiration for the delights of Austria's signature grape variety, the aromatic and often peppery grüner veltliner. Waitrose's current offer is a great opportunity to try out this delectable dry white from Domäne Gobelsburger with its trademark white pepper scent and refreshingly zippy fruitiness.



2007 La Esperanza Estate Torrontés, £5.99, Marks & Spencer



The scented torrontés grape, Argentina's answer to Alsace's spicy gewürztraminer and the Mediterranean's muscat, reaches its peak of perfumed perfection in the high Andes in the northern province of Salta. Bodegas Felix Lavaque, in high-altitude Cafayate, is the source of this exotically fragrant dry white, which delivers enticingly fresh and grape-scented aromas and flavours in abundance.



2007 Paul Mas Estate Marsanne, Vin de Pays d'Oc, £7.99, or buy 2 for £5.99, Majestic



Under the youthful Jean-Claude Mas, the Domaines Paul Mas has become one of the south of France's leading négociants, with wines that often boast an almost New World-like generosity of flavour. So it is with this rich and peachy dry white made from the white Rhône variety seen in white Hermitage, a pedigree that's well-suited to the warm, dry conditions of the Languedoc.



Taste the Difference Fino Superior, £5.99, 50 cl, Sainsbury's



Hard to believe, but at prices like this it appears that it's still too well-kept a secret that light, dry fino and manzanilla are among the world's best-value wines. Fresh, delicate and yeasty with that characteristic sea-salty tang and bone-dry aftertaste, this wine from the brilliant sherry stockholder Emilio Lustau, is a terrific match for olives, almonds and antipasti.



2007 Villa Maria Hawkes Bay Rosé, £6.36, to 28 September, normally £8.49, Waitrose



As part of Waitrose's New World showcase of 48 wines, this is an elegantly dry, deep strawberry-pink Hawkes Bay rosé from sauvignon blanc and pinot noir specialists Villa Maria. Consisting of a blend of merlot, malbec, syrah, pinotage and a fruit salad of other grapes, it's full-bodied, summer pudding-red with a touch of sweetness and refreshingly dry aftertaste.



2007 Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir, £5.99, Oddbins



Normally, its Concha y Toro's sister brand Cono Sur that comes up with the pinot noir goods, but for the first time Concha's excellent value brand, Casillero del Diablo, has produced its very own good value red burgundy lookalike, a voluptuously strawberryish red with classic red-berry fruits fragrance and flavour.



2007 Domaine Haut-Lirou, Pic Saint Loup, £8.99, buy 2 bottles, save £4 = £6.99, Majestic



Sandwiched between the Mediterranean and the Cévennes, dramatic Pic Saint Loup is the eye-fillet of the vast Coteaux du Languedoc appellation in southern France with lots of fine-value bottles based on the syrah grape. As witness, this excellent blend of syrah with grenache and cinsault whose smoky, aromatic quality and juicy blackberry fruit richness are tinged with spice and rounded out by oak.



2006 Taste the Difference Argentinian Malbec, £6.99, Sainsbury's



Aurelio Montes is the éminence grise behind some of Chile's best wines, but now Mahomet has come to the Argentinian side of the mountain, bringing his Midas touch to the country's signature red grape variety, the malbec, to produce a powerful, opulent, autumn-warming red with a haunting blackberry jam and fruitcake quality.



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