By Rose Murray Brown MW  Published in The Scotsman 24 October 2015

With an open brief to go anywhere in the world in search of ‘new finds’, we have been unearthing some interesting surprises this week. 

From a Chenin Blanc grown on an old tea plantation, a rare glimpse of the Italian Susumaniello grape from Puglia, a trophy winning Bandol rose and a new take on the Spanish Tempranillo grape in the Adelaide Hills in Australia.  Check out our pick of the Top Ten most interesting ‘new’ autumnal tastes and flavours – all under £20:

Piekerniersklooof, South Africa: THE TEA LEAF CHENIN BLANC 2014 (£12 Woodwinters, Bridge of Allan & Edinburgh; Noel Young Wines, Cambridge)
Ever wondered what a Chenin Blanc would taste like grown amongst old Rooibos tea plants?  This is a very unique Chenin with its usual pear, apple and pineapple flavours, rich texture, gentle oak notes and a distinct hint of tea.  Made very naturally, using wild yeasts, from 70 year old vines grown entwined with old tea plants on a high altitude (750 m) tea plantation where both plants vie for nutrition.  A lovely wine made by up-and-coming winemaker Donovan Rall, who trained with two of my Cape wine heros Miles Mossop and Eben Sadie.  Alcohol 14%   STAR BUY

Republic of Macedonia: ZILAVKA 2014 (@£11 bt Cornelius Wines, Easter Rd, Edinburgh; Cork & Cask, Marchmont Rd, Edinburgh; Henderson Wines; Comiston Rd, Edinburgh; The Beerhive, Rodney St, Edinburgh)
Zilavka is an indigenous grape to the Balkans, grown in Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina where it originated.  Here in Macedonia’s Tikves region it makes an unusual full bodied quite nutty dry white with a lovely fresh acidity.  Delicious for matching with rich textured seafood dishes.  Alcohol 13%

South West France:  MAUZAC BLANC SEC 2013 Clos Rocailleux (£11.99
Mauzac is a little known south west French grape, used primarily in Limoux for sparkling wine.  Rarely used to make still whites, it can be really intriguing when it is here.  It smells of pearskins, with an intial grapefruit flavour, fresh vibrant with a crisp drying finish.  Our tasters enjoyed it as it has such an interesting and unusual flavour – it also has a similarity to Sauvignon Blanc with its sharp green flavour.  Might work well both as an aperitif or sweet rich fish dish.  Made by English couple, Jack and Margaret Reckitt, on their estate near Toulouse.  Alcohol 12%

Marsala, Sicily:  TERRE DI GIUMARA GRECANICO 2013 Caruso & Minini (£7.92 Bibendum Wine; Exel Wines, Perth)
This delightful aromatic dry white is part of Sicily’s dramatic wine revival.  Based on the Grecanico grape, known as Grecanico Dorado due to its resistance to the Sicilian sun – it has a Sauvignon Blanc-type pungent aroma and a zippy freshness with its striking acidity.  Tangy, passionfruit flavours and a hint of lemons – delicious with crispy calamari.  I notice that Marks & Spencer also sell the same wine from this Marsala-based producer under screwcap at £7.  Alcohol 12.5%


Bandol, France:  CHATEAU SALETTES ROSE 2014 (£13.95 The Wine Society
From the quaint Provencal village of La Cadiere d’Azur, this floral aromatic pink is one of the best roses I have tasted from this corner of France.  The owners of this ivy-covered chateau and vineyard, the Ricard-Boyers, used to sell off their grapes, but now with a dynamic young winemaker (who trained in Montpellier and New Zealand) they are making their own.  A blend of organically-grown Mourvedre, Cinsault and Grenache are fermented on their wild yeasts – superb summery rose.  No wonder it scooped the Decanter Wine Awards under £15 Rose trophy.  Alcohol 13.5%



Puglia, Southern Italy:  A MANO IMPRINT SUSUMANIELLO 2014 (£12.99 Valvona & Crolla, Edinburgh;
Made from an ancient Puglian grape called Susumaniello.  It is named ‘little donkey – after the huge loads the vines bears in fruit when young.  Mark Shannon, a Californian winemaker alongside northern Italian winemaker Elvezia Sbalchiero have sourced old vineyards of this rare little grape in the Salento peninsula.  Plenty of deep colour, blueberry fruits, cassis notes, herbal undertone – a big red but with lovely freshness, which would suit anyone who likes Primitivo.  Alcohol 12.5%

Fruili, North East Italy:  PICCO ATTILA 2013 (£8.99
For those who love bitter sweet Italian reds – this is all about rich dark cherry fruits, figgy undertones, bitter dark chocolate notes and a plummy finish.  Not particularly full bodied, even though it has high alcohol.  This is an unusual and interesting blend of Merlot with the local Colli Orientali grape, Refosco.  Expect that characteristic Italian twist to the finish.  Serve with a meaty polenta or couscous dish.  Alcohol 13%

Barossa Valley, Australia:  REDHEADS THE CORROBOREE SHIRAZ 2014 (£12.99 bt or £11.09 in mixed case
Sweet rich cassis fruits with minty undertones, soft oaking, drinking well now but could improve.  This is a special parcel of three areas in Barossa (Rosedale, Seppeltsfield and Lyndoch) hived off by a senior winemaker for one of the top estates who created a special blend for Redheads Studio.  Stormed our tasting for those who loved big reds – no wonder it won Wine of Show in London and New York.  Slam in the lamb.  Alcohol 14.5%   STAR BUY

Adelaide Hills, South Australia:  LA LINEA TEMPRANILLO 2013 (£17.80-£18.99 Kirkness & Gorie, Orkney; St Andrews Wine Co; Fine Wine Co, Edinburgh;;
If you love Spanish Rioja you should try this.  Made from the same grape, Tempranillo, grown across five different sites in Adelaide Hills in South Australia.  Duo Nepenthe winemaker Peter Leske and David LeMire MW make this deliciously juicy textural ripe red.  Lovely cherry-fruit with a smooth succulent finish.  A very popular bottle with our tasters.  Alcohol 13.5%   STAR BUY

Itata Valley, Chile: MONTES OUTER LIMITS OLD ROOTS CINSAULT 2014 (£15.99 Aitken Wines, Dundee; The Beerhire, Edinburgh; Kirkness & Gorie;,Orkney; Henderson Wines, Edinburgh; Fine Wine Co, Edinburgh by the case)
I have never been a big fan of Cinsault, but I am a fan of Montes wines.  I was pleasantly surprised by their efforts here.  A touch sweeter, softer and just more approachable than many Cinsaults with sour cherry notes and soft tannins.  The Cinsault is grown on granite soils in Bularco in southern Chile’s Itata valley – and the 15% Mourvedre in the blend is from Montes’ home Colchagua valley vineyards, so a truly southern French cuvee.  Alcohol 13.5%

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