By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 22 September 2018

This week I have been searching for new vintages, wine cuvees and listings from around the world:


Burgundy, France: CREMANT DE BOURGOGNE NV (12%)
(£7.99 Lidl)
The latest cuvee from Lidl’s very popular bubbly – personally I prefer this to their Cremant de Bordeaux.  For those looking for a cheap Champagne alternative, Cremant is made by the same method using the local region’s grapes – which is Burgundy case are the same as Champagne.  Citric, creamy cleverly made fizz.

Champagne, France:  CUVEE MANOIR VINTAGE 2010 Nicolo & Paradis (12%)
With the influx of so many grower Champagnes onto the market, it is hard to know which to pick.  Highly rated by tasters at our recent Champagne tasting for its biscuit brioche nose, yellow fruit flavours and lively mousse.  Stylish 50% Pinot Noir/50% Chardonnay cuvee made by up-and-coming grower David Nicolo in southerly Aube.


Languedoc, France: IRRESISTIBLE MARSANNE 2016 Jean Claude Mas (13%)
(£7.99 Co-op stores)
This looks cheap and cheerful with its screwcap and simple label, but this new Co-op white is great value for a light creamy quaffing aperitif.  Made from the northern Rhone Marsanne grape, here grown in the warm south near Herault in Languedoc.  Loved the pear and honey aromas, hint of vanilla, slightly creamy palate with a dash of oak.  Suit those who normally buy Pays d’Oc Chardonnay or Viognier.

Trentino, Italy: VINAI NOSIOLA 2017 Cavit (12.5%)   ***STAR BUY***
(£9.99 Woodwinters in Edinburgh, Bridge of Allan & Inverness
Made by a large Trentino co-operative, but it is remarkably good for the price and has just scooped Best Value White Trophy at the Wine Merchant Top 100 Awards.  Made from little known Nosiola grape, usually used to make sweet vin santo wines, winemaker Anselmo Martini has transformed it into a delicious nutty spicy crisp unoaked dry white.

Crete, Greece: ASSYRTIKO 2017 Domaine Lyrarakis (13.5%)
(£12.75 Oddbins; £12.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
A crisp dry elegant white might sound a surprising find on a hot Greek island, but this superb find comes from high altitude-grown unirrigated vines cooled by seabreezes in Alagni in eastern Crete.  Made by a small family winery run by the pioneering Bart Lyrarakis.  Fresh floral notes and crisp dryness.

McLaren Vale, Australia: MONEY SPIDER ROUSSANNE 2017 d’Arenberg (12.9%)
(£12.30 Fine Wine Co Musselburgh; £14.50
The latest vintage from an old favourite.  When Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg first planted northern Rhone grape Roussanne back in 2000, it was covered in tiny money spiders.  He moved them from the vineyard to nearby bushland and named this nutty spicy white after them.  Luscious flavours of mango, honey and apricot with a zippy undertone from a dash of Sauvignon Blanc.  Suit those who like Semillon.



Sicily: ETNA ROSATO 2017 Pietradolce (14%)   ***STAR BUY***
The latest vintage of this wonderful rose.  Our tasters loved its cranberry fruits, zippy acidity, minerally undertones and crisp dry finish.  Made from old bush vine Nerello Mascalese grown at 600 metres in Solicchiata on the northern slopes of Etna – the volcanic influence is obvious here.


Patagonia, Argentina:  FINCA LA 70 MALBEC CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 Vinalba (14%)   ***STAR VALUE BUY***
(£8.99 Co-op stores)      
A new exclusive for Co-op from one of Argentina’s most consistent producers, Vinalba.  This blend won gold at this year’s International wine challenge and you can see why.  The cooler Patagonian climate gives a fresher minty feel and very pure ripe elegant fruit flavours compared to heftier Malbecs from Mendoza.

Niederosterreich, Austria:  TASTE THE DIFFERENT ZWEIGELT 2017 Markus Huber (13%)
(£8.50 Sainsbury’s)  
Made by one of Austria’s most revered young winemakers, Markus Huber.  Better known for his Gruner Veltliners, he has turned his hand to Austria’s cherry-fruited Zweigelt grape.  A relatively new grape to Austria, first created in the 1920’s, it is now the country’s most planted red.  Deliciously pruney rich vibrant red with smooth tannins, very approachable in style and price.

Tasmania, Australia:  ARTISAN TASMANIA PINOT NOIR 2016 (14%)
(£16.99 available in Aldi from 1 October)
I discovered this brand new Pinot Noir hidden in Aldi’s latest autumn selection.  A bit above Aldi’s normal price tag, but this Tasmanian example from a leading producer has cherry and violet aromas, soft succulent palate, fresh natural acid with elegant tannins – a great match for red Burgundy.  The cool windy Apple Isle is arguably Australia’s best place to grow fickle cool climate Pinot Noir.  Stylish packaging too – a good match for Christmas turkey.

San Antonio Valley, Chile: CORRALILLO SYRAH 2014 Matetic (14%)
Good spicy example of cool climate biodynamically-farmed Syrah from El Rosario Valley in northern Chile.  Subtle aroma opens out to generous black cherry fruit on the palate, hints of pepper, smoke, good complexity, silky tannins and freshness.  Good value under £13.



Tokay, Hungary:  LATE HARVEST 2016 Disznoko (13%)
(£14.50-£15.50 hf bt Oddbins; The Good Spirits Co; Lea & Sandeman; Cambridge Wine; Richard Granger Wines)
Disznoko makes fresher lighter styles in Tokay compared to more traditional producers in the region.  If you cannot afford deliciously rich Tokaji dessert wine, late harvest Furmint is an inexpensive option made by a different method fermenting all grapes together giving a light sweetness, tropical fruit and citrusy undertones.  Serve with lemon tart or cheesecake.

South West France:  PACHERENC DU VIC BIHL 2014 Plaimont (12%)
(£7.99 Lidl)
A delicious bargain dessert wine made from old vine Gros Manseng, Courbu and Petit Manseng from the most neglected wine region in France sandwiched between Madiran and Pau.  Expect honey, passionfruit, raisiny sweetness with a rich appley finish.

Join Rose’s Piedmont v Veneto wine & charcuterie tasting at The Royal Scots Club, Abercromby Place, Edinburgh on 25 October: £50

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