By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 16 April 2022
Food, feasting and good wine is an important part of Easter celebrations.
When matching with the popular Easter dish of roast lamb, choose characterful structured reds with good acidity, which can cope with the saturated fat which makes our lamb dishes so tasty – or match with roast aubergine vegetarian dishes.
Navarra, Spain: VINA ZORZAL GARNACHA 2020 (13.5%) ***GOOD VALUE***
£7.25 The Wine Society
Superb value Garnacha from up-and-coming Zorzal bodegas in Navarra’s Corrella village. Andre Sanz with sons Xabier and Inaki set up in 2007 in Ribero Baja focusing on hunting out gnarled old Garnacha vines. This young Garnacha comes from old vines on alluvial gravel and clay at 380m altitude. Rich red berry fruit, soft rounded herby, balancing acidity – a fresh vibrant drinkable red with or without food.
Szekszard, Hungary: TAKLER KEKFRANKOS RESERVE 2017 (14%)
Better known as Blaufrankisch, dark-skinned Kekfrankos grape (its Hungarian name) is showing good potential in southerly Szekszard, a hilly wooded region south of Budapest with windblown loess soils. Winemaker Ferenc Takler at this family-run winery makes one of the region’s best varietal examples in a smooth fruit forward style from this grape. Perfect with lamb with firm structure, sour cherry fruits, savoury undertones and mouthwatering acidity.
Stellenbosch, South Africa: THELEMA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 (14.5%) ***STAR BUY***
£19 The Wine Society
Superbly refined example of Stellenbosch Cabernet made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 10% Petit Verdot adding a touch of spice. It has had lengthy barrel ageing in 45% new oak, but oak is so well integrated with generously weighty blackcurrant flavours and smooth soft texture, typical of Thelema’s style.
Tuscany, Italy: IL GHIZZANO ROSSO 2018 TENUTA DI GHIZZANO (14%)
Lovers of sustainably-produced Sangiovese should note this biodynamic ancient wine estate near Pisa in the newly designated Costa Toscana region run by the Venerosi Pesciolini family. With just 5% dash of Merlot, this is a delightfully juicy and plummy with sour cherry notes, chalky tannins and fresh vibrant acidity; could be served chilled.
Rhone, France: ST JOSEPH ROUGE 2017 JEAN CLAUDE MARSANNE (12.5%)
£27.99 Raeburn Fine Wines
Northern Rhone lovers should note this little known producer. This is a great example of St Joseph from Mauves village in the heartland of the appellation, from a producer with the magic combination of very old vines, gentle old oak and an authentic traditional style. A blend of seven ‘lieux-dits’ (named sites): cassis, violets, smoky undertones with spicy vibrant palate.
Mendoza, Argentina: ARGENTO SINGLE VINEYARD ALTAMIRA ORGANIC MALBEC 2019 (13.5%) ***GOOD VALUE***
£13.99 All About Wine; Vinvm; Bibendum
Single vineyard Malbec from Finca Altamira, located at 1,100m altitude in Mendoza’s dramatic Uco valley. Bodegas Argento’s focus on organic planting in sandy, silty rocky soils with sustainable winemaking creating a wine of incredible purity. Rich dense red fruits, spicy, minerally, soft tannins and a rich smooth mouthfeel – good value for lovers of big ripe forward-fruit reds.
Naoussa, N Greece: THYMIOPOULOS XINOMAVRO ‘ALTA’ NAOUSSA 2019 (12.5%)
£16 The Wine Society
A mellow example of the Xinomavro grape sourced from high altitude vines in Fytia in Naoussa region, gently tempered with 8 months in French oak vats; one of the most aromatic and attractive examples I have tasted from this grape. Tannins are present, as they always with thick-skinned Xinomavro, but this has such appealingly lush savoury notes.
Batroun, N Lebanon: IXSIR GRANDE RESERVE 2014 (14%)
£26 Fine Wine Musselburgh; Simply Wines Direct
Another superb vintage from a new Lebanese winery, set up just 12 years ago by Etienne Debanne, winemaker Gabriel Rivero and Bordeaux consultant Hubert de Bouard of Chateau Angelus. A soft lush plummy textured blend of Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon from vines grown at 1800m on the slopes of Mount Lebanon, the highest plantings in the northern hemisphere.
Burgundy, France: GAMINOT ROUGE 2017 DOMAINE AMI (12.5%)
£22.50 Raeburn Fine Wines
Unusual blend of four grapes: mainly Gamay with Pinot Noir, Aligote and Chardonnay. Gamay hails from Cotes du Brouilly in Beaujolais and the other grapes from southern Cote de Beaune in Burgundy. Willy Roulendes and Paul Perarnau co-ferment Gamay and Aligote and then blend in the others. Clean pure fruit with concentration and length; an ‘open-minded Bourgogne’.
Puglia, Italy: CANTINA DIOMEDE NERO DI TROIA CANACE 2018 (13.5%) ***STAR BUY***
£22.50 Valvona & Crolla; Luvians
Favourite wine at our recent Puglia tasting from Puglia’s indigenous Nero di Troia, which is the third most planted grape after Primitivo and Negroamaro. Once used for bulk production, this single varietal is from old bush vines grown on calcareous clay rich in iron. 2018 was a warm vintage with rich succulent black fruits and decadently smooth silky mouthfeel.
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand: TRINITY HILL TEMPRANILLO 2019 (14%)
£21.50 Fine Wine Musselburgh; £22.99 NZ House of Wine
Winemaker Warren Gibson reckons 2019 was one of the best vintages for this fascinating Tempranillo / Cabernet Sauvignon blend from the famous Gimblett Gravels region. Loved its blackberry fruits, rich texture, softness and vanilla finish with ageing in both American and French oak for 14 months.
Join Rose’s Fine Wine Tasting Dinner in Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh on Thursday 1 December 2022 www.rosemurraybrown.com