By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 9 October 2021
From Slovenian fizz to Georgian amber wine and sweet Moldovan Chardonnay – here is my selection of new finds around the world:
Bizeljsko, Slovenia: ISTENIC PRESTIGE CUVEE 2013
£24.99 Novel Wines
A big favourite at our recent Balkans tasting – this shows how good Slovenian traditional method sparkling wine can be. Founder Janez Istenic’s son Miha, based in the historic fizz region of Bizeljsko on the Slovenian/Croatian border, has created a stylish biscuity lemony lush-fruited fizz from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – beautifully packaged too.
Champagne, France: PASCAL DOQUET ARPEGE ‘DIAPASON’ BLANC DE BLANCS GRAND CRU NV
£34 Justerini & Brooks
Diapason is French for a tuning fork (or burst of sound) – and you can feel the resonance as you taste this exquisite Chardonnay cuvee made by an up-and-coming star amongst grower Champagnes in the famous Le Mesnil-sur-Oger village. Part vinified in oak – lovely combination of deep savoury nutty richness, creamy texture and supple fruits.
Languedoc, France: ‘CUVEE FLORENCE’ PIQUEPOUL/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2020 Domaine de la Baume
£7.99 Majestic Wine
Interesting combination of two popular grapes from France’s huge saltwater lagoon Etang de Thau – loved its lemony citric zippy style, so approachable and affordable – from the innovative team at La Baume in Servian village.
Imereti, Georgia: TSITSKA-TSOLIKOURI-KRAKHUNA 2020 Baia’s Wine
£22 Taste of Georgia; GVino
Baia Abuladze and her sister Gvanca in Obcha in the Imereti region of Western Georgia, make delicately fruity amber wines fermented in slender churi clay pots buried deep underground. Crispy citric, apricot, kiwi and spice – loved its zippy light style – a gentle introduction to amber wines.
Saar, Germany: SAARBURGER RAUSCH RIESLING KABINETT 2017 Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken
£20 Justerini & Brooks
Superb example of Germany’s Kabinett style from a steep south-facing slope in cool Saar, south of Mosel. Tantalising lively blend of limey fruits, succulent sweetness, minerally depth and vibrant acidity (just 8%) from brilliant Hanno Zilliken and daughter Dorothee – an estate to watch as Saar benefits from warming temperatures.
Crete, Greece: PSARADES DAFNI 2020 Domaine Lyrarakis
£9.50 The Wine Society
Ginger and lime, lemon and herbs – this is a delightfully crisp dry creamy textured white made from the almost-extinct Dafni grape, which is a Cretan speciality hardly grown anywhere else in the world. Made by the dynamic Lyrarakis winery.
Burgundy, France: RULLY BLANC 2019 Joseph Drouhin
£20 Oddbins; Justerini & Brooks; D Bryne
Classic pure lightly oaked Chardonnay from a superb vintage in Cote Chalonnaise – fresh fruity citric elegant minerally and long – made by the famous Beaune-based Drouhin family from densely planted vines on limestone soils in Rully.
Navarra, Spain: VINEDO NO 5 GARNACHA VINAS VIEJAS ROSADO 2020 Bodegas de Sarria
£10.83 North & South Wines; Boutinot
So many roses are too pale these days. Here is a true dark rose with deep pungent weighty palate bursting with raspberry fruits, a style that Navarra region in northern Spain does so well with the Garnacha grape. Well priced example made by the huge Sarria estate in Valdizarbe
Nemea, Greece: GRAND CUVEE AGIORGITIKO 2016 Domaine Skouras
£16.50 The Wine Society
Rich intense plush full bodied Greek red, marked by oak and quite international in style, but superb example of modern Greece with its deep dark ripe fruits – made by the legendary Greek pioneer George Skouras in the Peloponnese.
Kakheti, Georgia: SAPERAVI 2020 Tbilvino
£12.99 Georgian Wine Society; Hic Winemerchants
Attractive approachable Saperavi with bright lively acidity, cherry fruits, herby undertones and soft silky tannins from a young vineyard on Kakheti’s ‘right bank’ – made by Georgia’s biggest wine producer Tbilvino owned by the Margvelashvili brothers.
Burgenland, Austria: PITTNAUSKI 2015 Pittnauer
£17 The Wine Society
Outstandingly good mature Austrian red blend of St Laurent, Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt and Merlot made by the Burgenland genius Gerhard Pittnauer. Loved its savoury sweet spice leathery notes and long finish.
Lebanon: GRANDE RESERVE 2013 Ixsir
£25 Fine Wine Musselburgh
Star bottle in our recent Wine & War tasting from a new winery growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in Batroun, northern Lebanon, at 1800m – the highest vineyards in northern hemisphere. Beautifully soft textured plummy blend – an exotic take on Bordeaux meets Rhone.
Valul lui Traian, Moldova: CHARDONNAY DULCE ALB 2015 Chateau Vartely
£14.79 for 50 cl bt Laithwaites
From an ambitious Moldovan winery where winemaker Arcadie Fosnea transforms tiny amounts of late harvested Chardonnay into an elegant creamy beautifully balanced dessert wine with balanced baked apple, honey notes and sleek acidity – with only 11% alcohol.
Limassol, Cyprus: COMMANDARIA 2014 Tsiakkas
£33 for 50 cl bt Borders Wines
Cracking modern take on the oldest named PDO wine in the world. Made by Costa Tsiakkas from sun-dried 98% Xynisteri and 2% Mavro grapes grown at 1400m altitude – concentrated figgy raisiny with hazelnuts, toffee and dark chocolate notes – a superb dessert wine for Christmas pudding. Unfortified sweetie at 14.5% alcohol.
Join Rose’s Virtual Sherry Tasting on Friday 12 November www.rosemurraybrown.com