WINERIES TO WATCH IN 2014

by Rose Murray Brown MW

Published in The Scotsman 11 Jan 2014

I have been scouring the world for the wineries that I think will be worth watching in 2014.  Here is my own pick of new young guns showing great promise and established names at the top of their game.

NEW WORLD

NEW ZEALAND : OSTLER VINEYARD
Ostler is in the newest Kiwi wine region, Waitaki Valley which borders North Otago and Canterbury, on the limits of cool climate viticulture: believed to be the world’s coolest wine region.  Vines were first planted here in 2001.  Now this river valley is producing exciting Pinot Noir, Riesling and Pinot Gris from Ostler Vineyard.  My favourite is their fresh concentrated grapefruit and lime flavoured Blue House Pinot Gris 2010 £18.50 Berry Bros & Rudd                         

SOUTH AFRICA : MULLINEUX FAMILY WINES
No surprise to see Chris and Andrea Mullineux scoop Cape winery of the year in the new 2014 John Platter Guide, but Mullineux is still a young winery just established in 2007.  Based in the hot seat of Cape experimentation, Riebeek-Kastel in wild Swartland, this husband and wife team who met whilst working at nearby Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards are now challenging the Rhone with their exciting minerally Terroir Specifics like Granite Syrah and Schist Syrah.  Try Mullineux Syrah 2011 £20 www.sawinesonline.com www.bbr.com

CHILE : TABALI
Tabali first planted vines in up-and-coming Limari region in 1993.  This remote northern region used to be known for growing grapes for Chile’s Pisco brandy industry.  All Tabali’s wines from Limari including Chardonnay, Viognier, Syrah, Pinot Noir to Muscat deliver on fruit concentration, approachability and excellent prices.  Most exciting potential is with their Syrah, with its tar and violet scented Tabali Especial Reserva Syrah 2010  £9.75 www.thewinesociety.com                           

ARGENTINA : ALEJANDRO SEJANOVICH

After 16 years working for top Argentine winery Catena, Alejandro Sejanovich joined forces with another ex-Catena colleague Jeff Mausbach in 2011 to produce premium Mendoza Malbecs in Altamira, a cooler higher part of Mendoza at over 1000 metres.  Definitely one to watch for those who love big powerful reds.  This is a show stopping silky textured Malbec: Zaha Malbec 2011 £22 www.thewinesociety.com

AUSTRALIA : TAPANAPPA
An interesting eclectic trio of Aussie Brian Croser (ex Petaluma), Champagne Bollinger and Bordeaux guru Jean Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch Bages joined forces to make premium single vineyard Australian wines several years ago under the Tapanappa label.  Now their high altitude grown Pinot Noir from the unusual cool foggy maritime location of Fleurieu Peninsula in south Australia is one of Australia’s best: Foggy Hill 2009 Tapanappa £30 Tesco Online; £33 www.bbr.com

OLD WORLD

AUSTRIA : CHRISTOPHE EDELBAUER
An exciting newcomer to the Kamptal scene (pictured above), Christophe returned home from training in New Zealand, South Africa and Germany’s Palatinate with a passion for Pinot Noir.  His new family winery in Langenlois has just been built in 2013 to incredible standards – and Christophe’s new wines are very interesting with a lush delicate Pinot Noir, fresh vibrant Gruner Veltliner and stunning Reserve Riesling.  All very green and environmentally friendly: no wine labels, just screen print designs : Christophe Edelbauer Pinot Noir 2011 www.weingut-edelbauer.at

ITALY : CASCINA MARIO FONTANA
In the quiet hilltop village of Perno, in the heart of Barolo country, super-Mario Fontana is making superb and surprisingly affordable wines for the Langhe.  A youngster amongst so many established names, this gentle giant offers us the perfect balance between old ideas learnt from his father and new ways – in a very established region.  If you want to taste the most suave pure Barbera in Piedmont, try Barbera d’Alba 2011 Cascina Fontana £18.50 www.bbr.com

Chateau d'Angles La ClapeFRANCE : CHATEAU D’ANGLES (pictured)
Eric Fabre worked for years as technical director at Bordeaux first growth, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, before moving his family to the Mediterranean coast in La Clape, near Narbonne.  Superbly made excellent value Languedoc white, reds and rose.  My top choice is this well-priced Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre blend: Chateau d’Angles Classique Rouge 2009 £10.64-£12.50 Drinkmonger, Edinburgh & Pitlochry; Peckhams, Glasgow & Edinburgh; Ocado; www.matthewclark.co.uk

SPAIN : BODEGAS LOPEZ DE CRISTOBAL
This small family winery is tucked away near the town of Roa in Ribera del Duero valley.  It might be hard to find this winery as it is slightly off the beaten track, but it is one of Ribera’s best to date.  Gil Nunez winemaker makes superb handcrafted velvet smooth Tempranillos which consistently beat off more expensive competition in our Spanish tastings: Bagus 2005 Lopez de Cristobal £24.99 Raeburn Fine Wines, Edinburgh           

PORTUGAL:  JULIA KEMPER
In the remote old fashioned region of Dao, it is a surprise to find a young female lawyer ploughing energy, enthusiasm and money into organic viticulture at old Quinta do Cruzeiro.  You might not actually see Kemper in the lagares tredding the grapes, but her delicious foot-trodden organic reds show us a glimpse of new wave Portugal: Julia Kemper Touriga Nacional 2009 £24.99 Fine Wine Co, Musselburgh; Alliance Wine, Ayr; Oxford Wine Co; Planet of the Grapes, London

GERMANY : DR HEGER
I visited this winery in the Kaisterstuhl during the 2013 harvest with a group of keen tasters and we were all very impressed with the whole Dr Heger range from Pinot Blanc to Pinot Noir.  Set up by a doctor in 1935 in Ihringen village in Baden in southern Germany, who gained a passion for wine through the gifts he received from his patients, now this small quality-focused winery is run by his son Joachim who won the Gault Millau Weinguide Winemaker of the Year this year – and well deserved.  Interesting wines from volcanic soils: Dr Heger Sonett dry Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) 2010 £15.50 bt or £183 case www.thewinebarn.co.uk

ENGLAND : GUSBOURNE ESTATE
With £7m from investment from Lord Ashcroft’s Shellproof, Gusbourne Estate in sunny Appledore in Kent is one of England’s fizz producers to watch this year with its carefully planned expansion of its Chardonnay vineyards.  South-facing Kentish escarpment produces lively fizz with good depth: Gusbourne Brut Reserve £24.99 Lockett Bros, N Berwick; Harvey Nichols; Oddbins
                                                         

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