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September’s Pick of the Clicks

From North East Italy to Portugal and on to California today's review of online wines has something for most tastes.

One (possibly unexpected) effect of the Corona virus may be a greater readiness to acquire things via the internet – and, obviously, that can include wine.

Today’s post is designed to help you do so by identifying bottles that will delight and from suppliers that seem pretty reliable.

Since I feature major retailers on this site most weeks, this “Pick of the Clicks” post concentrates on operations I don’t normal mention – and on wines in the £6 to £10 range.

As before, pictures appear next to commendations as this helps to ensure you are ordering the correct wine.

Before we look at the wines though, we now have confirmed details about the wines being tasted at our first Uncorking MidWeek event and they appear on Wine Events Scotland’s website – as do details of how to book.

Click on this link to get to that website


An Italian re-visited

Once a mainstay of Trattatori wine lists, Soave has a lower profile nowadays because other Italian whites such as gavi and, of course, pinot grigio have gained prominence – but get it right and soave is still terrific.

The Fattori family have been doing just that for years and their 2018 Fattori Gregoris Soave  (£9.50 at Scotland’s WoodWinters and 12.5% abv) proves the point with soft, ripe, apple-style flavours enhanced by zesty lime acidity, orange influenced texture and a hint of sweetness. 

Next to South West France

I wrote several weeks back about the way South West France has re-invented its entire approach to wine and how the Plaimont co-operative has been a prime mover in that process creating great value wine predominantly from local grape varieties.

Attractively light and sold here by an excellent UK retailer, Plaimont’s 2019 Lesc Cȏtes de Gascogne Blanc (£8.25 at Les Caves de Pyrene and 11%) has ripe, tasty, apple and white peach flavours enlivened by zippy, sherbet lime acidity but is actually modest in alcoholic strength.    


First to Rioja

Rioja’s age based, classification systems are probably the world’s best at preventing wine from being released too early but, as we see here, the region’s young “generic” reds (given little, if any, oak exposure and often labelled as Joven) can also be excellent.

Tempranillo based but with a little garnacha, 2019 Rioja Vega Tempranillo (£7.99 at House of Townend and 13.5%) delights us with cherry and plum flavours, limited tannin but good acidity and textured touches of sage and cinnamon. 

Head next to Languedoc

Although neither cabernet nor merlot are in the top three grape varieties planted in Languedoc, they do appear regularly (and increasingly) among the great value reds produced there – and here is a good illustration of why this is so.

From its home around Béziers, 2016 Domine de L’Arjolle Merlot Cabernet (£8.50 at The Wine Society and 13.5%) brings us soft raspberry and black cherry fruit, good acidity and controlled tannin but gives those components depth and substance with sage, menthol, baking spice and (slightly tarry) mineral influences. 

Then to Portugal

Tejo is the land Portugal’s River Tagus passes through on its way to the sea at Lisbon. Major efforts have been made to upgrade the wine produced there and this smooth red is a measure of how successful that has been.

Floral and herbal influences neatly underpin the plum and bramble flavours in 2019 Lobo e Falcao (from £8.99 at Laithwaites until 30 September and 14%) which are nicely supplemented by the gentle tannin, good acidity and the textured suggestions of espresso and cinnamon that accompany them.

Let’s end with a new world option  

Pun lovers will enjoy this wine’s name, but even more enjoyable is seeing winemakers taking cabernet franc seriously and this structured Californian red (using grapes from the world’s biggest cabernet franc vineyard) does exactly that.

2018 Cabaret Frank No 2 The Aviary Old Vine Cabernet Franc (£9.10 at Great Grog in Edinburgh and 14.5%) – with a dab or so of cabernet sauvignon – delivers concentrated raspberry flavours judiciously wrapped in sweet vanilla components.

Tune in again on Monday folks for my current Top Tips and news on the latest supermarket promotions

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