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When and Why to dig a bit deeper

A pair of slightly unusual options in this post but both fully justifying spending a few pennies more.

Of course, we all love a bargain – getting something we desire at a good price is especially gratifying.

Even I draw continual satisfaction from seeking out (and recommending) wines that outperform most similarly priced peers.

Using those recommendations – especially in conjunction with Eddie’s promotion alerts – remains a good route to reliable £6-£8 wine.

Sometimes, though, upstream factors mean prices will always be a little higher (and seldom discounted). 

Production costs can be high because, for instance, labour intensive harvesting methods cannot be avoided. 

Vineyards with substantial slopes that can only be harvested by hand are but one example. 

Often, though, any resulting high fixed or semi-variable costs must be spread over a modest output, pushing up production costs per bottle significantly.

That limits the scope for discounts unless margins are to be eradicated altogether.

In any event, small production levels make these growers unattractive to the major retailers – where discounts are most common.

Sometimes, then, paying a little more is a justified inevitability on the road to enhanced wine enjoyment.

Thursday posts are designed to steer you towards bottles where doing so pays off handsomely.

They have been configured into the customary Friday Treat and, slightly more expensive, Sunday Best format.

Once again, pictures and hyperlinks are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.

Friday Night Treat

A European Cabernet Franc

2020 Domaine du Moulin Camus Cabernet Franc (£10 at WoodWinters and 12.5%):

  • This differs from many new world cabernet francs.
  • Versions from, say, California can be sturdy.
  • This Loire Valley example is light, aromatic and fresh,
  • Prune and cherry are its main flavours.
  • Vague earthiness and sharp acidity complete the picture.

Cabernet franc from the new world often takes a robustly rich form.

However, versions from France’s Loire Valley (like this) are usually lighter and frequently enticingly graced with fruit aromas and acidic freshness.

Here you find gentle prune and cherry flavours beneath a base of liquorice and minerals.

There are also hints of cola and black pepper along with some typical earthiness (in a good way) yet there is still sufficient sharp acidity to add refreshing vibrancy.

Sunday Best

Beyond Austria’s poster child white

2022 The Dot Austrian Melon Grauburgunder (£12.99 at The Wine Therapy and 14% abv):

  • Instead of gruner veltliner, try Austrian grauburgunder (pinot gris).
  • It is richer and riper than its popular fellow countryman.
  • Pear drop, melon and apple are its predominant flavours.
  • It also has lime acidity and honey centred depth.
  • All that compensates for its lower citrus and mineral influences compared to gruner.

While Austria’s gruner veltliner wines deservedly attract world-wide acclaim, never underestimate that country’s grauburgunder (pinot gris) grape.

Its wines have fewer citrus, mineral and herbal constituents than gru-vee but are richer and riper with more tropical fruit elements.

Zesty with a nutty backdrop, this example provides bold pear drop, cantaloupe melon and cox’s apple flavours.

Those characteristics are coupled with firm lime acidity and an appreciable honey, cream soda and mace influenced depth.

Retailer Notes

With an attractive name, The Wine Therapy is a newcomer to MidWeek Wines and is a boutique wine shop on the Isle of Wight that also sells online.

Take a trip to their About Us page for more details of how they operate.

A retailer regularly quoted on these pages is WoodWinters. They are an award-winning Scottish wine and whisky operation based in Bridge of Allan. There are retail shops in Edinburgh and Inverness as well, of course, as an online service.

More details appear in the retail segment of their website.

After today’s glimpse of marginally more expensive wine, it’s back to budget (but great value) fare in Monday’s Top Tip selections. See you then.

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4 Responses

  1. Great to see a recommendation for a Cabernet Franc from the Loire, the true home of single varietal CF wines. I’ve never got on with the New World CF wines. I guess it’s quite simply that they’re nothing like the Loire wines I first came across in my 20s and I just assumed they’d be the same.
    When you mentioned “Austrian superstar, not GV (I didn’t click the all-important ‘white’) I thought it must be Zeigelt, a great summer red)

  2. Yes should have said “white” but then Zweigelt is entitled to superstar status as well. And red Loire is a joy WP- weather during the summer permitting.

  3. Concur with Keith on all counts re Loire Cab. Franc. When we went there first time 40 years ago knowing little about wine grapes and nothing about CF but discovering Touraine and Chinon especially , originally, weve returned here to the place and wine time and again for the delight they bring. Interesting this one today is from way west of there. But I am tempted to an online order and to try the Muscadet and Gamay too!

  4. Funnily enough Keith and I were discussing on email times when Townsend did four-day Thursday to Monday deals way back which could get those of us then living in the south to the Middle Loire Valley and, thus, open up wines exactly like those you describe. Do try WoodWinters they are an excellent retailer.

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