This month’s selection covers Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Lebanon.
Quinta do Pinto Grande Escolha 2014: “Portuguese blends can be tricky to memorise, but less so when they have a Rhôney theme. Here we have a Viognier-Chardonnay-Marsanne combo, made with fruit from the southern slopes of the Montejunto mountain in the Lisbon region. It’s a warm and mellow affair, with notes of brioche and butterscotch.” Graham Holter, The Wine Merchant (May ’18)
Vila Nova Vinho Verde 2017: “The delightful rolling green region to the northwest of the Douro, Vinho Verde, is perfectly suited to making zippy white wines… there’s a kinship with the wines of Galicia just over the border into Spain, sharing grape varieties (including the white peachy albariño, known on the Portuguese side as alvarinho, and the citrus-floral loureiro) and a facility for matching the plentiful local seafood. They’re terrific value too: I can think of few more refreshing, prettily floral, effortlessly citrus-fruity whites than Vila Nova’s blend of loureiro and arinto.” David Williams, The Guardian (29th April ’18)
David Williams also gave a shout out to El Hombre Bala Old Vine Garnacha 2015 in The Observer’s ‘Food & Drink’ section (13th May ’18): “The reputation of the garnacha grape has been transformed in Spain in recent years, with the Gredos mountains near Madrid at the forefront of its restyling as a perfumed ‘pinot noir of the south’ in wines such as this herby, red berry-scented gem.”
This was in addition to El Hombre Bala’s Trophy win at The Wine Merchant 2018 ‘Top 100’ competition (it collected The Red Wine Trophy!).
Also from Graham Holter at The Wine Merchant magazine (May ’18) for Domaine des Tourelles Red 2014: “A robust but medium-bodied blend of Syrah, Cabernet, Cinsault and Carignan from the Western Bekaa in Lebanon. We found it a little stiff at first, detecting only distant hints of blood and Fry’s Chocolate Cream. But the fresh cherry flavours gradually emerged and it became a lot more relaxed and giggly when we introduced it to some marinated pork chops.”
Meanwhile – Villa Raiano’s wines have caught the eye of Kerin O’Keefe at Wine Enthusiast magazine:
Ventidue Fiano di Avellino 2015: EDITORS’ CHOICE “Flint, Mediterranean brush, yellow spring flower, ripe orchard fruit and a whiff of honey all take shape on this elegant white. The honey aroma carries over to the bright, structured palate along with yellow apple, pear, tangy, unsweetened lemon drop and toasted hazelnut. A mineral note lends depth. Drink through 2023. 93 points.” *2015 should be available from the end of June
Contrada Marotta Greco di Tufo 2015: “Chopped herb, Mediterranean brush, white spring blossom and ripe citrus aromas take the lead. The bright elegantly structured palate offers yellow pear, tangerine and energizing mineral notes set against refreshing acidity. 92 points.”