Wine Press: Class acts from Chilean winemaker Errazuriz

WE ALL love a brand we can trust. Whether it’s a make of car you’ve always had or your favourite thick sliced white for chunky morning toast.

It’s not much different with wine. I bet most of you have a bottle of choice that you seek out whether it’s for a Friday night takeaway or when cooking a special meal for friends.

One of them for me is Errazuriz, the Chilean winemakers established in 1870 who have developed a deserved reputation with their consistently good wines.

This year – just like many before – Errazuriz have picked up a string of awards. Their philosophy was expressed by founder Don Maximiano who said “from the best land, the best wine”.

Chile can create perfect growing conditions. Imagine grapes like sensible sunbathers, Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blancenjoying warm sunny days and then settling down and de-stressing with cooling nights. This creates a slow build of flavours and aromas, with grapes sometimes irrigated by snow-melt.

Here’s a selection of Errazuriz wines and some retailers – keep an eye out as they are available elsewhere.

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012, (RRP £12.49, Waitrose). A silver at the 2013 International Wine Challenge and a gold in the Annual Wines of Chile Awards. A vibrant wine with limes, fresh green peppers and peas on the nose and to taste. The typical varietal freshness has subtle complexity as some was aged on the lees.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2011, (RRP £13.99, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Hailsham Cellars, The Vineyard). Not only a gold medal winner, but also voted Great Value Red Wine at the 2013 International Wine Challenge, where judges described it as having “concentrated good oak, blackcurrant and sweet spice”.

This is a wonderful, powerful, all-consuming, juicy cloud of black fruit. Velvety, rich and amazing with a simply grilled sirloin steak.

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2011, (RRP £12.99, Majestic, Co-op) A bronze award at the IWC. Wild ferment wines are made from native yeasts, not pre-selected by the winery. Nature takes over. This wine has complexity from oak aging. There are tropical fruits on the nose with good acidity balancing nicely alongside gentle toast and honey creaminess.

Published in the saturday extra magazine August 31, 2013

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

 

There’s more to white wine than pinot grigio

white wine but not pinot grigio

DO WINE shelves groaning with chardonnay and pinot grigio piddle you off?

Perhaps it is just me. Supermarkets must be selling what people want to buy. Or are they dictating the market?

This came home to me on my two-week fondly remembered sojourn by the coast.

I’m not one to leave myself short of wine – but it was two weeks, and sadly the bottles I’d taken didn’t magically refill overnight.

A quick trip to the small supermarket nearby. And there it was. Shelf after shelf of chards and pinot grigio. I wasn’t happy.

Then the next day my faith was restored. Twice I discovered little independent wine shops away from the beaten track. Fantastic choices; reasonable prices.

They were small shops too but sticking their necks out to offer more choice to you and me. Where am I going with this?

Well please, please spread your wings away from pinot grigio. Don’t stick to what you know; support the independents when you see them (they will actually talk to you too). Find more wines that you love; ask for them; create the marketplace.

Don’t even get me started on wines sold in pubs …

I was better natured when I tasted a couple of Italian wines from the Wine Society (www.thewinesociety.com).

I’ve ditched my old club and joined for £40 life membership. I can bequeath it to my beautiful daughter, even if she might prefer the house.

Sannio Greco Janare, 2012 the wine society
Sannio Greco Janare, 2012

Sannio Greco, Janare, 2012 (13.5% £7.25 a bottle, £87 a dozen) There was a frizzle of bubbles, sometimes seen in young wines. It has peardrops on the nose, stone fruits, smoke-tinged apples. Complex aromas had me swirling and whirling. Now you can’t  say that about a pinot grigio. (Prove me wrong?).

To taste, a perkiness of stewed apples and pears, a mouth-coating of creamy brazil nuts. Cirò, Barone di Bolaro, 2011 (£7.25 bottle £87 dozen) is a spicy red from the gaglioppo grape.

My dad used to love those blackcurrant and liquorice toffees – and that’s the memory which floated up to me. Those sweets and a spicy pepper sprinkle. Bless dad.

Also in my glass …

It’s rounded, it’s rich with a little kick. That’s not Argentina’s Maradona but  Viña Ventisquero Grey Carmenere 2010 (£12.99, www.the realwineco.co.uk).
It is said Chilean carmenere is ideal to have with a curry and this wine did pair well with chicken marinaded in onions, chillis and brinjal pickle. Soft black fruits and smokiness.

Published in the saturday extra magazine August 24, 2013

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express