(2017) Red wines that can be lightly chilled are a summer pleasure. Thoughts turn to Gamay and Cabernet Franc, but this is another Loire variety called Grolleau, often made as rosé and here as a crunchily fresh red. Small, firm berries, herbs and a crack of pepper on the nose, then a palate that is not short of that dry, cranberry and raspberry fruit, but has such a clear line of acidity, gentle tannins and that fine herby, sappy character that it is an easy-drinking delight. £11.70 for Daily Drinker Club members. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) From the Loire Valley, this is a Vin 'Gris', a local description for the wine style you and I know as rosé. It's made from the indigenous Pineau d'Aunis variety, and comes from a small vineyard specifically managed to make this rosé wine. The colour is fashionably pale, and it has mouth-watering aromas that immediately suggest it will be dry and savoury, with small red fruits and a crack of pepper, and a fine raspberry-like suggestion of tartness. In the mouth there's a certain creaminess, but its that crisp red fruit and crunchy red apple freshness that pushes forward, some real presence here, even a nip of spicy tannin, and a good long finish.
(2017) Vranec is closely related to Zinfandel apparently, and this version pours a very deep, dense colour, with a vinous nose of dark vine fruits, a little truffle and game, but all quite compact and dense aromatically. IN the mouth there's suddenly a creamy, mocha coffee-chocolate velvet texture and flavour, with lots of dark sloe and plum blue-black fruit flesh, spice cocoa on the finish. It's a big wine, and relatively 'showy', but it does deliver a massively pleasing comfort blanket of flavour and texture. £12.37 to Daily Drinker Club members.
(2017) I am familiar with (and a bit of a fan of) the Rkatsiteli grape from my years of chairing the Georgian National Wine Competition, but this version comes from Macedonia, and consultant winemaker Philippe Cambie (apparently declared 'best oenologist in the world' by Robert Parker in 2010). There's a lovely zing to the aromas, a touch of Torrontés florality, plenty of elderflower and herb punch and fruit too. In the mouth it is really quite substantial, quite full-bodied, but it is pithy, citrussy and dry, a mouth-watering quality to the acids that is very moreish. Daily Drinker Club members will buy for £12.37.
(2017) Some wines just don't need to try too hard, and the word that sprang to my mind with this Cinsault from dry-farmed vineyards in the Swartland was 'effortless'. Unoaked, it has such a breezy charm so rarely seen in red wines: a touch of ash, a touch of Indian ink, black cherry lightness of fruit and fleetness of foot. The palate similarly doesn't scream, but doesn't whisper either, with enough gutsy backbone to make it duck-, game- and casserole-friendly, but with that charming approachability and freshness to the fruit. A delightful, serious but unforced red wine. For full information and food matching ideas, watch the video review.
(2017) Sauvignon Blanc from Primorska in Slovenia, close to the border with Friuli, this is not nearly so pungently herbaceous or tropical as a Marlborough SB for example, just the faintest touch of green to the aromas, but mostly about dry apple and citrus, in a savoury style. There's a squeeze of orange or something a little exotic on the palate, but that's soon swept up in a raft of pithy lemony acidity into a dry but nicely long finish. £10.80 for Daily Drinker club members.
(2017) OVNI = 'Objet Viticole Non Identifié', is Mourat's playful name for wines that he labels "anti-conformist," and different from what you might expect. This Chenin Blanc from organic vineyards is vinified in concrete 'eggs' and has a beautifully precise nose, aromas of gentle flowers, crunchy green apple and a touch of straw or melon rind. In the mouth it is crystal clear too. Is there just a touch of rounding old oak? There's certainly texture and a hint of creaminess, but its the dazzling freshness of the sweet fruit and crunchy acidity that drives this terrific wine. Even better, Daily Drinker club members buy for £11.25. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) This organic Nero d'Avola from Sicily is immediately striking because it comes in a tall 'flute' bottle more commonly seen on aromatic white wines. It is dark and powerful stuff, almost syrupy and balsamic in its aromas, but a welter-weight of spicy berry and plum fruit too. The palate is bold and ripe, with plenty of tannin and textural fat in the mouth, a wine with a bit of real heft despite that sweet opulence of the fruit. Good value, especially for Daily Drinker members at £8.10.
(2017) A wine from Penedès in northeast Spain that strikes the red wine mood of the moment: crisp, moderate in alcohol (12.5%), and racy to the nth degree with no oak that I can detect, but a profusion of savoury, dry berry fruit and plenty of dry, tangy acidity and tannin. It's made from the indigenous Sumol variety, and majors on that liquorice, edged, tight and mouthwatering leaner style that offers such a contrast to 'blockbuster' reds. Are the tannins too rustic? Too much? Well, I enjoyed it's style. Daily Drinker members pay £12.15 per bottle.
(2017) I had a wonderful visit to Slovenia a few years ago, to the north-western Primorski region which borders Friuli in Italy, with really very similar wine styles. This is made from the indigenous Zelèn variety in an aromatic and crisp, refreshing style. The nose marries waxy limes, peach down and more exotic lychee, before the palate which has lots of texture, a rippling lemon and lime acidity and a dry, cool, fruity core. Extremely tasty, and one of those all-rounder whites from soft cheeses like chaource, to fish, to a korma chicken curry. Watch the video for more information.