A recent tasting of 10 wines from Oddbins, a couple of which have already featured on wine-pages as Wines of the Week: the Blind River Sauvignon Blanc and Domaine Tournon Shiraz. Some of these wines were limited parcels, but at time of writing all but one are listed as available at Oddbins.com. The bracketed price is if buying as part of a mixed case.
Deutz, Marlborough Cuvée Brut, New Zealand
Champagne house Deutz is behind this bottle-fermented Kiwi fizz, which is one of New Zealand’s best. It has a very pale lemony-green colour and plenty of tiny bubbles, and an authentically yeasty, Champagne nose with bread dough scents and a touch of toast, a nettle streak and plenty of crunchy apple fruit. On the palate it is bone-dry in character, but not tart or thin. It is tight and juicy, with a fine mousse and those crunchily vivid red apple flavours and lemon zest acidity. Stick a few bottles in the cellar and this will no doubt be even better in a couple of years. Terrific stuff. 89/100. £12.99 (£10.39).
Champagne Philipponnat, Royale Réserve NV, France
A Pinot Noir-dominated blend of the three main Champagne grapes, a proportion of the base wine is fermented and aged in barrel, and the dosage is low making this a dry style of Champagne. Finesse seems to imbue this wine, from the pin-prick bubbles to the gently floral, Acacia and citrus aromas to the delicate mousse. It is undoubtedly a lighter style of Champagne without an excess of toast or tartness, but with lovely delineation and a long, gently fruity finish. 91/100. £29.99, (£23.99).
Burgans, Albariño 2009, Spain
From the cool, Atlantic-influenced Rias Baixas in northwest Spain, this has a brilliantly vivid nose, the crunchy, tropical fruit notes much more punchy than in many examples, with tiny floral hints and plenty of luscious, ripe stone-fruit aromas. On the palate this has the typical salty tang and edge of the Albariño grape, but the slightly exotic fruit – even hints of banana – plays on the tongue and the core of crisply-defined citrus acidity never waivers. A lovely wine this, and a banker for seafood and lighter fish dishes. 90/100. £9.99 (£9.59).
Blind River, Sauvignon Blanc 2009, New Zealand
This Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is now in fairly short supply. From the Awatere Valley, it is one of the ‘new’ style Marlborough Sauvignons, with around 10% barrel fermentation adding an extra complexity. The nose has classic, deep-set aromas of elderflower and mango, with a cut of vivid asparagus greenness and plenty of aromatic fireworks to go round. On the palate this is a decisive wine, with good concentration of those punchy, vibrant, tropical fruit flavours and a piercing clarity. Pithy lemon and grapefruit acidity is nicely integrated, in one of the best New Zealand Sauvignons I’ve tasted from this vintage. Worth trying to find it if with a hunt around local Oddbins stores. 93/100. £13.99 (£11.19). Marked as ‘Coming Soon’. Alain Cailbourdin, Pouilly Fumé ‘Pierres Blanches’ 2008, France
This Loire Sauvignon Blanc is very lightly handled by Alain Cailbourdin, fermented using indigenous yeasts with a cool ferment and no soaking of the grapes to capture a light, fresh style. The nose has real delicacy, with stone fruit aromas of yellow plum and peach, a suggestion downy softness but of juicy freshness as well. On the palate it has pristine, very fresh fruit, with a tangerine and lime tang and vibrancy, and a long finish where zesty lemon and a touch of minerality push through. Delightful stuff, and very carefully done. 90/100. £15.99. Not currently showing on web site.
El Cayado, Mencia 2008, Spain
From the up and coming Bierzo region of northwest Spain, this old vine Mencia is a dramatically dark colour and offers deeply-set aromas of black cherries, ground spices and a subtle, earthy smokiness. The palate is medium-bodied, and has an elegant black fruited juiciness. It is dry and savoury, with a light, liquoricy touch to the tannins and good acid balance, with a long finish that offers delicate spice and black fruits that intermingle very elegantly. Made by Martin Codax (who also produce the Burgans Albariño, and do not believe the Oddbins web site which says it is 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) – the label says it is Mencia, a specialist grape of Bierzo. 88/100. £8.99 (£7.19).
Domaine Mas Théo, Coteaux du Tricastin 2007, France
This certified organic wine, a half and half blend of Syrah and Grenache, comes from the Rhône Valley. It has a wonderfully bright, lifted nose, with a distinctive pepper and re liquorice edge to racy red fruits, kirsch and summer pudding. It is lovely I have to say. On the palate that light, juicy, particularly fresh and spirited character flows through, the crunchy, vivid fruit and dry, mineral edged tannins and acidity offering plenty of life and vitality. What a terrific little wine. 90/100. £8.99 (£7.19).
Château Cerbier, Corbières Cuvée Indiana 2007, France
This Grenache-dominated Corbières also has 15% each of Syrah and Carignan in the blend, and is made with natural yeasts and minimum sulphur. The nose is elegant and classic, with a touch of schisty, smoky character, a sprinkle of cracked black pepper and a racy, raspberry fruit quality beneath. It is firm on the palate – perhaps even a touch austere – with a the raspberry fruit staying keen and focused, but plenty of tannin, acid and alcohol just rasping very slightly. 86/100. £9.99 (£7.99).
Chapoutier, Domaine Tournon Shiraz or Syrah 2008, Australia
A decade ago, the idea of an established French winemaker making wine in Australia was almost unheard of, apart from a few big Champagne houses. But cross-cultural collaborations like this are a little more common nowadays, and in fact, Chapoutier has been in Australia with his Mount Benson project for some time. This Syrah/Shiraz from Victoria has a beautifully graphite-like lift on the nose, with a delicate smokiness, some floral notes and a clear blackcurrant fruit. The wine is unoaked, allowing the fruit to sing through on the palate, where it is medium-bodied and savoury, with the juicy, tart quality of biting into a fresh plum or black cherries, and a fresh, food-friendly finish. £14.49 (£11.59).
Tomàs Cusiné, Geol 2007, Spain
From the Costers del Segre region, high in northeast Spain close to the French border, this is an unusual blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Carignan and Marselan (the latter a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, now quite common in the Languedoc). It is aged in new French oak barrels. The nose has a swirling, enticing, Sandalwood and cassis density with a little lift of kirsch and very ripe blueberry fruit. On the palate this is a big, fruit-packed wine with a creamy, balsamic richness, the smooth, fragrant and spicy oak adding layered depth and the tannins overtly chocolaty and dense. It is big and bold, but there is good balance in a showy but successful style. At the mixed case price it will have considerable appeal. 92/100. £19.99 (£15.99).