Berry Bros’ Christmas selection, 2014

At time of writing a special deal was offered to wine-pages visitors to save £40 on a mixed case of the six wines below.


The wines

white wines

Borovitza Winery, Bella Rada 2011, Bulgaria
A wine I really enjoyed, and a style with which I am fairly familiar, having chaired the National Wine Competition in Georgia for many years, where the grape here – Rkatsiteli – is also a major white wine player. This has seen long ageing in old oak casks and has a ‘natural wine’ feel, with skin contact giving intriguing fragrance and custardy richness, a hint of creamy oxidation and plenty of fat lemony fruit in the background. On the palate there is nothing difficult here: it is ‘orange wine’ without the attitude, so it has geeky credentials whilst being creamy and deliciously easy to drink. Long, playing with suggestions of minerality, and really quite lovely. 89-90/100. £13.50 (£12.15 by the case), Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Purcari Estate, Pinot Grigio 2012, Moldova
Moldova is one of those ‘bubbling’ under countries which, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, has slowly been finding its wine feet as once state controlled vineyards find new owners and improvements are made. This comes from the Purcari estate, home to the Purcari cellars founded in 1827. Unoaked, there is a herb-scented, lightly floral aspect to this, as well as having ripely nutty, Cox’s pippin and pear fruit. There’s a suggestion of ripe concentration, but gentleness too. In the mouth it is bone-dry, with a pithy quality to the fruit – lemon and grapefruit – but enough leesy texture and richness to smooth the finish. Much more Pinot Gris than Pinto Grigio. 88/100. £11.95 (£10.75 by the case), Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Celler Piñol, Portal Blanco 2013, Spain
From chalky soils on the eponymous high ground of the ‘Terra Alta’. This is made mostly from white Grenache, with 15% a mix of the aromatic and textural Sauvignon Blanc, Macabeo and Viognier. The estate is family run, and farmed organically. And the aromatics are good: juicy ripe pear, ripe Ogen melon and a suggestion of fat limey fruit too. In the mouth it has loads of flavour, and a nice mouth-filling texture, even creaminess. The fruit is quite bold, quite exotic with hints of mango and pineapple, but then very good, clean, orange and juicy apple fruit and acidity grips and squeezes the wine back together into a long, flavourful but crisp finish. 89/100. £11.45 (£9.06 by the case), Berry Bros. & Rudd.

red wines

Borovitza Winery, Gamza ‘Black Pack’ 2011, Bulgaria
Made from the indigenous Gamza grape, AKA Kadarka when grown in Hungary, this is from old vineyards that survived the tumult of the past 40 years and which owner Dr Ognyan Tzvetanov has nurtured. Aged in old oak, it has a delicate cherry colour and delightfully mellow nose, suffused with spices and briar, old polished wood and soft autumnal berries. In the mouth it has a lovely bramble and sweet cherry fruitiness, but that delightful spicy but delicate nature persists, with lively acidity and the smooth tannins made even silkier by the understated oak. Another cracker from Borovitza I must say. 90-91/100. £13.50 (£12.15), Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Purcari Estate, Rara Neagra 2011, Moldova
The second wine from Purcari in this selection is made from the indigenous Rara Neagra variety, harvested with low yields and made in steel with no oak influence. It pours an inviting, not too dense garnet red, with a really delightful nose: dried herbs and juicy red cherries, a touch of pomegranate and floral lift and plenty of pepper and spice. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and fresh, a really good core of red fruits is dancing and agile on the tongue, and whilst the tannins are smooth and gentle, there is spice and there is acidity to give this some structure and some real presence into the finish. Pinot meets Sangiovese meets Malbec – or something like that. I really liked this. 90/100. £11.95 (£10.75 by the case), Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Porta del Vento, Perricone ‘MaQuè’ 2012, Italy
From Porta del Vento’s vineyards in the hills close to Palermo, BBR buyer David Berry-Green describes this Perricone as “Mourvèdre-like,” and I can see what he means. Made in large ‘botte’ – huge oak barrels – this has a delicious raciness and floral-touched, spicy cherry character, but that is layered over meaty, earthy and very appealing ashy dry fruits. On the palate there is a core of sweet, fleshy and really quite plush fruit, layered with spices and hints of mocha coffee richness, but taut with crunchy redcurrant acidity and refined tannin. 91/100. £14.95 (£13.26 by the case), Berry Bros. & Rudd.

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