December 2011 – Frunza, Berry Bros, Greywacke, Badenhorst

These might be wines that have been reviewed during the month on wine-pages or which have appeared in other titles with which I work, or they may be wines from a recent tasting that hasn’t yet been written-up in a full-length report.

under a fiver

Frunza, Pinot Noir 2010, Romania
I visited the estate of Cremale Recas a couple of years ago and was impressed by their wines, so it is nice to see this screwcapped Pinot, which weighs in with 13% ABV, on the shelves of the resurrected Oddbins chain. It has a very nice nose – clean and fresh, with even a touch of minerality and lots of bright black cherry. Creamy and quite rich on the palate there’s a hint of sweetness, but this delivers excellent quality at the modest price. 85-86/100. £5.25, Oddbins.

under a tenner

Berry Bros & Rudd, Chianti 2010, Italy
This was a Wine of the Week on wine-pages, chosen then as it is now, because it is a wine that has a delightful classic style and is not trying too hard to be ‘international’ in style. Made by the organic estate of Badia a Coltibuono. Wonderfully fresh and vibrant, zinging with raspberry crunch on the nose edged with tobacco and earthiness, but really it is all about fruit. On the palate it is light to medium-bodied and has that terrific crunch of raspberry again, with a twist of bitter cherry and a smoothing touch of oak. Fantastic gastronomic stuff. Watch the video for more background and food matches. £10.95, Berry Bros & Rudd. (see full video review).

under twenty

Greywacke, Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand
Kevin Judd burst into the limelight with the first couple of releases from his Marlborough project Greywacke. The quality and finesse of his small portfolio of wines made in borrowed winery space impressed me and many other critics. This 2011 release of the Sauvignon Blanc is better still. It has a massively vivacious nose, the lychee and elderflower pungency matched by a lovely passionfruit richness and honeyed ripeness. On the palate the searing core of minerality has such concentration too: it feels natural, juicy, fat and trextured, but the grip of the acidity and the dazzling freshness of the grapefruity finish gives wonderful savour and lip-smacking appeal. 93/100. Around £15-£16 from independent merchants.

sky’s the limit

A.A. Badenhorst, Family Red 2007,South Africa
Adi Badenhorst does very little wrong in his winemaking and this blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Grenache begins with an all-encompassing, creamy and mellow fruit depth with lovely coffee and chocolate ripeness, but the edge and freshness still there though a peppery and spicy alertness. Great focus and more peppery, deliciously lean and sinewy precision on the palate. Delicious, very elegant too, with huge natural concentration and length. 93/100. £24.00 from WoodWinters.