February 2007 – Pirineos, Fernandez, Charles Hours, Krug

These might be wines that have been reviewed during the month on wine-pages, or have appeared in my newspaper column, or they may be wines from a recent tasting that hasn’t yet been written-up in a full-length report. There is a growing archive of these four of the best choices each month.

under a tenner

Alejandro Fernández (Spain) Dehesa La Granja 2001

This is a bin-end, so check your local store for availability, or buy it online from Oddbins.com. From the stable of A Fernandez (most famous for his Ribera del Duero wine ‘Pesquera’), this 100% Tempranillo comes from Zamora, and at six years old offers a beautifully perfumed, gamy nose, with alluring animal and meaty scents, and copious black fruit at its core. Intense blueberry and kirsch-like cherry fruit dominate the palate, in a wine with lots of charm. A red liquorice firmness comes through. The oak is savoury and cedary, the tannins quite mellow and chocolaty, and the acid balance is still very good in this delicious and harmonious wine with good structure. £9.99 Oddbins and Oddbins.com

under twenty

Hours, Charles (France) Jurançon Sec Cuvée Marie 2004
Charles Hours makes only two wines here in the southwesterly French region of Jurançon, this dry white and a sweet version which carries the name of Hours’ estate, Clos Uroulat. The Cuvée Marie is made from 90% Gros Manseng and 10% Petit Courbu, with Hours on record as saying the Gros Manseng provides the structure and fruit, whilst the Courbu brings finesse. It has quite pungent herbal nose, with nutty and nettly notes before deep, lush peachy fruit comes through. The palate is filled with fruit sweetness, with a beautiful honeyed, limpid character and plenty of apple and lemon-rind giving some real tenacity. The acidity is refined bit powerful, giving lots of cut and bite in a truly delicious wine with real vivacity and personality. £9.95 from H&H Bancroft

sky’s the limit

Krug (France) Vintage Champagne 1995
Quite a pale green/yellow colour. Vinous nose, with quite Burgundian character of ripe orchard fruits and lemon, and a herbal, nicely vegetal background. There is a nutty, pistacchio note too, but this is mostly about the fruit. On the palate this is lively and bright, with a very crisp mousse and at the moment plenty of zesty lemony fruit. This is deliciously lively and fruity, with a very fine, ripe apple and pear quality, but the fine mineral and lemony structure of the acidity adds plenty of precision. The tension and interplay between the bright fruit, lovely acid structure and little creamy background hints of richness is fabulous. Tasted as part of a vertical tasting of vintage Krug that stretched back to the 1971, this will have decades ahead of it if you choose to lay it down. Around £100