October 2001 – Ashanti, Girardin, Renwood, Louis Latour

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. I will build an archive of these four of the best choices each month. £5=$7.50US.

under a fiver
Ashanti (South Africa) Reserve Chenin Blanc 1999
The Ashanti Chenin is fermented in French oak barrels, it has a nutty, toasty nose and a palate full of sweet peach and apricot fruit. One of the stars of a whole selection of “bin-end” wines from the greatgrog.co.uk, which is selling for £3.99 – about half its price elsewhere.

under a tenner
Vincent Girardin (Burgundy) Rully Blanc 1er Cru Les Cloux 1999
What a treat to find such a delightful white Burgundy under a tenner. A very convincing argument for Burgundy – or Chardonnay – sceptics, this has a leesy, rich, skin-contact power on the nose with nutty undertones and plenty of ripe orchard fruits. On the palate it is sweet and full, with juicy melon and pear fruit, fine balance and a lovely elegant acidity. Very good indeed. Majestic £9.99.

under twenty
Renwood (USA, Amador County) Linsteadt Barbera 1997
Part of a blind tasting of Californian wines at Oddbins. This stood out for sheer individuality and wonderful fruit quality. Opaque crimson, almost black at core. Very rich, juicy, mint and berry nose. Highly aromatic with tarry, slightly medicinal notes, toffee, fig and ripe berry fruit. Lovely. The palate is quite full and rich with masses of raspberry and sweet plum fruit. Slightly baked quality, but loads of concentration, spice and lip-tingling tannins. Good acidity here and balance. Powerful, fresh and delicious. Oddbins £16.99.

sky’s the limit
Louis Latour (Burgundy) Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 1992
A superb example of a top white Burgundy hitting its glorious stride. Beautiful, deepening golden colour, still a hint of emerald. Terrifically opulent nose of sweet vanillin and butterscotch, a hint of honey. Opulent on the palate too with a luscious mouthfeel of honeyed, sweet fruit: peaches and nectarine, but a buttery undercurrent and very fine citrus acidity that lifts and extends the finish. Hints of minerality also add complexity, but this is a ripe, fruit-driven, hedonistic style of white Burgundy at its best. Around £50 from Nickolls and Perks, Farr Vintners.