Good news on the pricing front guys.
While £7 is likely to be the new normal for wines that reach the quality standard to be recommended here, I have managed to set a £6 limit today.
General price inflation is one reason why that will be the exception but specific wine-related factors are also at work (a bottle shortage in France is the latest).
Still, let’s “make hay while the sun shines”.
Oak is also a bit of theme today.
Appropriate and disciplined barrel aging in Rioja is one reason its wine remains popular.
And we have a brilliantly priced example from a good year to illustrate the point today.
Its white partner is a South African chenin blanc that shows how well that variety responds to barrel fermentation – rather than, say, the use of stainless steel tanks.
Flavour, texture and softness all seem to change when this (admittedly more expensive) method is adopted.
In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.
So, Barrel fermentation at work
2021 Extra Special Chenin Blanc (£6 – instead of £7 until 8 March – at Asda and 13.5% abv):
Fermentation in oak (as has happened with this South African white) usually leaves fewer (and less powerful) influences on wine than aging in oak does.
Nevertheless, it can still leave fingerprints in the finished wine’s flavour range and texture, as we see here.
Soft with an attractive creamy texture, this example’s main components are smooth pear, peach and melon flavours.
Lemon acidity is also in evidence, as are relatively subtle oak elements such as its traces of jasmine and marzipan.
Back to Europe for more great value
2016 Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva (£5.75 at Aldi and 13.5%)
Helpful weather conditions that autumn – and, consequently, good quality grapes – mean that the 2016 Rioja vintage is a good one to seek out.
Five or more years of subsequent maturation give many of that year’s wines smoky and vanilla elements that work well with the richness 2016 reds often exhibit.
Some of those characteristics are clearly on display here.
Full yet nicely smooth, the wine’s main flavour range includes bright cherry and ripe raspberry elements.
Those aspects are coupled with good acidity and firm tannin as well as suggestions of menthol, cedar and star anise.
See you again on Thursday when the task is to compare wine at different price points to see whether heading further up the price ladder can sometimes pay off.
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