One effect of the Corona virus may be a greater reliance (even if only temporarily) on goods acquired via the internet – and wine is certainly no exception.
So, it is timely that today’s post puts the focus on wines I can recommend that are available online – and (irresistibly) I have called this new feature “Pick of the Clicks”.
I have ignored online services by major retailers (as my other posts suggest what to buy from them) to concentrate on operations I don’t normal mention.
The price criteria have also been tweaked slightly to put a spotlight on the £6 to £10 range – just below our Sunday Best selections.
As before, pictures appear next to commendations as this helps to ensure you are ordering the correct wine.
Over the Atlantic to Mexico
Just to underline that the name California is not restricted to the US, Mexico has Baja California – one of its biggest wine areas – and home to the massive L A Cetto operation.
Full with rounded depth, their 2016 L A Cetto Cabernet Sauvignon (£9.75 at WoodWinters – an award winning Scottish retailer – and 13.5%) has blackberry and prune fruit reinforced by firm acidity, sweet spices, mint, mocha and graphite elements yet really soft limited tannin.
It’s Australia Next
The clue to this guy – which has the “catch all” South Eastern Australia label – is in the name for it is indeed powerhouse wine with a sturdy level of alcohol.
Weight and vigour are immediately apparent in 2018 McPherson The Full Fifteen (from £9.49 at Laithwaites and 15%) where tannin is nevertheless kept under firm control.
Containing the tannin allows you fully to appreciate the wine’s ripe plum, loganberry and black cherry fruit but note, too, how it is embellished with satisfying acidity. The wine also exhibits clove, jalapeno pepper and red liquorice depth yet has inviting sweet edges.
Back to Europe
Although we often associate grenache with the Southern Rhone and (as garnacha of course) with Spain, it is also the second largest (by hectare) variety in Languedoc – helped no doubt by its resistance to drought-like conditions.
2017 Granbeau Grenache Noir (£9.99 at the Hull based House of Townend operation and 13.5%) from thereabouts is a dark, medium bodied wine with bramble and black cherry fruit, good acidity, firm tannin and suggestions of fennel, black pepper and baking spice built into its mineral depth.
Although we shall look at a full range of grape varieties in future “Pick of the Clicks”, co-incidentally, all today’s choices are pinot grigio’s – although none from Italy you may be surprised to discover.
Starting with the actual California
This one is from California and is very different to those omni-present ripe, floral Italian versions – so should be warmly welcomed by those who feel current European versions often lack acidity.
Indeed, 2018 The Intrepid Bear Pinot Grigio (£9.99 at Virgin Wines and 13%) is firmly anchored around grapefruit and lime peel zestiness yet still delivers medium bodied, sweet edged red apple, peach and melon fruit that is given intricacy by suggestions of honey, mint and mace.
Now for Eastern Europe
Reinforcing my firm belief about the rapidly increasing quality of wine from Eastern Europe, this is the first of two brilliant pinot grigios from Romania.
Light and floral, 2019 Sanziana Pinot Grigio (£8.25 at Corney & Barrow and 12%) has spicy pear and white plum fruit with a contrasting savoury finish but also contains evolving lemon and (slightly pithy) grapefruit acidity.
Staying in Romania
Our second PG from Romania, 2018 Paparunda Pinot Grigio (£7.95 at Slurp and 12%) seems to have a slightly different fruit backbone delivering, as it does, rounded apple, quince and fresh pineapple fruit with crisp but zesty lemon acidity, suggestions of clove and just a hint of sweetness.
Incidentally, this guy won the Bargain Buy category that I sponsor in the People's Choice Wine Awards.
We’ll be back on Friday folks with a couple of wines that I think will light up your weekend.
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