If you enjoy discovering some of the thousand or so grape varieties most people have never heard of, try this. The vineyards of Italy’s northeast have long been renowned for whites but in the Colli Orientali around a third of the wines are red, and they too are worthy of attention. Aside from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, local varieties such as Refosco provide original and distinctive wines in refreshing, food friendly styles. Picco Attila was aged in large oak botti (vats) and caught the attention of our Buyer during a trip to the region. Not just for its dark damson, fig and prune character but also for its value. Winemaker Alessandro Gallici likes to serve the wine with rich game or creamy polenta with pumpkin, a local favourite.
Everyone loves a bargain, but if you also love BIG fruity reds you should head to Jumilla. This forgotten region is home to "some of the oldest and most concentrated Monastrell in Spain, producing full bodied reds that are just as good as most Bandols, and sell at half the price" (Tim Atkin MW). Camino de Seda (‘Silk Road’) comes from a winery just off this famous route that brought wealth and splendour to the region over 500 years ago. The vineyards are still surrounded by mulberry trees, the silkworms’ favourite dwelling place. Crafted by Scottish born winemaker Pamela Geddes, the wine is packed with intense black fruit, complemented by notes of vanilla spice. Enjoy by itself, or with pork loin or lamb casserole. Ideal at a barbecue too.
As the late Spanish wine expert John Radford once wrote in Decanter, the tiny enclave of Campo de Borja is “the source of some of the best value wines from Spain, if not the world”. It remains true. Where else could you find such a mellow, complex, oak aged red at this price? It’s made by our old friend Pamela Geddes (who also makes our bestselling Monasterio de Santa Cruz) at the 500 year old Bodegas Ruberte. 60% of the wine is Garnacha from vines planted in 1958. They’re not as prolific these days, but the intensity of flavour in the grapes is impressive. The balance is Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds classic cassis character and structure to the spicy, raspberry rich Garnacha. A rich and fragrant Spanish red that's best enjoyed with lamb.
Shiraz and Malbec are grapes we normally associate with Australia and Argentina. House of Fun shows just how delicious they are when grown in Cape sunshine. It’s from the Gabb family, whose 20 hectare farm, Mount Rozier, is named after Annie Rozier, a flower merchant who in the 19th century harvested flowers growing on the hills surrounding Stellenbosch. Though her business flourished, these hills have long been planted with vines. On the Schapenberg slopes above Somerset West, near Cape Town, Mount Rozier enjoys commanding views, undulating slopes, varied soils and an idyllic microclimate. It’s a natural amphitheatre in which to produce world class wines. Some are all elegance and finesse, others like this are packed full of fruit and fun.
Hervé discovered a plot of 30-year-old vines in the Languedoc's Vallée de l'Orb, on soils covered with big boulder like stones that promote grapes with lovely intensity and ripeness. Impressed, he bagged the lot. Hand harvesting, gentle handling, and just a short time on its skins, have resulted in a silky, ripe, supple wine, with ample fruit tinged with herbs and liquorice. A fine choice with marinaded pork chops, roast chicken or veggie kebabs.