Well, with the bright January sunshine coming on colder than the US/Russian diplomatic exchanges, we thought we would indulge ourselves with a few warming wonder of winter, wondrous wines which will “weally” wake you upto the glories of our whimsical climate, which allows us to enjoy Barossa Shiraz, Californian Zinfandel or (my hearts delight – Amarone.) Unfortunately guys, you already drank all the Amarone over Christmas and New Year so we will have to concentrate on the other two!
2014 Fournillon Bourgogne Rouge Epineuil £16.99 £6/glass
A light, cherry-red Pinot from Domaine Fournillon, better known as purveyors of decent Chablis. Raspberry-strawberry gentle fruitiness, with silky tannins. This is an impressive glass of pinot, with enough savoury backnotes to distinguish it from the fruitbomb new world styles – this is Burgundy, and that means balance.
2015 The Scoundrel Shiraz, £14.99 or 2 for £26, £5/glass
A big rich thick Shiraz made by a mate of ours over in Cambridge, who shoots down to Barossa and sorts out this little gem with Rolf Binder and Magpie Estates. This is a huge oldstyley polished pepper blackcurrant cassis shiraz, made to commit blitzkrieg on your tastebuds and thrill the senses.
2012 Rodney Strong Knotty Vines Zinfandel, £28.99, £7.50/glass
Not so much a wine as a trial by fire. This superb, massive glass of Zinfandel is Californian from its cork to its dregs – a huge, incredibly powerful effort with more spice than a mulled wine factory and a gigantic nose, edging slightly towards the menthol end – the alcohol is 15.5% and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that that is a low-end estimate. Packed full of fresh, bright berry fruit combined with the ripe peppery jamminess and then just to drive home that this is a Californian wine – aged for 16 months in American oak. This wine begs for an American Hot deep-pan something-or-another, because it will break anything more complex!
2015 Domaine Bonnet Huteau Muscadet - Les Gautronnieres, £14.99 or 2 for £26, £5/glass
Despite my desire to carry on on a strand of big red my better angels have turned me slightly towards including a white. And white not? Having heard other staff members raving about this little beauty, I thought we might as well crack her open. Mineral with crisp hard fruit, this is a real palette-cleanser of a wine, a delight to the senses in every fashion. Also a bit of a crowd-pleaser – this will suit all palettes, especially those who regard scaling the heights of Mnt Zin as a chore rather than a pleasure.