A tale of two contrasting regions this week — Burgundy and Murcia in Eastern Spain.
The commune of Murcia is beside Valencia and home to the vineyards of Jumilla and Yecla; wines that often appear on this page. The grapes are grown at altitude so the cool nights can temper the heat of the days and the limestone soil helps retain moisture. This part of Spain has wonderful fruity wines at great prices.
And yet it should be remembered that fruity soft Beaujolais is often excellent value and is also part of Burgundy; similarly Bourgogne Blanc is frequently from Chardonnay grown in Beaujolais. The old regional Bourgogne Grande Ordinaire Appellation was replaced in 2011 with the much pleasanter sounding Coteaux Bourguignons which covers the geographical region from Auxerrois (Chablis and Sauvignon-St- Bris) down to Beaujolais. You won’t be told which slope the grapes are from and you may not be told the grapes either — they might be Chardonnay or Pinot Noir but are probably more likely to be Gamay for red and possibly Pinot Blanc or Aligoté for white.
Lidl have a French wine sale starting next week with good value across the range and many wines costing under €10. There is a sparkling Crémant d’Alsace at €17 that should be worth a go plus a selection from Bordeaux and the Rhône. I’ve only tasted a few as they had limited samples to send me but I did like the three below from greater Burgundy.
The two Murcia recommended wines are fruit driven and tasty and the connection with the Faugères is the winemaker Simon Tyrrell. Simon is well known as an importer of wines from the Rhône but increasingly now as a winemaker. The Deux Cols range he makes with fellow importer Charles Derain will soon consist of five wines, all from grapes sourced in the Southern Rhone region. They are generally fleshy, ripe, and interesting and increasingly on restaurant wine lists. Simon is now making wines with the Tindal family who help him distribute his wines and the first is called La Soñadora from Yecla. Already there is a second wine on the way - a Garnacha grown on the granite soils of Sierra de Gredos east of Madrid from the 2017 harvest.
BEST VALUE UNDER €15
Part of the retailer’s French wine (from March 5) this is a very (very) rare thing, a red Burgundy under a tenner that has soft red currant and raspberry aromas, supple soft red fruits flavours and a pleasing fruity finish. I’m almost certain this is Gamay rather than Pinot as this AOP allows wines from the full Burgundy region which of course includes Beaujolais.
As I mentioned in a recent column Aligoté is the second white grape of Burgundy and is not to be dismissed. This has light pear and apple aromas mixed with citrus, a soft apple purée palate and a lingering lemon peel character. This is dry but does have a touch of residual sugar so perhaps try with a creamy pasta dish or maybe a chicken korma.
Saint-Amour is the most northerly of the Beaujolais Cru villages and one of the least seen in Ireland (Fleurie, Morgon, Brouilly and Moulin-à-Vent are far easier to find). This is soft and fruity with bright cherry fruits and fairly typical of what you would expect from a Beaujolais with a tad more depth than the other Gamay wine mentioned above to justify the extra euros.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Cinnamon Cottage, Bradleys, Martins, Jus de Vine, Searsons, Dalys Boyle
La Soñadora (The Dreamer) is the first wine produced for the (wine importing) Tindal family, guided by Simon Tyrrell. Made with the local Monastrell (Mourvèdre) grape from vineyards at 500-800 metres — bright blackberry, floral and black cherry aromas, soft blackberries dominate the palate.
64 Wines, Morton’s , Donnybrook Fair, Searsons, searsons.com
Also from Simon Tyrrell and a wine I featured in 2014. It has matured beautifully with the fruit significantly mellower and the pure fruit flavours. Rich spicy aroma with plums and blackberries, supple and fruity, ripe spice tinged fruit on the palate, lingering touches of chocolate and cassis.
Wines Direct Mulingar and Arnotts Dublin www.winesdirect.ie
This is from grapes grown at altitude - 825m above sea level - which means cool nights and warm days. Fermented on natural yeasts with some time in French oak, soft very ripe aromas of black fruits, supple and a little spicy, ripe and fresh. Their excellent Rosé featured here last May.
- Contact Leslie Williams at email@example.com