Wine expert Henry Jeffreys provides tasting notes on our exclusive BBC Good Food Wine Club cases. Read about flavour profiles and ideas for pairing food.
We’ve got some big flavours in this season's red case. They don't come bigger and bolder than the Cabra Cega made near Lisbon from a mix of native grapes with some Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Then there's a juicy Primitivo blend from southern Italy, all bitter red cherries and spice, and a plummy rich Merlot from the south of France. In the elegant corner there’s a South African Cabernet that will please lovers of Bordeaux, a juicy fresh Rioja and finally an oak-aged red from Spain, which is all about mature flavours of leather and tobacco.
Serve with… 'rain or shine' leg of lamb
Château Philippe Costières de Nîmes 2016
The town of Nîmes is where the Rhone Valley meets Provence and the Languedoc. The wines have a distinctly southern feel. This one is made mainly from Grenache which gives it a ripe generosity. You will love all that brambly dark fruit and savoury tobacco and leather notes. Hearty stews with lots of herbs would work wonders with this wine.
Serve with… venison sausage & chestnut casserole
The name means black schist, referring to the soil in the Douro Valley. This is port country but it's rapidly becoming famous for its table wines. The native grapes, Touriga Nacional and Franca, and Tinta Roriz and Barroca, give this wine a distinctive aromatic note to go with the ripe dark fruit. This would be excellent with something fatty and porky.
Serve with… crispy roast pork belly
Saveur du Soleil Rouge Coteaux de Béziers 2015
This aptly-named wine comes from one of the sunniest spots in Europe near the ancient city of Béziers. The red is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Alicante – a not so well-known grape that provides colour and structure. The flavour is a mix of crunchy fresh raspberries and lavender with a lip-smacking bite and an earthy finish. Just the thing with ratatouille or similar.
Serve with… roasted ratatouille chicken
Serve with… roast beef with caramelised onion gravy
Tenuta Fenice Nero d'Avola Sicilia 2016
When an earthquake struck the village of Poggioreale in 1968, the family had to abandon their vineyard. Now it has been revived and those old vines are producing some seriously flavourful grapes. The high altitude means that though the wine is packed full of very ripe cherry fruit, it’s not short of freshness. It would work equally well with a good steak or a takeaway pizza.
Serve with… steak & chips
This case reflects how adventurous British wine lovers have become. We’re happy to try less-known grapes such as Alvarinho, Trajadura, Vermentino, and Ribolla Gialla. The first two feature in an impossibly fresh Vinho Verde; the Ribolla Gialla is paired with Chardonnay in a complex wine from north-east Italy; and the Vermentino joins Grenache Blanc and Viognier in a delicious blend from the south of France. Finally there are three varietal wines: a peachy Torrontes from Argentina; the tangy Riversong Riesling from Chile; finally a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc because while it’s great to be adventurous, there’s nothing wrong with an old favourite.
This is such a clever blend melding Chardonnay with a grape that’s rapidly gaining cult status, Ribolla Gialla a native of north east italy. Initially it’s very fresh and saline and then an amazing apricot and almond note builds into a wine with real complexity. It’s got the power to deal with spaghetti vongole cooked with a good dash of chilli.
Duck 'n' Pheasant Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016
In the 1990s the British fell in love with the exuberant Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc style and are showing no signs of growing out of it. This is a particularly fine example because it combines that classic New Zealand zing with elegance. Everything is in place, green peppers, tangy pink grapefruit, and subtle honeyed notes. It would be superb with smoked salmon.
Serve with… smoked salmon soufflés
From the cool rainy north of Portugal, Vinho Verde means green wine referring to the fact that it is meant be drunk young. A seafood wine par excellence, this is a blend of Alvarinho aka Albariño and Trajadura. It’s just about the most refreshing wine on the planet: there’s an electric charge of acidity, a slight sparkle and only 11.5% alcohol.
Riversong Riesling 2016 Valle del Maule
Germany’s greatest grape does magical things when transported to Chile. This is made by one of the country’s most prestigious wineries, Luis Felipe Edwards, in a cool part of the Maule Valley not far from Santiago. It is intense and concentrated, tangy and smoky with zingy limes and honey. Those bright flavours would work beautifully with some spicy but not too spicy Vietnamese food.
Serve with... Vietnamese-style caramel pork
After years of wine being sold on solo grape varieties, blends such as this are now all the rage. The Grenache provides body, Viognier peachy fruit and the Vermentino pulls it all together with acidity and herbs. The result is greater than the sum of the parts and it’s very versatile: lemon chicken, goat’s cheese or tapas, this wine has it covered.
Serve with… one of our tapas recipes
Alma Andina Torrontés 2016
Torrontes is a real crowd-pleaser. This grape was a bit mysterious but recent research has shown that it’s indigenous to Argentina and not the same as the Torrontes from Spain. This example would appeal to those who love Viognier, there’s a similar stone fruit taste but combined with floral notes and smoky finish. One of the few wines that go really well with creamy curries.
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