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.
A sip of this is like a swim in a cold river on a hot day. That invigorating bitter cherry fruit and fresh acidity will cut through anything: pizza, spicy sausages, pasta (even pasta with anchovies!) It’s the ultimate food wine. Made from a blend of Primitivo, Aglianico and Montepulciano from Puglia in the heel of Italy.
Serve with… Orecchiette with anchovies & purple sprouting broccoli
Domaine Ginestières Merlot 2016
The Merlot grape originates in Bordeaux but is right at home in the cooler parts of the south of France, especially when the winemaker is Claude Gros who makes some of the finest wine in St. Emilion. There’s quite a bit of plush tannin to go with the ripe plummy fruit, so serve something rare and meaty alongside it.
Serve with… onglet with red wine shallots
This red from Aragon in Spain is only sold after years spent in oak and in bottle, so you can enjoy the savoury flavours that only come with maturity. It’s a blend of native Aragonese varieties Garnacha and Mazuelo (better known as Grenache and Carignan), with some Tempranillo - the main grape of Rioja. It would go well with some roast pork with crunchy crackling.
Serve with… crispy roast pork belly
Cabra Cega 2014
The smell of this wine is phenomenal - cedar, pine and wild herbs, and the palate is similarly powerful, meaty and full. From near Lisbon, it’s a blend of Portuguese varieties with Syrah and Cabernet, and would be absolutely mouth-watering with herb-encrusted lamb cooked over charcoal.
Serve with… barbecue lamb & courgette salad
Dinastía Manzanos have been making wine for 120 years but this is not a traditional Rioja. Though it’s made from Tempranillo, the archetypal Rioja grape, it’s closer to Bordeaux in style with its dense dark fruit and spicy savoury oak. It's a wine of structure, full-bodied, rich and ripe and would go well with rare roast beef.
Serve with… roast beef with caramelised onion gravy
The Huguenot Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Franschhoek is not only one of the most beautiful places in the Cape but produces some of South Africa’s most graceful wine. It's perfumed with blackcurrant fruit and some melty tannins. In short, it's the perfect Sunday lunch wine and goes well with beef or lamb.
Serve with… garlic roast lamb
The first duty of a white wine is to refresh but it should also have that spark that keeps you coming back for another glass. Argentina’s native Torrontes grape is irresistible when it’s as good as the Alma Andina. Both the Grillo from Sicily and the Spotlight Vermentino from Australia have a nutty note on the finish that’s very moreish. The Le Citronnier from France is packed with citrus flavours whereas the Moldovan white is floral and spicy. Finally there’s a super fresh Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, which is a real crowd pleaser.
Breath in the aroma of this wine and you will see why it’s called Le Citronnier. Those crisp flavours come from a blend of Colombard, a traditional Gascon grape and Sauvignon Blanc. With only 11.5% alcohol it’s the perfect 'summer’s day in the garden' wine to drink alongside tomato salad and quiche lorraine.
Serve with… one of our picnic recipes
Le Mani di Federica Grillo 2016
The grape here is Grillo, which is now being made into some delicious table wines. The taste is so evocative of Sicily but also orange blossom and has an invigorating acidity. Serve with the freshest fish you can find cooked in olive oil.
Serve with… roast cod with paella & saffron olive oil
It’s not every day you get a Vermentino (an Italian variety that also crops up in France) from New South Wales and it’s a cracker with tangy stone fruit and notes of almonds on the finish. Even though it’s from Australia, Italian food such as fritto misto, spaghetti vongole or antipasto is the thing to have with this.
Serve with… one of our stunning Italian recipes
Alma Andina Torrontés 2016
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 a smoky finish. It is the perfect aperitif wine.
Fetească Regală is native to Romania; it literally means Royal Maiden. It also grows just over the border in Moldova. It’s a soft and floral grape so works really well with a more acidic variety like Sauvignon Blanc. The result is utterly harmonious, with fresh lemon, ginger and warm spicy notes. Something a little piquant such as vegetable tagine would be the ideal accompaniment.
Serve with… vegetable tagine with apricot quinoa
Elqui River Sauvignon Blanc 2016
This part of Chile, Elqui River, is really making a name for itself with lean, racy Sauvignon Blancs like this. The climate is arid but quality viticulture is made possible by irrigating with melted snow from the Andes. Try it with a Greek salad, the sharp tang of feta with the zingy grassy flavours of this wine is simply delicious.
Serve with… Greek salad
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