What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Pol Roger, Chardonnay, Cava & Rum





Once a fortnight, CellarVie Wines will peruse the weekend’s newspapers to determine what’s hot in the world of wine, offering up views and possible alternatives to the nation’s big-hitting publications and their wine suggestions. In the second instalment (view the first here) of ‘What’s Hot in the World of Wine’ we take a look at The Sunday Times, The Sunday Observer and the Sunday Telegraph, who focused their respective attentions on Pol Roger, Chardonnay, Cava and Rum…
 

Pol Roger, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
 
Bob Tyrer from the Sunday Times paid a touching tribute to his newspaper colleague Marie Colvin a fortnight ago, who tragically died on February 22 while covering the siege of Homs in Syria, suggesting the mercurially talented war correspondent would have “been thrilled by the vast amount of booze sunk in her honour”. While acknowledging his “relatively modest” contribution to the drinking revelry in tribute to his esteemed co-worker, Tyrer recalls a recent trip to Epernay, in Champagne, to taste Pol Roger 2002 vintage which goes on sale this month. 
 
The evidently personal article also suggests Colvin would have enjoyed “the beachside wake after her funeral at Oyster Bay” and that “had she been there”, Tyrer would have treated her to “a sturdy chardonnay” and half-a-dozen oysters. 
 
Tyrer concludes his enjoyable article by suggesting three wines: a Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre and a Chardonnay to drink in the currently clement weather.
 
CellarVie Wines says: While sadly not equipped to comment on the peerless Marie Colvin, we believe Tyrer’s drinking suggestions are an excellent reflection of the changing season and hopefully a nice addition to warmer days. While CellarVie Wines have yet to try the aforementioned Pol Roger, we have tried the non-vintage Pol Roger Brut Réserve NV, a personal favourite of one Winston Churchill, and it is not only delicious but also great value for money.
 
Likewise, and given there was not a cloud in the sky last week, we concur with some of Tyrer’s spring tipple suggestions and would urge you to try the Touraine Sauvignon 2010, Domaine Trotignon (our very own Eliott Ray once championed this for his ‘What we’re drinking’). From Loire, this zesty white wine is so good it could be a Sancerre, but if that is what you are after, why not stump for the La Fuzelle 2010, which is full of crisp acidity and ripe, gooseberry fruit flavours, and in our humble opinion, an ideal drink in this weather. 
 
Having championed oysters and a matching chardonnay, it would be frivolous not to pedal our own interview with the Oyster Meister himself, who like the venerated Tyrer believes a nice crisp chardonnay is “ideal” for the aforementioned briny molluscs. 
 
Why not try: 
 
Pol Roger Brut Réserve NV (£34.00)
 
Touraine Sauvignon 2010, Domaine Trotignon (£.8.99)
 
Sancerre, La Fuzelle 2010, Adrien Maréchal (£14.99)
 
Bourgogne Chardonnay Couvent des Jacobins 2009, Louis Jadot (£12.99)
 
Château de Mercey Chardonnay Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2008 (£13.99)

 
Chenin Blanc and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
 
The Sunday Observer were keen to offer up a few suggestions for spring following the clocks going forward two weekends ago, extolling the virtues of a number of wines to kick-off the longer and balmier evenings. Citing a “fruity Western Cape Chenin Blanc” from South Africa (and whisper it quietly one from Waitrose!) David Williams believes the “crunchy green apples that have been doused in citrus juice” flavour is a lovely accompaniment to chicken or richer fish dishes. 
 
He also advocates a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (coincidently CellarVie Wines did a ‘Focus on’ that particular grape last month, interviewing Vidal winemaker Hugh Crichton) suggesting one in particular is “compulsively drinkable”.
 
CellarVie Wines says: The Sunday Observer is on to something; the tropical fruit flavours of Chenin Blanc, a grape variety often forgotten about, tastes resplendent in the spring and they tend to represent great value for money. Why not try something a little different and go for the Flagstone Noon Gun Chenin Blanc-Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier 2009. The three white grape varietals are rarely found together but produce a veritable fruit-salad of vinous flavours that will chill you on these decidedly temperate days.
 
Similarly the pungently fruity style and biting acidity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will deliver on the palate and the nose, and at this time of the year, as Williams suggests, it will breathe life into a calm spring afternoon. While it’s a little on the dear side, a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011, from Marlborough, is a beautiful and iconic example of the grape variety and ticks all the boxes in terms of flavour, so why buck the trend, defy the doom-and-gloom peddled by our much maligned Chancellor, and treat yourself.
 
Why not try:
 
Kleine Zalze Bush Vines Chenin Blanc 2011, Stellenbosch (£6.99)
 
Flagstone Noon Gun Chenin Blanc-Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier 2009 (£8.49)
 
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2010, Stellenbosch (£8.49)
 
Schubert Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (£14.99)
 
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough (£17.99)

 
Cava
 
In The Sunday Telegraph this week, Susy Atkins champions Spain’s national sparkling wine Cava over its Italian equivalent Prosecco as an “affordable alternative to champagne”. Praising Cava’s versatility and value for money, Atkins believes they are generally a better match with food and the rise in exports - “Spain shipped out 152 million bottles of cava in 2010; two per cent up on the year before and 50 per cent more than a decade ago” – certainly supports her argument. A little like the aforementioned articles, The Sunday Telegraph highlights the somewhat summery flavours associated with Cava such as the “green apple-peel bite, with hints of lemon sorbet and pear”.
 
CellarVie Wines says: While last week’s scorching temperatures have dwindled this week, Cava is a light and subtle, and let’s face it, an elegant alternative to Champagne at this time of year. While Atkins favours Cava over Prosecco, we here at CellarVie Wines believe there is plenty of room for both. The latter is more often than not sweeter or off-dry compared to its Spanish cousin, and while Cava is perhaps a better accompaniment to food, they each have their merits.
 
Why not try:
 
Vilarnau Brut Cava NV (£9.99)
 
Codorníu Pinot Noir Brut Rosé NV, Cava (£11.49)
 
Rocco Prosecco Brut NV, Conegliano e Valdobbiadene (£13.49)

 
Rum
 
Perhaps reflecting the significant drop in temperature from the heady heights of last week and therefore moving away from crisp white wines generally advocated above, Katie Spicer of The Sunday Times wrote an article at the weekend on Rum and in particular Blackwell Rum from Jamaica. While acknowledging the industry’s tendency to evoke “poncey palate prattle” when describing expensive rum, she indicates eloquently that Blackwell tastes of "demerara sugar with great legs in beautiful underwear and heels. It is a liquid Helmut Newton photograph".
 
CellarVie Wines says: Ahead of Easter a (hefty) measure of rum is a suitably indulgent partner to the mountains of chocolate soon to be consumed this weekend. As Spicer notes, Blackwell is blended by Joy Spence, one of the first female master-blenders and coincidentally responsible for Appleton Estate VX Golden Rum which is available from CellarVie Wines (you see what we’ve done there). The Appleton Estate is an easy drinking rum, commonly used in cocktails and at £19.99 it represents great value for money. 
 
Why not try: 
 
Appleton Estate VX Golden Rum (£19.99)
 
Mount Gay Extra Old Golden Rum (£33.00)
 

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