What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Chenin, Riesling, Pinot Gris & Spring





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 third instalment of ‘What’s Hot’, a number of esteemed wine journalists have suggested and championed a number of suitable wines for spring including amongst others Chenin Blancs, Rieslings, Pinot Gris, Chardonnays and Champagne…
 
Chenin Blanc
 
In the absence of Bob Tyrer, The Sunday Times’ Kate Spicer went rogue to inform us how to sustain an all-day drinking session by choosing the correct wines to sup. While sensibly acknowledging “heavy drinkers are rubbish company” she concedes the odd sustained shift during the day is an occasional necessity. Urging one to avoid “heavy reds…and oily whites such as chardonnay and pinot grigio, or anything too exotic such as viognier, grenache or roussanne” Spicer advocates fresh wines from the Loire region such as “chenin blancs, less acidic sauvignons and low-tannic red gamays that chill well.”
 
Following her marathon drinking tips Spicer recommends three bottles of wine to carefully nurture your way through the day’s proceedings: Barda Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir 2010, Prosecco Treviso DOC Frizzante 2010 and Domaine Mosse Anjou Blanc 2007. 
 
CellarVie Wines says: While loath to endorse all-day drinking, we can certainly empathise with Spicer’s view that the odd lengthy session becomes increasingly inevitable, particularly with the days getting longer and warmer. Days like the aforementioned can indeed end in tears if you neglect to recognise the wines that best suits the occasion and therefore we definitely advocate the Sunday Times’ view that Chenin Blancs and modest sauvignons are the way forward. Heavy reds will not only make you feel a little cumbersome but you are also likely to feel even worse the next day. Kleine Zalze Bush Vines Chenin Blanc from South Africa was not only Charlotte’s selection for ‘What We’re Drinking’ last week, but it would certainly tick all the boxes for Spicer and her epic day of drinking. Likewise a chilled, fruity Beaujolais could do the job or fresh, vibrant Sauvignon Blancs from Chile tend to be endlessly drinkable at this time of year. 
 
Why not try:
 
Kleine Zalze Bush Vines Chenin Blanc 2010/11, Stellenbosch (£8.49)
 
Beaujolais-Villages Combe aux Jacques 2008, Louis Jadot (£10.49)
 
Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010, Casablanca Valley (£9.99)

 
Chardonnay and Champagne
 
Susy Atkins of the Sunday Telegraph offers up a number of tipples to pair with eggs. Random, perhaps, because of Easter, quite possibly, but either way she makes a number of interesting recommendations that make sense for spring. While mentioning “a light, smooth, juicy Beaujolais”, Atkins champions chardonnay but “not the tropical-fruited, oaky New World styles, but subtle, buttery Burgundian versions”.
 
For the more discerning or financially frivolous “blanc de blancs champagne or sparkling crémant de Bourgogne” are suggested and that all of the aforementioned are "rather more appealing than a cup of tea" – the customary companion for eggs by all accounts.
 
CellarVie Wines says: Like Spicer in The Sunday Times, Atkins focuses her attentions on brisker more vibrant wines, steering clear of heavier, full-bodied reds and concentrating on lighter, and whisper it quietly, summery tipples that may flatter to deceive if the weather doesn’t hold. If you are looking to save a few pennies but are keen to enjoy a few bubbles, then a high end sparkling wine such as the Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV from New Zealand is very elegant, while Château de Montgueret Saumur Brut NV is an easy drinking sparkling wine from the Loire region.
 
Why not try:
 
Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée des Moines Blanc de Blancs NV (£33.00)
 
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 1998 (£110.00)

 
Riesling
 
The Observer or Guardian (we are still not sure) or more precisely David Williams, selects his three wines of the week including “a charming Riesling from the Mosel valley”. In tune with spring (can you spot the theme?) Williams suggests this “elegant, classic and utterly invigorating” German Riesling is the archetypal wine for this time of year.
 
CellarVie Wines says: Rieslings from the Mosel region are indeed hugely popular and with good reason. Vibrant and refreshing, floral and flagrant are terms perhaps most commonly associated with Riesling and its subsequently a lovely wine to enjoy in the -with any luck - warmer weather.
 
Why not try:
 
Riesling Kabinett Mosel 2007, S.A.Prü (£12.99)
 
RK Riesling Mosel 2008, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt (£11.99)
 

More Chenin Blanc
 
Amongst many other things including a worthy commentary on Rioja (“it’s like a favourite cousin, a twinkly-eyed political reporter or beloved sports car”) Olly Smith of the Daily Mail echoed the sentiments of Katie Spicer by choosing a South African Chenin Blanc as his ‘Top Tipple’ for the week. Championing its superb value, “balance of richness and zip”, Smith claims a bottle of Ken Forrester Workhorse Chenin Blanc 2011 “lingers like summer on your palate”. 
 
CellarVie Wines says: This week has been decidedly cold yet the likes of Smith and the aforementioned Spicer are keen to advocate some lighter whites amongst other things. While best enjoyed in the warm spring sun (we can but hope) Chenin Blancs are elegant and full-bodied enough to be enjoyed even when the balmy weather evades us.
Why not try:
 
Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2010, Stellenbosch (£10.99)

 
Pinot Gris
 
In David Williams’ latest instalment for the Guardian/Observer he selects three wines to “toast the warmer weather” intimating a Pinot Gris from New Zealand and a bottle of Okhre Organic Cava, Spain NV, with its “winningly pure and punchily fruity but dry fizz with the taste of rich apple pie,” are just the tipples to raise a glass to the hopefully sun-drenched afternoons.
 
CellarVie Wines says: Pinot Gris from New Zealand tend to have a more bouncy acidity to them compared to their slightly sweeter Alsace cousins, but why not find out for yourself and taste both.
 
Why not try:
 
Villa Maria Seddon Single Vineyard 2007, Pinot Gris, Marlborough (£13.99)
 
Pinot Gris Alsace 2009, Martin Zahn (£10.99) 
 
Read the first ‘What’s Hot’ instalment here and the second by clicking here.  
 
 

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