What Hot’s in the World of Wine: Chenin Blanc, Australian wines & what to drink on Mother’s Day





In this instalment of What’s Hot in the World of Wine, we assess the Daily Telegraph’s take on Australian wines, the Daily Mail’s Mother’s Day suggestions, and three perfect Chenin Blancs for Spring from The Guardian…


Chenin Blanc in Spring

Spring is in its infancy and the promise of a balmier climate brings with it fresh opportunity to broaden your wine selections. David Williams in The Guardian recommends, “…two French classics and an interesting Chenin Blanc from New Zealand to welcome in the new season." A “lively little” Chenin Blanc from the Loire is amongst the aforementioned, whilst he also stumps for a sparkler from the same region and made from the same grape varietal. Propping up the list is Chenin from New Zealand; an area, Williams notes, not famed for this varietal. 

CellarVie Wines says: Chenin Blanc really is the chameleon of white grape varieties in that it is hugely versatile and capable of producing a plethora of different wine styles. Whether it’s the luscious, sticky dessert wines from Coteaux du Layon, the dry, medium lemony fruit whites from Vouvray or a sparkling Saumur, Chenin Blanc has the capacity to thrive and it does so in a variety of different regions around the world.
 
Williams claims Chenin "...makes everything from the crisp and light to the lusciously sweet, but always with a slash of acidity," and with the beautiful (we jest) weather currently propping up our shores, there is no better time to indulge in this well-heeled grape varietal. Although Williams has chosen a New Zealand Chenin alongside two classical French wines, we would recommend you hone in on South Africa because it is an area increasingly noted for excellent Chenin Blanc wines.

Why not try:

Vouvray le Cormier 2010 – A medium dry Chenin from Vouvray that has a refreshing sweetness ideally suited to the warm(ish) weather (while it lasts).

Château de Montgueret Saumur Brut NV – A soft easy-drinking sparkling wine made from Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. Perfect for Mother’s Day.

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2010, Stellenbosch – An award winning Chenin from South Africa. Beautifully elegant and typifies the area’s excellence in Chenin Blanc production.


Australian wines

“We all know Aussie wine is colossally popular in Britain – it's number one here with almost 20 per cent of the market…” Susy Atkins exclaims in The Telegraph, “…but few realise just how versatile its many far-flung regions can be, or the diversity of grape varieties that are grown there." To display Australia’s said versatility Atkins chooses a Viognier from Victoria, an unusual red blend from Langhorne Creek in South Australia and a "palate-wakening" Vermentino. 

CellarVie Wines says: Although Atkins purposefully moves away from "the stacks of chardonnay and shiraz," the team at CellarVie Wines have struggled to do so recently because of the simply brilliant JJ Hahn range. Last Friday we tried the top end Western Ridge 1975 Planting Shiraz from Barossa Valley and it is most definitely worth its seemingly lofty £24.99 price-tag. Likewise the Reginald is the wine of moment in the office and at £14.99 we have a real humdinger on our hands. If you are looking to move into slightly more unchartered Aussie territory like the Telegraph, the Bethany g6 Riesling has a very classical style and although by no means undiscovered, it perpetually surpasses expectation.

Why not try:

JJ Hahn Reginald Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2009 – A real staff favourite and an absolute gem of a wine. Simply can’t recommend this beautiful wine enough.

JJ Hahn Western Ridge 1975 Planting Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2009 – We collectively tried this last Friday and while it is expensive, this really is a special wine with great ageing potential. Upon opening let it breath, and this will blow your mind.

Bethany g6 Riesling, Barossa Valley 2010 – A real classic from Australia’s premium Riesling region, this elegant white is perfect for Spring.


Mother’s Day wine

The Daily Mail pertinently recommends a number of varied wines to drink on Mother’s Day this Sunday. Amongst Olly Smith’s recommendations is a pink bubbly, a “rich, sweet and spicy giant of" a port, a “crowd-pleasing” New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and a number of wines to drink with a roast, including, “…aged Barolo from Italy, a Spanish Gran Reserva Rioja or a top-notch Portuguese red,” which, “…all deliver that earthy richness that pairs superbly with the depth and texture of a meaty roast.”

CellarVie Wines says: We are currently running a few Mother’s Day specials which can be viewed here, but as the Daily Mail intimate, there is a plethora of options available depending on your plans for the day itself. If you are looking for an inexpensive bottle of pink bubbles then the Banrock incarnation is just the ticket, while a chocolate based treat will pair superbly with Warre's Otima 10 year old Tawny Port. For a Sunday Roast, why not have butchers at this Wine Guide, but in essence what we are trying to say is that Mother’s Day is a brilliant excuse to crack open a bottle or two and settle in for the afternoon.

Why not try:

Banrock Station Moscato Rosé 2011, South Eastern Australia – A very affordable bottle of elegant pink bubbles.

Warre's Otima 10 year old Tawny Port NV – Great value and perfect with chocolate.

Drylands Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2011 – A stellar and award winning example of New Zealand’s ability to produce stunning Sauvignon Blancs.

Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée des Moines Blanc de Blancs NV – A staff favourite but a bit of undiscovered gem. This boutique champagne comes in a beautiful bottle and tastes delicious. 

Taittinger Prestige Brut Rosé NV – A very impressive Pink Champagne that will undoubtedly impress the old dear.
 
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

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