What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Dessert wine, Languedoc-Roussillon & Spring delights





In this week’s What’s hot in the World of Wine we run the rule over the Guardian’s defence of dessert wines, the Daily Telegraph’s selections from the Languedoc-Roussillon region and we check out a few of the Daily Mail’s unusual spring wine suggestions…

In defence of Dessert wine

The Guardian’s Fiona Beckett questions Britain’s collective lack of enthusiasm for dessert wine, intimating their lack of presence on supermarket shelves defies our sweet tooth. While acknowledging the price tends to be slightly higher, "because they're difficult to make", The Guardian recommends a number of notable dessert wines. "Bordeaux's sweet wine sauternes is the obvious choice," the esteemed Beckett enthuses, while the article also urges one to look towards South Africa. 

CellarVie Wines: Dessert wines tends to be very seasonal in terms of the way they are viewed and therefore sales will pick up in the lead up to Christmas, but they really are a beautiful way to end a dinner party regardless of the time of year. Sauternes is unquestionably the most iconic region in regards to dessert wine and there really are some fantastic gems to be tried. Whether it’s the superbly valued Château Les Justices or the more revered Château Gilette, this famous area of Bordeaux is a hotbed for delicious dessert wines. The Guardian recommends South Africa and the Western Cape produce some lovely New World alternatives that are superb value for money. For an Old World rival, Moscatel from Spain have a rich, sweet quality.

Why not try:

Château Les Justices 2005, Sauternes: Offering up aromas of pineapple, peaches and spring flowers this is a slightly lighter in style but no less sweet dessert wine, with a finely balanced palate.

Château du Seuil 2007, Cérons: A rich, luscious wine with a pronounced honeyed bouquet and fresh, citrus flavours.

Torres Moscatel Oro Floralis NV, Catalunya: A richly flavoured dessert wine from Cataluña that is luscious enough to match with almost any dessert.

Nederburg Winemakers Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2010 - In an interview with CellarVie Wines, Razvan Macici, the Nederburg cellarmaster since 2001, said: “Our traditions are founded on this wine; this is what we do best. This is what Nederburg are known for the world over.” Regularly championed during awards season, this beautiful wine smells of honey-comb, pineapple, dried apricots and bursts with rich, lush flavours.


Languedoc-Roussillon

The Daily Telegraph suggests “three delectable bottles of wine” from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Amongst the recommendations is a Picpoul - “Languedoc’s answer to Muscadet” - and while this area has suffered from over-production and mass produced wines emanating from the region, there still remains some delectable bottles that defy that gloomy forecast. 

CellarVie Wines: The Rare Vineyards range is amongst the most popular on CellarVie Wines and alongside the La Campagne wines, they have certainly helped reinvigorate the Languedoc-Roussillon as a winemaking region. Using innovative winemaking techniques that tend to champion indigenous grape varietals and using older vines that produce lower yields, the Rare Vineyards range is a collection of quality wines that are consistently fruit-driven, consumer-friendly and fantastic value for money. The Rare Vineyards Carignan Vieilles Vignes is a particular staff favourite and according to the producers UK Sales Manager, Peter Crameri, this wine typifies their ethos of reinvigorating previously staid varietals.

In an exclusive interview with CellarVie Wines, Crameri explained: “The Rare Vineyards Carignan Vieilles Vignes is perhaps one of the finest examples of what we are trying to do with the Rare Vineyards range. Historically, Carignan is one of the oldest grapes in the Languedoc, which of course used to produce France’s plonk, but because vast amounts of vineyards have been ripped out of the region in the last decade, largely Carignan and Grenache, it has remerged as something of a premium wine because of its scarcity.”


Why not try:

Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Sainte-Anne 2011 - Bright, fresh and with plenty of citrusy fruit, the Picpoul grape is increasingly seen on restaurant wine lists in the UK.

Rare Vineyards Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2011 - Effortlessly drinkable and superb value this wine is delightful on its own or perfect with roast lamb.

Rare Vineyards Marsanne-Viognier 2011, Pays d'Oc - A lively blend of white Rhône varieties which have been transplanted to the warm vineyards of the Languedoc in southern France.

La Campagne Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Pays d'Oc - Perhaps our best value Cabernet Sauvignon that has been purposefully vinified in a soft, fruity, easy to drink style similar to the New World. La Campagne combine classic winemaking techniques with contemporary innovation to provide a quality alternative to New World competition and traditional French wines and this one typifies their efforts.


Unusual spring delights

The Daily Mail’s Olly Smith recommends a number of spring delights that are slightly off the beaten track. A lively Portuguese number, a vibrant Greek white and a Spanish red wine made from Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre which are perhaps usually associated with the Rhone Valley rather than Valencia. Wines from Japan and Croatia also make Smith’s weekly column and his efforts to "...offer a chance to expand your lexicon of loveliness across the world of wine.” 

CellarVie Wines: The Daily Mail have endeavoured to enlighten their readers about unusual wines that stand up to their more vaunted counterparts. While we are a little shy of Japanese, Croatian and Greek equivalents to regale you with, our list does have a few unusual wines that worth taking a punt on.

Why not try:

Vinho Verde, Quinta de Azevedo 2011 - A lively, light and stimulating wine, with good acidity from the Minho region of Portugal.

Malbrontes Malbec-Torrontés, Mendoza, 2010/11 - The Malbrontes method of adding an astute dash of the highly aromatic Torrontés grape to the classically succulent Malbec varietal results in an even more fragrant and full-bodied red.

Mosaic Syrah-Cinsault-Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Musar, Bekaa Valley 2010 - A blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Cinsault and balanced by Cabernet Sauvignon; this deeply coloured and delicious Lebanese red wine comes from vineyards in the Aana region of the Bekaa Valley.

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Sparkling Shiraz NV, South-Eastern Australia - Dark in colour and with a touch of spice and rich berry-fruit, this sparkler will definitely surprise and works superbly with dark chocolate.

Nuhar Nero d'Avola-Pinot Noir Sicilia, Rapitalà 2008 - A delicious, if unusual blend, of the indigenous Nero d’Avola and the classic French grape Pinot Noir.
 
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

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