Wine of The Month – May

April showers bring forth May flowers

English proverb

The weather so far in May has been mixed to say the least with the wettest drought any of us can remember and any occasional sunny days being distinctly chilly.

So, this month’s recommended wines from our local independents are an appropriately varied mixture.

La Fornace Gavi 2010 – Joseph Barnes Wines, £10.00

From a small estate Italy’s Piedmont, this Gavi is an example of a well-made modern Italian white with a traditionally fashionable-but-overpriced label. Made from the Cortese grape, it initially seems straightforward and lemony with orchard fruit on the palate, but with a bit of time and air, it really opens up and shows a great leesy depth of flavour and balanced acidity with some grapeskin yeastiness.

It’s the kind of Italian white that makes me think of wild mushrooms in a creamy sauce with freshly-made yellow egg pasta as an accompaniment; it has the body and depth to stand up to rich, hearty peasant food, but also the acidity to cut through heavy, indulgent sauces.

Lovely, really well-made and balanced.

Orion Wines ‘E Solo’ Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2010 – Noel Young Wines, £7.99

Staying in Italy, this ‘E Solo’ from Noel Young proved incredibly popular a few weeks ago at an in-store tasting. Sealed under screwcap, on first opening it seems full of simple ripe, up-front berry fruit.

With just a bit of air, though, it becomes more complex and interesting, with typically Italian cherry fruit, but also chocolate and some smokiness and oak.

The palate remains ripe, rounded and balanced and over the course of a few days, the nose develops an interesting Pinot-esque mix of vegetal and sour cherry aromas.

Match with tomato-based meaty pasta dishes.

Weingut Werner Mueller Trabener Wuerzgarten Riesling Hochgewaechs 1997, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer – Cambridge Wine Merchants, £12.25

It’s said that life’s too short for a German wine label, but to the initiated, they do really tell you everything you need to know about the wine’s provenance.

This Riesling from Werner Mueller is from the beautiful Mosel valley – the vineyard is wuerzgarten (“spice garden”) in the village of Traben

Starting with the basics, it is a classic Mosel Riesling, with a developed, petrolly nose, pure lemon-lime fruit, and a sweet-sour palate; it is distinctly off-dry, but this is balanced by the high acidity.

Focused, pure and fresh, yet also rounded, balanced and gentle, it is an elegant and superbly well-made wine to fall quietly in love with.

It is light enough to be a garden sipper or match the sweetness and acidity to seafood such as smoked salmon, prawns or sushi. Avoid heavy sauces and don’t overchill the wine – an hour in the fridge is plenty.

It is worth noting that this is technically the best wine here; if you are already a wine geek, you won’t need me to tell you how good aged Mosel Rieslings are, but if you are new to this sort of thing and wondering what all the fuss is about, this is as good a place as any to start.

If off-dry German wines were not so generally unfashionable, this wine would probably cost at least twice what it actually does.

Diez Siglos 2011 Rueda Verdejo – Bacchanalia, £6.99

Unlike Germany, Spain is super-cool in wine making terms right now and just keeps getting better. Yet its lesser-known regions and grapes still remain a great source of well-made, good value wines.

The Verdejo grape originated in North Africa and was brought to Spain around 1,000 years ago; by contrast Diez Siglos, a group of around 70 small-to-medium producers, was formed in 2010.

Aromatic and minerally on the nose, there are aromas of cut grass with hints of fennel; on the palate, the acidity is poised, rounded and balanced by a touch of ripe sweetness of fleshy stone fruit.

The finish is long, minerally and aromatic – a lovely, well-made wine that is great value. Versatile and food friendly, it will match especially well with goat’s cheese or pasta with pesto.

Recommended Wine

Given the uncertainty of the weather this month, it’s very hard to know what to recommend for May drinking, but based on what we have had so far, I suggest some rich, comforting autumnal food matched with a bottle of the wonderful Gavi from Joseph Barnes

Image credit: http://www.ilankelman.org/floodphotos.html

Copyright Tom Lewis 2012

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About Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis is a wine writer and educator from Cambridge with a particular interest in Austria and France. His comments have been published on JancisRobinson.com, Local Wine Events, as well as in the local press in his hometown of Cambridge, UK. When it comes to buying wine, Tom’s philosophy is to buy as close as possible to where it comes from. He writes a regular blog, the Cambridge Wine Blogger which launched in 2009 and is a presenter for the Cambridge Food and Wine Society. To read more of Tom’s work, please check out cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.com
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