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Wine: Six to be savoured

01 August 2014

by Christopher Fielden


I HAVE recently returned from two weeks' holiday on the Isles of Scilly. With a view to doing some work whilst I was there, I asked a local wine merchant to send me six wines - three red, two white, and one rosé - that he considered suitable for summer drinking. These are the wines that were chosen for me.

The first white wine was a Vinho Verde from Portugal, Quinta da Aveleda 2013 (£8.49). This is an estate of 160 hectares, which belongs to one of the country's leading wine families, the Guedes. This is their "estate" wine (they produce a number of others), and is a blend of mainly Loureiro grapes, together with two other local specialities: the Trajadura, and Alvarinho.

There is scarcely any wine that is better suited to hot-weather drinking, as it is, by today's standards, comparatively low in alcohol at 11.5%, and has a fresh lemony flavour and a light sparkle. This is a wonderful estate to visit, with beautiful gardens, and is easily accessible.

The second white wine was a Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d'Oc, from the south of France: the Domaine de Valensac 2013 (£7.14). I must admit that this was my least favourite wine of the six, largely because my palate currently appears to dislike this style of wine. It was, however, greatly appreciated by a guest, who joyfully consumed the best part of a bottle by himself. What he appreciated was the lack of aggressive flavours of gooseberries so common to this grape-variety.

The rosé wine Domaine Pique-Roque, Vin de Pays des Maures, 2012 (£8.04) is a delightful pale salmon pink in colour, the classic shade of rosé wines from Provence. Indeed, this estate is perhaps better-known for its Côtes de Provence wine, which has a high reputation; and for the fact that its owners have their origins in the vineyards of Burgundy. On first taste, the wine seemed dull, but it opened out into great grapey mouthfuls - an ideal partner, my wife said, for the local fish and chips.

A newcomer to me was the first of the red wines, Faunus, Primitivo di Manduria 2012 (£8.59). The grape I knew to be the same as the Zinfandel of California, but I had to consult my reference books to find that it comes from the instep of Italy, close to the city of Taranto. The flavour was of ripe black cherries, infused with smoke. A good accompaniment to picnic cold-cuts.

With more finesse of flavour was the Viña Herminia Preferido Rioja Crianza Viñas Viejas 2010 (£8.34). This wine is the result of the coming together of the sherry producer Caballero and a group of local growers. It has the classic juicy red fruit flavours of the Tempranillo grape married to the harmony achieved by barrel-ageing. This could be served lightly chilled.

The final wine was a blockbuster that might be better in the bleak midwinter: the full-bodied Ch. La Courançonne Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages 2011. A great wine that I am holding back.

If you are taking a holiday in Cornwall this summer, see what wineincornwall.co.uk can offer you.

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