From one of the finest fizz I’ve tasted in a while to moreish, big white wine sunk alongside moreish Greek meze, here’s my week in wine.
On Tuesday afternoon at the Novel Wines shop in Bath, Gyorgy, Elena and I met with our new shop manager Deniz. Getting us all in one place is no easy task nowadays, so we eyed up a series of Brazilian wine samples that had been curated by Nic Corfe for our “Drink Pink” promotion we run annually in March.
As Tuesday was a bit of a dreary day outside and it was cold in the shop, we all fancied a little glass of sunshine. What better way than a nice rose?
We kicked off with the Campos de Cima Irene Antonietta Rosé 2017 (c. £10.00, rated ★☆☆), a Brazilian blend of Malbec, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from Campanha Gaúcha. The wine is named after the winery owner’s maternal grandmother Irene Antonietta, who was particularly passionate about wine. It’s a little peachy on the nose but fresh with honeysuckle and crushed cranberries on the palate with the warm notes of peach coming through with the alcohol on the finish. It’s only 11% abv but you can feel the warmth, so perhaps we should have chilled it more? Nevertheless, the wine was quite good and would be a pleasant choice next to a pizza topped with ham and buffalo mozzarella.
More exciting for me was the Don Guerino Sinais Malbec Rosé 2017 (£12.50, rated ★★☆) from Alto Feliz in the Serra Gaúcha region. The rich overtures of Malbec fruit come through in ripe, jammy strawberries and the finish is fresh, lifted by bright pops of citrus. The only grating issue for me was the price. OK, so this is the same fruit that goes into Guerino’s fantastic red Vintage Malbec, but if you’re splashing out on rose it needs to do more than be a bright, fruity party piece in my opinion.
Where Brazilian rose wine really works: in the pink fizz
We tasted three different sparkling wines from Brazil. The first was again made from Guerino’s Malbec fruit in the well-priced Don Guerino Brut Rosé Malbec NV (c. £14.00, rated ★★☆). It might be a Brut (dry wine) but the fruit is so sun-ripened you get lots of strawberry, so for me this fizz is only very good when served ice cold.
So let’s go to the real stars of the show: Cave Geisse. If you want to try sparkling wine from Brazil, this is what it’s all about. A commendable, fruity fizz in the form of Familia Geisse Amadeu Brut Rosé 2016 (c. £19, rated ★★☆) is a mix of ripe fruits and soft mousse, accentuated by hints of toasty brioche. However, the star is the Geisse Brut Rosé Terroir 2010 (£33, rated Pick! ★★★), which is a traditional method sparkling with 36 months on the lees. 100% Pinot Noir and a delicate pink colour, on the palate this oozes flavour with creamy summer berries, brioche, toast and a delicate, persistent fizz. Remarkable and better than a lot of pink Champers I’ve tasted recently.
After our rose bonanza on Tuesday, I next opened the Heimann Kadarka 2017 (£18.99, rated ★★☆) from Szekszard, Hungary, on Weds evening. I’m a big fan of Kadarka, especially with food, because it’s light with great acidity but always with a depth of fruit I really enjoy. Some Pinot Noirs at similar price points (£15-£20) just don’t have the character of the Kadarka I’ve tried and I often have to spend more on Pinot Noir. The Kadarka was cracked open with smoky chilli enchiladas and it went down a treat.
On Thursday I met Aaron from Woodchester Valley Vineyard for lunch at Henry’s in Bath. Henry’s is one of my favourite places to go. He is an exceptional chef who has mastered a non-pretentious fine dining experience. The three courses I devoured began with a creamy parfait and melt in your mouth pigeon starter, which was followed by a gorgeous roast brill fish on top of black pudding risotto that I could die for. The dessert I chose was kaffir lime panna cotta with poached pear. Mouth watering yet? We washed it all down with the Woodchester Valley Vineyard Bacchus 2018 (£15, rated ★★☆) , which is an intensely aromatic dry white with gooseberry and lime notes. I also had a glass of the simple but enjoyable Domaine du Peras Sauvignon Blanc 2015 from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon.
The best Greek food in Bath
Yesterday one of my oldest friends came up to Bath with his new girlfriend so the other half and I met them for dinner at Jars Meze. My word this place makes some of the best food I eat these days. Gigantes beans tossed in proper Greek olive oil and tomato sauce, spicy Greek sausage baked with juicy bell peppers, cheesy Feta and courgette frittas, and smoky aubergine Melitzanosalata dip just to name a few. Also, although I’m not a fan, my other half loves the Dolmades here, too.
So what do you drink when you end your week at Jars Meze in the company of good friends? We went for a chilled bottle of Chateau Nico Lazaridi Magic Mountain White 2018 (c. £10 in Greece, rated ★★☆), a 100% Sauvignon Blanc vinified at Lazaridi in the shadow of Mount Pangeon near Kavala in north-east Greece.
Normally I don’t drink Sauvignon Blanc, but this is a weighty style with a puckering palate of zingy citrus over passion fruit, melon and pineapple notes. It cuts through the salty Feta while standing up to the rich sauces and complementing the fruity olive oil. It was finished quickly.
The night ended with a cleansing shot of Ouzo and cranberry juice, which I’d recommend as any after dinner digestif, and what followed is hardly suitable for a wine blog but let’s just say I contributed to Guinness’ back pocket quite a few times before stumbling home.
Have a great Sunday!