Winter Warmers, Part 2

The King is dead, long live the King! Or so the saying goes, a bit like Old World wines too.

It is still winter, certainly more so on the continent where the Barolo Hills are covered with a blanket of snow, or the frosty mornings cover most of Burgundy’s Grand Crus. The Old World is an amazing wine entity, keeping up with the trends and constantly reinventing itself although at its core it is still a traditional, deep rooted wine & vine land.

We are blessed today with a great variety of wines – some more traditional some rather eccentric – that sit shoulder to shoulder on our French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese shelves. There are a great number of winter warmers among them, starting with the aforementioned Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barolo, a mesmerizing violet perfumed plum and wild cherry that grips your taste buds and barely lets go. It comes from the big, round, dew laden Nebbiolo grapes that grow around the town of Alba – also famous for the dog hunted white truffles. Another big, hearty winter red comes to us from the sunnier Douro Valley in Portugal: Quinta da Gaivosa, Vinha de Lordelo, rich and punchy blackberry, cassis and dark mulberry with a vibrant eucalyptus minty note. The vineyard itself is surrounded by cedar trees, almost like an amphitheatre and its gnarly old vines have known the land for a little over 100 years. It is also one to keep! Coming closer to the classic land of Bordeaux, we delight ourselves with one of those new kings, Chateau Bouscaut Rouge, from Pessac-Leognan. It shines with its spicy, peppery cassis, mineral tones and a superb range of tannin, acidity and dark long lasting fruit. Not surprisingly it also leaves a soft, gentle chocolatey note, due to the small percentage of Malbec (a permitted grape variety) that gets added to the blend. Another one to keep!

France has more to offer to the warming red apothecary than just Bordeaux. The Romans knew this when they travelled up the Rhone, the slightly wild red grape growing there is the brawny, beefy Syrah, although it’s pale cousins Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne are somewhat keeping its masculine flavours in check. Fayolle Fils & Fille, Sens, Crozes-Hermitage is one of those powerful, yet elegant, examples inviting you with its bramble and pepper nose, followed by leather, animal skin and more dark forest fruits. The only thing missing is a rare steak!

We could not leave the Old World reds without a small trip to Spain. Up on the hills north-west of Tarragona, Priorat emerged as a great answer to the full bodied reds of the new world. Taking advantage of it’s well preserved, centenarian Garnacha (Grenache) vines. Planets de Prior Pons, Priorat is one of those wines that caresses the nose and palate with perfumed dark cherries and dried prunes – aromatic, silky and very moreish indeed. It packs some spice too, keeping in line with the other warmers of its kind. A very consistent wine by vintages!

With the hope that our short trip around the stalwart wine regions of Europe (Old World), and beyond, made your winter a bit warmer, we invite you to one of our shops where we have many more to offer.