With Easter just around the corner, here are a few perfect wines for catching up with friends and family.
The Party Bubbles.
Blanc de Blancs Hindleap Brut Bluebell Vineyard Estates Sussex 2014
If you have never tried an English wine before – now is your opportunity.
The vineyards of England are generally located in the warmer southern counties where the milder influences of the gulf stream have an important effect, as our northern hemisphere vineyards need a longer cooler growing season than in Europe to produce top quality grapes. More than 500 vineyards are in production across the UK and bottled annual sales has reached 3 million bottles, with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bacchus the most planted varieties.
The original 4ha of Bluebell Vineyards were planted in 2005 with the desire to produce high quality English sparkling wines. Situated on the fringes of the Ashdown Forest on sandstone soils, there are now 10 ha under vine, predominantly Pinot Noir and the classic Champagne varieties with some experimental Riesling and Gewurztraminer. The vines are carefully nurtured and hand harvested before small bath fermentation. Blending the wines before the second fermentation and ageing for a minimum nine months(13 months in practise) imparts a distinct imprint of terroir to the Champagne quality.
The vibrant Blanc de Blancs uses the estate`s best Chardonnay grapes slowly matured to capture a fine mousse and crisp citrus palate preceded by aromas of quince, brioche and elderflower.
The Roast Dinner.
Rioja Reserva Fincas de Azabache 2013.
A proper Easter weekend roast requires an exceptional fruity red. I recommend our Azabache Rioja Reserva to partner roasted red meat, going particularly well with a good bit of British roast Lamb.
Fincas de Azabache is a state of the art cooperative, founded in December 1956. The Bodegas now owns 2600 hectares of vineyards at the foot of Mount Yerga, in the dry region of the Rioja Baja. With limited risk of rot, it is an area conducive to the principles of organic viticulture, to which the Bodegas is firmly and successfully committed. The cooperative have recently invested heavily in a new winery, the fruits of which we are now seeing.
Rioja Reserva is made only in the best vintages, it is well balanced with a soft seductive character typical of the Tempranillo and Graciano grapes used in the blend. It is aged for at least three years in oak and in bottle before release. Azabache Reserva exhibits intense plummy fruits on the nose with hints of blackberries, mulberries, vanilla, spice on the soft and well rounded palate.
The Garden party.
Coteaux d`Aix en Provence Rose `Chateau Paradis` 2015
Praying that the scorching weather continues, this weekend is the perfect opportunity for a lovely cold glass of rosé.
The Château Paradis estate covers 185 acres in the northern part of Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, in the village of Le Puy Sainte Réparade. The estate is in the midst of a range of legendary landscapes, which the famous painters of Provence used to depict.
The property was created by Jacques Héon (founder of Jacques’ Wein-Depot), who was charmed by the landscape. An old plot of vines called “Paradis” gave its name to the vineyard. The property became a winery in 2003 thanks to Philippe and Juliette Deschamps, who built a cellar and restored the bastide. Since 2011 the Thiéblin family, proud of their Provençal heritage, has been focused on bringing out the best in the estate. In 2012 they extended the vineyard with 123 additional acres. These new vineyard plantings and cellar investment have ensured that the recent vintages have really shone and they have been well rated by the Guide Hachette (France`s top wine guide).
Aix-en-Provence and its surrounding hills are home to many fantastic producers of Rose wines. Rich and intense on the nose, the Chateau Paradis rose offers perfumed aromas of flowers, pear and citrus. In the mouth, the wine is well balanced with red fruit flavours and a fresh acidity. Round in the mouth with a long and fruity finish.
For the Wine lover.
Viognier Backsberg Hillside 2014
We’ve all been there, that one relative who likes to think they know about wine and you want to impress. I always recommend going for something a bit different. This Viognier from Backsberg in South Africa is bound to impress someone who wants something a little bit different!
Founded in 1916, this wonderful estate is located below `The Little Tower of Babylon` on the steep hillside vineyards in Paarl. This prominent producer has been at the forefront of quality wine production for many years. Currently under the stewardship of third generation Michael Back, they are making considerable waves in the international market. Recently achieving carbon neutral status, the first in South Africa. They constantly strive to produce the highest quality grapes using natural and organic principles. Alicia Rechner is back at the helm as winemaker and is well supported by viticulturalist Clive Trent.
The Babylons Toren range of wines have been created to show the pinnacle that can be achieved from the best located and low yielding vineyards on the estate. This Viognier is barrel fermented and left on its lees for six months to gain a rich buttery texture, cinnamon and hazelnut complexity, balanced with exotic apricot and peach flavours. Full bodied and weighty on the palate, there is a delightful creamy lees influence on the finish. Gold medal winner at the Swiss International Wien Awards.
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