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Vinformation – Chin Chin & Great Value Wines #2

Cheers! Santé! Salud! Or is it Chin Chin?

Well, it’s certainly Chin Chin (as opposed to Cin Cin) at Songbird Wines at the moment as we have just had our first delivery of this joyfully named Vinho Verde that has made quite a splash at some of London’s coolest bars. It is a joint venture between Quinta do Ermizio and Noble Rot, the revered London restaurant much loved by ‘wine-ies’ and publisher of the eponymous quarterly wine magazine. This wine is ethically made using a blend of the Loureiro, Arinto and Trajadura grapes and then aged for a short period in stainless steel tanks to maintain its freshness. It’s as fresh as a daisy and as dry as a bone, bursting with green apple, pear and nectarine flavours with a nice touch of salinity on the finish. Enjoy with a small plate of seafood, a bowl of olives or just on its own as you put your feet up after a hard day at the office (even if that is still your kitchen). Fans of bright, fresh and racy white wines with a slight spritz will be jumping for joy as they take their first sip of this, and anyone that’s a sucker for a great label will be equally excited, as this has one of the coolest on the market.

2021 Chin Chin Vinho Verde, Quinta do Ermizio, Portugal @ £11.25 – get it whilst it lasts….

Great Value Wines #2

This week here’s my pick of great value wines from Spain, France, Portugal and another very ‘quaffable’ white from South Africa.

Whites

2020 Fuenteseca Macabeo/Sauvignon Blanc, Utiel-Requena, Spain @ £8.75

Made a few miles inland from Valencia by one of the pioneers of organic farming in Spain, this is a fresh and fruity organic white with a dash of Sauvignon Blanc from Utiel-Requena where vineyards are located 900 metres above sea level. Lightly aromatic, with white peach and jasmine on the nose, as well as delicate herbaceous notes and citrus. The palate is textured with fresh and zesty citrus fruit acidity, mineral notes and a clean, crisp finish.

2021 Les Oliviers Sauvignon Blanc/Vermentino, Pays d’Oc, France @ £7.75 

This is Songbird Wines’ bestselling white wine although the majority of it is sold to restaurants and bars. The secret of its success is quite simple – it’s just so good for the money. They say you can’t please everyone, but this goes a long way towards doing so. It has the grassy, gooseberry fruit that pleases lovers of Sauvignon Blanc but then some ripeness and a touch of spice that appeals to those that prefer something more rounded.

2020 Les Volets Chenin Blanc, Pays de la Haute Valée de l’Aude, Roussillon, France @ £9.00

I’m a big lover of Chenin Blanc from all over the world but it’s always good to return to those from France. It’s the Loire that is most associated with this grape but for value you cannot beat this one from the south. It comes from vineyards at the foot of the Pyrenees that are high enough in altitude to have cooler nights giving the grapes excellent freshness. There’s wonderful ripeness and texture here which is accentuated by the part vinification and maturation in French oak casks. Citrussy, herbal and mineral and an excellent partner to lightly spiced dishes.

2020 Percheron Chenin Blanc/Viognier, W.O, Western Cape, South Africa @ £7.75

More Chenin here but this time blended with some luscious Viognier. The blend is 75/25 respectively and some of the Chenin is wild yeast fermented and aged on the lees for an extended period to add complexity. Vibrant and aromatic with delicious subtle perfumed aromas of stone fruit and hints of jasmine. On the palate it has fleshy white peach and apricot flavours with a bright acidity that gives it its extra ‘quaffability’.

Reds

2020 Pedrera Monastrell, Paco Mulero, Jumilla, Spain @ £8.25

Is there a better value red wine around than this? Well, it’s an enjoyable challenge to have but in eight years I still haven’t found one. Even though this now sits above the £8 per bottle threshold, it is still worth every penny. It’s from vines that are over 25 years old and has ripeness, complexity and balance that betrays its modest price tag. Irresistible aromas of dark red cherry, ripe plum and touches of mocha. The plush, brambly fruit and soft tannin makes this as equally delicious on its own as it is with a spicy pizza or casserole.

2015 Castillo de Calatrava Tempranillo Reserva DO, La Mancha, Spain @ £8.25

A superb Rioja Reserva style in everything but name. Vinicola de Castilla is a modern and dynamic winery located in the heart of La Mancha in Manzanares. This is aged for 18 months in both American and French oak and then a further 2 years in bottle. Aromas of mature red fruits and black cherry with hints of coffee and light spice. Deliciously smooth on the palate with beautiful ripe fruit and soft tannins. Wonderful structure and finesse for a wine at this price – I’ve tasted Riojas at twice the cost that don’t match this quality.

2019 Domaine Mas Barrau Cabernet Franc, Pays du Gard, Rhone, France @ £9.25

Textured and luxurious this is a sophisticated Cabernet Franc from Gard. There is a wild ‘after the rain’ woodland perfume. The palate is incredibly long and layered with bramble fruit, bay and a touch of sweet prune on the finish.

2019 Quatro Ventos, Douro, Portugal @ £8.75

This powerful red from the fabled terraced vineyards of Quinta dos Quatro Ventos is a perfect example of why Portugal is such a player in the sub £10 a bottle league. Ripe plum, blackberry compote, hints of liquorice and warm spice on the nose, whilst the palate offers dark plum, pepper and spice, and ripe rounded tannins.

2019 Alabastro Alentejano, Aliança, Vinhos de Portugal @ £8.75

The second in a brace of marvellous Portuguese reds is fruity, spicy, fresh and approachable. Lifted aromas of blackcurrant and blueberries, the palate is bright and well-defined with layers of black cherry, plum and dark spice, over ripe tannins. Asking me if I prefer this to the Quatro Ventos is like asking a Beatles fan if they prefer Revolver or Sgt. Pepper – it depends on the mood, but both are brilliant in their own way.

All wines are available for immediate delivery. You can order the wines either via the website or emailing orders@songbirdwine.co.uk

Cheers!

Jonny Wren, Songbird in chief

 

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