SPRING will have just officially sprung by this time next week, and bargain bottles are popping up even faster than the seasonal flowers and the small army of frogs which has suddenly materialised in my garden pond.
It seems there’s nothing like spring in the air to galvanise retailers into action with special price offers, after the brief lull following the hectic Christmas period.
I tasted half a dozen wines from the Majestic Wine Warehouse, in Chichester, which must be one of very few thatched wine shops in the country – if not the only one.
Five of the six bottles are available at a reduced price until the end of March, if you buy two.
The other, Chateau Recougne Bordeaux Supérieur, is on offer until April 28. Minimum order at Majestic is six mixed bottles.
Overall, I really liked the quality of the half-dozen, and am happy to mention them all, in line with my usual policy of featuring only wines in the column which I would be happy to buy for my own consumption (and which I often do).
Pouilly-Fumé 2011 Jean-Vincent
One of my favourites in this small selection, and one which certainly put a seasonal spring in my step, was Pouilly-Fumé 2011 Jean-Vincent (12.5 per cent, down from £14.99 to £10.99), a stylish and very, very aromatic white, 100 per cent sauvignon blanc, grown in the central vineyards of the Loire Valley.
It’s made by a father and son team who are the 11th and 12th generations of a famous wine-making family based in Pouilly-sur-Loire.
This lovely wine has a mineral character, with lively gooseberry flavours.
Perfect as an apéritif, or to accompany fish or white meat dishes.
Chateau Recougne Bordeaux Supérieur 2010
Chateau Recougne Bordeaux Supérieur 2010 (14 per cent, down from £9.99 to £7.99) is a powerful, rich red made up of 75 per cent merlot, 15 per cent cabernet sauvignon and ten per cent cabernet franc.
It has a deep ruby colour and fulsome flavours of plums and blackcurrants, with hints of coffee and liquorice in the background.
The chateau has been producing wine for more than four centuries.
Cuné Rioja Crianza 2010
From France, across to Spain for Cuné Rioja Crianza 2010 (13.5 per cent, down from £9.99 to £6.66).
This is made from the tempranillo grape, the classic for rioja, plus some grenache, and produced by the fifth generation of the founders of the business.
It’s aged in oak casks for a minimum of one year, and for some months in the bottle before release.
The juicy cherry and blackberry flavours would go well with lamb chops, steaks, or good sausages, bringing a bit of Spanish sunshine to the dinner table.
Rachel’s Chenin Blanc 2013 Boschendal
Fruity and fresh are the keynotes of Rachel’s Chenin Blanc 2013 Boschendal (13.5 per cent, down from £8.99 to £5.99).
Produced and bottled in a coastal region of South Africa, it is named after a local spring.
There are ripe, tropical fruit tastes, with hints of honey and nuts, and aromas of mango. Very good value at the reduced price, I thought.
Louis Jadot Chateau des Jacques
Now to two offerings from my favourite burgundy producer – one red, one white.
Louis Jadot Chateau des Jacques Bourgogne Cjhardonnay 2011 (12.5 per cent, down from £14.99 to £9.99) is a pretty sound buy for around a tenner.
It’s a delicious white burgundy, with a fine, creamy character.
There are ripe apples, and a touch of vanilla from oak barrels.
A noble accompaniment for shellfish or classic French cheeses like unpasteurised Camembert, Bresse Bleu, or Pié d’Angloys.
A real bargain at around a tenner
The chateau, once a resting place on a pilgrims’ route, was bought by Jadot in 1996.
It’s next to the world-famous vineyards of Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon.
Louis Jadot Les Pierres Rouges Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2010 (12.5 per cent, down from £14.99 to £9.99) offers the classic burgundy grape in a generously flavoured, mouthwatering wine, with cherries and a silky-smooth texture. There is considerable depth and complexity, which I guess were further enhanced by ageing in oak.
I enjoyed drinking a glass by itself, but would also love it with a roast or game dishes, particularly braised pheasant.
A great new release
A NEW vintage release has just been announced pre-spring, and for me it was an interesting discovery – the first product I have tasted from the Madiran – a small French wine region on the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Plaimont Producteurs Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2010 (13 per cent, £11.99, Tesco) is made from three grape varieties typical of this area – tannat, providing richness, cabernet sauvignon, putting in its distinctive blackcurrant notes, and cabernet franc, contributing a dash of blackberries.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first encounter with a Madiran wine – dry, smooth and very fruity, with a striking dark purple colour.
The 2010 vintage was reported to follow a cool summer, and good weather throughout the grape-picking.
The result was said to be ‘optimal ripeness.’
The wine spent a year ageing in stainless steel vats, and ten per cent in oak barrels.
It’s absolutely right for drinking now, but will keep for up to four years.