Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008 Waipara Valley, New Zealand
This is another wine sent to me by Staurt Travers at Cambridge Wines - and another real winner, I have to say. The nose is a gloriously fresh combination of gooseberry, lemon, elderflower and mineral. The merest hint of tropical fruit perhaps betrays this wine's new world origins, but it would otherwise be easy (if tasted blind) to mistake it for a very good white Bordeaux or - given that the Sauvignon seems to dominate - Sancerre. The flavours offer a beautifully focused and zingy combination of gooseberry, lime and bramley apple, with a subtle hint of peach countering the tartness, whilst a strong mineral streak adds a touch of depth and complexity. The finish is long and fresh. New Zealand continues to go from strength to strength, and this is a fine example of what it can do with a classic French blend. Lovely stuff, which more than held it's own against the house lamb curry.
Rolly Gassmann Riesling 2007 Alsace
This is the last in a trilogy of wines I now list from the latest relases from this fine Alsace grower - and another real winner, in my book. As a lover of the German "fruchtighe" style of Riesling, I often struggle to appreciate the more robust, dry style of Alsace Riesling. But this one ticks all of my boxes. It has a wonderfully expressive nose, combining lemon, peach, apple and grape skins with a really pronounced, up-front wet stone/mineral quality. The palate has an earthy richness to it, with a sweet, almost cider apple quality, offset by zesty lemon and lime flavours, and again a palpable streak of minerality. The aromas and flavours continue to grow in the glass, in a wine of real complexity, finesse and great length. Although an absolute joy to drink now, it promises much for those who are patient enough to cellar it for a few more years. Boy, I love these Rolly Gassman wines! £14.99.
Mullineux Straw Wine 2009 Swartland, South Africa
I've heard some good things about this grower, and especially this particular wine, so was really looking forward to trying it. The colour is a dark orange/brown, whilst the nose has intense orange marmalade and toffee apple aromas, with a touch of grapiness. But such is the intensity of these aromas, I really am struggling to pick out any subtle nuances. The texture in the mouth is almost like treacle - and so, unfortunately, is the taste. Nobody could ever accuse the Chenin Blanc variety of lacking acidity, but what acidity there is in this wine proves to be woefully inadequate in balancing the shockingly concentrated, almost painfully sweet flavours the palate has to offer. I was expecting sweet and sour and tangy, but all I get is sweet. I have always had a sweet tooth (and have spent many a painful hour in the dentist's chair as a result) so a love of sweet wines is one of my weaknesses. And, to use a muscical/satirical analogy, I've even been known to like the occasional wine that goes up to eleven. Unfortunately, this one is all bass and no treble.