Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Cheap white Rhone and Aussie fizz

Chateau Saint Nabor Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2010
This is another bargain from our raid on the wine shelves of a couple of Intermarché supermarkets on our recent holiday in France. It is actually made by a "vigneron independent", Gérard Castor - i.e. not your average co-operative stuff - and does a more than passable impression of a rather good white Cotes du Rhone, offering delightfully fresh, vibrant aromas of apple, peach, lime and honeysuckle, with some distinctly minerally/flinty/smoky notes adding plenty more interest. It is quite herby, too - oregano and basil spring to mind. The palate isn't too shabby either - extremely fresh and immediately appealing, full of fruit and herb flavours, with a touch of richness countered by intensely zesty, limey acidity and a hint of warming spice on the (really quite persistent) finish. This is about the fifth different bottle I have opened from our little collection of bargain basement wines from Intermarché, and yet another that acquits itself very admirably indeed. They obviously have a very astute buying team. I don't remember the exact price, but it was around the 3.5 Euro mark - and another real success in terms of quality/price ratio. If only supermarket wines were so reliable in the UK.

Orlando Trilogy Sparkling Rosé - South-East Australia
What am I doing drinking Aussie fizz, you may ask. Well, since it cost me the princely sum of £4.95 per bottle from a local bin-end supplier, it was worth a punt on half a dozen bottles. And what is more, wines like this, from suppliers like this, will almost certainly have a year or two of bottle age, which in my book is always a good thing with Champagne - oops, sorry "tradional" - method sparklers. This one has a nice, slightly evolved onion-skin colour, but still possesses a healthy mousse. It is a bit reticent to begin with, perhaps needing to warm up a little after being refrigerated, but soon develops some nice aromas of fruits of the forest, citrus and a slight herbiness. The palate shows a touch of underlying richness, but is essentially quite dry and crisp, with really good acidity and contrasting flavours of bitter cherry and sweet redcurrant and a really decent, grippy/fruity finish. It isn't complex, but it is far from superficial. And it goes nice with a piece of soft, salty cheese and some home-made bread. Very nice, on a balmy, slightly sticky English summer's evening.

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