This week I’ll be reviewing wines from Tindal’s Portfolio tasting in two parts. This is the problem with having too many favourites, brevity becomes a hopeless aim! As it happens, I’ve only mentioned reds here but these are all very suitable wines for this time of the year - rich and warmly spiced.

A brief note on Tindal’s introduction to their 2019/2020 wine list before we get onto the wines. As I read through their tasting brochure I was surprised to see that even the most prominent and traditional importers have to acknowledge the demand for natural, ‘clean’ wines from both a market and an environmental perspective. They point out that many producers in their portfolio have always leaned closely to a minimal intervention approach, even before the certifications for organic and biodynamic became de rigeur. Good producers generally take great care of their land because they intuitively understand the importance of terroir(indigenous grapes and soil, native yeasts, organic fertilizer). Many of the wines in their Portfolio are organic and biodynamic certified and out of those I tasted, none showed anything off-beat. These are all very orthodox in style proving that wine needn’t succumb to the current gastronomical trend for natural-tasting wine which can require some palate readjustment, to put things politely! The following are all interesting, timeless wines.

“Trends come and go: Many of our producing partners have been farming for generations and will continue for many more; they aren’t swayed by short-term fads”

Something Fragrant:

One such example is the Clos des Quarterons vineyard which has been a part of the Amirault family for six generations and is currently 100% certified organic. They also practice biodynamic farming. For anyone who doesn’t know, Bourgueil must, by law, contain approximately 90% Cabernet Franc, a grape who is father to the more rugged, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon and I find it to be one of the most interesting varieties to taste. Both of the Bourgueils were a thrill to try - perfumed and precise. Their first wine, ‘Les Quarterons’, is unoaked. Black fruit and violet aromas waft liberally from the glass. The purity and concentration is remarkable considering a very bad frost destroyed 90% of their yield in 2016. The second wine ‘Vielles Vignes’ is lightly oaked and fuller in body(the grapes come from old vines with an average age of 55 years). The result is a deep, dense and spicy character. Both wines show fresh acidity and distinct floral aromas. Drink with lighter meats like chicken, pork and lamb to retain the wine’s fragrance. A young sweet cheese would pair well too(I love Schnebelhorn! - a decadent cream-infused Swiss cheese from high altitudes).

Something Classic:

Moving eastwards to Tuscany, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed by Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2015, the almighty Tignanello’s 2nd Cru. Notably soft and smooth, the representative at the table informed me that Marchesi Antinori is credited with ‘taming Sangiovese’. The fruit shows signs of maturity with dried black fruit(prunes, baked juicy raisins) showing up on the nose and palate, accompanied by savoury(pepper), metallic and saline qualities. An intriguing, complex blend of flavour and a pity to spit out! Pair with a rich Italian tomato sauce like a slow cooked Ragu or a vegetarian porcini and lentil alternative.

Something Interesting: Tasting the Prunotto Barbaresco(2015) was a learning curve for me. The flavours are unique, less familiar and quite difficult to pin down. The colour is garnet, almost copper and very clear. Apparently this is typical of the Nebbiolo skin. Stewed red fruit flavour predominates, particularly strawberry accompanied by cardamom-like spice from the oak. Although this is quite full bodied, the grapes go through a de-stemming process removing many of the bitter tannins. I mostly associate Nebbiolo with the prestigious Barolo(tannic, earthy, ‘masculine’) so I was pleasantly surprised to try a Barbaresco. If anyone would like a very approachable introduction to Nebbiolo, you should start here!

In the next post, I’ll review two very different whites, Castello della Sala Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Arvine Domaine Rene Favre et Fils and two single varietals from Clos Centeilles in Minervois. As always, if any of these wines peak your interest, get in touch with us over the phone or pop into our store on Chatham Street.

Vineyards of Prunotto