Following on from wednesday’s post with a few more recommendations from Tindal’s 2019 Portfolio.

Beginning with another gem from the mighty Antinori empire: Conte della Vipera 2016 comes from Castello della Sala, a medieval hilltop manor in Umbria. This is a refreshing blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the typical White Bordeaux duo, and a reminder of their chemistry as a blending pair. The savoury, herbaceous quality of Sauvignon Blanc is tamed by the weightier Semillon which lends its golden colour, body(alcohol) and rich tropical fruit. Semillon can sometimes overpower but not here. Instead it barely makes itself known, playing a secondary role in balancing its zesty partner. The end result is a bone dry wine with bright acidity and sour-citrus flavours(grapefruit and lemon). The wine’s pronounced salinity is thought to be influenced from the marine fossils in the soil - it’s the first thing you’ll notice! Locals might drink this with freshwater trout from the Umbrian mountains but Irish rainbow trout will do the job, both cheap and in-season! Try grilled with lemon and rock salt. Or perhaps Umbricelli(Umbrian tagliatelle) with lemon and artichokes...

Moving onto something quite different altogether: Petite Arvine 2017 from Domaine Rene Favre et fils. Petite Arvine is an indigenous grape from Switzerland which reminds me of Gewurztraminer with its aromas of spiced ginger, grapefruit and honey. On the palate, honey fades to peach, balanced with delicate acidity and a distinct mineral undertone. This is a wine for Asian cuisine like chicken or tofu with plum and ginger sauce. A boutique wine for those of you who like to veer off the beaten track.

Deep in the heart of the Petit Causse, the most western part of the Languedoc, lies Clos Centeilles. Patricia Boyer-Domergue is the leading force here, quoted to be “allergic to classic” according to her very charismatic daughter, Cecile, a reference to her mother’s bold and innovative wine-making choices. For instance she chose against the use of oak to mature both the single varietals Carignan and Cinsault because she believes the grapes have plenty of character as they are. Generally these grapes are blended with other Languedoc varieties(by law in the region) but once minimum quantities are met, producers can choose to make limited editions using single varietals. Boyer-Domergue also decides to press a portion of her barrels using the traditional punching down with feet(pigeages), an image which always reminds me of Pretty Woman.

‘Carignanissime’ 2014 is 100% Carignan from bush vines up to 100 years old. Also known as Gobelet pruning(the way the Romans pruned!), the vines are trained down to a short trunk and are pruned to a few spurs arranged in a sort of circle like the shape of a goblet. The bush, which is low to the ground, creates a canopy shading the grapes from harsh sunlight. This results in a smaller crop and grapes with much more concentration! The grapes are handpicked and the wine contains no yeasts or sulphites - none! The character is rustic but fruity with flavours of licorice root and ripe red fruit(raspberries, strawberries) with rich, round tannins.

If you prefer something a little more herbal, the ‘Campagne de Centeilles’ 2012 is an option. Produced from 95% cinsault, the grapes here are destemmed and pressed by foot(pigeages). The colour is garnet and deep with dried mint and liquorice coming up on the palate. This is rich and spicy and would pair well with a roast dinner(beef with thyme and madeira sauce). Beetroot being both sweet and earthy would work as a vegetarian base, maybe in a tart with goat’s cheese and sage.

And that’s a wrap! As always, get in touch if you need any more information on the wines mentioned.