Every month we will recommend wines for you to try, and we would love to hear what you think of them on our Princess and the Pinot Facebook Page or on Twitter @HYOwineclub #HYOwineclub
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For the first month of our new wine club, we are going to showcase two noble grape varieties: Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chardonnay suffers from an image problem that was introduced by the oaky Chardonnays of the 1990s. Many people still label themselves as ABCs (Anything But Chardonnays), but it’s time for that to end! Chardonnay is known as the “tart of grapes” because it can be made in any style you want – varying from earthy to fruity and from light to rich. In Burgundy and Italy Chardonnay wines tend to be earthy, and in the New World they tend to be fruity. I have chosen here to three quite different Chardonnays: from France, Spain and Mexico.
Florent Rouve Viré-Cléssé, Chardonnay, Burgundy, France
A crisp yet rounded dry white with peach, honeysuckle and citrus aromas followed by expressive fruit and mineral flavours. Enjoy this delicately oaked chardonnay lightly chilled with meaty white fish in cream sauces or chicken with wild mushrooms. This wine won best supermarket Chardonnay under £15 by Decanter 2016.
From M&S £14.50
Paso Prima is 100% Chardonnay in a fruity style, so should even appeal to ABCs (Anything But Chardonnay). This wine is full-bodied, rich with pineapple and mango, and a lime finish. It has been lightly oaked, giving it a slight nutty characteristic, and has a beautiful creamy texture. Very drinkable!
From Tanners £11.95
Quetzal, Chardonnay / Chenin Blanc, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Although Mexico has a hot climate, Valle de Guadalupe, just above the 30º latitude line, has a Mediterranean climate and is known as the ‘Napa Valley of Mexico’. This wine is heady with lemongrass, lime and a an oily texture, with a salty finish. In parts of Mexico, grapes are grown at high altitude to combat the heat.
From M&S £9.00
Cabernet Sauvignon from the Old World has more herbal and floral flavours such as violets and tobacco with less fruit present. A Bordeaux (Cab Sav / Merlot blend), will usually have hints of black cherries and liquorice along with some earthiness. Cab Sav from the New World are often more fruit-forward and you can also taste black cherry and liquorice, but this time with spicy black pepper and vanilla. The New World wines tend to have a little bit less tannin and acidity, and have more alcohol, due to greater sunshine hours.
Chateau Tour de Pez, Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux, France, 2011
Bordeaux is split into Left-Bank and Right-Bank. Left-Bank is closer to the Atlantic where Cabernet Sauvignon grows well, and Merlot thrives on the right-Bank. This luscious wine, although from the Left Bank is Merlot-rich, making it easy-drinking and ready to drink now. This particular vintage is a steal at <£10 from Aldi, when typically this wine would cost £20+.
From Aldi £9.99
A Tavola! Cabernat Suavingon, Lodi, California, USA
A full-bodied and rich wines, as you would expect from a Cab Sav but surprisingly fruity in style. This Californian Cabernet Sauvignon by director Francis Ford Coppola may have celebrity status, which might put some people off, but it certainly deserves the red carpet. Juicy dark fruts with buttered toast to finish.
From Laithwaites £15.99
Berton Vineyard, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia
Coonawarra in South Australia is just about the best region for New World Cab Sav, known for growing grapes on its strip of “terra rossa” soil. The 2014 vintage was rated as the best New World Cab Sav in Decanter magazine April 2017. Cherries and fresh blackberries with firm tannins and a lovely long length.
From wine-discovery.co.uk £14.75
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We hope you enjoy our recommendations, and please do let us know what you think on our Princess and the Pinot Facebook Page or on Twitter @HYOwineclub #HYOwineclub. To find out more about HYO wine club please visit www.princessandthepinot.com/hyo-club and we look forward to hearing from you!
We cannot guarantee availability and prices of wines at retailers, please check retailer websites for details.