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The Lizard Chardonnay Vin de Pays d'Oc 2012

No, not from Oz as you might think, but from France. For decades Languedoc-Roussillon was a vast sink of mediocre wines which filled the EU wine lake. Around ten years ago the light dawned that it didn’t have to be this way. Trained winemakers and viticulturists realised that it was a perfect region for producing high quality wines and that inappropriate varieties, lack of investment and a rather parochial attitude was all that was holding the area back. Lazy Lizard is produced from the chardonnay grape variety, and allegedly the vineyard lizards love to bask in the warmth of the late summer sun, which slowly ripens the chardonnay grapes to their full maturity, producing a zingy wine, full of flavours of grapefruit, melon and green apples. The open fruity style hasn’t needed any oak overlay and more than matches the Aussie competition at this price.


Marktree Semillon/Sauvignon 2012

A blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon Blanc , the cool fruit aromas from the Sauvignon Blanc and richness and weight from the Semillon combine to provide peach and tropical fruit flavours on the palate. A soft creamy mouthfeel, real fruit concentration and good length on the finish combine to make this an appealing wine, and fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel ensures it retains its fresh fruit character. Delicious as an aperitif, or serve with roast chicken and pasta salads.

Domaine du Pre Baron Sauvignon Blanc 2012

If you are one of the large number of fans of assertive Sauvignon Blanc, then this is the wine for you. The classic Sauvignon nose of hedgerows and blackcurrant leaf lead into a hugely concentrated mouthful of rich gooseberry flavour.  It is a very ripe vintage and the wine is more than a match for its more expensive neighbours in Menetou Salon or Sancerre.

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Clos Bagatelle Quatre Vents 2009 £7.50

A well judged blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Roussanne, Chardonnay and  Muscat, the grapes are pressed gently with a pneumatic press and the fermentation occurs at a low temperature to maximise the fruit flavours.  There is a pretty floral nose, the palate is bursting with grapey flavours and there is long aftertaste with enticing hints of aniseed.  This is a delightfully quaffable white full of character and fantastic value for money. 



Borsao Seleccion Blanco 2011

100% Maccabeo, this staple white grape of many Spanish wines is found here in a ripe, fruity and refreshing wine. Bodegas Borsao was established in 2001 and is to be found in the Campo de Borja zone southeast of Rioja. Grapes come from 620 member growers covering 2,500 hectares, nearly a third of the region's total. The vineyards lie in the undulating foothills of the Moncayo mountain, up to 700m above sea level and this varietal, as you might expect from a well-equipped cellar of this size, is an outstanding example of an easy-to-drink inexpensive wine.

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Adobe Reserva Gewurztraminer 2013


A new find from Chile, a delight to drink and amazing value. The nose has jasmine tea notes with a touch of lychee. On the palate there are bright floral and mineral nuances with a lingeringly spicy and exotic finish. A stunning wine, the absolute essence of Gewürztraminer. The producer, Emiliana, is South America’s largest organic producer, and their spectacular vineyard and winery at Los Robles has the added benefit of being biodynamic and features the sensory delights of roaming Alpacas, dung heaps and dynamised biodynamic mixtures to treat the vineyards.

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Château Bastide Abondance Blanc AC Corbières 2010

Between the towns of Narbonne and Carcassonne stands the imposing Château la Bastide, owned and run by Guilhelm Durand. This is a new wine from Guilhelm, which successfully blends 80% Roussanne with 20% Vermentino. It has a pretty floral nose with a hint of menthol, which leads into a juicy mouthful of exotic fruit salad flavours, ending with a crisp finish and good length.


Domaine Treloar One Block Muscat 2010

Jonathan Hesford, the owner and winemaker at Domaine Treloar, used to work for an investment bank in New York as an IT specialist. On September 11th 2001 he was working one block away from the World Trade Center. The aftermath of this prompted a fundamental re-appraisal of what he and his Kiwi wife Rachel Treloar wanted from life, and after subsequent study and training, he followed his wine passion and bought a vineyard in Roussillon in France. The name also reflects the fact that this wine is made from a single block of vines.

The wine is light, fresh and aromatic, with an array of aromas - spring flowers, passionfruit, lemongrass and a hint of aniseed.

It tantalizes the tongue with crisp fruit and a touch of honey but the palate has a creamy texture. It is a long and complex wine, very drinkable either on its own or with food - seafood, salad with fruits and fresh goats' cheese seem to work especially well. 


Chateau Puychance Blanc 2010 AOC Bordeaux Côtes de Francs

About a dozen miles to the north east of St Emilion but sharing the same great soil and climate, this fourth generation family 30 hectare vineyard is owned by Joseph and Bernadette Arbo, who have invested heavily in new vinification equipment and are now making consistently great wines.

The wine is made from 50 year old vines, using the classic Graves blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon.  The vinification is started in stainless steel, and then the wine is transferred to oak barriques where it continues its fermentation.  Battonage is used to maximise lees contact, enhancing the texture of the wine.

It is pale lemon in colour with white peach and pineapple on the nose and just a hint of oak.  On the palate it has beautiful mouthfeel with superb mango and pineapple flavours, crisp acidity and good length. There is surprising complexity and it is the match for many a much more expensive White Graves.  Perfect now, but will last and develop in complexity until around 2018.

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£10.25 Domaine de Malavieille Petits Dragons NV

This truly unique wine is made from Petit Manseng, which is more usually found in the wines of Jurançon, and Chenin Blanc.  Because Petit Menseng is not permitted within the appellation, the wine has to be classified as a simple Vin de Table.  It is however far from simple in any other respect!

The yields are very low and the grapes are picked at optimal ripeness, to enhance the concentration and flavour.  The wine is barrel fermented very gently and the results are superb.  It has a ripe, honeyed nose, which leads into a concentrated mouthful of exotic, tropical fruit salad flavours.  There is excellent acidity balancing the richness of the fruit, and it finishes very long.

Vineyard website -


Domaine Alquier Blanc Tradition 2012 AOC Côtes du Roussillon

Near the pretty village of Saint Jean Pla des Corts, you will find Pierre Alquier and his 32 hectare vineyard nestling at the foot of the Albères mountains. The vines, planted amongst the cork trees and mimosa, benefit from this unique terroir, producing wines with a lovely freshness and minerality. The vineyard is at an altitude of 160 metres, with big stones around the vines that store up the heat during the day and release it at night.  The altitude and the cooling winds adjacent mountains ensure that the vines are rarely exposed to extremes of heat.

Pierre is a pharmacist, who retrained in Oenology to return to take over the reins of the family vineyard in 1995.  His two degrees have allowed him to marry tradition and modernity in his quest to make top quality wine.  He has completely restructured the vineyard and invested heavily in modern equipment in the cellar.  Many of his wines had received medals in Paris and Mâcon and awards in the Guide Hachette.

This wine is made from 50% of the indigenous grape Maccabeu (aka Macabéo in Spain) with 25% Vermentino and 25% Grenache Blanc. It is vinified at low temperature and kept on the lees for six months to enhance the flavour.  There is an inviting grapy nose with hints of honeysuckle.  The palate is very juicy with good concentration and flavours of grapefruit and nectarine.  There is lovely acidity at the finish. A wine of great individuality and perfect for drinking now.



Domaine Chenu Savigny Blanc 2008 AC Savigny-les-Beaune 

This fourth generation vineyard is now managed by Louis Chenu’s daughters, Juliette and Caroline.Together the two sisters have moved this respected Burgundy domaine on to another level. Situated only a few minutes walk from the picturesque Château de Savigny-les-Beaune, the Chenu vineyard is made up from 9 hectares, which includes three Premier Cru plots.  The oldest vines are 60 years old.  Caroline is responsible for the vineyard and wines, while Juliette manages the marketing.  They are wines of great concentration yet with the finesse and freshness, that underlines their femininity.  We have been fortunate to have been offered a small parcel of these lovely 2008s. They are almost impossible to find now, and for Burgundy of this quality are simply amazing value. As with all White Burgundy, this barrel fermented wine is made from 100% Chardonnay.  It has a gentle toasted brioche nose, while on the palate there are flavours of nuts, apples and honey, with a hint of vanilla. Lovely to drink now, but it will develop and become more complex over the next five years.


Domaine de Nerleux Les Loups Blancs 2007 AC Saumur

Domaine de Nerleux is home to Elisabeth and Régis Neau, who are the eighth generation of winemakers to reside in the 17th Century mansion that lies at the hub of the domaine. We have imported sparkling wines as well as a Saumur from them for many years now, but this wine was a new discovery at the annual Loire Wine Faire held in Angers which John visited in 2009. The average age of the vines is 25 years, the oldest vines having been planted in1933. The terroir is largely limestone. Since 1996, and only in great vintages, they have made a concentrated Saumur Blanc, carefully harvested from selected parcels of Chenin Blanc grapes.  Matured partly in new barrels, the wine is rich and beautifully balanced with aromas of tropical fruits. Whilst drinking beautifully now it will continue to mature until 2015.

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