The recent Corney & Barrow summer tasting was awash with interesting wines for seasonal drinking. Here, Peter Dean turns the spotlight on a dozen that really shone and which are all either a cut above in their categories, or else offer exceptional value for money… or both.
In this Corney & Barrow selection we highlight two sparkling wines, two rosés including the Provençal rosé that started the pink craze, three reds and five knockout whites.
First the two sparkling
Fresh, dry sparkling wine from Mendoza made with 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay using the traditional Champenoise method. Golden hue; on the nose white flowers, citrus, toasted almonds and fresh bread; on the palate fresh orchard fruit, toasted nuts, with a nice lick of cream on the long, elegant finish. Worked well as an aperitif and with seafood.
A Prosecco that is a cut above, hence the DOCG tag rather than a mere DOC. There’s an abundance of fresh white flowers on the nose, the mousse is delicate with the palate dominated by fresh, crisp just-ripe Braeburn apples and comice pears. It is refreshingly dry with a nice lift on the finish.
A ‘Grand Cru’ Prosecco by any other name from a family that has been making these wines for over half a century.
Five whites that are perfect for summer drinking
From a small winery on the heel of Italy that makes this refreshing, moreish Fiano exclusively for Corney & Barrow. The limestone soil plus a combination of the heat of Puglia and the cooling influence of its near-coastal location makes this a powerful wine that is refreshing at the same time (13% ABV).
Pale green-yellow, the nose is a complex mix of honeysuckle blossom, walnut skin, confit pineapple; on the smooth palate there is ripe lemon, honeydew melon, tangerine and an acidity that lazily creeps in on the finish. You can almost taste the sunshine.
The fruit was whole bunch-pressed to 228 litre Burgundian oak (25% new), wild yeast, no malolactic fermentation with the wine remaining on the lees for 11 months. Medium gold in colour, the nose is a deliciously rich blend of lime marmalade, pineapple flesh, fresh butter and honeycomb; the palate is medium bodied and rounded at first taste then a crisp, smash of citrus piles in with pink grapefruit, lemon oil, lime zest with a refreshing, linear acidity forming a backbone that holds it all together.
Contemporary New World Chardonnay that punches well above its weight and is a great food-match.
A good example of how much lighter and fresher Rhône white blends are becoming. This five-grape wine is light golden in hue, the nose has notes of white peaches, acacia honey, and a hint of tangerine; the palate is medium bodied, medium-dry with hints of just ripe apricot and grapefruit. At first the wine is quite rounded in the mouth but there’s a mineral bedrock and a tangy, textured finish that balances everything nicely.
This white blend of Manseng and Petit Courbu from the impressive cooperative in the South West of France has a lovely balance between a richness that then takes a sharp citrus turn – lemon flesh and ripe grapefruit. Attractive straw yellow in appearance, the nose is complex, with citrus, herbs, and fresh flowers. There is a mouth-watering mineral texture and good length.
Mâcon-Verzé, Domaines Leflaive 2015
Light golden-green, stunningly inviting and complex nose with notes of bitter almond, lemon oil, mildly toasty wood, mincemeat tart and iced fingers buns. Beautifully smooth, finely grained tannins on the palate, pure white orchard fruit, a splash of lemon squash, then lime pith giving it a little acidic, salty lick on the finish. Really enjoyable and punches well above its weight.
Two rosés that are a cut above the rest
This is an attractive pale pink with saffron highlights; the nose is pretty and inviting with notes of just-pressed red berries, pink peppercorns; the front palate has a creamy, sweet edge which is deceptive as the wine is dry as you like and has a mineral energy that follows through to the crisp, fine grained finish.
A refreshing rosé with a lot more complexity than most but which delivers on all levels.
Nice to taste a complex rosé that ‘plays’ to those who don’t need theirs pale salmon pink. This is a classic dark Tavel rosé with saffron yellow glints; redcurrant and orange pith on the lifted, inviting nose; on the palate there is juicy cherry, blood orange, sea spray, with a racy minerality and sweet lemon flesh in the long and nervy finish.
Last but not least the three reds
This is one of those more concentrated Beaujolais that thinks it’s more of a wine from the Côte de Nuits, given how powerful, rounded and rich in fruit it is. It is deep red in hue, with a rich nose of blackberry, purple plums, cassis with smoke, liquorice and spice; the palate is surprisingly soft with red plums, cherries and a hint of spicy, dark chocolate on the refreshing finish.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an entry level red that is of this quality anywhere
You don’t normally associate a 14.5% ABV Californian Bordeaux blend with summer but then this is strictly evening fare and very classy it is too, coming as it does from Christian Moueix’s Dominus Estate where it is the third wine. It is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the mix which adds to its freshness. The wine is open, rich and hedonistic with black fruits, red cherry, mineral and dark chocolate. Surprisingly approachable so young with soft, luscious tannins. A really good introduction to the Grand Vin.
Any review of this Romanian Pinot Noir cannot fail to start with the incredible retail price of £8 a bottle. Rare to find this grape at this price point and with enough quality to deliver taste and finesse. The style is young, crunchy red fruit – redcurrant, red cherry, raspberry – with young, grainy tannins and texture, and an energy and vibrancy that smacks of unpretentiousness. Nice new packaging with this recent addition to the Corney & Barrow portfolio.