I’ve enjoyed three wines on a budget this week, including one of the best value reds I’ve ever had.
Beginning in Italy, La Luciana Araldica (vintage 2008) is a typical Gavi wine. Gavi is a village in the Piemonte region of Italy, and its namesake wine is made from the Cortese grape. This wine is very typical of the variety, and excellent for honing your palate on Gavi, or simply enjoying with fish, vegetarian, chicken dishes, or simply as an apéritif. Green-straw in colour; there is pistachio on the nose, apple and pear notes, and a herbaceous floral aroma. Carbon dioxide is notable on the palate, the wine is medium in body with a crisp, refreshing acidity. Alcohol (12%) is well balanced. Available from Waitrose for £5.69.
Remaining in Piemonte, one of the best value reds I’ve encountered is Bricco Rosso Suagnà Langhe Rosso. A blend of the Dolcetto and Nebbiolo grapes, this is a fruit-driven, very drinkable wine. Blackberries, brambly raspberries and cherries came through for me on the fruit profile. The new French oak is obvious in vanilla and hazelnut aromas – and is very much in the profile of what I identify as the ‘Italian’ way of oaking. The fruit carries through to the palate and the tannins are forward but elegant. They are not at all overpowering as some Nebbiolos can be; this is likely due to the majority blend of Amaretto, and the 6 years of bottle age. There is a crisp acidity and fairly well-balanced alcohol. Overall the best value red I’ve seen for £6.50. Available from the Wine Society.
Finally, for dessert I move to Bordeaux. The Society’s Exhibition Sauternes is an excellent and affordable example of Sauternes. Sauternes is a sweet wine made from the Sémillon grape which is allowed to be infected by the botrytis fungus. It has the typical aroma profile: botrytis-antiseptic with apricots, honey, and raisin. High alcohol (14%) but balanced by the intense sweetness, and firm acidity. This vintage was 2007. It was perfectly drinkable now but would benefit significantly from a few more years bottle aging, to allow more complex flavours to come forth. £9.95 for a half-bottle from the Wine Society.