Abtswinder Altenberg Silvaner Kabinett trocken 2004 - Staatlicher Hofkeller Würzburg, Franken, Germany: This Franconian classic is a complex example evoking yellow summer fruit and typical minerality. Perfect with asparagus which is in season now!
Monthelie 2001 AOC - Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint Romain, Burgundy: A lesser known appellation from this Saint-Romain producer discovered during our trip to the Saint Vincent festival this year. The family of Franck Buisson owns parcels in Volnay, Pommard, Monthelie, Auxey-Duresses, Meursault, Saint-Romain, Santenay, Savigny and a grand cru Corton. This wine is fully mature now, with lovely ripe fruit and wild animal notes to be appreciated by adventurous folk.
Mount Athos 2005 - Tsantali, Halkidiki, Greece: The grapes for the production of this wine come from the monastery of Agios Panteleimon on Mount Athos. This unusual Greek red wine is made from the Grenache and Limnio varieties and is full of juicy plummy flavours laced with spiciness. It makes a perfect accompaniment not only to Greek mezze but other Mediterranean dishes, such as pasta, pizzas, summer salads and a wide variety of cheeses.
"La Roccaia" Vin Santo Toscano 1994 - Az. Agr. La Roccaia, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy: Vin Santo is the so-called "saintly" wine of Tuscany. It is made traditionally by an oxidation process whereby the Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes are dried in well ventilated lofts. The resulting must is then sealed in 50-litre barrels containing the lees from previous batches and left to ferment, after which it matures slowly without being topped up. The whole process may take three, five or even six years. This example has a golden colour, intense honeyed nose and a complex flavour with a lingering finish. To be served with Cantuccini biscuits that are first dipped in the wine.
Schilcher Elegance 2006 Weststeiermark - Familie Lazarus, St. Stefan ob Stainz, Western Styria, Austria: This wine is a boudoir-pink shade of rosé and displays a wonderful mixture of wild strawberries and cassis, it has a very fruity and refreshing palate with lovely crisp acidity.
Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2000 Riesling Spätlese - Weingut Bäumler-Kerpen Erben, Wehlen, Mosel, Germany: The family owns one of the best sites in the Mosel region - a vineyard called Sonnenuhr (sundial - one of which can be seen in the vineyard). This is quite a mature Riesling of dark golden hue, its nose evoking citrus fruit, honey and petrol that carries through to the elegant, lush palate with a lingering sweet finish. Classy stuff!
Cépage Chardonnay 2006 - Nové Vinaøství (New Winery), Drnholec, Mikulov sub-region, Czech Republic: This new winery, which is in fact named New Winery, introduced a range of varietal wines under the label "Cépage" (as opposed to blends named "Cuvées" last year). Their Chardonnay has a typical aroma of Moravian meadows in full bloom, its palate is dry and well balanced.
Hafner der Sonnenkönig 1998 Chardonnay Trockenbeerenauslese - Hafner Weine, Mönchhof, Burgenland, Austria: This noble wine has a golden robe and powerful nose reminiscent of apricots, sultanas and other dried fruit. It comes from the region around Neusiedlersee lake, known for such lush and sweet wines as this one, due to the abiding conditions that give rise to the noble rot Botrytis cinerea. The palate is honeyed, but with a balancing acidity and neverending finish.
Clos de la Collarderie 1996 AOC Chinon - Domaine de la Fontaine, Chinon, Loire, Francie: "Cuvée unique" of this excellent vintage displays a deep garnet hue, dark soft stone fruit on the nose and everlasting freshness on the well structured palate.
Frankovka 2001 jakostní - Ladislav Musil, Dolní Kounice: This wine amazes with its fruitiness, freshness and refined tannins and is a perfect example of what can be done in a relatively poor vintage when you know how. It was also complimented by one of the top wine producers of Argentina - Julio Viola (owner of Bodega del Fin del Mundo, Neuquén, Patagonia), when I chose this wine for our dinner in Prague recently - and that must really mean something...
Guilhem L'Hérétique 2002 AOC Corbières - Les Vignerons de Cucugnan, Languedoc, France: cuvée of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache from old vines with low yields, was matured in French-oak "barriques". It is highly concentrated, full on the palate, rich in tones of forest fruit with a smooth spiciness, where the oak is nicely integrated and the wine well balanced. Recommended to be decanted 1 hour prior to drinking and to go with game or very mature cheeses.
Serre Longue 2003 AOC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages - Domaine de la Serre, Arnaud Vera, Maury, France: the wine emanates from the neighbouring village of the above-named sample but falls under a different appellation. The commune of Maury is known for its fortified wines, however in recent times progressive winemakers are producing more and more still wine. Domaine de la Serre is one such winery and this is an fine example. Its fruity nose and palate is confirmed by velvety tannins, it is smooth and complex, with a lingering finish
Pago de Tharsys Albariño y Godello 2006 (Vendemia nocturna) Utiel Requena DO - Pago de Tharsys, Valencia, Spain: white wine from noble Galician grape varieties, which in the Valencia region are picked during the night (viz Vendemia nocturna), so that the harsh sun does no unnecessary damage. This wine has the colour of deep gold, on the nose can be detected a dominant aroma of exotic fruits and acacia flowers, the palate is complex, well-balanced and very long.
"Les Grands Picotins" Savigny-les-Beaune 2005 - Domaine Henri & Gilles Buisson, Saint Romain, Burgundy, France: high in fruit (cherry, raspberry), very youthful with typical pinot characteristics and capable of further laying down.