Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Wine Review - Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2006

It may well be one of the most traditional wine regions in France: Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Its wines are renowned for their ability to age for decades; they are dark, full and tannic. And they aren't cheap.

If you are looking for a good example of a classic, ageworthy Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château de Beaucastel is a great example. OUA just might have some in stock, but don't expect them to come cheap. It may be a better idea to buy some in France and bring them back with you.

A number of Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers make wines that are made in a more fruitforward, accessible style. These have less structure and depth, but their great advantage is that they are more enjoyable when young. A good example of this style is the wine is Château Mont-Redon 2006. It is relatively affordable (13.900 OMR at African & Eastern), yet has a bit more to offer than your usual daily drinker. Dark coloured, with lovely dark cherries and plum, supported by a medium tannic backbone, with spices and licorice on the finish. Don't drink it too cool, as some less enjoyable green flavours come to the front. This is great with a leg of lamb. This is not a wine to age for decades, but if you have a wine fridge (and patience) you could try to save a bottle or two to drink in the coming 5 years.

Château Mont-Redon also produces a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Once we've tasted that wine, we will report back here.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Wine Review: The fine value of Villa Maria

Winemaking is relatively new to New Zealand. It is therefore quite a remarkable accomplishment that the Sauvignon Blanc wines from this country are ranked among the best in the world.

In their short history of winemaking (New Zealand has only been seriously producing wine since the 1960's), the country wisely avoided the mistake of bigger brother Australia, of producing masses of cheap bulk wine, that harm the overall reputation of the country. New Zealand's moderate climate lends itself perfectly to the production of white wines, but in recent years the country's reds (especially Pinot Noir) have also gained in popularity.

Villa Maria is a family owned winery, that manages a number of vineyards in different regions of the country. They produce a diverse range of wines, and are known for their constant quality. The white wines in the Private Bin range offer very fine value. The Riesling 2008 (6.900 OMR) is supple and fruity, and although it has some residual sugar, doesn't come across as off-dry. It offers a tad more body than German rieslings, but is by no means heavy. We are also fans of the Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, but haven't seen it in stores here. It seems that only the Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc is available (8.900 OMR). While a very good wine, we don't feel it offers enough extra stuffing to choose it over the Private Bin.

These wines are available at African & Eastern. They also carry a Chardonnay Private Bin, a rosé and red, neither of which we have tasted so far.