Wines for Bill Buckley’s BBC show
February is upon us. It’s still a fairly dreary month, but at least it’s a short one, and it has Valentine’s Day too. If you’re tuned in to my monthly slot with Bill Buckley today, we’ll be smooching over some lovely wines to celebrate with someone special, or just to enjoy on your own.
We’re sinking the pink first, with an absolute classic, one of the best rosé Champagnes from the oldest ‘house’ in the region, Ruinart, which was founded in 1729. It should always be about what’s in the bottle, of course, but this one also happens to look great, in its special presentation box, making it the perfect gluggable gift.
Ruinart, Rosé NV is priced between £50-£57 at selected independents and online, including at The Finest Bubble.
One of my predictions for 2019, on last month’s show, was continued success for English sparkling, so it seems apt to flag up one of the loveliest examples I have found in a British supermarket.
Marksman by Ridgeview English Sparking Blanc de Blancs, £24 from Marks and Spencer, (it’s showing as out of stock online, but is definitely in larger Food Hall stores) is actually a bit of a steal, when you consider it’s made by one of the best English wine producers. 100% Chardonnay, it’s bursting with fresh apple and toasty brioche, with a divine crisp spine of acidity.
If you’re budget is a little tighter, then head to Lidl, where the latest range of ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’ wines entered stores last week, as part of its ‘Wine Tour’ collection. Of those I tasted, Falanghina del Sannio, £6.99, was a real favourite. Native to the Campania region around Naples, Falanghina is a lovely grape that delivers a scintillating mix of fresh citrus and stone fruit, with a lovely weight, making it a great food wine. This is good value.
If you want to know more about the latest wines to hit the shelves at Lidl, then check out this comprehensive review from Brian Elliot at Midweek Wines.
Finally, we hear an awful lot about Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which accounts for almost 90% of the wine we import from New Zealand – but we need to pay more attention to the other wonderful wines the country, and the region, offer. When I visited last year, I fell for Marlborough’s Pinot Noir. It has a lovely energy to it, balancing delicious juicy fruit with tangy acidity. The Awatere Valley is the place to look for the finest Pinot.
Yealands Estate Winemakers Reserve Awatere Valley Pinot Noir, £21 from Great Western Wine is a great example of the new confident breed of Marlborough Pinots with an elegant, slightly floral nose, delicious plump red cherry and plum, silky smooth tannins and just a sprinkle of nutty spice. This would be a beautiful partner for a romantic supper.