Wines for the BBC’s Bill Buckley show
If you’re tuning in, here’s more detail on my selection for Bill Buckley’s show on BBC Berkshire today.
We start with a sparkler. ‘A by Arras’ Premium Cuvée NV (£19.99 at Laithwaite’s, online or from its stores in Theale or Bracknell) comes from the other side of the world, the island of Tasmania off the south coast of Australia. It shares many similarities with Champagne – in choice of grapes and the ‘traditional method’ of production – comes from a celebrated, award-winning winemaker, Ed Carr, and offers real bang for your buck.
Our choice of white is frighteningly fashionable right now, but for good reason, as it’s delicious. Assyrtiko is an indigenous Greek grape variety that you may well have encountered on the island of Santorini. This Assyrtiko Peleponnese 2019 (£9.99 at Aldi online) comes from the Greek mainland, which makes it a bit cheaper, but it’s still a really nice example, with bright citrus acidity, some stone fruit on the attractive rounded palate and a delicious salty twist in the finish – the hallmark of this distinctive grape.
Now’s a good time to support Lebanon’s relatively small wine industry – as the country recovers from that devastating explosion last month. Spicy, succulent, slightly savoury, Hochar 2017 (£13.50 from the Wine Society) is the second wine of Lebanon’s legendary Chateau Musar, made from a single vineyard planted to Cinsault, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. As a baby brother to Musar, it’s also a bargain.
Finally, sweet wines are a hard sell these days, which is a great pity. Castelnau de Suduiraut 2013 (£16.56 at Strictly Wine or £17.10 at WinePoole.co.uk) is another ‘second wine’ – this time from the famous Chateau de Suduiraut in Sauternes, Bordeaux – but that didn’t stop it scooping a prestigious gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition, for which I was one of the judges this year. It’s a magnificent wine, of great character, complexity and depth. Luscious it might be, sticky it is not!