Wines for the BBC’s Bill Buckley
If you’re tuned in to Bill Buckley’s Sunday show, here are the details of this week’s wines:
To start, a classy Champagne that’s also good value. Castelnau is a co-operative (owned by its members), based in the city of Reims, in the heart of the Champagne region. The name is a tribute to General Edouard de Castelnau, one of France’s First World War heroes and you may recognise the brand from either the Tour de France, as it’s one of the sponsors, or perhaps British Airways, if you were lucky enough to be in Business Class, where it was served on board until recently. A hallmark of the house is relatively long bottle ageing, compared to other brut reserves, with the bottles spending six years on their lees (yeast cells) before being disgorged. This adds richness and texture to the bright citrus, fresh apricot and toasted brioche flavours. Champagne Castelnau Brut Reserve (£29.50 at the Wine Society – and it’s less than £25 per bottle, if you buy six, which is a bargain!).
I love rosé, but I confess that I am a fair weather friend for this style of wine. It’s still August, and the forecast is good, so here’s a bargain option from your local Spar. Rosé Méditerranée (£7) is a relatively new addition to the Spar range – one that has improved massively of late, thanks to the advice of Master of Wine Philippa Carr. Provence in style, it’s fashionably pale pink, with simple fresh strawberry charm.
Washington is a hugely exciting wine region that’s growing fast. See my separate feature on the wines to watch here. This is one of them. Kung Fu Girl Riesling (£11.99 at Simply Wines Direct in Pangbourne) is made by one of the state’s big producers, Charles Smith. Zippy and fresh, with lime sherbet, lemongrass and lychee notes, this has a lovely mineral streak running through it, making it the perfect pairing for Asian food.
Our final wine comes from the state that borders Washington. Oregon has made a name for itself with Pinot Noir, although as I reported here, it also offers some other really exciting grapes. Christopher Michael Oregon Pinot Noir (£15.99 on a Mix Six at Majestic) would give a much more expensive Burgundy a run for its money. Crunchy red fruit, ripe black cherry and a sprinkle of spice deliver a refined wine that would grace any Sunday lunch table.