October Wine reviews
What an incredible bottle of wine. Sybille Kuntz is better known for her dry than sweet styles, but this shows that she's equally adept at both. This comes from mostly ungrafted vineyards planted in the 1920s in Niederberg-Helden. It's an exotic wine all right, but the tropical fruit flavours of pineapple and mango are tempered by acidity and extract. A Riesling that lingers tantalisingly on the palate.
The best and oldest parcels on the Niederberg-Helden Einzellage are used to make this remarkable wine. It's on the dry side for an Auslese, with 51.9 grams of sugar, with the concentration and slaty minerality beautifully entwined. Floral and appealingly honeyed, with notes of nectarine and ripe pear sustained by citrus- and pink grapefruit-like acidity
A late picked, yet "dry" style of Spätlese from the Niederberg-Helden, with remarkable concentration and persistence, underlining Sybille Kuntz's reputation as one of the Mosel's best producers. Rich and slightly savoury, with smoky minerality, some stone fruit sweetness, a hint of fennel and a poised, balanced, tapering finish. Exceptional winemaking.
£15.95, 16.5%, Prohibition Wines
At only £15.95 a half bottle, this has to be one of the best value fortifieds on the market at the moment. It's a mature, salty, rancio-style wine made from Grenache Blanc and Macabeu that's mid way between a Sherry and a Tawny Port in style. Try it poured over vanilla ice cream or with a walnut tart.
The Riesling grapes that go into this cuvée come from a series of old vines sites in the Paul Valley close to the River Mosel. It's another very assured performance, with a richness that's almost remiscent of the Pfalz. Musky and faintly exotic, with lovely weight and density, sustained by tangy acidity. The balanced between slight sweetness and acidity is very well judged.
£7.95, 13%, The Wine Society
This is no ordinary, drink-it-on-holiday Retsina. It's biodynamic, fermented in amphorae with wild yeasts and highly unusual. The pine resin notes are restrained and enjoyable, adding a Mediterranean herb like dimension to the pear, beeswax and honey fruit. The wines finishes tangy and dry.
Sourced from single vineyard sites in Kues, Kardinalsberg and Weisenstein, this is "only" the entry point wine from this excellent estate. It's just off-dry, with 8.3 grams of sugar balanced by acidity and crisp, refeshing flavours of green apple and grapefruit. The perfect summer wine...in 2015.
Regarded by many people (including me) as one of the best Prosecco producers, Silvano Follador makes drier and more complex wines than most of his competitors. This has fresh, floral aromas, notes of pearskin, banana and citrus and a long, dry finish. Unusual, but delicious, showing the class of the Cartizze cru.
N/A, 12.5%, Liberty Wines
A Crozes-Hermitage under screwcap? You'd better believe it. David Reynaud's wines are perfumed as it is, and the new clsoure should make sure that's always the case. There's no reduction here - sometimes a problem under screwcap for Syrah - just lots of bramble and blackberry fruit. Spicy, bright and mineral with delightful freshness.
£14.49, 12.5%, www.ralphswinecafe.com
Made in a pithy style, this tasty Albariño comes from the Val do Salnés sub-region. Pear, quince and white pepper notes are deftly combined on the palate, supporting good texture and concentration. Tangy and refreshing on the finish, with notes of lemon peel and oyster shell.