Marks and Spencer has just won two awards for its enterprising wine lists – the Decanter magazine Supermarket of the Year and the Innovator of the Year award at the International Wine Challenge.
Regular readers will know that Squidbeak is always up for unusual, characteristic wines, so M&S’s foray into wines from the Eastern Med is right up our street.
Top picks of their fascinating range which takes in Greece, Turkey, Croatia Lebanon and Israel are all on offer at via their website and there’s a 20 per cent discount if you buy two sets of six. The offer brings the bottle price of most down to around £6.50, which is my book is a bargain for wines of this quality.
Here’s my pick (so far) of the bunch.
Lefkos Moschofilero Peloponnese, 2011: This is bone dry, fragrant, light and Greek wine making at the top of its game. Forget about old, overoaked whites which used to dominate the scene. This little beauty jumps out of the glass with its slightly floral aromas and zesty taste. One for an aperitif, or it also cuts through Mediterranean tapas.
Cadet de Ka, Lebanon, 2008: This is made from Bordeaux grape varieties in the Bekaa Valley, much like the better known and lauded Chateau Musar. It has complex cedar, cherries and spice flavours, with a hint of vanilla from the oak ageing. Its soft and drinking now and is an enjoyable and approachable introduction to the style. Its sits nicely with chargrilled lamb, or North African inspired dishes.
Chateau Ksara, Clos St Alphonse, Lebanon, 2009: From the same region as the Cadet de Ka, but a very different style. This one’s got a dollop of Syrah as well as the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Franc which has made for a racy, raspberry driven, spicy little number with an earthy undertone of truffles. Lighter than the Ka, this one’s a match for Autumnal dishes, particularly game and wild mushrooms.