If, like me, you’ve been trying to wean yourself from carb. heavy winter comfort food onto a fresher salad and fish regime, you’ll need a wine to match and something which lifts the spirits, and suits the lengthening evenings. (well I’m ever the optimist!).
Enter The Rude Mechanicals’ Ephemera 2010, a floral white made in Australia from viognier and pinot gris. I was introduced to this wine by a friend who had discovered it in a tasting at Byrne’s in Clitheroe.
It’s unusual – combining musky orange blossom with very light tropical fruit flavours, with a whiff of lemon grass on the nose. Perfect for an Asian inspired warm salad and ticks the spirit lifting box completely. This should retail at about £9 a bottle but I also found it as part of an interesting mixed case being offered by Betton Wines in Scarborough. This outfit is primarily wholesale, serving the restaurant trade but they’ve recently started a wine club and the mixed case is their first offering. Billed as offering wines you’ll never find in a supermarket, it’s not a budget offering but the selection looks knowledgeable and intriguing.
In the supermarkets, I’ve been enjoying another tropical fruit driven wine in The Ned, Pinot Grigio 2010, NZ, which is often on offer at £6.99, down from £9.99, at Waitrose and Majestic (like its equally good Sauvignon Blanc). This is not as subtle and multi layered as the Ephemera, but is about as far from the usual flabby, characterless PG on offer in many outlets as you can get. Think pear drops and pineapple chunks from your childhood sweetie bags. Big mouthwatering, fresh, yummy vino. Matched salmon in parcels with ginger, lemon and spring onion perfectly.
For a treat, we opened a Ch Musar 2004, Lebanon, to go with a pot roasted guinea fowl with quince. I love this wine and have enjoyed it for a couple of decades – but for a while I felt it had lost its way. This is bang on form, managing to combine the sweetness of oak, with savoury notes, supple tannins and warm stone fruit notes. Definitely spirit lifting (and wallet emptying at £18.99 but worth every drop).
Harrogate Fine Wines has this and a good selection of other vintages. Waitrose also stocks it. We also recently enjoyed it’s baby brother, Musar Jeune Rouge, which surprising HFW doesn’t list, but is available from Flourish and Prosper in Howden at around £8. Spicy, warm red conjuring up the mystery of the Middle East and promising that summer can still be found in a glass.