Like many others, my wife and I had a ‘dry’ January ‘on the wagon’ and so on 1 February we sat down to taste these two wines by way of our first tipple of 2016. We didn’t feel we could do justice to the wines on our own, so we invited our neighbours, Katie and Christopher, to join us.
So, with the fire lit, a few nibbles in bowls and glasses at the ready, we began our tasting evening with the Araucano Sauvignon Blanc.
Taking our responsibilities very seriously we swirled, inhaled the aroma and considered the colour of the wine before tasting it. Both the colour and ‘nose’ brought a glimpse of summer to our fireside evening.
This is a Chilean wine from a vineyard owned by a fifth generation French wine grower from Bordeaux, Francois Lurton, who owns other vineyards in Spain, Argentina and France, attributed with saying that if he were a vine he would want to be planted in Chile.
This multicultural mix seemed to be reflected in the wine which, as a group, we all felt had a refreshing fruitiness but in no way sweet and without the syrupy textures of many New World wines. So much so that Christopher had initially guessed it not to be a New World wine at all but something with a more Northern European origin.
My wife Martina is not generally a white wine drinker but even she said this was a wine she could enjoy drinking on its own and the general consensus was that it would also go well with food, especially something a bit spicy such as a Thai meal.
Having made short work of the white, we turned our attention to the red, a wine from the North Eastern corner of Spain in a village called Capcanes in Catalonia. This is a wine produced by a cooperative of wine producers, Celler de Capcanes, and from a blend of grapes, Carigan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah and Merlot.
Despite sounding like a complicated mix this was a delicious and smooth red wine, having a full bodied flavour but without the heaviness that sometimes comes with it. This may be down to the fact that the wine spends nine months in oak which, my research has revealed, serves to soften the tannins whilst adding to the spiciness of the rich plum and blackberry flavours.
I thought this a super wine which I would be glad to make a regular at our table, especially during the winter months. Our accompaniments were limited to some cheese and olives but this would go well with steak, sausages or game in my opinion.
What we all liked about both these wines was that you could enjoy them equally on their own or with food; and since our neighbours’ enthusiasm for them matched our own, it is clear you don’t have to have a month of abstinence to do so.
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The Araucano Sauvignon Blanc is priced £10.99 a bottle, £9.89 as part of a mixed case of 12. The Mas Collet is £12.95 a bottle, or £11.66 as part of a mixed case of 12.
Available from Connelly’s Wine Merchants Ltd, 0121 236 3837.