After a hectic Monday in the office, it was very nice to unwind in the luxurious surroundings of Oulton Hall, a beautiful 18th century former family mansion. The Champagne Bar located within the Grade II listed building was the setting for the photograph and after holding various different poses with a glass of wine I didn’t drink, it was off home to sample the two wines that had arrived in my office earlier that day.
A wine connoisseur is not something I can claim to be but I do enjoy a glass or two of wine after a busy week. My preference is heavy, oaked old world reds; I don’t drink white wine or champagne at all. When I informed my husband that I was reviewing wines for BQ Magazine and that not only was one of them white but the other a fruity Australian red, he assumed that I would be delegating responsibility for the entire taste to him.
The first wine we sampled was a St Felix, Sauvignon-Vermentino, a very easy drinking white from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France. A large and diverse wine region, covering an area that stretches from Nimes and Montpellier in the east, around the Gulf of Lyon to the Spanish border.
The world’s biggest wine region was the first French region to be introduced to vine-growing and wine-making by the Romans. The bottle we sampled was one of a range of wines from the Dardé brothers at Domaine les Yeuses, which are reputed to be exceptionally good wines. The wine was fresh and light with delicate fruit and a bright finish.
Whilst I don’t often drink white wine; the only wine tasting tour I have ever been on happened to be during a visit to Carcassonne, a French town in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon.
The vineyards within the region are often called ‘Patchwork’ because so many different grape varieties grow together. Most producers, like St Felix, Sauvignon-Vermentino, make blends instead of single varietal wines.
The wine was very nice on its own, which is how we enjoyed it but I imagine it would also work well with salads and fish.
The red wine, we drank over dinner. The Inigo Barbera 2010 is from the Sevenhill vineyard, which was established in 1851 and is the first winery in South Australia’s Clare Valley. The wine was unusual but pleasant, notes of sage, cinnamon and violets on the nose.
Medium bodied on the palate with a fruit sweetness of blackberries and red berries. This red was a great accompaniment to the pasta we happened to be eating that evening. Both wines were really drinkable and it was good to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.
The wines provided were St Felix, Sauvignon Vermentino, priced at £8.80 a bottle and Inigo Barbera 2010, priced at £14 a bottle.
Both available at Ake & Humphris, Harrogate, 01423 566 009 www.akeand humphris.co.uk