Our wines of the week

(by peter & susie)

As well as holidaying hard, we’ve been tasting quite a bit recently – and some of the wines have got us so excited that we wanted to highlight them here.

Think of them as friendly suggestions to help you through the weekend and beyond in delicious fashion.


Coates and Seely Britagne Rosé Brut NV, 12% (from £26.55, Lea & Sandeman, www.coatesandseely.com)

At this point, it’s probably appropriate to recognise the fact that we’re running a competition on this site to find better alternatives to the term ‘Britagne’ – which is the name of this wine, and which has also been suggested as a potential generic term for English sparkling wine.

(But, while inventive and playful, not a particularly good one in our view, marrying as it does the somewhat unpalatable associations of Britvic and Pomagne.)

That said, the fizz itself is excellent.

Elegant and engagingly scented, with notes of red berry fruit and a touch of honeycomb. Some bready, floral and earthy hints too. On the palate, it’s brisk, grippy and tangy, with a real vim and vigour to the fizz and the juicy flavours. Seamless. Perhaps not the most complex but it’s erudite and appealing at the same time. Beats many a pink champagne at their own game. Will improve with time in the bottle, too.

A hugely promising debut wine from this Hampshire-based venture. 7/10


Neethlingshof Estate Gewurztraminer 2011, Stellenbosch, 13% (£7.49 down from £9.99, Waitrose until 11th October)

South African wine has been in the news for the wrong reasons of late after a Human Rights Watch report criticised conditions of farm workers on fruit and wine estates.

While it’s true the country still has many thorny issues to address, the plight of its many disenfranchised or maltreated citizens being a key one, it’s also only fair to add that many South African wineries have been doing sterling work in improving the status quo. So any thought of boycotting the country’s wines would be a misguided and counter-productive notion.

What’s more, South African producers have been doing excellent work improving their wines of late, and whites are proving a very strong suit for the country at the moment.

This honey-and-rose scented white is an excellent example. While many wines made from the naturally extrovert Gewurztraminer variety can be too much, this intelligently crafted white is exotic yet delicate and restrained, giving just enough away to be tantalising, but not so much as to be overwhelming.

Its juicy, mineral-infused and creamy-textured style is also very food-friendly. Enjoy it with Moroccan chicken tagine or teriyaki pork. (And take advantage of the Waitrose special offer, which lasts until October.) 6.5/10


Torres Viña Sol Rosé 2010, Catalunya, 13.5% (£4.99 down from £6.49, Majestic until 31st October)

If you’re desperate to cling on to the last vestiges of summer as the long shadows of the British autumn close in, then you need do no more than glug on this brilliantly easy-drinking, cherry-scented pink wine.

It’s simple but effective – juicy, refreshing, moreish and very pleasant indeed.

Grab it quick before the offer ends and winter starts closing in… (Susie: 6/10)


Torres Sangre de Toro 2009, Catalunya, 13.5% (£5.99 down from £7.99, Majestic until 31st October)

Though this succulent, user-friendly red is available from many a store (Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose included), the great deal at Majestic was the clincher here.

This wine is like an old friend of unquestionably fine character yet in dire need of a sharp slap in the face and an instant makeover.

The plastic bull – which I remember vividly from teenage drinking – hangs limply from the bottle’s neck, like a tacky medallion in a Faliraki nightclub.

But inside…the wine is all juicy succulence and gentle spice, a wonderfully engaging and satisfying red that puts wines of a similar price to shame. Rounded, creamy and full of baked dark fruit flavours, it makes a very fine match for chorizo and chickpea stew or cold cuts. (Peter: 5.5/10)