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Showing posts from tagged with: Tom Harrow

Top quality wines at realistic prices

Article by ONBOARD Magazine


Tom Harrow

At this time of year one should be saving or abstaining after the extravagances of the festive season, and yet Tom Harrow suggests there are also some
gatherings that may require bringing a bottle or two

Below are my currently preferred off-piste selections that will ensure affordable but entirely enjoyable sampling of some new wines over the winter months ahead.

Gruner Veltliner

Gruner Veltliner
Austria is responsible for making some terrific wines at the moment. Whilst the reds further south in the Burgenland are well worth exploring, it was Gruner Veltliner which really put the country back on the wine map after the unfortunate antifreeze scandal of the 80s. Whether from the Kremstal, Kamptal or Wachau regions, there is no shortage of these impressively decent and characterful whites to enjoy, under €15.Stylistically Gruner tends to occupy a space somewhere between the gooseberry and grapefruit character of former with the more floral and stony freshly milled white pepper. Recommended producers include Domaine Wachau, Sepp Moser and Weingut Stadt Krems.

Picpoul de Pinet

Picpoul de Pinet
Known as the Muscadet of the south, this charming and supple wine shares some of its northern cousin’s leesy, wheaty character but with a ripeness of spicy, that reminds you that it hails from the warmer climes of the Languedoc. A great example of an affordable wine appreciated by those in the know, its ever-growing fanbase will attest to what a pleasure it is tasting an unpretentious, versatile white that is zippier yet fuller textured than Pinot Grigio but fruitier and softer than lesser Loire Sauvignon Blanc and similarly priced. A great and gluggable aperitif, it’s also well-paired to the local oysters and other freshlycaught shellfish. Recommended producers include Domaine Ls Croix Gratiot, Le Cave de L’Ormarine and Domaine Les Lauriers.

Barbera (d’Asti/ d’Alba or del Monferrato)

Barbera (d’Asti/ d’Alba or del Monferrato)
Very much thought of as the second grape of the Langhe – with Nebbiolo and the grand wines of Barolo and Barbaresco hogging the limelight, Barbera is well worth getting to grips with. Its forest berry, brambly character is supported by a crisp vein of natural acidity whilst its tannins are quite and fruity. Rarely expensive, Barbera meaty ragu and less wallet-busting wines of Piedmont. Spending your well-earned savings on extra truffle shavings definitely makes sense… recommended wines come from Villa Sparina, Castello di Neive and Araldica.

Monstant DO

Monstant DO
With vineyards almost completely surrounding Spain’s most voguish wine destination, Priorat, Monstant is capable of producing some exciting, richly hedonistic reds especially. Stony soils, often bordering the mountains after which the region is named, an arid climate and, where you can Carinena (Carignan) makes for an attractive combination that tends to punch well above its modest price. Dark-fruited with polished leather and dried herb notes, Monstant reds are good examples of affordable winter warmers, and great with roasted and slow braised meats. Recommended wines come from Bodegas Acoustic, Celler


Uruguayan Tannat
What Malbec has done for Argentina,and Carmenere is doing for Chile, Tannat is hoping to achieve for Uruguay, i.e take a later-ripening, lesser known European grape and applying more sunshine and heat in order to get sufficiently juicy fruit to balance the rich tannins slightly green character that cooler climates produce. When achieved the resultant wines are powerful and spicy with chocolate pod, coffee bean aromas alongside a morass of dark, plummy fruit. The leading light in this field is Bodega Garzon, whose wines are terrific value for the quality and scale of production. Other recommended wines to try this season come from Pisano and Bodegas Carrau.

New World Order

Article by Chris Clifford

Tom Harrow

Traditionally Old World wines were thought of as the elegant, sophisticated, terroir-influenced classics versus their riper-fruited, toastier-oaked, higher alcohol and sweetness carrying, more hedonistic New World cousins. It was a case of complexity versus concentration. Now however the lines are increasingly blurred, consistently warmer summers in Europe giving richer fruit characters, and a new generation of winemakers in the Antipodes, Americas and South Africa intent on producing racier, fresher, more textured wines. Below are some of the best of the latter to look out for.
Words:Tom Harrow

Ochota Barrels ‘The Fugazi Vineyard’ Grenache 2017,
McLaren Vale, Southern Australia

Taras and Amber Ochota harvest single vineyard parcels across southern Australia and, with minimal intervention, draw out wines that are refined but intense, perfumed and crunchy, with sweet fruit and lots of herbaceous and herbal notes. Named after a favourite American Punk band, The Fugazi is made from a parcel of old vine Grenache, two thirds of which are whole-bunch fermented after a long maceration (80 days). Bright acidity and plenty of cherries dominate the front palate with cloves, star anise and pine smoke pulling through on the juicy but fresh finish. This is definitely one for fans of Southern Rhone wines.

Ochota Barrels ‘The Fugazi Vineyard’ Grenache 2017, McLaren Vale, Southern Australia

Storm ‘Moya’ Pinot Noir 2015,
Hem el-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

After cutting his teeth making wines at the Western Cape’s most prestigious estates, Hannes Storm purchased a few hectares in the dramatic Hemel-en-Aarde Valley where he makes the country’s most thrilling and Burgundian Pinot Noirs, using not more than 30% new oak, only natural yeasts and no filtration. From a lofty vineyard, rich in decomposed granite, Moya offers a focussed nose of raspberry, redcurrant, rose petals and a distinct cinnamon note, giving way to a sappy red berry palate, spiked with pinches of black pepper and dried violets, carried on a wave of mineral intensity. Even the most diehard of Burgundy fanatics will be impressed.

Storm ‘Moya’ Pinot Noir 2015, Hem el-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

Gramercy Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015,
Washington State, USA

Former sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife Pam have carved out a niche in Washington State and are making really interesting Rhone and Bordeaux blends that are distinctly fresher, more savoury and restrained and use less new oak than their southerly Napa counterparts. Their Columbia Valley Cabernet (with 14% Merlot) shows off plenty of blueberry and cassis on the nose with hints of very ripe strawberries in a casing of cedar and lead. The palate is firm but silken, taut and elegant with a touch of cacao and truffle atop the fruit. Try this if you love vintage Bordeaux.

Gramercy Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Washington State, USA

Toldpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2016,
Coal Valley, Tasmania

Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith are doing remarkable things in Tasmania’s Coal Valley (20 miles from Hobart), which is one of Australia’s coolest climate wine regions but also enjoys very low rainfall too. From 30-year old vines, their Chardonnay 2017 faunts flavours of hightoned, flint-flecked grapefruit, ginger-dusted nectarine and salted lemon jostling against a softer, peach, fresh pastry and farmyard butter frame. This is an exceptionally complex Chardonnay that will turn the heads of even Chablis drinkers.

Toldpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2016, Coal Valley, Tasmania

Rogue Vine Grand Itata Tinto,
Itata, Chile

400km south of Santiago are the granitic vineyards of Itata, full of near-forgotten bush vines that friends Leonardo Erazo and
Justin Decker farm organically, fermenting in concrete only with native yeasts. The resultant wines, light in alcohol and with no new oak but crisp acidity, are worlds apart from most people’s expectations of Chile with a typical freshness, texture and energy. Grand Itata Tinto, which is 95% Cinsault, a grape most commonly found in Southern France, is crisp, perfumed and pure-fruited, with bags of red cherry and rhubarb on the nose and palate alongside some darker spice notes. At only 12% it is wonderfully refreshing.

Rogue Vine Grand Itata Tinto, Itata, Chile