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Bibendum's 2009 summer sale

by Tom Cannavan, 06/09

Below you will find notes on six wines sampled from Bibendum's clearance sale, which begins 9.00am Tuesday July 7th 2009 and runs until 5.30pm on Friday July 17th 2009. There are 200 wines in the sale and you can download the full list from Bibendum's web site.

In the second week of the sale, from Monday 13th - Friday 17th 2009, there is a 'Fine Wine Price Drop' on a separate list of wines. Upmarket bin-ends will be offered at reduced prices on the Monday, with the prices of whatever remains being further reduced on the Wednesday and then the Friday. Bibendum stress that "when it's gone, it's gone."

White

Spy Valley (New Zealand) Riesling 2007
This screw-capped bottle shows a fair bit of colour development with a rich yellow/gold tone, and quite an unctuous nose displaying a little bit of paraffin wax, toast and sweet, apricotty fruit. On the palate it is a Kabinett style, with a bit of residual sugar playing against almost tropical fruit notes, crisp green apple and a lime jelly character into the finish. For drinking up before too long, but rather delicious with only 12% alcohol. Was £9.00, now £6.60

Quinta do Vallado (Portugal) Douro Branco 2007
This white from indigenous Douro grapes has fresh apple and straw-like aromas with just a hint of something toasty and peachy but staying clean and quite mineral. On the palate it seems modestly endowed in terms of fruit at first, but it has fine concentration and a certain mid-palate juiciness that I really like, with its core of lemon-pith acidity staying vibrant and pure through to the finish. Moreish as it slowly grows on you. Was £9.24, now £6.84

Valdivieso (Chile) Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2007
I have a real soft spot for Valdivieso, who turn out consistently excellent wines that are sometimes rather under-appreciated I feel. This 14.5% alcohol Pinot Gris has a subtle but power-packed nose, with hints of almond and stone fruit aromas of pear and apple, and a touch of melon. On the palate this has grip and presence, the weight of the taut, mineral-edged fruit a fair counterpoint to a big, concentrated wine. This one needs food I think, to tame its brawny presence a little. Was £9.99, now £7.24

Rosé

Château de Nages (France) Costières de Nîmes Rosé Réserve 2007
A rosé made in the southern Rhône area from Grenache and Syrah, this screw-capped 13.5% alcohol wine is immediately quite powerful, with a deep cherry colour and fruity nose showing a little glimpse of something charcoally and herbal. There's even something that reminds me a touch of cider. On the palate there is a moment of sweetness, then clean raspberry and strawberry fruit finishing with just a nip of tannin and lowish acidity. Wearing its maturity pretty well. Was £8.50, now £5.72

Red

Casa de la Ermita (Spain) Jumilla Reserva 2003
Super heavy-weight, dressed to impress bottle for this Spanish blend of Monastrell, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in barriques. It has an ebullient, charming nose, slicked with vanilla but also deep, caressing notes of plush black fruit and tobacco spice. On the palate it is very ripe and sweet, with fat, juicy plum and black berry fruit melding into plenty of spice, woodsmoke and liquorice. There's a gamy richness to this, but the clean, sweet essence of the fruit pushes through with supple, smooth tannins and good balance into quite a long finish. Big, but drinking really well and a definite bargain in the sale. Was £12.99, now £8.12

Domaine Paul Autard (France) Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2006
Autard is not a producer I know terribly well. The nose on this wine is subtly attractive, with a little nutty richness to modest black fruit aromas that seem tempered and restrained. On the palate this is a medium-bodied Châteauneuf in a sinewy, leathery style, with a touch of game and a solid underpinning of black fruit. The tannins are rather firm, and cut into this wine rather swiftly, somewhat stopping the fruit into the finish and leaving a lasting impression of spice and a touch of heat. Was £26.00, now £16.80