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wines from Bibendum's 2006 sale


Notes on four wines sampled from Bibendum's biggest ever clearance sale, which begins February 28th and runs until March 10th 2006. Each of these wines is available in good quantities (at least 40 cases) and, like the other wines in the sale, there are substantial reductions. You can pre-register for the sale, and receive the full list of what's on offer.

Bottle prices are given, though these wines are available only by the unmixed case. Bibendum does have some "lucky dip" mixed cases in the sale, which always offer great value for money. Delivery on all wines is free if you order £250 worth or more, and is £15 otherwise.

white

Craigow (Australia) Riesling 2003
I was recently lucky enough to spend a few days as International Judge at the National Riesling Challenge in Australia, where I tasted over 300 Aussie Rieslings. I noted that wines from Tasmania seemed to show a lovely aromatic quality, and so it is great to find this Tasmanian wine available in Bibendum's selection. It has a pale, gold/green colour, and a lovely delicate nose with a very discrete whiff of paraffin, before waxy nectarine and apple skin aromas, and a suggestion of ripe orchard fruits. On the palate there is good weight, with a searing core of lime juice acidity, but a layering of very good fruit with hints of tropicality. Long and deliciously zesty and fresh, this is an uncompromisingly dry style, but has terrific quality. Was £11.64, now £8.99

red

TerraVentoux (France) Côtes du Ventoux 2004
This screwcapped wine comes from a progressive new co-op in the southern Rhône, and is a blend of 70 per cent Syrah and 30 per cent Grenache. Dark garnet colour, with a crisply defined raspberry and cherry fruited nose, with elements of pomegranate seeds and a little red liquorice. In the mouth it is juicy and crisp, with plenty of the same raspberry and red cherry fruit, and a certain chocolaty quality that emerges on the mid-palate. There is a sense of savoury, lip-smacking freshness about this wine that is balanced and food friendly. Was £5.14, now £3.99

Graham Beck (South Africa) Shiraz 2002
From the Coastal Cellars in the Roberston region, this is an example of the sort of Shiraz that Graham Beck has become renowned for, and which has helped put South African shiraz on the map. Weighing in at a beefy 15 per cent alcohol, this is a Shiraz that will delight lovers of the big, chocolaty and fruity Australian style. It has a nose of mulberry and rich berry compote, with a spice-cupboard of cinammon and clove, caramel-covered fudge and depth to spare. On the palate it has that seamless weight of rich, ripe, autumn berry fruits and silky, spicy tannins with good acidity adding a freshening cherry note, and a long, long, spice-licked finish. The little bit of bottle age has produced a delightful wine that offers amazing bangs per buck at the sale price. Was £8.63, now £6.99

Piedra Feliz (Chile) Pinot Noir 2002
What a very nice Pinot this is, from the cool Casablanca Valley in Chile. It is a wine made by an outpost of Chablis superstar Michel Laroche, by Jorge Coderch of Valdivieso. The colour is a fine, bright ruby, with an elegant, expressive Pinot nose of cherry and kirsch, with a touch of creamy cedar and and plenty of gently spicy, earthy tones. On the palate this strikes a lovely balance between smoky, alluring red fruits and some woodland, truffly character, and a fine backbone of cherry acidity and silky tannin. It has good mouthfeel, and really is a lovely Pinot - and one of the best I've tasted from South America. This is excellent value. Was £10.09, now £7.99