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Oddbins. Part I - whites

by Tom Cannavan, 12/01

This was a tasting of all the newest lines available in Oddbins, the UK's multi-award-winning High Street specialists. Oddbins has also recently re-launched its e-commerce site at oddbins.co.uk. Those items marked "FW" are in Fine Wine stores and selected larger branches only. "Ltd" means limited availability and while stocks last, and those wines marked with "*" are brand new and may not yet have reached your local store - you'll have to check.

See also part II - over 30 red wines.

white wines


Italy

2000 Tenuta Le Velette 'Lunato', Orvieto Classico Superiore £5.99 Ltd
Nice ripe pear fruit on the nose. Quite full and rich, nothing mean about it. Plenty of stuffing on the palate too, quite alcoholic and powerful, but very good.

2000 Icardi Cortese 'Balera', Piedmonte £5.99
Light, sweet, delicately floral nose. Elegant but powerful, with notes of straw and pear. The palate is rich and forceful, with rather rasping acidity but good length. Good.

1999 Marramiero Altare, Trebbiano d'Abbruzzo £8.99
Creamy, sweet, oaky overlay. Rich and full nose - almost Chardonnay-like, with bold lemon fruit. On the plate there is more citrus and a peach kernel/nutty edge. Fine acidity lending balance into a long, full finish. Very good.

2000 Icardi 'Pafoj' Bianco, Monferrat £13.99 Ltd
Very light, spritzy, sherbet-lemon nose. Hints of tangerine. Full, sweet, fruity palate that is really quite fat and oily. Lush, sweet fruit powers through into a finish that is balanced by crisp grapefruit acidity. Very good indeed.

Greece

2000 Oenoforos Asprolithi, Patras £4.99
Clean, bright, spritzy apple and straw aromas. Racy, with fine acidity, notes of citrus, melon, grapefruit and full texture. Pure and characterful. Very good.

2000 Gentilini Corelli, Robola of Cephalonia £6.49
More rounded, mellow nose; hints of tropicality and juicy peach. The palate is crisp with a crunch of gooseberryish fruit, grapefruit and plenty of mouth-watering, clean fruit. Long and very good indeed.

2000 Gerovassiliou White, Epanomi £6.49
Flowers, and some sweet white peach character on the nose flows through to a similar palate of gently herbal, nutty sweet fruit and a fine balance from crunchy citrus acidity. Very good.

2000 Lazaridi, Chateau Julia Chardonnay, Adriani £7.99
Big, honeyed, toasty oak nose is weighty and powerful with masses of apricot fruit and bursting tropical notes of lychee and guava. Heavily oaked character layers vanilla over citrus and peach fruit and sufficient acidity to balance. Very good.

2000 Gaia Thalassitis Oak Fermented, Santorini £8.99
Lighter nose, peach, apricot and straw-like aromatics. The palate has pear and juicy peach-skin and tart greengage fruit. Quite powerful and full-bodied, finishing with stylish acidity and good length. Very good/very good indeed.

2000 Gaia Ritinitis Nobilis, Peloponnese £5.49
Very odd nose here with notes of potato peelings, herbs and hints of melon fruit. Very strange stuff, with an equally unorthodox palate that's either love it or hate it for this one.

Regional France

2000 Domaine Puydeval Blanc, Vin de Pays d'Oc £5.99 Ltd
This is slightly nondescript at first. Some straw and pear emerges, with a ripe, sweet edge just peeking through. There is plenty of pithy acidity on the palate and a suggestion of yeasty richness. Savoury and finishes with good length. Good.

2000 Christophe Blanc 'Les Epines', Coteaux du Languedoc £6.49 Ltd
Lovely, big, ripe fruit nose. Rather less well-defined on the palate, and lacking a little mid-palate richness for me. Decent balance and some length, but doesn't punch through for me. Moderate.

2000 St-Genis, Vin de Pays de la Cité de Carcassonne £7.99 Ltd
Big nutty nose. Quite herbal, with buttery, peachy richness. There are notes of almond and nectarine sweetness. Lots of weight in the mouth, rich sweet and elegant with some floral lightness. Quite long and very good.

1999 Château de Nages Cuvée Joseph Torrès, Costières de Nîmes £8.49
Light, herbal, but juicy, gooseberry-fruited nose. Palate is dry with more gently herbal flavours; a real nettly quality with citrus undertones. There's a hint of spiciness, and there is god weight powering through to the finish with decent acidity. Very good.

Alsace

2000 Pinot Blanc Auxerrois, Albert Mann £6.99
Fairly neutral straw and light apple nose. Better fruit on the palate, with a herbaceous quality and then a good quality of sweet nectarine and tropical fruit, with hints of pineapple and lush guava sweetness, lychee and a dry, grapefruity finish. Very good.

Rhône

2000 Saint-Péray 'Les Sauvegères', Jaboulet £6.99 * Ltd
Slightly dull nose. Some mineral and straw-like aromas, a little orchard fruit. A bit lifeless on the palate too. Poor/moderate.

2000 Domaine du Père Caboche, Châteaneuf-du-Pape £10.99 Ltd
Nice ripe fruit on the nose with floral notes and juicy melon, peach and a little pithy orange and grapefruit. Good weight on the palate with sweet notes persisting and lots of savoury acidity and weight. Very good.

2000 Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Côtes du Rhône £11.99*
Nice rounded weight of peach and buttery stone fruits. Little hints of honey and honeysuckle. Palate has full-body and a toasty warmth, with more peachy fruit and little hints of guava and nectarine. Quite long, powerful and very good.

2000 Château de Beaucastel, Châteaneuf-du-Pape £23.99*FW
Adds an overripe, more complex vegetal note with lots of wild, herbal nuances. The fruit is deep and rich on the palate, with powerful weight and lots of apricot, peach and ogen melon. Very fine, with excellent length and a lovely sweetness of fruit underpinned by adequate acidity. Very good indeed.

Burgundy

1999 Saint-Véran, Orchys £8.29
Nice, if rather neutral nose. Hints of elegant white fruits and just a little honeysuckle note. Good juicy citrus fruit on the palate, with a little of that honeyed richness and a mineral acidity adding a little complexity. Good fruit and length in the end. Very good.

2000 Chablis, Jean-Marc Brocard £8.49
Toasty almond and sesame seed notes almost suggest oak. Fine nuttiness and richness. Good fruit on the palate with citrussy tangerine notes and zesty orange peel. Dry, minerally finish and decent length. Very good/very good indeed.

1999 Rully 1er Cru 'Les Cloux', Baron de la Charrière £11.49
Very sweet, ripe, honeyed nose of light peach and floral elegance. Good juicy acidity floods the palate with peachy fruit and hints of tart green apple acidity. Very good.

1999 Saint-Romain 'Sous le Chateau' Baron de la Charrière £12.99
Quite rich on the nose, with very sweet, attractive juiciness. On the palate it has good weight and lots of charm with fat, sweet fruit and light oak adding a little spice. Very good.

1999 Santenay 'Le Saint-Jean', Baron de la Charrière £12.99
Sweet nose again, with delicious honeyed edge to the fruit that carries through to the palate. Rich and enticing stuff with good purity, full body, juicy acidity and a hint of spice into a decent finish. Very good indeed.

1999 Puligny-Montrachet 'Les Charmes', Domaine Bourgeot £21.99
Oak-dominated nose at present, overlaid with sweet spices and vanilla. Nutty beneath, with peachy fruit. Powerful palate, again with a nutty quality and a deep, sweet core of ripe fruit given spine by mineral acidity. Good length and very good indeed.

South Africa

1998 Klein Constantia Rhine Riesling, Constantia £5.25
Oily, waxy nose. Apple and pear fruit follows through to palate, with a hint of residual sugar, but surrounded by citrus and green apple fruit and acidity. Very good.

2001 Neethlingshof Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch £5.99
Very fragrant with passion fruit and lush tropical aromatics and a crisp herbal edge. On the palate it is brimming with juicy orange, lemon and grapefruit zestiness in a fairly explosive mix; a great lip-smacking burst of fruit. Dry and nicely balanced, the finish is long and pure. Very good indeed.

2000 Fairview Oom Pagel Sémillon, Paarl £6.99
Waxy, woolly, buttery nose. Hints of honey and fat, sweet fruit. A bit of oily richness on the palate, with a buttery, fruity quality that is very fine and some citrussy crispness. Very good.

2000 Flagstone 'Strata' Barrel Fermented Chenin, Coastal Region £7.99
Mealy-rich nose with butter, yeast, honey and wild-flower aromatics underpinned by toffee and butterscotch richness. Very attractive. The palate is sweet with rounded, weighty orchard and peach fruit and a very nice depth. Good balance and length. Very good/very good indeed.

New Zealand

2001 Villa Maria 'Clifford Bay' Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough £10.99*
Gorgeous vegetal, asparagus and nettle elements to deep, sweet, fully-ripe tropical fruit that is lightly honeyed. Bursts with gooseberry, lychee and juicy mango. Big, fat, powerfully-fruited palate with fine length and romping acidity. Very good indeed/excellent.

California

1998 Kent Rasmussen Chardonnay, Napa £16.99*
Very sweet and unctuous with a honeyed edge to ripe, deep peach fruit. Big, full and impressive on the palate with a nutty overlay, sweet oak and plenty of stuffing and length. Very impressive in a powerhouse style. Very good indeed.

Australia

2001 Nepenthe Unwooded Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills £7.99
Quite confected and tanky on the nose, with notes of pear-drops and an aromatic profile. Cool, crisp, lightly tropical palate with a medium-bodied, quite elegant appeal. Lovely ripe pear fruit and grapefruity acidity pushing through. Needs time to settle and integrate, but very good.

2001 Nepenthe Pinot Gris, Adelaide Hills £8.99
Distinct copper tinge to the colour of this. This also shares an aromatic quality with notes of flowers, apricot, nuts and hints of tropicality. The palate is very juicy with citrus, dried fruits and apple acidity. Very good.

2000 Nepenthe Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills £9.99
Toasty, charry aromas with sesame seed and hazelnut and some apple fruit. The palate has a lovely quality of fruit and good acidity; quite punchy and crisp with a bite of minerality and creaminess of the oak. Perhaps a little loose-knit, but there is gorgeous complexity hinted at here. Very good indeed.

2000 Nepenthe Sémillon, Adelaide £9.99
Modest nose aromatically with lemon and just a suggestion of honey and vanilla. On the palate it is creamy and full, with citrus fruit, straw and a nutty complexity. The finish has a lovely weight of fruit behind it and good balance. Should be better in a few years. Very good/very good indeed.

See also part II - over 30 red wines.