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Oddbins, the Buyers' favourites

by Tom Cannavan, 03/07

This tasting of 45 wines was staged by Oddbins to show off some of the new wines and new vintages that are particular favourites of the buying team. Prices are per bottle, though as with many wines in Oddbins range, there are discounts for buying six or 12 bottles. Also, two or three of these wines were not due in stores until early April 2007.

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De Bortoli (Australia) Windy Peak Pinot Grigio 2006
Rich, green-flecked, pear skin and figgy character. Plenty of bright, waxy lemon fruit. Palate is just off dry perhaps, with lovely roundness and ripeness of fruit. It perhaps lacks a little acidity, but there's a skinny richness and grippy presence. Lovely stuff, and perhaps best with some food. £6.99

Linda Domas (Australia) Philips Vineyard Chardonnay Viognier 2006
Nice ripe, rich, slightly vegetal but very sweet pear and orange rind nose, with a background of toasted almond. On the palate quite thick and waxy in texture, with fine pear fruit and those little hazelnutty notes. Quite long this, and although acidity is a little low, very moreish and delicious wine with a bit of structure. £7.99

Plantagenet (Australia) Omrah Chardonnay 2005
A lovely touch of Burgundian green bean vegetal quality here, with green fig and hazelnut notes to ripe melon and ripe apple fruit. The palate has plenty of sweetness, with a tang of green apple, and a lovely ripeness and richness. This has terrific intensity and sweetness to the fruit, and sufficient acidity along with some mealy notes to add tension. £7.99

Shelmerdine (Australia) Chardonnay 2004
Hugely pungent, hugely aromatic nose, with masses of honey and hazelnut, very ripe green fig and a touch of mint, with all sorts of exotic incense, sandalwood and fruity notes. Quite a blockbuster. The palate has plenty of toasty sesame seed and nutty oak, but there's a fine core of lemony, quite steely acidity that keeps this fresh, and a good core of fruit leading to a flamboyant, personality-packed wine with low acidity, that is nicely mature. £9.99

Château L'Hospitalet (France) Blanc 2005
Zesty, citrussy, very bright and vivacious aromas. Little background note of nuttiness, with almond a hint of toast. The palate has lovely punch and vibrant fruit that is rounded and sweet, with some orangey tang and little complex hints of rose-hip and preserved lemon. This has fine acidity, and though it perhaps lacks a little concentration, is a vivacious and delicious wine. £8.99

Bideau-Giraud (France) Vieux Chais Muscadet Sevres et Main sur lie 2005
Very pungent herbal tones, with grassy, nettly notes and a certain freshness and slaty mineral tang. Palate is very fresh, and that nettly note really pushes through, with a light, crisp, bittersweet green-leafed herbal palate of flavours,. Clean apple acidity and a bright, pithy finish. £4.99

Domaine Preceptoire (France) Roussillon Blanc 2005
Minty, powerful, with plenty of vanilla and leafy notes, but a great weight of very ripe melon and pear fruit. Very attractive, with lovely complexity. On the palate it is super-sweet with the ripeness of that nectarine and very ripe pear fruit, with mango and guava hints, before a broad, full acidity really brightens the finish. Lovely tangy stuff this, with huge length and very impressive. £9.99

Alain Geoffrey (France) Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 2004
This is a very ripe style of Chablis, with lovely herbal hints to apple fruit. There's a vegetal ripeness of fruit, and a hint of minerality. On the palate this is quite broad, sweet-fruited and full ,with a succulent citrus fruit character and deliciously sweet, full fruit. This has fine acidity too, and a hint of minerality as well as pithy lemony, savoury character. Long and elegant in the finish. £13.49

Verget (France) Mâcon Buissieres Vigne de Montbrison 2005
Shimmering honeysuckle and apple fruit, with a hint of mealy richness, but otherwise very clean and crisp, with a hint of talcum and racy floral notes. On the palate this has lovely, clean, very bright and pure fruit, with plenty of racy lemon and crunchy apple fruit and a nettly, herb-spiked note. Vivacious and racy, the pithy grapefruit and lemon acidity adds te3nsion into a long finish. £13.99

Verget (France) St Véran Terroirs de Davaye 2005
Slightly richer, mealier, almond and honeysuckle nose with gorgeous weight of lemon and orange fruit. More oak presence here, with a toasty, hazelnutty background. The palate has lovely cut and dash too, with masses of lemon and lime, a clear, pure apple fruitiness and lip-smacking, vibrant acidity. The oak and creaminess of texture softens the finish, but this has plenty of racy definition. £15.49

Roccolo Grassi (Italy) La Broia Soave Superiore 2003
Fine Wine stores. Very intense, very concentrated pear skin and mineral character on the nose. The palate too has a firm, decisive structure with a certain waxiness and a steely lemon and apple fruit core. This is a firm and decisive style of wine, with a food-friendly appeal, and rich personality, and a suggestion of oaky background perhaps. A serious style. £11.99

Blind River (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Hugely aromatic, classic Marlborough nose with masses of unctuous tropical fruit suggesting mango, lychee and ripe, sweet nectarine, and some flamboyant gooseberry and green bean aromatics. On the palate this is quite full and rich, and has bags of weight and sweet fruit. But it is nicely integrated, with no shortage of acidity, but all very nicely composed and harmonious, with a broad mid-palate appeal and very good length. Tangy, powerful and balanced, this is a fine example of the style. £9.99

Portal de Aguia (Portugal) Ribatejo Branco 2006
Bright, lemony, very pleasantly leafy fruit with a little sweetie, pear drop and lemon drop nose. That sweet, fruity, bright character carries trough on the palate, with a lovely mouthfilling presence and good acidity to counter, leaving this clean and crisp, yet with that weight of sweet fruit present in the mouth. £4.89

Norton (Argentina) Torrontes 2006
Floral, herbal, and quite flamboyant aromatics, with nice leafy fruit. The palate has a nicely sour edge of granny smith apples, and good fruit that is sometimes missing fro the palate with this grape. It is tangy and lively, with lots of crisp lemony notes and a fine, long finish. Very nice aperitif wine. £4.99

Bodegas Pirineos (Spain) Blanco Somontano 2006
Late harvest Macabeo, gewürztraminer and Chardonnay. Bright, herby, with fascinating perfume and lychee notes, a mealy, nutty note and plenty of dry apple fruit. On the palate this is perhaps a little less flamboyant and concentrated than the nose promises, but it has fine, bright fruit, a certain exotic undertone of lychee and mandarin orange, and a big pithy core of grapefruit acidity that keeps it focused. Unusual and very enjoyable. £5.99

Burgans (Spain) Albariño 2005
Fine, mineral, tight and steely nose, with just hints of a more aromatic character struggling to get out, with a little leafiness and some peachy fruit all constrained by the minerality. On the palate this has copious fruit: it really opens out to a brightly-fruited, almost luscious pear and apple ripeness, but that dry, pithy acid character and the lemony tightness kicks in keeping it very fresh and tangy into the finish. £8.49

Qupe (California) Viognier Chardonnay Bien Nacido 2004
Gorgeous, opulent nose, flooded with sweet, marmalade, honey and marzipan notes, but a luscious welterweight of nectarine and ripe peach juice fruit. A background leafiness. On the palate the fruit is mouthfilling and rich, with a waxy, fat, downy peach skin and nectarine richness. Very sweet fruit is set against a lovely background acidity, with a tang of orange and grapefruit and those infilling nutty notes broadening and adding depth. £15.49

Pulpit Rock (South Africa) Chenin Blanc 2006
Fine, pungent, herb-tinged green apple fruit. Little smoky background with and almost gunflint character. On the palate this has weight and a waxy character, with plenty more apple fruit and a broad, waxy lemon and lemon rind appeal. This is dry and pithy in the finish, in a fairly serious but deliciously drinkable style with a bit of weight and structure. £5.49

De Grendel (South Africa) Winifred 2006
40% Semillon, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Viognier. Quite pungent this, with a green bean and figgy note, and a fine racy apple fruit. Really quite pungent, with a spicy background and plenty of ripeness. On the palate this is full, rich and very ripe, with a massive mouthfilling fruit presence. Lots of buttery ripe notes, a solid core of ripe apple and fat, lemony fruit, and a certain leafy, nettle and green bean pugnacious character. Long and very tangy, this has deliciously intense and concentrated flavours and good balance. £8.99

Rosé

Henri Pelle (France) Mentou Salon Rosé 2005
Light, delicate, cranberry and delicately strawberry fruit, with a nice punch of herbal influence. Quite grassy and racy too. On the palate a nice style this, without too much sweetness or cloying qualities, and a racy green streak to savoury red fruit. Crisp, lemony and balanced in the finish, this is rose in a white wine style, but is very good. £8.99

Bodegas Pirineos (Spain) Rosé 2005
Much more full, creamy, ripe and sweet fruit with cherry and rose-hip nuances. Creamier on the palate too, but this has very nice fruit and very bright acidity that keeps it refreshing and crisp. Lovely balance really, and a stylish rose. £5.99

Red

Clos Bortier (France) Haute Côtes de Beaune 2005
Very solid crimson colour, and a lovely nose flooded with bright cherry and briar. Wood is very subdued, and brightness of fruit shines though. Lovely crunch and tang and a very bright cheery fruit, with little infilling notes of chocolate and deep plummy fruit, but such lovely elegance and bright, focused acidity too. Very fine. £15.99

Margrain (New Zealand) Rivers Edge Marlborough Pinot Noir 2004
Fine, solid, chunky berry fruit with plenty of luscious, ripe rose-hip and strawberry cream notes, and a hit of sweet vanilla. The palate has vibrant, deep fruit too, with no shortage of bright, focused, cherryish fruit and acidity but an extra depth of plum and wintery berry fruits. The toasty, espresso oak begins to fill in on the finish, and whilst this does not have the elegance and harmony of the HCdB, it is very good. £9.99

Mas Arnaud (France) Côtes du Rhône Syrah Grenache 2005.
Fresh, with plenty of berry and bright, quite charcoally, crisp-edged cherry fruit. Fresh on the palate too, and there's a hint of creamy ripeness, but this stays juicy and lithe, with good floral-edged berry fruits and a nicely peppery finish. A lovely little wine at the price. £4.99

Albacore (Australia) Barossa Shiraz 2004
Sweet, mentholy, eucalyptus-tinged cheery fruit, with plenty of damsony black fruit coming though and sweet vanillin American oak, that is perhaps a touch too dominant. On the palate I do fins the oakiness and ripeness a little cloying, though there's a good mouthful of liquorice-tinged, firm fruit here that is a crowd-pleaser. £5.99

Albacore (Australia) Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
More subdued (and better for it) with solid, ripe, still sweet and vanillin black fruit, and plenty of depth and chocolaty background. The palate has a little more light and shade about it than the syrah too, with a tangy black plum skin and cherry acidity adding some cut and interest. £5.99

De Bortoli (Australia) Windy Peak Sangiovese 2005
Bright, briar and cherry-focused nose, with nicely punchy fruit and a lovely red fruit glossiness. There's quite a lot of vanillin, creamy oak, but it sits quite nicely with the fruit. On the palate there's a nice hint of something tobacco, leathery and animal, in amongst some really good berry fruit. This is balanced and chewy, with low tannins and moderate acidity, but enough of each to add structure. £7.29

Shelmerdine (Australia) Cabernet 2005
Big bold, black fruit, spices and chocolate nose, with some light about it though, and crunchy cherry fruit note. The palate has some light and shade too, with good fruit, a good acid structure, and a savoury, racy acid structure that really freshens this. Stylish. £10.99

Two Hands (Australia) Canny Butcher McLaren Vale Grenache 2004
Beautifully bright, expressive jammy fruit compote Grenache, with such fruit sweetness that it is almost floral. A hint of pepper and spice too, in a straightforward but hugely appealing nose. Equally solid fruitiness on the palate does not disappoint, with a weight of blue-black fruit that is jammy and sweet, yet has that liquoricy edge , a certain spiciness and a nicely weighted oak background. Showy without being flashy, and very nicely made. £11.99

Two Hands (Australia) Gnarly Dudes Barossa Shiraz 2004
There's a very nice, bright but solid fruit quality here too, with plenty of juicy, savoury. Appealing black fruit and mint and eucalyptus background. On the palate sweet and rich, with an intensity and lovely piercing blackberry and blackcurrant sweetness. The chocolaty richness of the tannins and a certain plumskin acid bite add lovely definition and layering effect on the finish, in a very impressive wine of its style. £14.49

Ona (Chile) Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Viognier 2005
Slightly odd nose, with a herbal note, a slightly soapy quality and a sweet, jammy fruit. On the palate this has a briary, herb-tinged background and a racy fruit quality. It has sweetness, and is quite pungent and powerful, and the rich, ripe, glossy fruit and quite smooth and full oak in the finish adds depth. Striking, not 100% successful ,but I like it in the end. £8.99

Gerard Bertrand (France) Tautavel 2003
Very firm, tight, muscular fruit quality, with plum and a touch of kirsch-like cherry, and a liquorice firmness suggested on the nose. On the palate this has plenty of structure and tight, lean savoury fruit. It has good fruit and is a well-made, very savoury wine, where a charcoally quality and tight bittersweet tannins and acid balance adds an edge. Lovely savoury stuff. £5.99

Château L'Hospitalet (France) Rouge 2005
Nice spicy and tight, nutty oak quality here, with a freshness and richness of quite bright raspberry and cherry fruit coming through and a hint of something mineral. Lovely palate, with fine sweetness and a really lovely red fruit brightness. This is delicious, with a gorgeous fruit structure and fine, racy acidity, a lovely refined, fine tannic background and delicious balance. A real star this, with beautiful fruit, structure and intelligence shining through. £8.99

Domaine Preceptoire (France) Roussillon Rouge 2004
Quite a creamy vanillin quality on the nose, with spices and some coffee notes, and a nutty Grenache character. There's a touch of chocolate too. Nice palate, with a very racy fruit quality of raspberry and cherry and fine, ripe fruit. There is lovely freshness here, and though it perhaps lacks a little depth in the mid-palate, this is spicy and rich in the finish and is an impressive wine. £9.99

L. Sandrone (Italy) Valmaggiore Nebbiolo 2003
Fine Wines stores only. Very tight, powerful, fresh and liquoricy black fruit quality, with small floral notes and a bright mineral background. On the palate there is a surprising fleshiness, with a full, sweet, quite rich black fruit quality and a charry oak quality adding weight and a savoury structure. This wine becomes quite chocolaty, but the acidity stays focused in a harmonious and beautiful Nebbiolo. £25.99

Quinta de Boa Ventos (Portugal) Extremadura Red 2005
This is a touch baked on the nose, but a ripe plummy fruit comes through, with plenty of richness and suggestion of sweetness. The palate has an opulent, mouthfilling sweetness and texture, with ripe, rounded tannins and low acidity, and notes of chocolate and spice. A very nice wine at the price this. £4.99

Quinta de la Rosa (Portugal) Vale da Clara 2005
Quite schisty, charcoally and brightly-fruited, with bold black fruit. This is forward and fruity on the palate, with plenty of power and weight behind it, and plenty of sinewy black fruit. It is racy and crisp into the finish, with fine structure and good length. £6.69

Bodegas Pirineos (Spain) Tinto 2005
A blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this has a fresh, appetising raspberry, dry-fruited nose. On the palate it is racy and crisp, with a lithe character and crisp tannins. This is good in a savoury, food-friendly style. £5.99

Alejandro Fernandez (Spain) Dehesa La Granja 2001
From the stable of A Fernandez (Pesquera), this 100% Tempranillo wine comes from Zamora, and at six years old offers a beautifully perfumed, gamy nose, with alluring animal and meaty scents, and copious black fruit at its core. Intense blueberry and kirsch-like cherry fruit dominate the palate, in a wine with lots of charm. A red liquorice firmness comes through. The oak is savoury and cedary, the tannins quite mellow and chocolaty, and the acid balance is still very good in this delicious and harmonious wine with good structure. £9.99

Qupe (California) Syrah Bien Nacido 2003
In Fine Wine stores only, this is a rich and opulent wine, with a hugely sweet and generous nose of ripe plum and damson fruit, with chocolaty depths yet some raspberry highlights in an impressively complex aromatic profile. On the palate it is refined and shows a schisty, peppery spice quality. The black fruit flavours are solid, chewy and sweet, but crisp, racy tannins and juicy acidity add lots of refinement and tension. Lip-smacking, juicy, full-fruited and fine. £19.99

Christo Versfeld (South Africa) Bordeaux Blend 2004
Fine Wine stores only. From a producer new to me, this has a cedary, gamy, very attractive perfume with bloody notes, silky black fruit and a certain tobacco and spice note. On the palate a note of schisty minerality and a lovely, seductive cedary quality. Very fine fruit here, and a well structured wine with excellent balance with ripe, silky tannins and plenty of grip. Impressive. £14.99

Sweet

Château de Fesles (France) Bonnezeaux 2003
100% Chenin Blanc, there is a note of straw, damp wool and plenty of fat, lemon and waxy character on the nose. On the palate this bursts into life, with a vivacious sweetness. Thick, unctuous and honeyed, there are lemon-meringue pie flavours and a custardy background, with an opulently rich texture. A fine orange acidity begins to build, leaving this tantalisingly fresh whilst decidedly rich and limpid. Gorgeous stuff. £13.99 per 50cl..