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Cassegrain (Australia) Chambourcin 1999
Chambourcin is a hybrid grape from the Loire valley - a hybrid because at least one of its "parents" is not Vitis vinifera, but its exact parentage is unknown. Chambourcin is gaining ground in Australia for making characterful quality wines. I'd previously tasted an example from Pendarves estate which was one of the stars of their portfolio, but this wine from Cassegrain is the best I've tasted. The colour is intense, vibrant purple, and the nose immediately exudes spicy, deep, concentrated class. There's an element of pleasant, animal rusticity, and some herbal notes, but plenty of deep cherry fruit. On the palate this medium-bodied wine is savoury rather than sweet, with layers of cherry and crisp berry fruit and edgy tannins. It is refined though, with good length and balance, and certainly offers distinctive drinking. A delicious wine with the right food too: I drank it with a wild mushroom risotto.
Imported by New World Wines, from their shop in Wandsworth, or from Wimbledon Wine Cellars (Tel: 020 8540 9979), £9.99.