Alfrocheiro (akin to Carignan) in support.
Great value, these work well with fatty
meat dishes like suckling pig or goose.
Ribeiro Santo Tinto Dão 2012
(£7.25, The Wine Society)
A boisterous and juicy youngster packed
with flavours of red berries with smoky,
herby overtones, and something of the
cool freshness that granite soils seem to
bring to a wine. All the better for an
hour's decanting before serving.
Niepoort Rótulo Dão 2013
(£13.99, Bottle Apostle)
Another wine with that cool granite
confidence, here the flavours are darker
- black cherry and blackcurrant - with
notes of spice and roasted meat, plus
a svelte finish guaranteed to keep you
coming back for more.
Unlike in New Zealand, where wellknown
Marlborough dominates the scene,
there's no one region in South Africa
that has grabbed Sauvignon Blanc by the
scruff of the neck and made it its own.
Nor has there been a Cloudy Bay-like
standout winery to which others can
aspire. �e result is a fascinating array of
styles. �ankfully, the OTT green pepperscented
concoctions that were in vogue
a decade ago seem to be disappearing,
replaced by more grown-up wines that
have much to offer those looking to
expand their Sauvignon horizons.
Finest Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc
2015 (£5.50, Tesco)
Made by the renowned André van
Rensburg of Vergelegen, this combines
crisp lemon flavours with a rounder
gooseberry richness to good effect. Made
for seafood, and at a very keen price too.
Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2014,
Constantia (£13.99, Majestic)
A dollop of Semillon, a little lees ageing
and some extra bottle age has resulted in
quite a fleshy style of wine that will go
down well with Chardonnay fans. �e
greengage, lemon and quince flavours and
lightly honeyed edge make this a good
partner for a goats' cheese salad.
AUSTRALIAN PINOT NOIR
Twenty-five years ago, a friend proposed
starting a society called "Australian Pinot
Noir: why do they bother?" Because apart
from a few successes in the Yarra Valley,
there was little to get excited about then.
Today the picture is quite different. �e
search for vineyards where Pinot can
excel rather than just exist has borne fruit,
and this, combined with more sensitive
winemaking, has resulted in wines that
can challenge - and often outclass - what
is being achieved across the Tasman in
Crittenden Estate Pinot Noir 2014,
(£18.40, The Wine Tasting Shop)
Young, juicy style, combining quite
plush red cherry and smoky berry flesh
with a crispness that will keep the wine
in condition for a few years to come.
But when it's so alluring now, why wait,
especially if there's some duck breast to
be had alongside?
Mac Forbes Pinot Noir 2014, Yarra Valley
(£27.50, Philglas & Swiggot)
A wilder style than the Crittenden, with
red berries and damsons to the fore, and
hints of violets and forest floor in the
background. Supple and tasty, with a
savoury note to the finish that would be
a good foil for rabbit. NB Mac Forbes is
also responsible for �e Wine Society's
excellent Blind Spot range, including a
tasty Pinot Noir (£9.50).