It's been a hugely enjoyable week, having tasted lots of inspiring wines – many with really thought-provoking philosophies behind them.
In an age when there are so many made-to-a-recipe, bland, commercial wines on the supermarket shelves, it’s so much more interesting to taste wines with a story to tell.
The most famous wine estate in Provence is Château Miravel. Although Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are separated they still jointly own the property, and the wines are made in partnership with the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel.
Last week they launched a new wine, Studio by Miravel 2018, IGP Méditerranée (Co-op £12) which takes its names from the recording studio at Château Miravel and has been used over the years by artists such Pink Floyd, Sade and AC/DC.
It’s a blend of cinsault, grenache, rolle and the lesser-known grape tibouren. It’s very pale pink and shows notes of summer red fruits, some ripe peach and a little spice, before a really well balanced palate with more red fruits and a mouth-watering finish which really does make you want to keep coming back for another sip.
Glenelly Estate in Stellenbosch truly has an amazing story to tell. It was established in 2003, when the remarkable Madame May de Lencquesaing, at the age of 78, sold her world famous Bordeaux estate, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, and started all over again in South Africa.
She is still going strong now and Glenelly Lady May 2012 (frontierwines.co.uk £29.50, Hermitage Cellars £29) is the property’s flagship wine and rightly named after her.
A Bordeaux blend of mainly cabernet sauvignon with a little petit verdot and cabernet franc, this is very fine wine indeed with black fruits, cassis and some dried herbs.
The palate has well integrated fine tannins with more dark fruits and wood spices, before a very long finish. This in many ways is old school wine and would age happily for another decade. In the meantime, decant before serving and serve with a rib of beef.
Probably the most surprising wines I tasted last week were the wines of Bodegas Altolandon, situated inland, northwest of Valencia. The estate is run organically and the wine making here is done as naturally as possible with native yeasts and little other intervention.
Bodegas Altolandon Garnacha “Mil Historias” 2017, Manchuela (Hermitage Cellars £10.65) is aged in second and third year use French oak barrels, and as with all their wines the aim is to express the purity of the fruit.
The bouquet shows plum and black cherry as well as a twist of white pepper and some earthy, herbal notes, before dark fruits and ripe tannins and a nice, plush fruit driven finish.
Try this with a Spanish pork, chorizo and butter bean casserole.
The name Mil Historias translates as ‘thousand stories’, so that fits this theme very well indeed.