Unfortunately, thanks to the likes of Blue Nun, German wines still suffer from a dodgy reputation in the UK. Wine drinkers who ‘know what they like’ haven’t forgotten about the horrors of the 70/80s and therefore avoid German wines like the plague. These people are really missing out!! If you haven’t tried anything German recently then I implore you to do so – expect wines full of vibrancy & character, there are some real gems out there.

Lovers of Mosel Riesling will already know about the excellent wines of Dr. Loosen. The group owns Villa Wolf, whose excellent Silvaner I tried this week. The Silvaner grape variety is readily overlooked by many who will pick a Riesling instead but it can offer great value due to it being ‘off the beaten track’ in terms of favourite German varietals.

Villa Wolf

Villa Wolf

The wine has bags of sharp green apples on the nose, if you closed your eyes you might think it was cider. The palate balances this out with lovely stone fruits and good acidity. With an ever so slight spritz, this would make a great aperitif and would be perfect on a warm summer afternoon if we’re lucky enough to have one of those this year!

Origin: Pfalz, Germany

Dominant Grape: Silvaner

Alcohol: 11.5%

Drinking window: Now

Drink with: Aperitif, Light salads.

Price: Around £9/btl

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It is my belief that one can tell a lot about a wine producer, not from their expensive 1er crus but rather from their entry level wines. Henri Prudhon is a winemaker who makes a wide variety of wines – from bottles you can grab for a tenner to a Puligny-Montrachet at around £30. It’s a belter by the way!!

St. Aubin

St. Aubin

The domaine’s entry level white is the ‘Bourgogne’. This name on the label generally denotes a winemaker’s basic wine with the grapes being gathered from various parts of Burgundy, hence the wine’s name. Prudhon’s effort is a classy yet simplistic expression of Burgundian Chardonnay. A supple & fruity wine with no new oak, there are beautiful  citrus notes and minerals on the nose with a palate that provides great acidity and delicate fruit. – a perfect White Burgundy starter wine. The next step might be to try Henri Prudhon’s St. Aubin 1er Cru – great value for premier cru White Burgundy at around £20.

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Origin: Burgundy, France

Dominant Grape: Chardonnay

Alcohol: 12.5%

Drinking window: Now

Drink with: Pre-dinner, Fish & Seafood, Salads.

Price: Around £10/btl

Getting older is hard for the best of us, but my birthday was made all the sweeter this year by having a bottle of Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2008 to hand.

Royal Tokaji

Just as with sweet wines from Sauternes, the grapes used to produce Tokaji are infected with the grey fungus, Botrytis Cinerea. Whilst this might sound rather revolting, the result is akin to nectar; these rot-infused grapes produce a deliciously sweet, opulent, high quality wine.

Tokaji, much like Burgundy, relies on a unique terroir impact on the characteristics of the wines. The area boasts rich volcanic soils which when combined with traditional Hungarian weather – hot, dry summers followed by damp, muggy autumns – create the perfect conditions for the furmint grape to flourish. Indeed, Tokaji is one of the world’s greatest wine producing regions.

Amber-gold and full bodied, this 2008 wine tasted of honeyed apricots, while its nose suggested an abundance of figs, honey and orange peel. Importantly, this sweetness was balanced with vibrant acidity making the wine fresh and approachable. An outstanding example of the style.

Origin: Hungary

Dominant Grape: Furmint

Alcohol: 11.5 %

Drinking window: 2014- 2020

Drink with: Nuts, Paté, Salty Blue Cheese, Fruit desserts

Price: Around £22 per 500ml bottle

Lacoste BorieWhile some people reserve Sunday for worshipping Christ or Morpheus, others of us are hard at work trying to please Bacchus. This Sunday saw a flight of Bordeaux arrive in the shop for a client tasting.  The wine that really stood out was the Lacoste-Borie 2009 – the second wine from the highly-reputable 5th growth Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste. And whilst some wines might buckle under the pressure of coming from such impressive pedigree, this bottle certainly did not disappoint!

The Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste estate is located in Pauillac – the jewel  in the crown of the Médoc (just north of Bordeaux), and home to many famous Chateaux including Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild and Latour. Coming from a chateau on the left-bank of the Gironde, the Lacoste-Borie is a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend and boasts a pronounced, perfumed nose with notes of cedar and blackcurrant. With firm yet refined tannins and delicate balance the wine is drinking well now but will easily last for 6-8 years.

Origin: Pauillac – Bordeaux

Dominant Grape: Cabernet Merlot

Alcohol: 13.5%

Drinking window: 2014- 2020

Drink with: Steak, Venison

Price: Around £24