Art2: “And now for something completely different..”

March 9, 2010

Art2: “And now for something completely different..”

Question:How many Indie kids does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: An obscure number that you have probably never heard of…

And that hilarious icebreaker brings me to write about the Specialist Importers Trade Tasting that I attended on the 24th of Feb at Vinopolis. The SITT describes itself on its website as: “SITT is designed specifically for wine buyers from the independent on and off trade, and for press visitors interested in ‘real’ wines.”

Specialist importers are the wine industry equivalent to the independent labels of the music business. These people are all about the product. This is a far cry from the big corporate agencies that ship thousands of hectolitres of cheap liquid into the country diluting the quality of wines in our local supermarkets.

The passion was flowing at this busy event and it took me the whole afternoon to make it through the mainly high quality samples to be tasted. It proved indeed to be a treasure trove of delights with too many great wines to write about.

So in the spirit of the ‘Indies’ I will list a few that really stood out from the crowd, not only in essence but also innovation and originality.

Many of these wines are not available directly off the shelf in the UK but can be found in a smattering of good restaurants and small wine shops across the land and are also available for order from their respective agents.

– Jasnieres Cuvee Clos StJacques 2006, Loire France

Intense nose combining a multitude of aromatics with notes of pine sap, hazelnuts and almonds. The palate shows rich mineral, zesty fruit with an intense very long finish.

Yapp Bros, £13.95 per bottle

I was quite blown away by this great example of a lesser know geographical region. Jasnieres is north of Tours in the Loire valley. The grape used is the versatile Chenin Blanc. Produced since the middle ages, diverse historical figures such as Rabelais, Ronsard and Henry IV have enjoyed the pleasures of Jasnières according to the producer! This is a great wine for experimenting with food matching, definitely one for seafood or smoked fish.

– Domaine de Closvallon les Aurieges 2008, VdP Haute Valley de L’Orb

Crisp inviting racy nose of stone fruit and citrus. The palate offers layers of ripe peach, pear and lime with complex mineral and oak notes. This finish is fresh and very morish.

Dynamic Vines, £16.95 per bottle.

Another wine from an area you may not have heard of. This time from the south of France. The blend is of 7 grape varieties (which I did not have time to write all of them down!), they include Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Riesling, Viognier and Clairette. This is a great example of intuitive and inventive wine making. The blend itself is a bit mind boggling but the result is truly special and definitely worth a go.

– Gemtree Moonstome Savagnin 2009, McLaren Vale Australia

Pears, blossom, peaches and melon on the nose, simular fruit on the palate with an elegant racy ‘Riesling-style’ finish

New Generation Wines, £17.25 per bottle

A great wine to emerge from the Albarinio/Savagnin story, see below for more info:

Another fine example from the inspiring Gemstone range.

– Malbrontes Malbec Torrontes 2009, Mendoza Argentina

Sort ripe red berry nose with a light floral notes. Smooth almost creamy fruit on the palate with a warm spicy finish with notes of liquorice and violets.

Agents ‘Las Bodegas’, aprox £8.49 per bottle

The world’s first ever Malbrontes, blending a small amount of the white Torrontes grape into this rich tannic intense red softens the fruit and makes it a lot more approachable. This red could well be enjoyed without food which is a new trend for Argie reds. Jancis Robinson is already on this one!

– Domaine Compte Abbatucci Cuvee Faustine 2006, Corsica France

Warming dark berries mix with rustic earthy terroir on the nose. The palate is surprisingly elegant with continued mellow fruit and rich mineral notes coming from the granite terroir.

Dynamic Vines, £19.90 per bottle

Something different, This red is blended from two local varieties Sciaccarellu and Nielluciu. It is really juicy and complex with great finesse and good potential to age. Even the importer Frederic Grappe said it was his favourite wine at the tasting. With style and innovation you cannot go wrong..


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