As we approach the end of another difficult year, I suspect that most people will be hoping that in 2022, we might finally get this wretched Covid 19 under control. Perhaps even start doing the things I was dreaming of in the blog I posted this time last year: going on holiday, eating out in restaurants and running wine courses. While still exercising care for ourselves and our fellow citizens, of course.
But, before finally leaving 2021 altogether, I’d like to mention a couple of wines we particularly enjoyed over the recent holiday season – both excellent value.
Sauternes is, perhaps, the best-known dessert wine in the world but it isn’t the only sweet wine made in the Bordeaux region. Across the Garonne River, 3 other Appellations, Cadillac, Loupiac and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, make wines in a similar style, if a little lighter in body, using the same grape varieties (Semillon and Savignon Blanc). The last named of these villages has been a favourite of ours since visiting as part of a wine walk many years ago. It was the end of a long day and a glass of the local liquid nectar was the perfect reviver. Chateau La Rame is one of the best producers there, the wine sweet but not cloying and full of delicious orange, honey and marmalade flavours (available from Majestic, £12.99 for a 50cl bottle).
Another bottle also brought back memories of a trip abroad, this time to the Greek island of Crete. Among the exciting producers there is Domaine Lyrarakis, who specialises in showcasing Crete’s marvellous range of native grapes, some only recently rescued from near-extinction. Varieties such Dafni and Vidiano (both white) and Kotsifali (red) are all worth seeking out, but our bottle was made from Thrapsathiri – a grape that was completely new to me. Full and rich, a little in the style of a white Rhône, this subtly oaked wine had flavours of peach and melon with a little spice and a delicious long herby, grassy finish. Bought from the Wine Society for £14.50, but, sadly, now sold out.
Two bottles to remember from a year that, otherwise, many will wish to forget.