6:00 AM 19th February 2022
Wines: Notes From Our Correspondent
Our wine correspondent, Nathan Lane, has been sampling some interesting bottles this week. He has opted for French, Italian and English wines.
La Stoppa Ageno
It’s rare that a wine splits opinion to the degree that this orange wine did on a cold Friday night in February.
In the glass, it has a vibrant orange colour and thick viscosity. Swirl it around and you get strong orange and citrus fruit smells. The sweetness you expect from an orange wine presents itself but doesn’t overpower the fruit.
It is a wine of contrasts and complexity that reflects its reputation as one of the great orange wines of northern Italy. It’s sweet and sour with a mineral, almost metallic finish. I found it weirdly addictive and moreish.
One friend ventured tasting notes of Irn Bru while another couldn’t finish a single mouthful. There is a dry finish that lets the fruit linger. The grapes get a month on their skins and half the blend is aged in steel with half in oak.
Made of malvasia, ortuga and trebbiano grapes, it matched well with a plate of charcuterie and a main course of prawns.
La Stoppa is an old wine estate in Val Trebbiola, in the province of Piacenza. It is grown using biodynamic practices. The commitment to natural production produces a wonderful fresh style.
La Stoppa Ageno is available online for around £35 a bottle.
Christian Binner Si Rose NV
With half an eye on warmer weather, the Binner Si Rose is a fantastic easy-drinking option for longer evenings and even longer lunches.
Made from a blend of Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris it offers bags of grapefruit and citrus with a slight sweetness of tropical fruit. There is also a clean apple aftertaste that lingers.
It offers much more than a Provence rose. It has a bright strawberry colour that comes from the Pinot Gris and bags of fruit and complexity that often aren’t available in rose wine from the south of France.
While it is technically an orange wine it offers everything you’d expect from a premium rose with bags of fruit, complexity and a balanced finish.
In the vineyard’s bioclimatic cellar the maceration, fermentation, and ageing take place in 100-year-old oak barrels with no temperature control.
Domaine Christian Binner is in the Alsace a region perhaps better know for its white wines. It is an organic and biodynamic wine it is made with native yeasts and no additional sulphites.
Christian Binner Si Rose NV is available from Wayward wines in Leeds or available online from around £30.
Orsi San Vito Sui Lieviti 2019
You may often see Prosecco labelled frizzante or spumante. They are both sparkling wines but the amount and power of the bubbles differ. Frizzante wines are lightly sparkling and spumante has more fizz.
Now we’ve cleared that up, is it worth picking up a strange-looking bottle of soupy looking frizzante with a cap rather than a cork? In a word, yes.
The Orsi is worryingly moreish. It offers green apple sweets on the nose with an earthy, almost grass smell as you drink it. With a strong fruit finish, you get melon and gooseberry with low acidity. There is a minerality and salinity to the wine that adds to the complexity.
The wines soupy look comes from the fermentation process. Using the Col Fondo process the sparkling wine is aged on its lees (essentially dead yeast cells). It creates cloudy, vibrant wines that feel fresh and alive.
Col Fondo wines are more natural and clean with far less sweetness than ordinary Prosecco. The foggy, funky-looking wine leaves a lovely refreshing flavour on your palette.
It was sampled on its own but it would pair wonderfully with any salad, sea-fish or simply drink it as an aperitif.
The Orsi’s biodynamic farm is just outside Bologna in a renowned winemaking region.
Orsi San Vito Sui Lieviti 2019 can be purchased online for around £25.
Tillingham End Grain 2020
There is no need to argue the case for English wines here. The reputation of homegrown wines has grown rapidly over the years and perhaps Tillingham is the winemaker with the most buzz around it at the moment.
The Tillingham End Grain is a white blend that offers fresh green apple on the nose with a slight fizz. It has a mineral finish with lots of gooseberry and floral notes.
Made with mainly Ortega and Muller Thurgau, along with Pinot Gris and Bacchus it is aged in both wooden and steel vessels. The result is a fresh white wine with impressive complexity. It is a golden colour in the glass, closer to a chablis.
Tillingham is a 13th-century farm surrounded by 70 acres of green Sussex countryside. You can stay over and enjoy a meal at the restaurant, which was recently awarded a green Michelin star for its sustainable practices.
These are hugely popular wines and it’s advisable to grab a bottle if you see one. Tillingham has embraced the natural approach. The 2020 vintage is the first to use fruit from its own organic estate vineyards.
Tillingham End Grain 2020 is available online from around £30 a bottle.
Domaine Dandelion Hautes-Côtes-de Beaune Rouge 2019
The wonderfully named Domaine Dandelion is a great example of a Pinot Noir. The strawberry and red fruits that are the hallmark of Pinot Noir are present in abundance.
The fruit is well balanced and comes with an earthy mineral finish. Herbal notes are there on the finish for an elegant and easy-drinking red wine.
Roll it around your mouth and it’s a wonderfully round and juicy red with balanced acidity. The burgundy paired well with beef but it’s light enough to complement poultry.
Burgundy is located in the east-central part of France and has five primary wine growing areas (not including Beaujolais and Châtillonnais); chablis, Côte de Nuits – the night slope, Côte de Beaune – the slope of Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise – the Chalon slope, Mâconnais – the region of Mâcon.
Domaine Dandelion is a small vineyard in the Beaune area, which only produces 5000 bottles of this Burgundy each year. It follows biodynamic methods where vines are sprayed with raw milk instead of chemical herbicides or pesticides.
On only their fifth vintage in 2020, the wines show incredible purity and a marked capacity to age.
Domaine Dandelion Hautes-Côtes-de Beaune Rouge 2019 is available online from selected retailers from around £45.