Wine

My current selection offers some great wines from lesser known regions and countries. How about something from Austria or Portugal for a change or a Lebanese wine? Starting with reds, the wines are arranged according to their country of origin.

Red wines

Australia

Mitolo Jester Cabernet Sauvignon, (McLaren Vale), 2010, 14.9%

The innovative Mitolo range takes inspiration from European wine regions, in this case Italy and the red wines of the Veneto. Andre Bondar describes this wine as ‘20% amarone’ with some of the Cabernet grapes having being raisined to enrich the must. The result is a lively yet rich wine with enticing blackcurrant and mocha fruit. Pasta dishes with red meat or braised lamb shanks should be on the menu.

£13.99 from The Vineking, Philglass & Swiggot, Lockett Bros, HarperWells.com and Liberty Wines

Innocent Bystander Syrah 2009, 13.7%

Fresh, dark fruit and a hint of spice with soft, velvety tannins. Ideal for a relaxed meal with family and friends.

£12.99 from Philglass & Swiggot, Bennetts Fine Wines, Peckhams, Cornelius Beer & Wine, Australian Wines Online and Liberty Wines

Shaw & Smith Shiraz, (Adelaide Hills), 2009, 14.5%

Delicately perfumed on the nose and beautifully worked fruit and tannins. A special wine for a special meal.

£24.99 from Highbury Vintners, The Vineyard and Liberty Wines

Charles Melton ‘Nine Popes’, (Barossa Valley), 2008, 14%

Charles Melton champions old-vine Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre and makes very distinctive wines. Treat yourself to this wine or give it to some else.

£28.99 from Philgas & Swiggot, Corks Out, Bennetts fine Wines, The Secret Cellar, Harrogate fine Wine Co, Villeneuve Wines and Winedirect.co.uk

Grosset Pinot Noir, (Adelaide Hills), 2008, 14%

Winemaker Jeffey Grosset is best known for his Riesling wines but his talent with Pinot Noir should also be noted. This 2008 is still youthful and a little tight, but it has a depth of flavour to rival Burgundy’s finest.

£29.99 from Oz Wines, Noel Young Wines, The VineKing and Harrods

Austria

Weingut Prieler Leithaberg, Blaufrankisch 2008, 13%

This Blaufrankisch has delicious blueberry fruit and an elegant tannic backbone. If you like Pinot Noir, you’ll like this wine. Try it with roast beef or duck and game, especially pheasant.

£27.80 from Clark Foyster Wines, www.clarkfoysterwines.co.uk

Chile

Undurraga Leyda T.H. Pinot Noir, (San Antonio, Leyda Valley), 13%

Undurraga’s winemaker Rafael Urrejola is particularly talented when it comes to Pinot Noir. There is a welcome restraint here yet extraordinary depth of flavour and lovely fresh red cherry fruit. Pair with lamb, preferably quite rare.

£16 from Butlers of Brighton and Moreno Wines

Viña Punto Alto ‘El Chaparro’ Pinot Noir, (Casablanca Valley) 14.5%

Chile is making great strides with Pinot as this wine shows. Very polished fruit and elegant tannin and the French influence shows through (Burgundy’s Michel Laroche established this winery).

£16.99 from www.slurp.co.uk

Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir, (Casablanca Valley), 14.5%

A richer and more structured style of Pinot Noir with fresh raspberry fruit balanced by fresh acidity and skilled use of French oak. Roast lamb or duck would make a good match.

£19.99 from Corks Out, Gordon & MacPhail, Villeneuve Wines, Lancester Wine Cellars, Waitrose and Morrisons.

Odfjell Orzada Carignan 2008, (Cauquenes, Maule Valley), 14.5%

A delightful winter wine with rich black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, soft tannins and subtle oak. Highly recommended.

£15.99 from Waitrose Wine Direct

France

Cuvée Chasseur, 2010, 12.5%

A good winter warmer and lighter in alcohol than most of the reds listed here. Made from Carignan, Grenache Noir and Merlot from vineyards between Narbonne and Beziers – unoaked. Great value for money.

£4.35 from Waitrose Wine Direct and 263 branches.

Domaine des Escaravailles La Ponce 2009, (Rasteau, Rhône), 15%

A delightful offering from the Rhône made predominantly from 80+ year Grenache vines old vines and Syrah. Pure juicy cassis and blackberry fruit – without oak.

£14.99 from Waitrose Wine Direct and 6 branches

Domaine Madeloc Collioure ‘Magenca’ 2005 (Roussillon), 14.5%

A delightful Mediterranean red based on Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan providing the final touches. Blackberry and black cherry fruit with a hint of bitter chocolate and subtle, well-balanced oak make this a great wine for hearty roasts and wintry casseroles.

£18 from H2Vin – www.h2vine.co.uk

Italy

Il Bello Barbera (Piedmont) 2009, 13%

There’s generous fruit from the Barbera grape and just a touch of oak making this a good everyday wine – excellent value.

£5.99 (£4.79 from 7/12/11 to 03/01/12) from Waitrose Wine Direct and 262 branches.

La Piuma 2010 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, 13%

As recommendable as the previous wine but this time the grape is the hearty Montepulciano and the wine hails from southern Italy

£5.99 (£4.79 from 7/12/11 to 03/01/12) from Waitrose Wine Direct and 262 branches.

Azienda Agricola Malvirà, Nebbiolo delle Langhe, 2007, 13.5%

A few years in the barrel and the bottle have allowed this wine to mature gracefully. Its dark fruit and smooth tannins would pair well with seasonal game.

£11.99 from Waitrose Wine Direct and 20 branches

Andrea Oberto Barolo, 2007, 15%

Structured and maturing well with rich dark fruit and a hint of bitter chocolate. Decant, pour into a large glass and serve with beef or venison.

£25.95 from Lea & Sandeman

Lebanon

Château Ksara ‘Reserve du Couvent’, 2009.

£10.49 from The Wine Society, Wholefoods, Hailsham Wine Cellars and online at www.greatwinesdirect.co.uk, www.slurp.co.uk, Kevin O’Rourke Wines – www.wineman.co.uk and www.winepoole.co.uk

An easy-going fruit-driven red made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah with six months in oak. If you don’t know Lebanese wines, this would be a good place to start.

Château Ka ‘Source de Rouge’, 2008, 14%

A classy blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah made by Burgundy-trained Akram Kassatly and his son Nayef.

£12.99 from Alliance Wine – www.alliancewine.co.uk of Belfast and Turnton Wines of Bolton.

Karam Winery ‘Maison’, 2010, 14.5%

Another blend of French grapes including Petit Verdot which makes this wine a good match for strongly flavoured dishes such as spicy lamb meat balls.

£13.44 from www.kingswoodwines.co.uk

Portugal

Niepoort Vertente, (Douro), 2008, 13.7%

Structured, powerful and very wintry – if it snows again this year I’ll be reaching for a bottle of this wine and serving it with a game pie.

£19 from Butlers Wine Cellar, www.butlerswines.co.uk and Highbury Vintners, www.highburyvintners.co.uk

Vinha do Mouro, (Alentejo), 2008, 14%

No oak just delicious ripe fruit from a trio of grapes: Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon and Aragonês.

£13 from Old Chapel Cellars – www.oldchapelcellars.co.uk and Vineyard Wines – www.the vineyardwineshop.co.uk

Quinta da Lagoalva Tinto, (Ribatejo region), 2009, 13.5%

This fruity, easy-going red from central Portugal will please a crowd over an informal lunch or supper and it’s good value.

Around £10 from Bottle Apostle and Connolly’s Wine Merchants

Spain

Dominio Dostares ‘Estay’, (Castilla & León), 2008, 13.5%

Supple and rich with lovely crisp redcurrant fruit from the Prieto Picudo grape. Refreshingly different; the Spanish would drink it with roast lamb.

£14 from The Wendover Wine & Food Trading Co – www.2poundstreet.com and Roberts and Speight – www.hamperbox.co.uk

Guimaro ‘Guimaro Joven’ (Ribeira Sacra), 2010, 13.5%

Fancy something different from Spain? This red from Galicia has juicy, fresh fruit and soft tannins. It’s a good introduction to the local Bordeaux-like Mencía grape.

£14.15 from Albertine Wine Bar & Shop and Bottle Apostle



White wines

Australia

Innocent Bystander Chardonnay (Yarra Valley, Victoria), 2010, 13%

Winemaker Steve Flamsteed at Innocent Bystander believes that Chardonnay is the world’s greatest grape and there great attention to detail in his wines. The fruit is hand-picked and fermented with wild yeast while gentle oak handling gives it a slight creamy richness.

£12.99 from Whole Foods Market, North & South Wines, Philglass & Swiggot, The Sampler, D Byrne & Co, Shills of Station Street, Luvians and WoodWinters.

Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay, (Adelaide Hills), 2009, 13.5%

A creamy, Burgundian style of Chardonnay from the cooler climate Adelaide Hills region – very classy indeed and the 2010, due to arrive in early 2012, is even better.

£24.99 from Majestic (fine wine stores only) – Majestic.co.uk

Mount Horrocks Watervale Semillon (Clare Valley), 2009, 13.5%

A barrel-fermented Semillon with delicious lemony tang, silky texture – an ideal accompaniment to smoked salmon and prawns.

£17.99 from Tesco.com, Winedirect.co.uk, The Vineking, Worth Brothers Wines, Martinez Wines and WoodWinters

Austria

Salomon Undhof Grüner Veltliner Hochterrrassen, 2010, 12.5%

A fresh, fruity style of Grüner Veltliner, this is a good introduction to the grape and this producer’s entire range is impressive. Grüner Veltliner makes wines for food – try this one with pork fillet.

£9.50 from Lea & Sandeman

Germany

Philipp Wittmann Riesling (Rheinhessen region), 2010, 13%

A dry, youthful Riesling with lively citrus flavours that makes a refreshing aperitif – with little smoked salmon pâté on toast perhaps – and it would also go down a treat with roast chicken or Guinea fowl.

£14.30 from The Wine Barn, www.thewinebarn.co.uk

Schäfer-Fröhlich Riesling (Nahe region), 2009, 12.5%

Dry and tangy with an elegant finish, this Riesling would complement the Christmas Turkey for those preferring a white wine choice.

£15.65 from The Wine Barn, www.thewinebarn.co.uk

Italy

Cottanera Etna Bianco,(Sicily), 2010, 13%

A youthful yet complex unoaked wine made from vineyards on the slopes of Mount Etna by the Cambria family. Made from Carricante with some Inzolia, this is a Sicilian wine with true local character. Try it with seafood or baked fish. £17.78 from Astrum Wine Cellars, www.astrumwinecellars.com

Petracupa, Fiano di Avellino, (Campania), 2009, 12.5%

Another strong contender from southern Italy, this wine has lovely savoury depth and herbaceous notes typical of the Fiano grape and zesty acidity that makes it pair well with fried fish or pork.

£19.80 from Astrum Wine Cellars, www.astrumwinecellars.com

Cantina Terlano, Pinot Bianco Riserva ‘Vorberg’, (Alto Adige), 2008, 13.5%

The wines from the Alto Adige, Italy’s most northern wine region, are not often found here in the UK but they are well worth seeking out. This wine is both elegant and powerful and will stand up to rich pasta dishes or risotto.

£21.34 from Astrum Wine Cellars, www.astrumwinecellars.com

Portugal

Quinta do Feital ‘Auratus’ (Minho), 2010, 13%

Spanish winemaker Marcial Dorado makes this wine from old Alvarinho and Trajadura vineyards in the picturesque Minho region. The emphasis is firmly on fruit character (there is no oak) so it works a treat with fish or poultry and would blend in well at a buffet lunch.

£12.20 from Green and Blue Wines

Luis Pato ‘Maria Gomes’ (Bairrada region) 2010, 12%

An unoaked, slightly spicy food-friendly white made from the aromatic Maria Gomes grape.

£9 from Bottle Apostle – www.bottleappostle.com and Corks of Cotham – www.corksof.com

Luis Pato ‘Vinhas Velhas Branco (Bairrada region) 2010, 12.5%

Fresh and tangy with a good depth of flavour coming from the old vines used to make the blend. Try it with fish pie.

£13 from D Byrne & Co – wwwdbyrne-finewines.co.uk and The Wright Wine Co – www.wineandwhisky.co.uk

Spain

Coto de Gomariz (Ribeiro), 2009, 13.5%

The whites of Galicia’s Ribeiro tend to be fuller bodied than the Albariños of neighbouring Rías Baixas and feature other grapes – Treixadura dominates here with Godello, Loureira and Albariño adding to its tangy, savoury style. Skate with butter and capers would make a fine match.

£14.35 from The Vineking, The Sampler, Reserve Wines (Manchester) and Caviste