Summer continues. The weather is almost playing ball. In honour of the almost-sunny spell we’re almost having, we’ve picked a white and a rosé as our wines of the week for you to enjoy. Free to taste in store, as always.
The first of these delights is a white wine we’ve mentioned before: Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rioja Blanco.
Rioja wines come from Northern Spain. The region is best known for its red wines, loved by many for their red fruit and vanilla character. The white wines are much harder to find. Traditional White Rioja was aged for a long time in barrel before bottling, so it’s a very specific style: oxidised, rich, nutty and usually with a notable dried fruit character.
This is definitely not that. While Lopez de Haro are an unashamedly traditional producer, they’ve taken modern know-how to make a traditional style. It’s made from Viura – barrel fermented, then 3 months ageing in barrel to round it out. Soft citrus and pear fruit, a touch of toast and vanilla spice, and then really fresh in the mouth. This makes it a great alternative to oaked French Chardonnay, at a snip of the price.
Naturally, it’ll do the Fandango with tapas – grilled goats cheese with marmalade on sourdough springs to mind, or salt’n’pepper squid.
The second wine is a very splendid rosé from acclaimed French producer Gérard Bertrand. Former Rugby player. Accomplished winemaker. Owner of some seriously pretty properties in the Languedoc.
La Sauvageonne translates as wild woman, but the name isn’t for the wine, it’s for the scenery. Château La Sauvageonne sits atop untamed and breath-taking volcanic terraces, and this volcanic influence is key to the exceptional quality of the wine.
A classic rosé blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah (well, classic if you’re French. And in the Languedoc). The three grapes are vinified separately and allowed some time on the yeast lees to add body and character before the final wine is assembled. A small portion of the wine is aged in old oak barrels to further add complexity and character. Grenache, in particular, loves a touch of oak to tame it.
It’s a gorgeously inviting light pink colour, with lifted aromas of red fruit, roses and violets, and a whiff of gingerbread spice.
In short? Exceptional rosé. As Gérard Bertrand says in full Gallic hyperbole, “If Château la Sauvageonne was a person: an adventurer, independent and free like Indiana Jones.”
The bottle also features a Vino-lok closure – essentially a resealable glass stopper. I mention this only because it makes a very nifty bottle to fill with water and keep in the fridge once you’ve enjoyed the wine.