A ROYAL visit to the area put me in regal mode, so majestically I wended my way to Majestic in Chichester in my quest to unearth top tipple.
To this end, I sought out wine guru Ben, who located my choices with great alacrity. As one has to buy six bottles at least to benefit from lower prices, I decided to discipline myself to just select six from the copious number on offer and to allow myself just one indulgence!
Initially, two New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs caught my eye and the 2017 Russian Jack Sauvignon Blanc on offer at just £7.99 and named after a much-loved gentleman of the road, but presumably not a Soviet envoy, who from 1878 to 1968 carried his life in huge sacks upon his shoulders and was indeed a fruit picker par excellence.
With a slight spritz and hint of guava, this wine exudes lime and lemon grass and is pure Sauvignon Blanc to savour characterised by a memorable passion fruit finish.
My second Sauvignon Blanc happened to be a 2017 Vavasour from the Atawere Valley on offer for £9, for a short period only, and one that abounds with flavour, is perfectly balanced, has hints of ripe pear and lime with a delightfully refreshing, piercing aftertaste of sherbet lemons and one which fully merits its various awards!
My final white wine selection was that of a 2017 Les Millières Montagny 1er Cru from Buxy in Burgundy’s Côtes Chalonnaise on offer for £11.99. This wine exudes freshness, has balanced acidity and a steely minerality, is pleasingly soft on the palate with peach, pear and acacia aromas and, with lemon zest in the background, is nutty and creamy, but less buttery than the 2015 vintage, culminating in a long finish – undoubtedly a good Burgundy at this price!
Averting my attention from whites, I carefully selected three reds of Spanish, Italian and French provenance beginning with a 2013 Viña Alarde Rioja Reserva for the enticing price of just £7.49.
Matured for a minimum of two years in American oak casks, this ruby red coloured wine has delicious vanilla overtones which complement the fruity red berry flavours, notably strawberry and morello cherry, and with a hint of leather and tobacco to boot!
Grippy tannins also are a feature of this easy-drinking Rioja Reserva and it could be a great accompaniment to lamb stew!
Moving away from the Iberian peninsula, my second red choice was that of a 2016 Passi OneMento from downtown Verona on offer for £8.99 and produced from the practice of appassimento which involves the grapes losing about 30 per cent of their water content and thus concentrating the juice and intensifying the wine’s flavour.
This rich red wine with its hints of leather and spice and strong tannins is a wine well worth exploring! Finally, my indulgence. I picked the winning combination of good vintage good terroir and fine wine to expend £27 on a 2010 Château Haut de La Bécade Pauillac.
This gem comes from the hamlet of Bages and right beside the renowned estate of Lynch-Bages and this proximity prompted my choice alongside my awareness that Pauillac wines are highly sought after, given their balance finesse and ability to age gracefully.
This example has well-aligned tannins and oozes dark fruit, liquorice, some cigarette ash and cedar in abundance.
Cassis on the nose and a long finish help to make this a most memorable wine with good ageing potential – un vrai délice – à un de ces jours!