January Wines of the Month: Niepoort Ladredo 2008 & Crying Vine Margaret River Old Vine Chardonnay 2009

Niepoort Ladredo 2008 (Ribeira Sacra, Spain)

Though made by Portugal’s Dirk Niepoort this wine didn’t qualify for my top five Portuguese wines because it’s from Spain, but it’s a great wine with which to kick off 2011’s Wines of the Month because it was a tasting highlight of 2010.  A really beautiful wine whose  floral, white pepper and incense spice notes bring great energy and lift to its langorous and long raspberry fruit.  Fine tannins make for a fluid, refined finish.  Simply gorgeous, this blend of around 60% Mencia (Portugal’s Jaen) and 40% Alicante Bouschet hails from a small, 50 year old east-facing vineyard which leans precipitously over the river Sil in Galicia.  (See here for more details)

Crying Vine Old Vine Chardonnay 2009 (Margaret River, Western Australia)

Regular readers will spot that I recommended this wine last month, since when it’s been reduced by another quid and, suffice to say, I’ve placed my order!  It’s the perfect crisp and crunchy antidote to the comfort food and rich, warming wines I’ve been enjoying over the holiday period and will fast forward you to your summer holiday – maybe Smiths beach, Margaret River.  Margaret River’s gin gin clone (and I suspect early picking) accounts for this wine’s classy citric backbone, fresh, bright grapefruit and crunchy apple fruit.  Really mouthwatering and juicy with a subtle, savoury tang to its limpid finish.  Just 12.5% alcohol, it’ll surprise anyone who still thinks Australia makes big fat buttery Chardonnays – it couldn’t be further removed from that outmoded stereotype.  A classy wine and, on deal now at £6.99 down from £9.99 at Virgin Wines, it’s unmissable.  Incidentally, the winemaker is Stuart Pym of Stella Bella fame, ’nuff said.  Foodwise, it’ll be great with shellfish and fish dishes.

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