Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay 2007 & Rustenberg John X Merriman 2006

Cullen Kevin John Chardonnay 2007, Margaret River, Western Australia – I must declare an interest, albeit minor…my biceps played some part in the batonnage when I did 2 weeks cellar ratting at Cullen in 2007.  I well remember the floral and grapefruit perfume of the Chardy room and the meditative tonic of lees-stirring in between bursts of grape sorting and hand plunging.  I loved the 2006 Chardonnay from the coolest year on record and, incredibly, the 2007, a warmer vintage, is way snappier, with racy lime, crisp apple fruit and an ever so subtle savoury leesy tang.  Long, stony, pure and focused it has more in common with a driza-bone Australian Riesling than a Chardonnay.  In two words, super intense or why use two when you can use one – in Aussie speak, awesome!  £29.95 at www.slurp.co.uk and a perfect match with pan fried king scallops with lime and coriander on taglioni.

Rustenberg John X Merriman 2006, Stellenbosch, South Africa
– always great value and, at 25% off when you buy 2 at Majestic (and you can now buy only 6 bottles, not 12 when you make a purchase from Majestic), this finely crafted Cabernet blend comes in under a tenner – knock out and worth putting away. £12.99 at Majestic or £9.74 when you buy any 2 South African wines as part of a 6-pack purchase.  I showed it recently at a tasting for the Beeb’s wine society and, suffice to say, the treasurer was planning a dawn raid of Majestic the next day, so be quick!  The 2006 shows perfumed cherry, damson and blueberry fruit with cinnamon spice, following through with juicy blackcurrant on a well-defined, poised and polished palate supported by firm but ripe tannins.

All best

Sarah Ahmed
The Wine Detective