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Bitten by the wine bug

Those of us bitten by the wine bug will be inclined to a higher spend on wine, just as one is prepared to invest in a hobby, such as golf. Only in this way will the wine hobbyist scratch beneath the surface of wine`s obvious appeal, to its inner depths. A spend of, say, £15 to £20 per bottle, will generally do it, for most of us, much of the time. This is a category which gives consistently good value, typicity, and depth of flavour, without breaking the bank.  Happily, it also represents the sweet spot in our shop, giving many of us a great deal of pleasure and vino diversity. This column, for the next few months, will be dedicated to award-winning wines in this category. Today we start with two recent additions to our portfolio, from Spain and Australia, respectively:

Protos `Roble`, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2018, £16.99.  We enjoyed this beauty enormously with Hungarian Beef Goulash a few weeks ago, but it is also delicious with lamb, as well as tomato-based dishes such as Puttanesca. It is a stylish, full-bodied red wine from the Tempranillo grape, grown in Spain`s high-altitude Ribera del Duero region. The wine is pure of fruit with balanced red berry aromas and a touch of sweet oak spice from six months maturation in American barrels. 100% Tempranillo.

Thorn-Clarke “Shotfire Quartage”, Barossa, Australia 2017, £19.99. This is a Bordeaux blend, textured and warming, generous and layered. Inky blackcurrant and plum fruits are complemented by spices and the most scrummy prune and smoky bacon aroma. The palate is teeming with complex notes of blackcurrants, mulberries, chocolate, anis, clove, and ever more chocolate. 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec and 12% Petit Verdot.

Incidentally, being a sucker for a story behind every label, I rather like this one: `Shotfire` is reference to the Clarke family and their Barossa Valley gold mining history, specifically, the shotfirer`s hazardous work of setting and lighting the charges in the mines.  So now you know. Cheers everyone!


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