Flights of Fancy Menu #1

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For the last two weekends, we have had the following wines open to taste as part of our Flights of Fancy offering.

You have been rating the wines you have been tasting and here are the results.

1. Bogle Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2018

Score: 8.36/10

In a nutshell: An intense and concentrated wine made with the archetypal grape of California.
The lowdown: Low yielding vines ranging in age from 60 to 80 years old are used here; they're all dry farmed, no irrigation, and give small concentrated clusters of grapes which reach a high degree of richness. The result is a big and bold wine filled wth rich, ripe fruits and sweet spice yet with a nicely vibrant feel and a touch of Black Forest Gateau. Sensitive use of American oak in which the wine spends 12 months gives the finished product the ideal balance and delicious, softly spicy finish.
When to drink: Superbely mouthfilling, this is just great with top quality grilled or barbecued sausages.

1. Ironstone Old Vine Zinfandel 2018

Score - 8.36/10

In a nutshell: Rich and sumptuous Californian old vine Zinfandel.
The lowdown: The Lodi area is the centre of Californian Zinfandel grape growing with over 40% of the state's production of the variety. The vines used here are over 45 years old and there's a lots of a wine for the money here. Intense sweet fruits of plum, damson, prune, raisin and plenty of vanilla, clove and sweet spice with touches of almond and mocha.
When to drink: It's a very versatile wine when food matching with pork, beef or game making particularly good pairings.

2. Vila Nova Vinho Verde 2021

Score - 7.5/10

In a nutshell: A tangy, spritzy and crisp Vinho Verde from northern Portugal.
The lowdown: Vinho Verde comes from the bit of Portugal that sits north of Oporto and south of the Spanish border. It once was a very rough and ready wine, made both in red and white versions for local consumption only. However, now made in a modern style it retains it's characteristic spritz, and good examples like this are superbly bright and refreshing. This is made from a blend of local Loureiro, Arinto and Avesso grapes and makes a wine that has a crisp floral aroma with grapey, peachy and even pineapple hints on the tongue while the spritz gives it a real lift.
When to drink: It's actually a good alternative to prosecco or rosé and is great just by itself, or with salads, sushi and grilled fish.

2. Quinta da Raza Branco, Vinho Verde 2021

Score - 7.5/10

In a nutshell: Classic crisp, vibrant and zippy Vinho Verde from northern Portugal.
The lowdown: This version of Portugal's well known zippy and zesty has been a long time favourite here at Noble Green. It's made from a blend of mainly Arinto and Azal which is hand harvested and carefully fermented in stainless steel at a controlled temperature to keep all the essential character. With fresh and bright aromas, there's a touch of spritz at first and a balanced, refreshing and invigorating acidity which is complemented by bright citrus and ripe stone fruit flavours. It's a classic, clean and invigorating Vinho Verde that's well made and finishes off on the signature, slightly off dry note.
When to drink: This is a perfect light white that works particularly well in summer with salads, shellfish, or just as an aperitif.

3. Mitolo Jester Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale 2018

Score - 7.5/10

In a nutshell: Savoury and rich South Australian Cabernet Sauvignon from the McLaren Vale
The lowdown: Mitolo is one of the established stars of South Australia. Their Jester Cabernet Sauvignon may be at the inexpensive end of their range but it really overdelivers. 20% of the fruit is left to dry - Amarone style - which adds sumptuous richness and depth. It's then aged in old French oak for 14 months before bottling and the result is a wine full of ripe cassis followed by savoury, cigar-box and somewhat earthy notes. A lovely tight spine of acidity runs through it all which balances the intense flavours really well making it all very well composed and attractive.
When to drink: Certainly a wine with great personality. It'll go well with roasts especially lamb.

4. Celler del Roure 'Les Prunes' Blanc de Mando Rosado 2019

Score - 7.22/10

In a nutshell: A dry, fresh, minerally, biodynamic rosado from near Valencia.
The lowdown: A white wine made from a red grape that has turned out pink! Mando is an incredibly rare variety almost exclusively saved from extinction and grown by Celler del Roure in the hills of Moxient south of Valencia. Working biodynamically the grapes are handpicked and then very gently pressed with the free run juice fermented as you would a white wine, before being matured for 6 months, partly in underground amphoras. The result is a really dry, fresh and clean rosé with lots of minerality, pure stone and citrus fruit with some savoury touches and lots of crisp acidity.
When to drink: Really refreshing and perfect with lunch in the hot sun... Try with fish, rice and pasta dishes, or cold cuts.

5. Chateau L'Escarelle 'Les Deux Anges' Rose, Provence 2021

Score - 7.06/10

In a nutshell: A highly accomplished organic, fresh and crisp Provençal rosé.
The lowdown: The certified organic vineyards of Chateau de l'Eecarelle sit within 1000ha of forest at 500m above sea level, hugging the slopes of the Montagne de La Loube, and have been awarded France's highest environmental certificate, the Haute Valeur Environnementale. This commitment to sustainability and the environment comes through to produce healthy soils, healthy vines, good grapes and good wines! Hand harvested and then sorted twice before fermentation. A classically dry, subtle and elegant rosé with wild strawberry and citrus notes on the nose, leading onto a soft palate with a nice weight, good depth, and notes of mango and pomelo fruit. The finish is long and clean.
When to drink: A very well made, textbook Provençal rosé that is perfect as an aperitif, or try with grilled fish or vegetables.

6. Biscardo Rosapasso, Veneto 2020

Score - 7.04/10

In a nutshell: A dry and delicate Italian rosé from the area southwest of Padua in the Veneto.
The lowdown: The vineyards supplying the fruit for this wine are near the picturesque Euganei Hills which are famed for their hot springs. Made from 100% Pinot Nero (aka Pinot Noir outside of Italy) it's carefully pressed and macerated to retain the all elegant primary aromas. In its striking bottle it has a brilliant rosé colour while the bouquet of elegant wild strawberry and cherry lead onto a smooth and harmonious palate where the delicate fruit flavours are complemented with some pleasantly savoury hints.
When to drink: A super and refreshing alternative to Provençal rosés that's naturally great by itself or as an accompaniment to fish and lightly flavoured risottos.

6. A Mano Primitivo Rosato 2021

Score - 7.04/10

In a nutshell: A full and fruity southern Italian rosato.
The lowdown: Made mainly from Primitivo grapes grown in the Salento peninsula. On arrival at the winery the grapes are crushed and immediatley pressed keeping skin contact time down to a matter of second to achieve the desired colour and preserve the fresh fruit flavours. The result is a wine bright pink in colour with a lively, youthful perfume of ripe strawberries and a touch of fresh mint. On the palate, it is surprisingly full-bodied with good structure.
When to drink: Perfectly balanced with a delicate fruit character and zesty, lightly spiced finish.

7. Segal Levant Argaman 2020

Score - 7/10

In a nutshell: A deep ruby coloured and fruit filled Israeli Red with an easy appeal and it's also Kosher.
The lowdown: The vineyards for this wine are found in the foothill of the Judean hills, not too far from Jerusalem. It's made by one of the country's foremost winemakers, Ido Lewinsohn from the distinctively Israeli grape variety Argaman. After fermentation the wine was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels prior to bottling. It has aromas of ripe black fruits which combine with a touch of oak on the nose. On the palate it's light to medium bodied, with flavours of red fruit, spice and Mediterranean herbs. Well structured with smooth tannins and a balanced acidity, the red fruit flavours lingering long on the lingering finish.
When to drink: Bright and bracing this excellent value wine if great by itself and as a partner to mildy spicy Mediterranean cuisine.

8. Chateau La Croix Ferrandat, Saint-Emilion 2018

Score - 6.96/10

In a nutshell: An excellent value, unoaked, ripe and rounded Right Bank Claret.
The lowdown: Château La Croix Ferrandat is made by the Saint Emilion cooperative which is the oldest in Bordeaux and widely admired for their quality and value. It's a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernets Franc & Sauvignon from vineyards just south of the town of Saint Emilion. It's made without ageing in oak which allows the plummy and rich blackberry flavours stand out. The soft tannins give it good structure and its smooth and rounded in the mouth with a clean lingering finish.
When to drink: Soft, seductive and fruity it's good to enjoy on its own or with things like slow braised beef dishes, fruity lamb tagines or mature cheeses.

9. Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire Rose NV

Score - 6.91/10

In a nutshell: A lively and refreshing sparkling rosé from France's Loire Valley.
The lowdown: This is quite a serious French sparkling rosé from the Loire that represents excellent value for money. Langlois-Château is part of the Bollinger stable so that's nothing less than you'd expect. It's made from 100% Cabernet Franc, which is normally reserved for still reds from the Loire, and whilst it's crisp and delicate it also has a real depth and character with plenty of raspberry, blackcurrant and vanilla flavours shining through and a very well structured palate that leads to the long lingering finish.
When to drink: It's a perfect aperitif, naturally, but with food it's good to drink alongside seafood and shellfish in particular.

10. Maias Tinto, Dao 2020

Score - 6.91/10

In a nutshell: Am elegant, balanced and nicely fruity organic Portuguese red from the Dão region in the north of the country.
The lowdown: The Lourenço family have been making wine in this area for aorund a century and are acknowledged as among the leading producers on the granite plateau of the Dão region of inland Portugal. This is a blend of Jaen (aka Mencia), Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro which is vinified and aged in stainless steel. It's got bright blackberry and cassis aromas which are follwoed by lots of fresh crunchy fruit and is fresh in the mouth yet smooth and soft, with a clean fruity aftertaste.
When to drink: Medium bodied, it's a wonderfully easy drinking wine and if given about half an hour in the fridge before serving it'll be at its absolute best.

11. Kardos Dry Furmint, Tokaj 2019

Score - 6.88/10

In a nutshell: An elegant and surprisingly complex Hungarian dry white.
The lowdown: The small Kardos winery sits in the heart of the Hungary's Tokaj region, famous for its dessert wines. However, although he does produce sweet wines winemaker Gabor Kardos also produces a range of excellent value dry wines, a growing number of which are now gaining in popularity. Made from 100% Furmint, one of Hungary's trademark grape varieties, on south facing slopes it's fermented carefully in stainless steel tanks with natural Tokaji yeast. This result is a delightful wine which is pale green in colour and has a fresh grapefruit nose with additional notes of pear and lime which follow through on the palate. Dry and beautifully crisp there's an elegant minerality which keeps the wine in good balance all the way through and finishing with a refreshing crisp edge.
When to drink: It's difficult to go wrong with this really versatile white. It's great by itself or pair with seafood and poultry dishes.

12. Finca Manzanos Fermentado en Barrica, Rioja Blanco 2020

Score - 6.86/10

In a nutshell: A rounded style of white Rioja, aged in oak, with good levels of acidity giving a clean finish.
The lowdown: White riojas, while seen less than their red counterparts, are made in a varierty of styles and are certainly worth looking out for. Half way through fermentation the wine is put into oak barrels which adds additional levels of flavour and imparts a definite silkiness. The result is a wine with aromas of apple, citrus, pear and peach with oaky notes of cream and fresh pastry.
When to drink: A silky, barrel aged and well balanced white with pleasing minerally notes. Smoked meats, creamy pasta and chocken in rich sauces are the sort of thing for this.

13. Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut NV

Score - 6.84/10

In a nutshell: A crisp, dry and delicate sparkling Crémant from France's Loire Valley.
The lowdown: This top quality sparkling wine from the Loire valley is certainly one that should be taken seriously. These days Langlois-Château is part of the Bollinger Champagne stable and they bring all of their expertise to help make this a distinctive sparkling wine. Here Chenin Blanc, a mainstay variety of the Loire Valley, is the dominant variety used in the blend along with about 20% each of Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. It has a delicate mousse and a complex nose mixing different fruits such as quince, peach and grapefruit which lead to a lovely honeyed palate and a fresh and delicate finish.
When to drink: A lovely easy drinking French sparkler with an impeccable heritage.

14. Te Quiero Organic Red Field Blend 2019

Score - 6.44/10

In a nutshell: A bright, fruit focused, and great value, certified organic Spanish red.
The lowdown: An old school field blend whereby different grapes from different vineyards are all fermented and matured together, this wine then spent 2 months in French oak barrels to round the wine off. This blend is predominately Tempranillo and Syrah but also includes a small proportion of a number of others. A wonderful, vibrant deep purple colour with rich, ripe spicy and brambly fruit, rounded tannins and a lively finish.
When to drink: Surpisingly sophisticated and very drinkable this is a, pretty much, any occasion wine that won't disappoint.

15. Louise Chereau 'Katharos' Muscadet Sans Soufre Ajouté 2019

Score - 6.23/10

In a nutshell: An impressive and vibrant Muscadet made without added sulphur.
The lowdown: Chéreau-Carré are among the most go-ahead Muscadet producers as this excellent low sulphur wine amply demonstrates. Its name 'Katharos' means 'purity' in ancient Greek and the aim here is to allow the bright aromas of the Melon de Bourgogne grape to shine through without the addition of sulphur during vinification. The grapes for this come from their Château de Chasseloir vineyards which, due to their south facing aspect, achieve good levels of maturity. It certainly shows a real aromatic purity and has a good richness and length on the palate. Following the exotic fruit aromas are notes of ripe, juicy pear and crisp green apples on the palate. It's beautifully balanced right through to the deliciously persistent finish that has a characteristic hint of salinity.
When to drink: Well made and well structured this is a great match for charcuterie or, quite simply, the British classic of fish and chips.

16. Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Score - 6.18/10

In a nutshell: A biodynamic rounded, elegant and altogether spot on Sauvignon Blanc from just south of Stellenbosch, near the sea.
The lowdown: Being near the South Atlantic means lots of cool ocean winds which result in good natural levels of fresh and clean acidity as well as low yields. Made by Louis Boutinot (top bloke from Salford) with minimal human interference in the vineyard or winery and fermented in large old oak barrels. There is a lovely weight and rich texture on the palate with notes of citrus and green pepper and a long minerally finish.
When to drink: One to drink with oysters or fresh grilled crayfish.

17. Equipo Navazos 'I Think' Manzanilla En Rama - Half Bottle NV

Score - 6.14/10

In a nutshell: A half bottle of a powerfully aromatic and tangy Manzanilla.
The lowdown: Bottled after the barest of filtration this fine, powerfully aromatic Manzanilla retains the intense golden colour and pungent character it acquired while ageing for over four years in butts. Fresh, with a salty tang and plenty of acidity together with a very satisfying lemon twist to the finish. There's also plenty of colour, weight and concentration. This is the 2017 release from specialist independent sherry bottlers Equipo Navazos.
When to drink: Chilled Manzanilla while always a good aperitif also goes well with things like deep fried seafood.

18. Teliani Valley 'Winery 97' Kakhuri No.8 2020

Score - 5.52/10

In a nutshell: Rich, refreshing and dry skin-contact orange wine from eastern Georgia.
The lowdown: A wine made by the modern and experimental Winery 97 of Teliani Valley winery in eastern Georgia. Here Teliani have mixed a modern facility, young winemakers and the 2020s with historical Georgian grape varieties and ancient winemaking techniques. Kakhuri No.8 is a blend of selective parcels of grapes Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane, Khikhvi and Kisi which are fermented on their skins for just over a week and then left for six months to mature on the skins as well. From the skins the wine extracts more flavour, tannin and a wonderful amber/orange colour. Punchy aromas of ripe stone and tropical fruits lead onto a really fresh and dry medium-bodied palate with dried fruit and nutty flavours, spice, fresh tannins and a clean finish. Great food wine and an approachable yet satisfying example of a skin-contact white, aka orange wine.
When to drink: Great food wine, works especially well with fish, cheese, and pork dishes. Serve cool rather than Arctic Circle straight-out-the-fridge cold.

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