THIS week I somewhat enigmatically pose the question ‘what do air, witch and needle have in common?’ and you retort with the manifest response of craft and thus, in pursuit of ‘wine craft’, I headed to good old M&S principally to evaluate their new Craft range.
The ever reliable and knowledgeable Ranjit at the main Chichester branch pointed out the Craft 3 wines and I began by sampling the 2016 Craft 3 Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills priced at £10.
A pleasant experience indeed with the wine proving to be flavoursome, yet delicate, with white peach and pear prominent and just a hint of cream soda. Soft and creamy, slightly enchanting with a lingering flavour, this wine is well worth a punt and is akin to a soft fluffy toy-enjoy!
Slightly more astringent, but nonetheless most pleasant, was my second selection of a Craft 3 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand from the 2016 vintage. Priced at £11 this is a splendid example of Sauvignon Blanc with full fruit flavours, namely passion fruit and gooseberry to the fore and a pleasant after-taste to boot!
Deviating temporarily from the Craft 3 brand, I happened upon two New World whites and the first, in the form of a 2016 Barossa Viognier from south Australia, is currently priced £10. This wine will appeal to those of you who appreciate a fuller flavour and has a real Australian ‘twang’, is bursting with soft fruit flavours and oozes stone fruit, apricot and wild flower, has a rich mouth feel, good length and a lingering citrus finish. Need I say more?
Remaining in the Antipodes, my second pick was a Seifried Nelson 2016 Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian variety from a brother and sister wine-making team Chris and Heidi Seifried, whose father, Hermann, began production in his non–native New Zealand. This wine retails at £11 and has a delicate fragrance with melon and pear notes. It is produced in a stony area with the vineyard situated circa fifteen kilometres from the coast and sheltered from the south by the Richmond ranges, rendering it an ideal growing ground for this aromatic grape variety and I commend it to you!
Reverting to Craft 3 wines, I finally paid attention to two reds and initially considered a 2015 Craft 3 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Isla de Maipo in Chile, a region whose warmer climate gives a softer, rounder texture to the wine and this wine is slightly sweet with pepper and cedar notes and, if this style is your wont, you can avail yourself of it for a price of £10.
My final selection was of the Pinot Noir grape, one of France’s ancient grapes dating back to the 1st century when Cistercian monks cultivated the grape in Burgundy. Pinot Noir is somewhat fickle and can range in flavour depending on the vintage and where it is grown. In Burgundy, Pinot Noir is generally light with earthy aromas. Californian and New Zealand Pinot Noir have greater intensity and fruit flavour with stronger spice and game aromas. The Craft 3 2016 Pinot Noir is priced at £13 and is of New Zealand provenance. It is soft and smooth with a spicy edge and good berry flavour. This wine improves in the glass and could accompany lamb or most red meat dishes.
The wine market is changing all the time and I recommend you explore these new wine ranges. Till we meet again, I wish you gratifying imbibing!