GLOBAL warming can have certain short-term benefits, so with temperatures set to rise to 20 degrees at the weekend, I wended my way to Dorset, with Lyme Regis as my final destination and, as early as Saturday afternoon was able to survey Lyme Bay from the lofty heights of Hix Champagne and Oyster Bay overlooking the Cobb rendered famous by John Fowles.
And how, pray, did I get there? Somewhat fortuitously, in fact, as a result of meeting the delightful duo of David and Deborah, owners of Pebbles Boutique in town, a unique shopping experience with myriad individual items of clothing, and it was David who suggested the short hilltop walk to the Champagne and Oyster Bar.
Sunday seemed rather opportune to cross the border to Devon to sample the latest wines acquired by Malcolm Miller at his Miller’s Farm Shop emporium based in Kilmington.
My first selection was that of a 2015 Roche Mazet Pays D’Oc Chardonnay priced at £6.99, a full and soft Chardonnay, medium high in acidity with a woody vanilla taste – to be served chilled and one that improves in the glass as initially it can taste a little sour.
For an outlay of £9.99 the 2013 Givry 1 er Cru Grande Cuvée from Vignerons de Buxy was my second selection and, incidentally, the village of Givry gives its name to one of the five appellations of the Côte Chalonnaise.
Henry 1V was an admirer, but it was not until 1946 that Givry was elevated to AOC status in recognition of the consistent quality of its wines.
This wine, grown on east – facing limestone slopes, is truly good value for a white Burgundy and has bright aromas with citrus notes, lime in particular, added to hints of honey on toast.
Good minerality pervades this good vintage, although the 2014 vintage is arguably even better! A good buy at this competitive price.
My final white wine choice was a 2015 Bourgogne Chardonnay Meix Grapin priced at £11.99 and of the Domaine Roland Sounit based in Rully and covering 18 hectares.
The continental climate, with hot summers and dry autumns, enables good maturity of the grapes grown on clay and limestone soils and produces, in this case, a most harmonious wine being fresh, aromatic and delicate and a fine apéritif, à mon avis!
My first red wine selection was that of a 2015 L’Excellence de Saint – Laurent Saint Chinian priced enticingly at £5.99.
This wine exudes red berries and subtle spices and is a nicely rounded wine which outperforms its price bracket and is one to procure and savour!
My second red wine selection was the 2016 Espiègle Malbec Demon Noir which instantly restored some faith in French Malbec and at a competitive price of just £6.99 proved to be beautifully round in the mouth with mild spice and black fruit finish with vanilla notes being all – pervasive – a wine of redoubtable merit!
My final red was a 2008 Château Bernadotte Haut – Médoc which exuded cherries, eucalyptus and hints of spice and, for an offer price of just £9.99 had beautifully soft tannins with a nice dry finish – one to savour!
Round and mellow with blackcurrant to the fore, this well-made Haut-Médoc, however, would benefit from being decanted – a snip at this price!