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Neil Sowerby's Wine Words - November

Our man with the beret and the wine glass finds autumn wonder in the bottle

Published on November 14th 2011.

Neil Sowerby's Wine Words - November

PISSE Vieille, anyone? No it’s not the party plonk you regret in the morning. Let’s salute the best-known vineyard in Brouilly, one of the prime sources of quality Beaujolais. 

The unseasonal weather is putting the flora and fauna out of synch. So too it’s unsettling this wine scribe, who’s still sipping chilled Provencal rose beyond the clocks going back.

There’s a story behind the name. 

A pious but slightly deaf winemaker called Mariette went to confession and misheard what her priest was saying. He was actually giving her absolution: "Ne pêchez plus!" ("Go! And sin no more!"), but she heard "Go! And do not piss any more!" The Old Piss came from her irate husband’s subsequent clarification. 

The 2010 Brouilly Pisse Vieille from Cave Durand is anything but. Ripe fruity Gamay from the second successive superlative vintage in the region. It’s a real charmer at £8.95 from the Wine Society, who have an impressive array of Beaujolais producers (www.thewinesociety.com). 

Chateau Aerial

I was captivated by the 2009 wines with their weight and staying power, but the 2010s from a smallish crop burnished by a late burst of September heat, are more typical and upfront.  

The Durieu de Lacarelle family have supplied The Society with Beaujolais for more than 50 years and there can have been few suppler examples than their Beaujolais-Villages, Château de Lacarelle, 2010. Just £6.95 a bottle, it is fragrant and cherry-laden. Best slightly chilled. 

On supermarket shelves I’m consistently impressed by ASDA’s sourcing at both Beaujolais (£4.37) and Beaujolais-Villages level – their raspberry-driven 2010 ASDA Extra Special picked up a silver at the IWSC 2011.

As a Beaujolais alternative, try a violet perfumed, racily acidic Sicilian red from Marks and Spencer called Nerello Mascalese, Agrigento (£5.99). It’s better than awaiting the tired old ritual of “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive!” The 2011 barely feremented batch is imminent. I promise to also suggest some hefty winter reds soon.  

The unseasonal weather is putting the flora and fauna out of synch. So too it’s unsettling this wine scribe, who’s still sipping chilled Provencal rose beyond the clocks going back. With a great deal of pleasure. 

Take Chateau Leoube Rose, Cotes de Provence 2010 (www.corneyandbarrow.com) – £13.99 seems a hefty price for a pink quencher, but this is stunning wine with a subtly exotic spice. It would be equally adept at partnering shellfish or serving as a Christmas Day aperitif. Like many of the finest roses from its region, this blend of Grenache, Cinsault Syrah and Mouvredre, is ethereally pale in colour. 

Fellow Cotes pink Chateau Sainte Marguerite Grande Reserve Cru Classe 2010 (Majestic, £9.99) is more powerfully citric on nose and palate with a keen acidity. 

At the same price (but remember you have to buy by at least the half-case from their stores), Majestic are stocking a terrific example of Argentina’s aromatic white treasure, Torrontes. Viñalba Selección Torrontés 2011 offers a huge tropical nose with lots of peach and gentle acidity on the palate. It’s recommended to match spicy food, but I say sip it on its own in substantial quantities with friends. 

CHRIS Green is the indefatigable guru behind Manchester Wine School – an organisation without commercial ties which does what is says on the label, tutors folk to understand the aromas and flavours of wine and much else beyond. All in a relaxed, unintimidating atmosphere. 

Much of the school’s work is at basic entry level, but there are opportunities to venture into grander territory. One such is the Napa Valley Masterclass with Simon Woods at 7pm on Thursday, November 24 at Jurys Inn, Manchester. 

Simon, winner of the Online Wine Columnist/Blogger gong at the International Wine Writers Awards 2010, will tutor a tasting of wines from the Californian region’s top producers, many not available in the UK. Names featured include Kent Rasmussen, Darioush, Cliff Lede and the Jones Family. 

For details of this event, which costs £30 per person, and all the school’s courses visit, www.manchesterwineschool.com. Simon’s blog is at simonwoods.com.

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Simon WoodsNovember 14th 2011.

Alas Neil, think all the places are taken for next week.

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