Wine & Food

    Wines of the week: try a Sicilian red from the foothills of Etna

    23 August 2019

    2018 CVNE Rioja Rosado, 12.5%vol, (£7.50 down from £8.50 until 15th Oct; Co-op)

     CVNE – officially the Companiá Vinícola del Norte de España – is a famously fine Rioja producer and one that I was delighted to visit only a few weeks ago. They make super wines here and this entry level pinkers is an absolute peach.  A blend of Viura (mainly), Tempranillo and Garnacha, it’s a very sophisticated bottle for the price.

    2017 Cortese Nostru Nerello Mascalese 13%vol, (£11.50; Jeroboams)

    A cracking organic red this from southern Sicily, made from a grape of which I’d never heard. Oh come on, I bet you hadn’t either. Anyway, Nerello Mascalese thrives in the heat and the rough soil of Mt Etna’s foothills and careful winemaking has created something very tasty indeed – fresh, spicy, fruity, slightly earthy with soft, smooth tannins and a long finish. One of a kind.

    Crémant d’Alsace Cuvée Julien Dopff au Moulin NV, 12%vol, (£13.50; Wine Society).

    I used to drink buckets of this but for some reason hadn’t seen it in a while. More fool me for one sip proved it’s better than ever and superb value. A Champagne Method blend of Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois, it spends two years on the lees and is deeply enticing. Fresh, crisp, clean, with a teasing underlying creaminess, it’s surely the best fizz around for the money.