THE retirement project: to sample the product of every grape variety listed in Hugh Johnson’s pocket wine book.
Paul Cluver Elgin Ferricrete Riesling 2012. South Africa. 10% alcohol. Marks and Spencer. £13.
I bought a bottle of this after Jane MacQuitty recommended it as one of her 50 best white wines for summer in The Times. I don’t often pay more than £10 for a bottle of wine, but MacQuitty was promising “plenty of bang for your buck”. It certainly appeared to have touched the spot for her: “this floral, white peach and aniseed-licked racy white is summer in a glass,” she said.
The summer of ’15 has been disappointingly grey and cool in Swansea, but we let that thought pass as we checked what the wine had to say for itself: “A delightfully aromatic Riesling characterised by fresh lime and honeysuckle aromas with refreshing citrus fruit on the palate balanced by a gentle sweetness.”
So, that’s peach, aniseed, lime and honeysuckle. Oh, and “the iron-rich soil in which the grape vines are grown (gives) a mineral flavour twist to the wine.”
Riesling is one of those wines that is always being recommended as a perfect partner for Asian food. Experience has taught me to be wary of these claims, but we dutifully drank this with chicken and beansprouts, prawns in black bean sauce, and chicken chow mein.
We got the sweetness, and the usual southern hemisphere cocktail of fruitiness, even if it was lighter than some Australian examples.
Personally, I like a Riesling with more of the characteristic lingering taste of petrol, but for once this was a wine that really did work very well with the spicy Chinese dishes.
One for the wine rack? I’d happily buy a couple of bottles to add a touch of class to a takeaway night.