Tasting table

23 February, 2007

The OLN tasters sample a mixed bag of delights

X&Y Margaret River

2006 Sauvignon Blanc

Supplier: HwCg

Zesty, lithe Oz number with lime and tropical fruits on the nose, plus hints of freshly-shelled peas on the palate. This has a youthful spritz and creamy mouthfeel. A short, clean finish. RE

Heaven-On-Earth, Stellar Winery, South Africa

Supplier: Ehrmanns

Muscat of Alexandria grapes are driedáon organic rooibos tea leaves to create this delightful, marmalade-coloured sticky . A nose of honey and candied fruit, it is full-bodied , luscious on the palate and leaves a syrupy, fruity finish . It is exclusive to independent stores - supplier Ehrmanns says it's the only Fairtrade dessert wine. CB

Commissioners Block 2006 Viognier

South Eastern Australia

Supplier: HwCg

A slightly buttery nose is followed by stone fruit on the palate. The softness of the apricot and peachy aromas are balanced with high acidity to produce a clean, refreshing finish. EE

Kumkani 2005 Pinotage, Stellenbosch

Supplier: The Company of Wine People

A Pinotage for Pinotage sceptics: blackcurrant flavours are far more dominant than the distinctive wet wool nose . Medium-bodied with decent tannin, the palate is dry but full of black fruit, which leaves a gentle but lingering finish. CB

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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle ľ which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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