Peter Ranscombe spends an afternoon exploring Cork & Cask’s range at the bottle shop’s summer tasting in Edinburgh.
SOCIAL media made me do it – the Instagram stories and posts uploaded by the team at Cork & Cask, one of Edinburgh’s most exciting wine shops, convinced me that I had to pop along to Saturday’s summer wine fair and explore the store’s range in more depth.
There’s a genuine focus in the shop on organic, biodynamic and low-intervention wines, which reflects the ethos of its owner, Chris, and his colleagues.
The store’s summer tasting, held in the nearby Marchmont St Giles church centre, brought together many of the company’s top suppliers – including Scottish outfits Alliance Wine and Element Wines – and those from further afield but with strong Scottish links, including Blackbook Winery, Dynamic Vines and Nekter Wines.
It’s worth popping into the shop to get a feel for the range, but here’s my selection from Saturday’s event…
2018 Ferdinand Rosé (£11.95 for 375ml can)
Never judge a book by its cover – nor a wine by its packaging. Wines in cans are becoming increasingly popular, both in the United States and the UK, and the Ferdinand Rosé is one of the best I’ve tried. Made using grapes from 85-year-old carignan vines in Lodi in California, it’s packed full of strawberry aromas and flavours to balance its fresh acidity, and easily justifies its price, the equivalent to £23.90 a bottle.
2018 Bott Frigyes Zöldveltelini (£21.95)
For sheer wine geek excitement, Roland Wines had the most enticing table at the tasting, with bottles from as far afield as Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. My pick of the crop was this gruner veltliner from Slovakia – not a phrase I’d ever thought I’d find myself typing – which had savoury green bean aromas on the nose but then exploded into fresher fruit flavours on the palate, with green apple and pear mingling with green pepper and more green bean.
2018 Blackbook Rosé (£19.95)
It’s been a pleasure to follow the adventures of winemaker Sergio Verrillo and his wife, Lynsey, who hails from Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Their rosé is made from pinot noir grapes harvested at Crouch Valley vineyard in Essex and turned into wine at the Verrillos’ winery underneath the railway arches at Battersea, in London. The 2018 rosé is deliciously textured, with tonnes of raspberry, fresh strawberry and spun sugar notes – and his 2018 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were the stars of the show yesterday during a lunch at Fhior.
2018 Gut Oggau Winifred Rosé (£27.95)
Sticking with rosé and this blend of 60% zweigelt and 40% blaufränkisch from Burgenland in Austria has been one of the stars of Cork & Cask’s social media in recent months and it’s well-worth every ounce of attention it’s received. Green apple and raspberry on the nose lead into strawberry and darker blackcurrant flavours on the palate. It’s got a delicious texture in the mouth too. While it’ll always be a treat at this price, it’s a cracking celebratory bottle.
2018 Lagravera Onra Bianco (£17.95)
This Spanish white manages to do something rather special – it retains those old-fashioned white Rioja-like oxidised red apple aroma and salted almond flavour but combines them with crisp acidity. Made from a blend of garnacha bianco, chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc, it comes from the Costers del Segre area of Catalonia and forms part of the exciting line-up from Element Wines, one of Scotland’s newest and most vibrant suppliers.
2018 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling (£18.95)
We end our short tour in Alsace, where legendary producer Zind-Humbrecht’s riesling was simply on fire on Saturday. This year’s vintage may have only been in the country for three weeks but it’s showing exceptionally well, with restrained and well-integrated acidity balancing its lemon rind and pear flavours, which finish on a touch of peach and tropical lychee. The nose is incredibly expressive too, with pear skins and floral notes.