Notebook – May 2018

Wine columnist Peter Ranscombe continues his occasional series of articles that delve into his notebook to report on some of the exciting wines he’s tried over the past month.

OFTEN there are wines that don’t pair with the dishes that chefs have selected for the Wine to Dine column in the main Scottish Field printed magazine and which don’t slot neatly into the topics for The Grape & The Grain drinks blog either – so it’s great to be able to flip through my notebook and share some of the other intriguing bottles that I’ve tried recently.

Carter Margaret River Chardonnay, 2016 (£21.50, Henderson Wines)
I love chardonnay from cooler climates and this example from Edinburgh-based winemaker Ryan Carter’s family vineyard in Australia is a cracker, with green apple, pear and cream aromas on the nose and then more crisp fruit and buttery notes on the palate. It’s the great balance between the freshness of the acidity and the delicious texture from being made in barrels that really sets this apart for me. It was a treat to try it at the recent wine dinner hosted by the Canny Man’s Wine Society in Edinburgh.

Carter Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 (£25, Henderson Wines)
While his chardonnay is fresh and Burgundian in texture, Ryan Carter’s cabernet sauvignon moves up a gear in the complexity stakes. Plenty of warm wood smoke and cedar aromas are matched by a delicious redcurrant note before the brambles and blackcurrant come matching through, joined by milk chocolate and some spicy vanilla and clove touches. It’s rich and lush, which makes it delicious to drink now, but there’s clearly ageing potential here too, with well-integrated tannins and a kick of fresh acidity. For wines of this quality, both the red and the white are great value at these prices.

Paso-Primero Blanco, 2016 (
Good old fashioned-style Spanish white wine. Plenty of ripe red apples and notes of cider on the nose along with a floral aroma, and then a great balance between body and acidity on the palate. Made in Spain from a blend of chardonnay, riesling and gewurztraminer by Shrewsbury-based Tom Holt and Emma Williams-Holt, who spent ten years travelling wine regions around the globe before deciding to make their bottles in Spain.

Paso-Primero Tinto, 2016 (
The red partner to the blanco is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo and is again really well-balanced, with crisp blackcurrant-centred acidity paired with enough tannin to take on meat and richly concentrated blackberry fruit. Like the best holiday wine you’ve ever brought back from Spain, but without the need to wrap it in your knickers in a suitcase.

Il Civettaio Chiu, 2017 (
After starring in BBC2 television series Second Chance Summer: Tuscany – which is repeated on Saturday afternoon – Rob Seddon remained in Italy so he could launch Jackson & Seddon, his business that exports wines back to the UK. The first box from his wine club was excellent, and he’s continued to go from strength-to-strength, building up a following for his wines. His latest box featured three rosés and ll Civettaio was my favourite from the trio, with its crisp acidity and raspberry and redcurrant flavours.

Podere Casina Sempre, 2016 (
If you prefer your rosés a bit fruiter and rounder then the Podere from Jackson & Seddon should hit the spot, with its deeper pink colour, its cherry drop aromas and its fresher red cherry and ripe raspberry flavours on the tongue. Signing up to his wine club is a great way of exploring Italian wines from smaller producers, with a focus on organic farming.