This month we're mainly drinking...
New wines! And loads of different styles, depending if the weather has decided to be tropical sun or tropical storm (there have to be some advantages to our crazy climate...)
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a regular favourite but too often it feels like the volume has been turned up beyond 11. And this is why we love Te Whare Ra. Anna and Jason Flowerday farm their vineyards in Awatere organically and biodynamically (pictured above) and produce wines which are delightfully elegant and quietly expressive but still wear their Marlborough origin with pride.
The Jura region of France is hilly, a bit damp, but beautiful. It's also the source of some of the country's most remarkable wines. Wines which are making it onto the best restaurant wine lists around the world. And it's attracting producers from some much more high-rent regions. Cue the d'Angerville family. The Marquis d'Angerville domaine in Burgundy commands very high prices and is much sought after. Domaine du Pélican is their new estate in Arbois, created after Guillaume d'Angerville was so impressed by the quality of fruit the region could produce he decided he just had to get involved. We've just got hold of some of their Trois Cépages, a blend of Pinot Noir with local varieties Trousseau and Plousard, and their Chardonnay. It isn't Burgundy, it's Jura. Try it. Farming organically and biodynamically and taking a very light touch approach to the winemaking the wines are pure and poised.
Timo Mayer is another winemaker producing pure and poised wines but this time in the Yarra Valley in Australia. The Yarra is becoming internationally recognised as one the best regions in the world for growing Pinot Noir and Timo as one of the best makers. We've got a teeny allocation of his Bloody Hill Pinot. We've also got an even teenier allocation of his latest release, a Nebbiolo, the great grape of Piedmont. Given our slight obsession with Barolo, and the fact that it is incredibly delicious, we couldn't resist.
As well as the fine and rare and jaw droppingly gorgeous we're constantly on the look out for great wines at more everyday prices. Amongst those recently arrived are two, comfortably under £10 a bottle, from Feudo Antico, a new winery in an ancient place. Preparation to plant vineyards in 2010 unearthed remains of a Roman villa and storage tanks used for wine and olive oil. But the hills around Tollo in the Abruzzo, near the Adriatic sea, saw massive conflict in WWII, the town literally razed to the ground and the vineyards destroyed. Feudo Antico has been at the centre of efforts to bring wine production back to the region. Altopiano Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Trebbiano d'Abruzzo are a red and white pair that would be perfect with a Friday night pizza or a weekend barbecue.
There are lots more new wines in store including super soft and stylish red Arbalète & Coquelicots from Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat in Minervois, south of France, and mineral, dry, smoky white Txacoli Bengoetxe from the Basque region of Spain - a must on any Tapas tour - and a perfumed, sensual red Burgundy, Rully Rouge 1er Cru from Eric de Suremain, a man who will wear shorts whatever the weather, whatever the occasion. There's also the return of two favourites, The Flower and the Bee white from Galicia and Quinta Milú Ribera del Duero.
And, for something completely different, Waiting for the Miracle and Pommage, a perry and a cider respectively from the wonderful Skyborry in Powys. English (and Welsh!) wines are undoubtedly making great leaps forward but no-one makes cider like they do round there. And the labels are genius.